Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nothing is Worth Free

Have you ever given anything away for free? Have you ever been surprised when something you're giving away suddenly completely loses its value to the point that you can't give free away at all? Yes, people will turn away from free things, which is hard to believe. You want to know why? Because if value is perceived as worthless than the question gets instilled in their heads, "Well, if you don't want it why should I?" Either free things will get perceived as junk (which is why they're free) or the subconscious mind will think, "What's wrong with it?" or "There's a catch."

As a sales person it will surprise you to know that giving stuff away for free can be just as much work as selling it. So in that respect you might as well sell it.

Here's the real insight: people respond well to DEALS and SALES. While you might not be able to give away anything without weird reactions and "no thank yous" switch your tactic to a sale. Here is how that works: when someone thinks they have gotten a deal or bought something on sale, they then believe they got something special for less the other guy or less than it's worth. Bargain shoppers will work hard to find a bargain, and then have you noticed their pride when they say, "Oh! But I got it on sale."

So when you're doing marketing and positioning products to really get consumer interest, put it on sale vs. give it away. People want to feel there is value in that purchase otherwise it seems worthless and why do they want it? Or they want it and they think it's worthless and treat it like it's worthless. They don't take care of it.

When it comes to intellectual capital, it's even more important to value your knowledge and skill. Do not give people an endless bucket of consultations and free advice. Your time is valuable. Your knowledge priceless. Letting people willy-nilly pick your brain and use your time free-of-charge will get your time and knowledge treated with the same disrespect the person has toward the free item they were given. They won't value it. They'll think it's worthless. OR worse if you give them something like a free proposal or marketing plan they might even take it to your competitor.

As is the case in life, love and friendship, respect yourself. Know your services, knowledge and expertise have value. Don't give it away. In the end, the kind of client or customer you attract will be the kind who respects, values and appreciates your product, knowledge and expertise. And that's a much better deal all the way around.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Body in the Trunk: Chapter 8



