It’s cold, so cold. I have my fur coat wrapped around me tight. The buttons have started falling off because of people trying to steal it off of my back. It’s the only warm thing I have. The snow falls into my matted strawberry blonde hair. The wind is blowing the snow around that barely covers the hard dirt ground that has a few rocks scattered over it. I sit by the river shivering. I’m so thirsty, I contemplate breathing on the iced over to river to try to get some water. I tried eating what little snow I could get off of the ground, but it wasn’t helping.
I watched for the food van, but I either missed it, or it didn’t come tonight because of the cold. I began rocking back and forth where I sat trying to keep warm. I didn’t have gloves, so I kept my hands in the sleeves of my coat. My teeth chattered.
Six months ago I was living life to the fullest. I had a beautiful home. It was a small rock bungalow with a beautiful manicured yard. I paid a lawn company to landscape it and care for it monthly. They made me beautiful rock gardens with flowers and small waterfalls. I had a wooden garden bench beside one of the gardens. I enjoyed going outside to meditate while listening to the water flow through the waterfalls.
My name is Daisy. I never married nor had children because having a career was more important to me. I also didn’t want to subject a child to the type of life I had. Funny how life can make a full circle and you can go back to where you came from. In my case, homeless.
I spent much of my childhood living in a car or van. My mother, when she was alive, put men and alcohol first. The only time we had a home, if that’s what you want to call it, was when she had a boyfriend to move in with. We lived on welfare, and rarely had food to eat because she would sell our food stamps for cash. Thankfully I was an only child.
There was a time we did have our own apartment. It was section 8, and very small. The apartment was literally one room. We had lawn chairs donated to us for furniture. Mom made pallets on the floor for us to sleep on with the thin, ripped up blankets.
Sleet hitting my face took me back to reality and away from my childhood trauma. I pushed my hands farther down the sleeves of my coat and then placed them in my coat pockets so I could wrap the dark brown fur around my body. The coat was long and went to my ankles. This was dream I had as a little girl, I would never let go of, and that, was, I would own a fur coat.
I turned my back to the ice covered gray river and walked up the snow dusting of the bank. When I got to the top of the bank I turned to walk over to my tent. At the river, was a small tent city for the homeless. I knew of this area because my mother and I had come here a few times to park our van. I knew this would be a safe spot for, or at least I thought. The area had changed over the years. More people were living in tents, children ran everywhere, and crime found its way here. Some of the children were being prostituted out so the parents could have money for their drugs. It was hard for me to sit back and watch. It brought back so many memories of my childhood. It was like reliving again what I had buried the life I swore I would never live again.
As I walked past the rows of tents, I looked over at some of the people sitting around camp fires they had built. Some had small buckets of ice they had broken from the river to melt for drinking water. Many huddled in frayed and worn blankets with no coats. Some had gloves on their hands that had holes in them. One guy taken a pair of thermal underwear and ripped the legs off to wear over his head to keep his head warm. When you become homeless, you learn ways to stay warm and eat. Sometimes not pleasant, but it is a life of survival.
I finally reached my tattered and holey green tent. It was a tent I had found that someone threw in the trash. I didn’t care that it had holes, it was shelter for me. I unzipped the front of the tent, and pulled back the flap and crawled in. I sat on the flat, faded, flowery sleeping bag I had for a bed. The ground was cold and hard. The floor of the tent offered no warmth, but I was out of the wind and sleet for the time being. I knew as the sleet would come down harder, any fire I made would go out. It was no use even trying to start one.
I laid back on my sleeping bag. I reached over and pulled my red duffel bag full of clothes over to me. I pulled out a box full of the jewelry I was able to salvage before they put the lock on my house after repossession. I shoved the duffel bag under my head, stretched my long muscular legs out in front of me, placed the dark brown wooden box on my chest, and opened it. I dug through the diamonds I had in there to decide which one I wanted to pawn in the morning so I could have something to eat. I started to shiver as I lay on top of the sleeping back. I placed the box beside me and crawled into my sleeping bag to go to sleep.
