Saturday, April 18, 2009

Worldzzle 59...You know you're old when you wish you could be 59 again

Check out the Raven's Nest for the particulars.

The Ten Word Challenge: prefix, art festival, income tax, chicken noodle soup, jump rope, Dutch Treat, flowering plum tree, bats in the belfry, diamond earrings, tigers

Mini Challenge: book club, organic tea, the cow jumped over the moon, paragon of virtue, wench

This Week's Episode: Ends; loose or not?

Charlotte looked at her new image in the mirror. Hair luxuriant and glossy, a shade lighter than before and sporting a natural wave. It hung in auburn beauty past her shoulders. She'd held one side back to showoff the stunning diamond earrings she'd purchased in Dubai. Her eyes appeared slightly wider apart now and the hazel coloring made them more startling than before her surgery. Eyebrows were kept full and cheekbones had been finely shaved and shaped to give her face the most pleasing and beautiful quality.

She'd applied lipstick the shade of her own estate's flowering plum tree to lips that were full, but not over done or gross. Where the previous Constance/Connie/Cathy had been a very attractive woman, the current Charlotte was a world class beauty. She had taken the opportunity to have Dr. Koodle take some years off her face as well.

Though Charlotte had always eaten well and healthy, she'd still felt the ravages of age. No amount of organic tea, homemade chicken noodle soup or natural spring water, could accomplish what an expert plastic surgeon could do. To the casual observer, Charlotte would be in her mid 30s, though in fact she was close to 50. Sure she'd continue to exercise religiously; running, taking a daily stint with the jump rope and lifting weights, but the surgeon's art had made her this new woman of youth and beauty.

It was only befitting that she make her debut at the art festival in her adopted town of Almond Bay, French Guiana. Here in her tidy social cocoon she would be viewed as a paragon of virtue. She'd host the book club for the local gentry's wives. When the need arose to venture into the states for the fait accompli she'd take a private jet. She yearned for one more time with Charles, he was a good lover, an above average business mind, and had been a great partner. Now that the plan was coming together he was more liability than asset. It was simple mathematics and she was very good at that.

So she'd make her debut here in this outworld, seeming the true reclusive aristocrat. Some of the locals had rumored the woman was not all there; had bats in the belfry or some such malaise. Others thought the wealthy woman was perhaps a tax exile running from her native country's oppressive income tax. Regardless of the local gossip, all were glad to have her in their town. She'd donated generously to the local community. One old swag even went so far as to comment "just what the old town needs, a beautiful rich wench to look at and talk about." In a South American town that would never see real Tigers, this meek financial Tigress from the European continent was a blessing.

Charlotte's coming out event was a total success and she reveled in the admiration and attention of the townspeople. What she didn't take note of was the presence of a French policeman, who just happened to be on Holiday in French Guiana. The coincidence was completely overlooked.

Back in L.A., Charles had received the reply to his email. It was the final details to the plan for the new investment firm. Charlotte had held this information tightly to avoid security leaks and preemptive moves by the competition. In addition, the routing and account numbers to fund the company had been held back till the last minute. She'd always wanted that control he thought to himself, but who cared. He'd be so rich in the coming year that no petty details would ever bother him again. In this instance, Charles let his greed and avarice overtake his logic and reasoning. This was his biggest fault, his major weakness and ready to be exploited by his partner.

A few hundred miles to the east on the banks of the Colorado River, Jean was on the phone with her grandkids in Oklahoma. This was the set farthest away and the ones born by her middle daughter Janice. Jean's grandson Tyler was telling her how he had learned to change the meanings of words by using a prefix. He patiently explained to his grandmother that septic, like in septic tank and antiseptic, like in medicine were made to be opposites by using a prefix. Jean listened in wonder and thanked Tyler for clearing that up for her.

What fun it was to be 7 years old and learning about the whole world she thought as he said goodbye and handed the phone to her Granddaughter Bonnie. Bonnie was 3 years younger than Tyler. She'd recently learned the rhyme " Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, The cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such fun And the dish ran away with the spoon!" "Granma, Daddy says a Cow could never jump over the moon and that's just a fairy tale" the little girl added. "You tell your Dad that magical Cows can do anything, even give milkshakes and ice cream instead of just milk" Jean answered. "Let her son-in-law deal with that" she smirked to herself.