Chapter 8

Detective Phil Harris and his partner Detective Leron Diego, a first-generation Latino in his early 30’s whose family hailed from Mexico City, drove quietly in an unmarked, brown late 1980’s sedan, which was today’s ride since the white Ford Crown Victoria had its transmission blow. Leron got in, buckled up, and put his hand down on day-old gum stuck to the camel-colored passenger seat.
He lifted his hand, spotted the sticky mess, and groaned, “What the fuck, dude?” he said as he rolled down the window with his other hand and flicked it onto the pavement.
Phil sniffed and chuckled, “Spearmint. Why don’t you eat it? Freshen your breath.”
“Fuck off, that’s nasty shit. Some slob put that crap under the fucking seat! Some hombres ain’t got manners!” he complained.
Phil enjoyed Leron as his partner. They had been riding together since they had been promoted to detective about the same time. Phil, who had graduated in criminal justice with perfect straight A’s, was shocked and a little jealous when Leron, a perfectly average C student, had bested him on the detective test. When Leron had bragged about his much higher score, Phil never had admitted his score was a lot lower. He hadn’t wanted Leron’s already high opinion of himself to grow. After all, Phil had to sit in the car with him all day and listen to him talk about his girlfriend Evonne who gave him pussy every single day. Although Phil felt sure that Leron was pumping up the numbers, Leron had stuck to that story for two years. So Phil figured maybe it was true.
He had once said, “Yeah dude, she can do it like six times easy on a Sábado.”
He had a habit of using Spanish words randomly with his English, even though most of the time his English was flawless. He took pride in speaking clearly and elegantly, especially in front of women. He had said he adored Evonne, but he had wanted to marry a rich white chick and have mixed babies in a big mansion in Granite Bay, which was a wealthy community near Folsom Lake. Phil found his proclamations annoying since it was obvious he wasn’t going to abandon his daily sex girl. Phil had once seen Evonne, and she was definitely hot with long, dark hair, big breasts, and a voluptuous ass that he had imagined Leron enjoyed from behind. He had wondered if Evonne knew of Leron’s aspirations to leave her. He doubted it.
 They soon arrived at Mia’s best friend Erica’s upscale single-story house in the Fair Oaks area of Sacramento. Fair Oaks was known to have once housed the Governor’s Mansion and played home to many famous Sacramentans. Erica’s house was a beautiful Swiss-style chateau with lovely woodwork and brickwork on the exterior with a double-decker fountain tinkling near the entrance. Phil made note that Erica had money as a black Mercedes C250 sedan also sat in the front driveway.
Phil and Leron stepped out of the old sedan.
Leron glanced at the Mercedes and back at their decaying sedan and grimaced, “Dude, see what I mean … white chicks. They got the pan.”
Phil frowned, “Pan?”
“Yeah, dude, bread.”
Phil rolled his eyes and knocked on the door. A dog started barking. It sounded like a big dog, and as Erica, a full-figured brunette with searing hazel eyes, opened the door, she forcefully held back a German Shepherd, named “Doug” that she yelled at to quiet down. The dog pulled her backward for a moment, and Erica held up one finger, meaning one minute, closed the door, and made a shuffling noise followed by “fucking dog.” Phil and Leron chuckled at the cursing. A second later, she returned and opened the door. She smoothed her white linen blouse with an open V-neck and stood up straight.
            She extended her left hand, which was unusual, and Phil noted she was a lefty, as she said, “You must be Detective Harris and Detective Diego. Please come in.”
            “Yes,” he replied.
 They stepped up inside of the gorgeous interior of the house. The front room had a mahogany fireplace with a suede brown sectional in front of it and a blue club chair across from it. On the matching mahogany coffee table, Phil noticed a tray with two containers, natural sugar cubes, and half-and-half. He assumed the containers had coffee or tea or both. Erica’s good manners set the tone for the conversation as she offered him coffee or tea to which he accepted tea.
Erica observed him also pour half-and-half in his tea and smiled, “English tea lover.”
 “Yes, my dad drank it that way, but he wasn’t British,” Phil replied.
“Hey, you know if it’s not too much, you got a Coke?” asked Leron.
Erica stared at Leron in silence for a moment and then said, “Coke? Um, okay let me see. I think we have San Pellegrino lemonade.”
“What’s lemon San whatever? Never mind ma’am. It’s cool.”
Erica smiled politely, “I’m sorry detective we don’t drink sugared soda in this house. But please, help yourself to the tea or coffee.”
Phil glared momentarily at Leron, who just shrugged.
He then turned back to Erica, “So you were best friends since grade school.”
Erica nodded, “Well, if you ask me, which you haven’t yet, Mia would never kill anyone. I personally think it’s that Evan asshole she got involved with,” she said with disdain.
Erica got up and grabbed a wedding picture in which Mia was the matron of honor who stood next to Erica in her bridal gown. Mia was statuesque in a long navy-blue, floor-length gown with her long blonde hair pulled neatly back in a smooth ponytail.
“She is absolutely beautiful,” said Erica admiringly. “Her husband didn’t appreciate her at all,” she said and shook her head in a sad way. “He ran her into the ground. It was painful to listen to him say all sorts of mean shit to her right in front of family and friends. So when Evan came round, well … she was an easy target, I think. What? A wilted flower.”
“Do you know Evan’s last name?”
“Garner. He was her business partner, too.”
            “They were lovers?” asked Leron.
            “Oh no, not at first, no absolutely not,” responded Erica. “Not at first anyway.”
            “What do you mean? Were they or weren’t they?” asked Phil.
            Erica’s eyes watered, and she swiped a tear. She grabbed a recycled paper napkin to dab them.
“I loved her. She was really something – smart, sweet, beautiful. Loved her girls! I don’t know exactly how he seduced her. I just know she called me one day and flat out said, ‘I’m leaving Paul.’ I wasn’t surprised, you know. She didn’t complain. She never complained not about any of it. But she once said the saddest thing, ‘Expect nothing, and if you get something be grateful.’ And then that awful prick! He hid money. Left her bankrupt. Got his buddy to appraise a million-dollar home at $300,000 – what a joke! She was so broken she rolled over. He told the girls, ‘I have to sell the house. Mom needs money.’ Isn’t that just terrible? Mia didn’t want to take the girls’ home away. I told you, sweet, selfless. No way she killed anyone.”
            “So you don’t know if they were lovers during the marriage?” asked Leron.
            “I miss her,” said Erica who then shook her head. “I don’t know. Sorry. But honestly I knew Mia best. I don’t think so.”
            Phil got up and so did Leron at the same time. Erica walked them back to the door. Phil handed her a card. “You think she’s still alive?”
             “I hope so,” and as she said these words she choked on tears. “She was my best friend … look, I would go find this Evan or his partners … I think they were brothers or something. She went to New York a lot back and forth on business. I think that’s where they met.”
            Phil nodded, and he and Leron went back to the sedan and got in. Leron looked at him. They both seemed to know exactly what was the next move, and Phil started the engine.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Body in the Trunk: Chapter 8



