FRISKY FRIDAY FLASHY FICTION
Happy Friday! How are you?
It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Southern California.
Life is slowly getting back to normal for me, but it’s a new version of normal. Imagine spending every single day with your spouse. You’re not on lockdown, and he’s still getting paid. The company he works for would rather employees who don’t have an active project to stay home instead of sitting around the office. They still get their regular paycheck—just no overtime.
It wouldn’t be so weird if I had a dedicated office like I used to. Now, I sit in direct view of a man who has nothing tangible to do during the day. Needless to say, it’s made writing kind of slow for me. I’m trying to be mindful of him being home (and needing to speak to him) while getting my work done. Normally, I’d just write nonstop, get my words done early, and be done for the day. Like I said…new normal.
Are you ready for a new installment of Love Struck?
The detective gave me a lecherous stare. Was the idiot star struck or just turned on? No matter how old I got, men responded the same. I was partly to blame. Skin-tight leggings, thigh-high boots, and a tank top turned clear-headed males into horny fools.
I swept a hand through my rainbow-colored hair and attempted smiling. Anything to make the public happy.
“Listen, I realize my daughter has a track record of disappearing.”
“Mm-hmm.” He scribbled on his pad.
“This isn’t one of those times,” I said.
His comb-over and pot belly were a fortunate distraction. Otherwise, I would have traded my cup of coffee for the vodka bottle with my name on it. Literally. At some point in my career, I thought buying a distillery was a great idea. Mercury Spirits brought in more money than my recordings ever did.
“Ms. Mercury…” The man cleared his throat. “What makes you think something treacherous happened to your daughter?”
My gaze flicked to the ceiling. I made a mental note to complain to the detective’s superiors. You would think the chief of police would send out his best and brightest. Not the beat cop who should have retired years ago. The geezer probably wrote the damn exam to become a detective.
Before I responded, my phone buzzed. It was a text from an unknown number. The message included a link. Normally, I would have deleted it, but my gut told me not to.
When I tapped on it, a file of pictures opened. Jocelyn, a bandana around her mouth and tears in her eyes, looked back at me.
“Will this convince you?” I passed my device to the detective.
The man swiped left. A stranger’s voice came over the speaker. “So, El… If you want to see Joss again, we need to come to an agreement. First, you’re going to admit you’re a fraud. Don’t care how you do it or where. Just make sure it’s public. Tell folks you have a son that you gave up willingly. Then you’re going to pay me. I’ll let you know the time and place.”
The detective glanced up. “I need a copy of this.”
“Not a problem.”
While he forwarded the text to his phone, I thought about what Jocelyn’s kidnapper had said. The man was mistaken.
“So, Ms. Mercury, what’s really going on?” The detective narrowed his eyes and leaned back in the chair. His brow wrinkled as he asked, “Is this just another out-of-wedlock offspring wanting to be added to the payroll?”
I crossed my arms. “For your information, I was pregnant as a teen, but I aborted the pregnancy.”
In a nasty tone, the man asked, “Did you know who knocked you up?”
“His name was Scott Banks,” I said in a sharp tone. “And before you ask, I don’t know where he is. We haven’t seen each other since prom.”
“So you didn’t tell him you were pregnant?”
“No. We were teenagers. A baby would have ruined our lives.”
The detective scribbled more notes and then rose from the chair. “I’ll be in touch.”
“That’s it?” I shouted, bolting up from the sofa.
“That’s all for now. I’ll have someone in forensics look at the video. See if we can trace the number it came from. Until then, just sit tight. The kidnapper said he’d contact you about payment.”
I watched the man walk out the front door. Then I called the private investigator I used.