Jean hung up with the Grandkids in time to see McCool approaching. They'd made it easy on each other during this trip. She hung out by the pool during the day while he worked and he joined her there in the afternoon. Later they had dinner, "Dutch treat"; she called it because she had all their money and he paid with what she gave him. The casinos had not been too kind to the pair and they spent more of their evenings watching shows and talking about the case than gambling.

"I sent Lara that picture of the Connie Liplin woman today" said Jean. "You really think you know this woman" he asked. "Maybe Thomas, I'm not sure, but Lara has the old high school yearbook and she'll look through that" Jean replied. "Well, at this point I'd take any help we can get." "Everything points to the body in the Tahoe being Connie Liplin, except we still have no DNA or dental records to match against." "Maybe it's nothing, but I'd like to be sure about this as soon as possible" he sighed. "I can't get by the feeling that something is going on here that we're missing" he finished.

In Washington, D.C. Sgt Johnson had just gotten a call from his counterpart at Interpol. The French police had followed a lead to French Guiana but came away without a suspect. At the present they were stymied. The two men agreed to stay in touch and rung off. Johnson had built his career on understanding serial killers and their MOs. He still believed the killings with the internal mutilations were related. Could it be possible that more than one person would kill in this highly unusual and grotesque fashion?

One of the vital lessons he'd learned in his career was to never underestimate his gut feelings. In this case his intuition told him the murders were related. Now he needed to find out why. They already knew the how, the when, the where, and the what. Would knowing the "why" lead him to the "Who?"



Dr.John said...

I marvel that as I read your story the story grabs and the words of the wordzzle are forgotten. You are one fantastic writer. Every week it just seems as if this is the next chapter and would have been written this way even if there was no Raven.

maryt/theteach said...

Richard, how've you been, dear man? I miss Wordzzle but have been stressed by work, a broken ankle and lots of memes. I have 3 that I host now! Thanks muchly for your sprightly (not an adverb!)comment at my blog. And of course for dutifully appreciating Stephen King's quote! :)

Raven said...

You are such a gifted writer. I really wish your wordzzle novels were reaching a wider audience. But I'm glad I get to read them. I look forward to each new episode and I'm never disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Agreeing with the upper comments, I so look forward to this every week. What made this story special this week I think was the interaction with Jean and her two grandchildren. Excellent as always :)

bettygram said...

Jean is a careing grandmother,but I am afraid they will not be able to use the yearbook.

Anonymous said...

I am not playing this week, too busy, but I could not miss reading your latest episode. If this were a novel I wouldn't put it down!

Richard said...

Dr. John: I can't put into words how much your weekly comments mean to me. Thanks

Mary/theteach: Long time no see girl. I hope all is well with you and yours. Are you getting ready for a long summer vacation and perhaps some traveling? Thanks for coming by, great to hear from you.

Raven: I blame all this on you. Thanks for giving me a forum to display the weekly work.

Thom: Jean is modeled on someone quite near and dear to me and is better in real life than in fiction. Thanks

Betty: Never underestimate South Dakotans

Quilly: Great to have you comment and come by. Hope to read your offering next week.

Thanks to all that came by and commented this week.


Akelamalu said...

I can only agree with what everyone else has said Rich, you are a truly talented writer. Can I have the name of Charlotte's plastic surgeon - he sounds wonderful? ;)

Richard said...

Akelamalu: Koodle, Dr. Hans Koodle, Cape Town, South Africa. And thanks

Stephen said...

I enjoyed reading this week's episode. Looks like Charlotte has something in mind for the future. I'm a little confused about her location, though. It was mentioned that she was in Africa, but French Guiana is in South America, and tigers are native to Asia, not Africa. These are minor points, though, and I guess they could have had tigers in a zoo.

Stephen from Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Richard said...

Stephen: this is one of the reasons I have not written a regular book yet. Shoddy research is a tell-tale sign of amateurishness.

I will go back in the episodes and correct the location. The tiger issue will be dealt with in some fashion.

I appreciate very much your attention to the detail and the honest critique.

Thanks and I hope to hear from you again.