Chapter 8

Detective Phil Harris and his partner Detective Leron Diego, a first-generation Latino in his early 30’s whose family hailed from Mexico City, drove quietly in an unmarked, brown late 1980’s sedan, which was today’s ride since the white Ford Crown Victoria had its transmission blow. Leron got in, buckled up, and put his hand down on day-old gum stuck to the camel-colored passenger seat.
He lifted his hand, spotted the sticky mess, and groaned, “What the fuck, dude?” he said as he rolled down the window with his other hand and flicked it onto the pavement.
Phil sniffed and chuckled, “Spearmint. Why don’t you eat it? Freshen your breath.”
“Fuck off, that’s nasty shit. Some slob put that crap under the fucking seat! Some hombres ain’t got manners!” he complained.
Phil enjoyed Leron as his partner. They had been riding together since they had been promoted to detective about the same time. Phil, who had graduated in criminal justice with perfect straight A’s, was shocked and a little jealous when Leron, a perfectly average C student, had bested him on the detective test. When Leron had bragged about his much higher score, Phil never had admitted his score was a lot lower. He hadn’t wanted Leron’s already high opinion of himself to grow. After all, Phil had to sit in the car with him all day and listen to him talk about his girlfriend Evonne who gave him pussy every single day. Although Phil felt sure that Leron was pumping up the numbers, Leron had stuck to that story for two years. So Phil figured maybe it was true.
He had once said, “Yeah dude, she can do it like six times easy on a Sábado.”
He had a habit of using Spanish words randomly with his English, even though most of the time his English was flawless. He took pride in speaking clearly and elegantly, especially in front of women. He had said he adored Evonne, but he had wanted to marry a rich white chick and have mixed babies in a big mansion in Granite Bay, which was a wealthy community near Folsom Lake. Phil found his proclamations annoying since it was obvious he wasn’t going to abandon his daily sex girl. Phil had once seen Evonne, and she was definitely hot with long, dark hair, big breasts, and a voluptuous ass that he had imagined Leron enjoyed from behind. He had wondered if Evonne knew of Leron’s aspirations to leave her. He doubted it.
 They soon arrived at Mia’s best friend Erica’s upscale single-story house in the Fair Oaks area of Sacramento. Fair Oaks was known to have once housed the Governor’s Mansion and played home to many famous Sacramentans. Erica’s house was a beautiful Swiss-style chateau with lovely woodwork and brickwork on the exterior with a double-decker fountain tinkling near the entrance. Phil made note that Erica had money as a black Mercedes C250 sedan also sat in the front driveway.
Phil and Leron stepped out of the old sedan.
Leron glanced at the Mercedes and back at their decaying sedan and grimaced, “Dude, see what I mean … white chicks. They got the pan.”
Phil frowned, “Pan?”
“Yeah, dude, bread.”
Phil rolled his eyes and knocked on the door. A dog started barking. It sounded like a big dog, and as Erica, a full-figured brunette with searing hazel eyes, opened the door, she forcefully held back a German Shepherd, named “Doug” that she yelled at to quiet down. The dog pulled her backward for a moment, and Erica held up one finger, meaning one minute, closed the door, and made a shuffling noise followed by “fucking dog.” Phil and Leron chuckled at the cursing. A second later, she returned and opened the door. She smoothed her white linen blouse with an open V-neck and stood up straight.
            She extended her left hand, which was unusual, and Phil noted she was a lefty, as she said, “You must be Detective Harris and Detective Diego. Please come in.”
            “Yes,” he replied.
 They stepped up inside of the gorgeous interior of the house. The front room had a mahogany fireplace with a suede brown sectional in front of it and a blue club chair across from it. On the matching mahogany coffee table, Phil noticed a tray with two containers, natural sugar cubes, and half-and-half. He assumed the containers had coffee or tea or both. Erica’s good manners set the tone for the conversation as she offered him coffee or tea to which he accepted tea.
Erica observed him also pour half-and-half in his tea and smiled, “English tea lover.”
 “Yes, my dad drank it that way, but he wasn’t British,” Phil replied.
“Hey, you know if it’s not too much, you got a Coke?” asked Leron.
Erica stared at Leron in silence for a moment and then said, “Coke? Um, okay let me see. I think we have San Pellegrino lemonade.”
“What’s lemon San whatever? Never mind ma’am. It’s cool.”
Erica smiled politely, “I’m sorry detective we don’t drink sugared soda in this house. But please, help yourself to the tea or coffee.”
Phil glared momentarily at Leron, who just shrugged.
He then turned back to Erica, “So you were best friends since grade school.”
Erica nodded, “Well, if you ask me, which you haven’t yet, Mia would never kill anyone. I personally think it’s that Evan asshole she got involved with,” she said with disdain.
Erica got up and grabbed a wedding picture in which Mia was the matron of honor who stood next to Erica in her bridal gown. Mia was statuesque in a long navy-blue, floor-length gown with her long blonde hair pulled neatly back in a smooth ponytail.
“She is absolutely beautiful,” said Erica admiringly. “Her husband didn’t appreciate her at all,” she said and shook her head in a sad way. “He ran her into the ground. It was painful to listen to him say all sorts of mean shit to her right in front of family and friends. So when Evan came round, well … she was an easy target, I think. What? A wilted flower.”
“Do you know Evan’s last name?”
“Garner. He was her business partner, too.”
            “They were lovers?” asked Leron.
            “Oh no, not at first, no absolutely not,” responded Erica. “Not at first anyway.”
            “What do you mean? Were they or weren’t they?” asked Phil.
            Erica’s eyes watered, and she swiped a tear. She grabbed a recycled paper napkin to dab them.
“I loved her. She was really something – smart, sweet, beautiful. Loved her girls! I don’t know exactly how he seduced her. I just know she called me one day and flat out said, ‘I’m leaving Paul.’ I wasn’t surprised, you know. She didn’t complain. She never complained not about any of it. But she once said the saddest thing, ‘Expect nothing, and if you get something be grateful.’ And then that awful prick! He hid money. Left her bankrupt. Got his buddy to appraise a million-dollar home at $300,000 – what a joke! She was so broken she rolled over. He told the girls, ‘I have to sell the house. Mom needs money.’ Isn’t that just terrible? Mia didn’t want to take the girls’ home away. I told you, sweet, selfless. No way she killed anyone.”
            “So you don’t know if they were lovers during the marriage?” asked Leron.
            “I miss her,” said Erica who then shook her head. “I don’t know. Sorry. But honestly I knew Mia best. I don’t think so.”
            Phil got up and so did Leron at the same time. Erica walked them back to the door. Phil handed her a card. “You think she’s still alive?”
             “I hope so,” and as she said these words she choked on tears. “She was my best friend … look, I would go find this Evan or his partners … I think they were brothers or something. She went to New York a lot back and forth on business. I think that’s where they met.”
            Phil nodded, and he and Leron went back to the sedan and got in. Leron looked at him. They both seemed to know exactly what was the next move, and Phil started the engine.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Body in the Trunk: Chapter 7