When I awoke the next morning, I found blood splattered outside of my tent. I thought to myself, time to move down the river again. This is the tenth time I have moved in the past few months because I have found blood outside of my tent. When I looked at the river, police were walking up and down it taking pictures and talking to each other. A body was laying on the bank in a bag. It was a common scene for me to see. I saw it when I was with my mom, and now I see it a lot as an adult.
I packed up my belongings and took my tent down to leave, but not before I was approached by an officer. He was tall, muscular, and his dark brown hair blew around his ears under his blue hat. He was rubbing his latex gloved hands together as he approached me.
He looked at me with his steel blue eyes. They didn’t seem kind at all. He had a roughness about his face. He looked young, but stressed. Stress wrinkles showed around his eyes. “Ma’am, did you see or hear anything last night? All of this appears to have happened in front of your tent?”
“No, I didn’t. I’m a sound sleeper.”
“Do you mind if we take a look at your belongings? I just want to make sure that whoever did this didn’t leave anything behind. I will also have to take some pictures if we do find anything.”
I dropped my duffel bag and unfolded my tent. The officer knelt down carefully opened my duffel bag and shuffled around in it, until he found my jewelry box. He opened it and gasped.
“Why do you have all of these diamonds and you’re homeless?”
“I used to own Daisy’s jewelry. It went under about a year ago. That is all that I have left.”
“Are you Daisy?”
“I bought my wife’s wedding ring from you three years ago. You custom made it for me. It is the most beautiful, unique ring I have ever seen. How did your business go under?”
“Mismanagement of funds. My accountant stole from me. I thought he was paying the bills and instead he was taking my money from me. I didn’t use my head on certain things.”
“I’m so sorry. I have heard of things like that happening.”
“I should have stayed on top of him and watched what he was doing. It’s my fault for trusting him.”
“You know, you could probably sell the diamonds and make enough to live off of for at least a year, until you get a job.”
“I know. I hope to start another business one day so I hold onto them.”
“Ma’am..ummm Daisy, I hope you don’t mind that I call you Daisy, but it’s not safe out here. Many homeless people are dying.”
“I know. Doesn’t scare me. I can handle it.”
“Is your accountant in jail?”
“No, he died.”
“Was your accountant Mason Randall?”
“Oh wow. Someone slaughtered him good. When we found his records and how crooked he was, we weren’t surprised to find him dead. Wow. He was something else.”
“Well he got what he deserved. May I please have my stuff back now so I can move on down the river if you are done?”
“Oh yes. I’m sorry. It was a pleasure to meet you. I hope to you see running a jewelry store again. You do amazing work.”
“Thank you officer. I hope to open shop again one day also.”
“Sell those diamonds! Get back on your feet!” he yelled after me as I took off walking with my duffel bag in one hand and my tent under my other arm.
I didn’t know where I was going to go, but I had to find somewhere to go. Maybe he was right, I should pawn these diamonds and get an apartment. Maybe once I was cleaned up someone would hire me and I could get back to making jewelry.
I turned around to look at him and hollered, “Officer, who is that in the bag?”
He slowly jogged towards me, “We don’t know. It’s a male who was stabbed to death. Do you maybe know anything? We don’t think he was living along the river.”
“No. I keep to myself. I don’t want anyone to know what I have. I have to protect myself out here.”
“With those diamonds you are carrying around, yes you do. Have a nice day ma’am,” the officer replied as he tipped his hat and walked back down the river bank.
I turned to find a new place to live. It was a little warmer and the sun shining gave a bright reflection of the river. It was a pretty day. The temperature wasn’t as cold so I was able to carry my things without my hands getting cold. As I swung the one hand that I carried my duffle bag in, it grazed the side of my coat. I noticed the fur felt a little hard. I stopped and put my things down and examined the area. It was dried and the fur was clumped together. As the light caught I noticed a red tint.
