Daily Dialogue: Death and the Mother

Two women take a dark and stormy ride through my mind for 40 minutes and I jot down whatever they say.

Jena
(voiceover)
She came into my office one night. It was a Monday… Jobs like this always come on a Monday. The kind of job that makes you glad to be alive and hate the day you were born. The kind of job you hope they pay by check so you can turn them down.

Veronica
So will you help me, detective?

Jena
I don’t come cheap, lady.

Veronica
I know. One should never settle for cider when they can have Chardonnay. Will cash do?

Jena
(v/o)
Of course, she would have cash. Of course, she would pull it out of her bra. She probably expected Detective Malone to be a fella. Someone who would care that she’s wearing silk nylons attached to a garter under that skirt that’s cut devilishly high. That’s why I never put my first name on the door: shows me what lengths degenerates will go to save a few bucks. By the shade of her lipstick, she might’ve blown Detective Malone. I take her money and ask her to repeat what she told me. Sometimes the story changes after they pay.

Veronica
My daughter’s trying to kill me. I don’t have proof, but I know it’s true. Call it mother’s intuition.

Jena
(v/o)
So far, the record’s playing the same tune. “Fucked-Up” by The Mamas and the Papas.

Veronica
Can I smoke? I’ll stand by the window.

Jena
(v/o)
I tell her she can, and she steps with a desperate wiggle, hoping that I pray to Sappho. Another disappointment, I pray to Jack Daniel and Playgirl.

Veronica
My daughter… Maureen. A few weeks ago, I was held up. I know, what’s the big deal, right? But the lug didn’t want money. I gave him my purse, but he threw it to the side. He was there to kill me, and he would’ve if someone didn’t come around the corner. What was strange was that he seemed familiar somehow. A day or so after that, my daughter had a few friends over. One of them had a hard time looking at me, and he wouldn’t say anything to me. Maureen said that he wasn’t feeling well, but I knew better. He was the one who tried to kill me. Then I thought about how he’d know where I was. Maureen would’ve been the only one who could’ve known. I should’ve run to the police, right? A room full of people offering a solid alibi makes cops a little useless, wouldn’t you say?

Jena
(v/o)
I’d say a few things, but she paid me and that means she paid for me to keep my opinion to myself. Her story still matches with the one from earlier. The smoke from her cigarette she rolled drifts out of the room, leaving a bit of itself behind. You’d almost think it was me. I tell her to go on.

Veronica
The next time Maureen tried to kill me was in my car. I was driving her somewhere on the highway. It was a small one you’d find in the countryside, two lanes with no divider in the middle. A truck was about to pass us and she pointed to something to my left. She reached out, almost covering me, and I felt her move the steering wheel. The car jerked and almost hit the truck. Or rather, the truck almost hit us. Almost hit me.

Jena
(v/o)
I almost feel sorry for her, but no one gets to the point of murdering someone without a reason. Everyone thinks about murdering someone, and the thought might get so strong that it could topple buildings or cripple Atlas. But people rarely follow through. Even with the knife in their hand. Little Maureen has tried twice so far, the second time with her hands. If it worked, she would’ve gotten herself killed, so that must be a special kind of hatred. One that goes beyond not getting a pony. Veronica goes on about why she couldn’t prove her daughter tried killing her on the highway, and two other times. Her stories line up like the blinds on my window. I ask her why her daughter would want her dead.

Veronica
She wants her father. Like a whore needs a john. She’s adopted, so she doesn’t feel how a daughter should about her parents. She wants to fuck my husband and sees me as a threat. He thinks it’s cute and doesn’t take me seriously. I wouldn’t, either. She’s twelve.

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