Chapter 7

I walked off the elevator which led to the chic Scandinavian-designed bar with squared-off, white chairs in front of simple black tables with tops balanced by same-shaped bottoms so they resembled S’s. Sofas lined the back wall and sat up against floor-to-ceiling windows with an amazing view of the lit-up New York City skyline. My eyes settled on the spectacular sight until my gazed shifted to the man in the center of the long sofa, Evan.
His blonde hair was slicked back with a touch of gel, and he wore a chic button-down cranberry-colored shirt and black slacks with the shirttails out. He looked appropriately casual and sexy. I noticed he had a steaming intensity to his looks and an appealing dark sexuality. He worked out as his arms were beautifully cut, and he was lean. I suspected a six-pack hidden under the perfectly pressed cranberry shirt. I found myself momentarily preoccupied with an inappropriate attraction since I was a married woman. Lust, a feeling I had forgotten I could feel toward a man, brewed up inside of me. I felt a rush of excitement, and then I quickly grabbed hold of my passionate arousal, suppressed it, and walked over to Evan.
I put my hand out to shakes his, but he took it and flipped it over so he could see my palm. He touched the center of it – an act that sent an intense shudder up my spine and made the hairs on my neck stand straight up. Within seconds the vision flashed back: I was now walking toward the groom, and I could feel the sand between my toes.
“You have a beautiful hand, Mia,” he said in a low, baritone voice.
I stopped dead and stared at him. Our eyes locked for a moment, and then he stepped aside to make room. I went to sit down, but I could feel his eyes on me, taking in my body. As I turned to sit down I felt a sensation that he looked at my ass. The attraction was like this electric pulse hidden below perception. When I turned to face him, he was right there close to me. His full lips and those gorgeous blue-green eyes – all there for me to take in and want to touch. I stared at him or more into him as I took in his sexy presence.
As he spoke, he never broke my stare, “You’re beautiful,” he said directly and frankly without a flinch.
I hadn’t heard the word “beautiful” uttered to me in years possibly decades. Paul never said it. He liked the stripped-down version of me – no makeup or accessories to make me attract attention. I ignored him these days. When I walked on the cherry-wood floor across our kitchen, he complained my high-heel shoes sounded like the clip-clop of a horse’s hooves. He disliked the noise so much he had placed a shoe rack near the entry and had demanded I leave my shoes there at the end of the day and pad softly on the wood. I had grown so accustomed to complaints like these I felt pleased when my schedule permitted me to leave after him in the mornings. If I so much as had a button opened too low on my blouse, his comments would range from, “What are you trying to show everyone your breasts?” to “Are you a whore?” He even said these things when the button had come undone on accident. These random thoughts flew through my mind as quickly as Evan had called me beautiful.
“Well, thank you!”
“I took the liberty of asking around about you,” Evan said in his silky, smooth voice.
I was floored and frowned, “What? Asked who?”
“Clients. I’ve done my homework.”
“Why?” I asked with the frown still on my face.
“You have a nice, little business situation set up. Are you hoping to expand?”
“I have thought of taking a partner.”
“My partners and I like your setup. We want to move to your area, and you have the perfect base for us to start. We could triple your business with our resources at your disposal. Our computer equipment is state-of-the-art stuff. We have all the best graphics programs, and we have most importantly prestige. We could make you richer!”
The waitress came over and I looked her. She smiled and was about to speak when Evan held his hand up for her to stop.
“We’ll both have a glass of Domain Chandon.”
I whispered, “My favorite,” and I looked at Evan who gave me a smile and nodded. An intense look passed between us as our eyes locked. “How did you know?”
Evan sat forward and stared at me long and hard and then sighed, “I didn’t.”
“Do we know each other … from before I mean?”
The champagne arrived and the waitress poured it into two flutes in front of us. Evan waited, grabbed each glass, and handed one to me, and I took it.
“Cheers,” he said as he raised his glass.
I nodded and smiled, “Cheers.”
I took a brisk sip – it tasted dry and somewhat fruity. I hiccupped for a moment from the carbonation. My eyes darted back to Evan, and we once more locked in a mutual stare. I focused solely on him, and the room melted away – no noise, no people just Evan and his intense blue-green eyes. I noticed small flecks of dark in his irises. I was marveling at this fine detail when his voice broke my concentration.
“So, will I be able to call you partner?”
“Excuse me? What?”
Evan chuckled, “I’m too fast for you, huh?”
“I don’t even know if I want a partner – although it would be nice to have someone to shoulder the stress.”
As the words came out of my mouth, my eyes kept moving up and down and then settled on his lightly hairy forearm that for some reason I had to resist touching. I just wanted to reach out and stroke his arm in the most intimate and inappropriate way. Evan kept staring right back at me, and the attraction was electric. I was getting so turned on it was becoming unbearable.
“When was the last time you had sex?” Evan asked without a blink of embarrassment.
I wondered if the lack of sex was stamped on my chest like a scarlet letter. Maybe I looked sexless and dried up. I felt a surge of embarrassment. I hated to tell him six months ago at Christmas because sex was an expectation like a present under the tree. In the last 10 years I had little sex even though before my marriage I considered myself a highly sexual person who loved it two or three times a day when possible. I had adopted the standard cliché that married people just didn’t do it anymore – well at least in my house we didn’t do it … much.
“Is that a question you ask a prospective partner or lover?” there I said it. Was he looking for a lover? Was I open to the idea of becoming someone’s lover? I was a straight arrow, a Miss Priss, a good girl – and good girls didn’t have affairs and they certainly didn’t utter the word lover. Nor did good girls stare at seductive men’s forearms and want to stroke them; they ached inside. Not to mention where was my common sense? Was it thrown out the proverbial window of morals and standards that precluded married women from having intimate encounters with single men? I wasn’t stupid, and I knew that mixing business with pleasure (especially in this situation) was a poisonous prescription sure to put both my marriage and business asunder. Yet the unrelenting draw and familiarity of this man just seemed to douse my good sense. My morality was suddenly like a flame slowly burning out from lack of oxygen.
Evan’s eyes twinkled, and he grinned with such a priceless pride like he had cracked the seal to something beautiful inside – all with an artful skill. “Maybe both,” he brazenly replied self-satisfied.
I was now speechless. What the hell was I going to say to that one? He had stumped me in the art of coy conversation to which I had no experience. “I’ve never been a lover. I’ve been a girlfriend and certainly a wife – and today not a very loyal wife.”
Evan nodded and continued to match my gaze with his own unwavering stare. He took in my response with great thought that I could see going on behind his eyes. He was sizing me up.
“Loyalty? How have you not been loyal, Mia?” he asked and deliberately emphasized my name. “Did you forget to darn his socks or wash his underwear? Or maybe he forgot something, hmm?”
“Loyalty requires one not sit and stare at a sexy blonde man like this.”
“Like this?” he tilted his head to mess with me, took another sip, and smiled at his own teasing.
I moved forward so brashly I was shocked, too. I got but inches from his supple lips and looked down at him. The desire to meet his lips clung to my thoughts and made me drip with wetness and lust. Evan was bold, and he never moved from his place and held firm. I could feel his hot breath on me, and then I heard his voice in my head so vividly it was as if he said it, but his lips never moved. “Kiss me,” the voice whispered.
I sat up straight and moved away. “Did you hear that?”
“What?” he was calm and stayed in place.
“A voice?”
Evan grinned at me. I knew instantly he knew what I was talking about but wasn’t going to answer me. He took the last sip of his champagne, threw down a $100 bill, and got up. I didn’t stand up with him, but rather stared up at him.
“I have plans for you … us,” he said. “I will email over a proposal for your attorney to review, and then I’ll fly you back here to sign. It will be a sweet deal I promise, and you can meet my three partners in our firm. They have a great interest in working with you.” He grabbed my hand, kissed it, smiled and said, “Till next time … Mia, the beautiful.”
He gazed into my eyes, turned, and departed in a smooth glide out the door. I watched him – his gait, his posture, his way of walking with that casual confidence. His incredible smell still wafted in the air around me. My passion and desire now ablaze in not only yearning but also intense curiosity. What was it about him? I felt this connection – something indescribable now binding our spirits. It was like a renewed relationship. One like I had met an old boyfriend from high school and remembered how much he turned me on. Yet I didn’t know Evan so that instant familiarity was as strange as this stranger.
I toyed with the idea of him as my partner. A deep, threatening, negative voice in my head quietly drummed up anxiety and uncertainty. The idea of forming a partnership with this “temptation” named Evan seemed incredibly imprudent, stupid and downright irresponsible. I never thought of myself as stupid and certainly not reckless, but also there was this needy, wanting, pulling and yearning urge – a feeling that made absolutely no sense. What was it? Why was I even considering this business arrangement and putting myself in this kind of insane situation almost certain to lead me into the dark abyss called the rabbit hole? It was a place so forbidden, black and dangerous, but also attractive, exciting, passionate, insane and seductive to all my body’s senses. Which side of my personality was going to win? My safe, smart and business-like nature or my repressed, wanting and lustful sex siren, the one who had retreated within her own rocked fortress away from true love and romance?
I didn’t want to make my life messy either. Affairs of any kind made life unruly and loaded with drama. Did I want to invite trouble into my mostly-neat life? My girls were my priority, too. How could I do anything that would potentially hurt them? My thoughts drifted back into my newly awakened feelings. My senses were alive again. I felt something. I felt – and the fact that my sleeping desires were fully awake also made me feel protective like I didn’t want them to evaporate. I felt astoundingly more human and womanly. I marveled over sexual feelings. Was it selfish to want to love … to want to feel his hands all over me and to enjoy the moist sensation of a lustful kiss?
Then I looked down at my left hand and the one-karat diamond ring that Paul had sweetly placed on my ring finger so many years ago – the look of joy on his face when he had slid the ring on. I thought about the years past when he had still said nice things to me. Years when I had felt love as clearly as I felt desire today for Evan. And years ago when the feeling hadn’t been numbed with abuse, scorn and depressive reality that my husband didn’t even like me.
Was it selfish to want to be liked? Was I bad and wrong for needing and wanting love from a man again? To not want my husband to chose a boat and gambling over my own wants and needs? To want a husband who cared what I thought and how I felt – and most importantly want I wanted? A man who would unselfishly act devoted, kind, loyal and loving? Someone to scoop me in his arms, kiss me like I was the only woman he ever wanted to kiss with so much lust he would move his hands up and down my waist, caress my breasts, and adore and cherish me so much he just had to have me? Were these ideas fantasies only young women with dreamy visions of marriage still believed they deserved? Did I deserve this kind of relationship? Or was my empty, hollowed marriage the only thing I had and would ever get? I had to push myself in a new direction, take a major risk, and maybe do things I shouldn’t do to find out the answers. The real question was simple: Did I have what it took to quit living life at half-mast but to use my inner strength to raise the sail and soar the ocean?



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chapter 6: Body in the Trunk



Chapter 6
            It had been many weeks since Tess and Phil began their rituals of lunch and cocktail meetings. Tess had remembered their first cocktail meeting. They had scheduled it right after they met at Starbuck’s.
At first, they had a tempestuous nature to their relationship upon her revelation that it had been more than just a TV appearance that had sucked her into the case not just her desire to write true crime. What Tess had rarely shared with anyone were her psychic gifts.  It hadn’t been just the body in the trunk or the handsome detective who had ignited a passionate desire to know what had happened and share it. 
After she had seen the show, she had gone to bed that night and had a dream. She had seen a woman’s hand on the trunk of the Camry, but it hadn’t just been the hand it had been the feelings – like emotions plugged into and replacing her own. It had been the yearning she felt that pulled her heart. The woman’s distress along with her intense craving had drawn in Tess. She had felt a sorrow and a need for love. This pain had been like a residual trace feelings left behind in Tess’ mind like an aching numbness and a depth of unrealized desire. This strange connection had clung to Tess’ being like an ardent lover bound to his desire to make love to his beloved. It also had made Tess want to hug someone she had never met and reassure her life would get better.
            She had sensed from the first meeting that Phil wouldn’t be easily convinced that she could use her psychic gifts to help the case. She had felt he was a skeptic; but she had known she would have to tell him regardless, so she had decided to reveal it during their first cocktail meeting.

She walked up the stairs to The Mix, which was located on the second floor of a downtown mall. She stopped to fluff her strawberry blonde curls in the mirror that lined the stairwell. She smiled with her raspberry-frosted lips. She wore faded designer jeans and a grape-colored T-shirt with a scooped neck that tied at the waist and let the drawstring hang. She also wore matching White House Black Market black strappy sandals that sexed up her look. Her ever-growing crush on Phil had influenced just how hot she had wanted to look for him. He was dryly funny with her, and she saw him look at her in ways that suggested a mutual crash, but still he maintained at a professional distance.
            Once she got to the top of the stairs, she looked around. The space was designed in modern chic with brown leather chairs that were rounded with deep seats that hung close to the floor. Various patent-leather lounges were puzzled together in zigzag shapes, and to the right was a glass wall that quartered off the outdoor patio with similar furnishings and fire pits for guests to eat appetizers, drink frothy cocktails, and sip expensive wines.
She noticed Phil sitting on an uncomfortable barstool pushed up against the slick, black bar. His head was lowered, and this time it was he who played with a matchbook even though in California you could not smoke in bars, and most health-conscious Californians didn’t smoke these days anyway.
            She made her way over toward Phil, and she didn’t notice all the men whose heads turned to watch the pretty woman pass. She wasn’t one to notice men’s heads turn. She was always thinking and focused, and she didn’t pay attention to what was around her, which her Grandma Murphy had warned her about safety. The warning had gone unheeded. Tess really didn’t have the mind to pay attention despite what anybody suggested she do.
Today’s singular focus was on her handsome detective whom she had imagined seducing and kissing when she closed her eyes at night. Her fantasies involved brash moves in which she would crawl up to him while he lay amused against a black headboard; but the idea always got interrupted with lack of knowledge of what his full lips really felt and tasted like.  She came up quietly and touched his muscular bicep to get his attention. His muscles were tight and well-formed, which caused her to have a surge of lust, but she held her desires in-check. She also hated chasing men, and she would not give her smug detective a hint about the carnal knowledge she wished to possess about him.
            “Well, look at you. All normal citizen and all,” she teased as she sat down next to him.
            She saw Phil’s eyes run her up and down, and she felt positive that qualified as an eye-fuck.
            “So, you’re here right on time,” said Phil. “I thought I might have to take these,” he gestured to the matches, “and fire up a stogie outside.”
            Tess grimaced, “You smoke?”
            He held his fingers just an inch apart and shrugged.
            “Oh,” she said with disappointment.
            Phil took this as a cue to wave over the bartender, a young man with a clean-shaven head and a nose ring in his right nostril.
“I’ll have a dirty martini, and my friend here will have …”
            Tess became comfortable and thought for a second, “A chocolate martini.”
            Phil waved that off and rolled his eyes, “That’s dessert,” he groaned.
            “Tastes like it, too,” she replied with a pleased smile.
            “So, Tess what do you want to know?”
            “Well, I thought it was strange you found a body in a Camry, and I had this weird dream the day before. It was like déjà vu. I saw that Camry. Yes, I know that sounds crazy, but I had this feeling about it. And I had these feelings of depression and sadness and … yeah, longing.”
            “Are you psychic or something?” chuckled Phil.
            “Don’t make fun. Nonbelievers have gifts, too, they just don’t know it,” she said just as her “dessert” arrived in a chocolate-coated martini glass. “I have visions. I don’t know when they’ll strike. They just do at odd times. Loading the dishwasher, making the bed, whatever.”
            “And you had a vision of the car? What about the person in the trunk?”
            “Nothing … just the car.”
            Phil’s dirty martini had arrived. He nursed it and plucked the green olive off the toothpick to eat it.
“Well, we have prints of the car’s owner, a one Mia McIntyre, but she disappeared. Her husband is gone, too, but her little girls are with the grandparents who said one day the dad came by and dropped them off to go to the movies and he never returned. The couple was in the middle of a really nasty divorce I was told. We identified the body as one Rachelle Anne Fernando, some gal from the East Coast. Died, blunt trauma to the head. Found some of Rachelle’s blood at Mia’s place, which indicates the kill took place there. No idea about motive. And that Tess is all we got to date.” 
            Tess sipped her sweet drink and pondered that information. She closed her eyes to remember the dream, but all she could see was a feminine hand on the trunk. She opened her eyes. She glanced at Phil who looked skeptical.
            “Really Houdini, you going to pull a rabbit, too?”
            Tess shook her head and said, “It’s the woman, Mia. She dumped the body, but …” she paused, “I’m not sure she killed her.”
            “What? You can’t know that?” Phil shook his head. “In homicide they call that bullshit.”
            “Whatever, Phil,” she sneered at him. “I had the vision; saw your show, and I just have this ability to see things. I’m not embarrassed about it.”
            “You go to Psychic Fairs and let some lady named ‘Crystal’ tell you, ‘You’ll meet a nice boy and get married in the year 2025’. You go for that crap?”
            “You mocking me? Cause if you’re mocking me, I’m going to prove you’re wrong.”
            “We got those government-certified psychics who come into the department all the time, and frankly nine times out of 10, they’re wrong.”
            “About everything?”
            “Well, okay fine so maybe one says, ‘I see … a gold scarf and a pearl necklace,’ but the case doesn’t get solved that way.”
            “But there was a scarf and necklace?”
Phil flipped the matchbook case away toward the bar, turned to her, and put his hand up on the bar, “All right, and your point is …”
“My point is that I have some psychic connection to this case, and I don’t know why or how, but I’m going to write a book about it, and you’re going to help me,” she replied with a raised eyebrow.
Phil glanced at her and rolled his eyes. Tess felt an increasing attraction toward her cynical detective. She noticed his blue eye deepen in contrast to his brown eye. He was annoyed with her, but she didn’t let that cool her desire for him that kept fluttering in her stomach and dampening her black-silk panties. She crossed her legs and tightened her thighs to suppress the desire to reach down and relieve her own passion. She shifted uncomfortably, and the booze heating up her insides didn’t help alleviate her urge to reach across to stroke his package – you know just to find out how big a surprise she might be in for.
As for his displeasure in her story, she knew she would just have to show him. Besides how was she supposed to explain her gifts to some guy who clearly thought that a chakra was an ’80s rock band? Even her own father had wanted to take her to the funny farm when as a small child she had seen what she thought was a hunter wearing a red jacket in the woods. When she had told her father, he had said there was no hunter in the woods. Young Tess had pointed to the man in the distance. She had seen him walking with a rifle in one hand with his head down. Her father told her there was no one there, and that he intended to get her head examined when she got home. This threat scared her along with the vision of the man who was still clearly walking through the woods.
As she grew older, her visions increased between seeing ghosts and predicting the future. To her girlfriend’s chagrin, she could always tell them when prospective boyfriends wouldn’t last or when she would get married. All of it always turned out to be true, so none of Tess’ friends ever questioned her abilities. Now she had her sexy detective annoyed over her revelation of why she took an interest in the case; but it didn’t matter. She was determined to continue.
Phil groaned at her and said, “All right there, Psychic Network, I’ll tell you we don’t think it was the woman who did it anyway. From what we know this Mia gal was a tall, petite thing. Her friends and family said she was a total pacifist and never hit a thing in her life. She didn’t believe in spanking kids either. The kids said they never so much as had a pat on the ass let alone a good old-fashioned swat. Mom was sweet and gentle by all accounts, but they did say the dad was a real piece of work – selfish prick. If anything they would have predicted she shoved his ass in the trunk not some stranger.”
“It wasn’t her.”
“Oh, you got evidence?”
“No, it wasn’t her,” Tess reiterated.
“Well, you’re so certain then who was it? Lead me to the person. Let’s make some arrests.”
“Oh, I’ll help.”
“What? You got a degree in forensic science now, too?”
Tess started laughing and took another sip, “Nope, just got this,” and she tapped the side of her head and winked. “And now you,” she said and fluttered her eyelashes. Tess noted how carefully Phil watched her. She saw a little smile cross his lips, and she wondered about that bit of pleasure on his face. She was definitely attracted to him, and from that night forward she made him the object of her sexual fantasies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Body in the Trunk: Chapter 6



Chapter 6

            I sat at the small, black desk with the white bucket chair in my hotel room. I kept looking at Evan’s card as I sat in front of my laptop computer now online. I kept wondering about him. How did he know I was in this hotel? Did he see me earlier? My phone rang: Paul’s name appeared again. It was a three-hour time difference. He never called me on the road. One time I went on a three-week vacation to see my cousins in Wisconsin, and he hadn’t called me the entire time. My cousins had never asked about it, but I could tell they had thought it was strange. Paul just didn’t seem to care anymore – out of sight as they say.
            “Hi, what’s up?”
            “Lulu is crying all day. She has a cold and doesn’t feel good. You need to come home!” he flatly demanded.
            “Paul, I can’t come home from New York City because Lulu has the sniffles. I spent $5,000 on the booth space alone.”
            “Can’t you get your manager to come out? What’s-her-face … Ellie?”
            “No, she’s on vacation in the Turkish Islands. Really Paul? You can’t handle your daughter’s sniffles for one day?”
            The phone went dead. He hung up on me like he routinely did when he deemed the conversation over. I held the phone away from my ear and looked at the screen.
“Love you, too, honey,” I sneered aloud.
            I got up, went to the bathroom, and stared at my reflection. Most people said I looked 10 years younger than my real age of 40. I had put sunscreen on my face since I was 16-years old, and good genes prevented my hair from going gray, although I colored it anyway to brighten it. I got my eyebrows waxed bi-weekly and had those unsightly facial hairs removed with laser treatments. I was vain at times, but overall not really. I knew I was beautiful only through constant comments from other men not Paul who rarely said anything nice. I wondered if Evan thought I was attractive. Well, what did that matter anyway? I was married. I sighed and felt tired.
As I stood staring in the mirror my mind wandered and then all of a sudden, I felt air on my neck, and I looked in the mirror again. Evan was standing next to me. His full lips and mouth got close to my ear, and I could hear his breathing and felt warm breath on my neck. It sent a chill and tingle down my spine. And then it felt like a pull and yank, and I was back in front of the mirror – alone.
            I stood straight up in shock and looked around. No one was in that room with me, but I had felt him, had seen his image in the mirror. I looked around, confused and uncertain. I had never experienced something so strange. I sucked in oxygen and paused. I looked around again. Yes, I was totally alone. What happened? Now though it was like Evan crept under my skin or plugged some invisible tether into me. I kept thinking about him. I wasn’t sure if I was troubled or not, but the slight touch of his lips against my neck left me with a sexual longing – a hunger which five minutes before hadn’t seemed possible. Longing for what, though?
I looked at the phone. It rang. “Evan,” I whispered.
I went to the desk and picked it up. The number was unfamiliar. I picked it up. “Hello?”
“Are you ready?”
“What? Who is this?”
“Evan.”
“Oh, hi, ready?”
“Yes, to come up to the bar?”
“Yes, I’ll be there shortly.”
“Good,” and he hung up.