“Damn! Whoever killed that sorry piece of shit splattered the blood into my tent. Now I have to get my coat dry cleaned,” I said out loud as I picked up my things to continue on.
I walked across the grassy embankment that still slightly covered with the dusting of snow. It was slowly melting which made the grass slick. As I climbed my loafers would slide a bit. I started to fall, but a hand reached up and grabbed my shoulder. I went down on one knee. As my hands hit the ground, I managed to pull the one knee up that was on the ground and kick backwards. I turned around to look and I had kicked the police officer in the groin. He was on the ground rolling around grabbing himself and moaning.
I learned that trick from all the losers my mother dated when I was kid. I had to protect myself from them. After I hurt them, they would try even harder to get to me, or just leave. I was usually blamed for us never having anything and men not staying around.
I dropped my belongings and ran over to him.
Breathless and through his groans he managed to get out, “I’m glad you can protect yourself, but don’t you think you should look before you kick?”
“I’m so sorry officer. I didn’t know it was you. When someone touches me I instantly fight back.”
“Well, I want you to be my partner! I know I would be safe!” As he managed to get his composure, he indicated, “I need you to come with me back down the embankment. Another officer was looking at the pictures I took of your belongings, and he found some blood in the pictures. He wants to make sure I didn’t overlook anything.”
“Am I a suspect?”
“I say no, but then again, I’m not in charge of this case. I’m actually supposed to be off duty. We are shorthanded due to budget cuts, so I got told I had to stay over and help. Come on, I’ll help you down the embankment so you don’t fall in those shoes.”
All of a sudden the voices started. I hit myself on the forehead. I shook my head, I sat down on the ground with my knees pulled up to my chin, arms wrapped around my legs, and began to rock back and forth. I could see the officer trying to talk to me, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. All I could was the voices.
“Kill him, he’s evil. Kill him, he will kill you. Daisy you know what to do. He’s like all the men your mom dated. Remember the cop she dated that locked you in the closet? He’s no different. Kill him!”
“Stop!” I screamed. “I can’t!”
The police officer leaned forward towards me and I got up and ran. I don’t remember picking up my things, but I managed to and ran.
Thankfully every time I decide to move, I put my diamonds in a sock and place the sock in my bra. I have always been fearful something would happen and they would either be stolen from me, or I would lose them. I could have very easily lost them this time.
I walked and walked on the highway until I came to an off ramp. I walked down it, knowing there was a pawn shop nearby. The officer was probably right, I needed to sell these and get on my own two feet. I had no business living this way. I would just have to be extra careful walking into this pawn shop because it is known to help the thieves and drug dealers in the area. The owner purposely keeps his cameras turned off to protect his clients. He tells the police they are broken and the criminals keep breaking them, when the police come in to look for stolen goods that could have been pawned.
When I walked in, only a small framed boy was behind the counter. He looked like he was fourteen, but I knew he was the owner’s son, a very well-known drug dealer in the neighborhood, who was actually in his late twenties. He looked so innocent, but he was very dangerous. He kept a gun in the front of his pants under his shirt. His blond hair was pulled back in a ponytail at the nape of his neck. He looked like he hadn’t showered in days. I think he looked dirtier than me, and I was homeless. He smiled, and his broken front tooth was turning black on the edges.
“Hey Daisy! Are you bringing me some of those fancy loose diamonds today?”
“Some. I need enough money to get a place of my own and maybe start my business again.”
“Now Daisy, you know my dad has a cap on what I can give out in a day.”
“I don’t care. Your dad knows me. He also has some of my unique jewelry in here, so get him on the phone and tell him I’m here.”
“You know I could rob you right now Daisy and kill you. No one would ever know since you’re just a homeless piece of shit.”
“Keep it up Dusty”, I said as I reached in my coat pocket and felt a knife. The blade was sharp. Something snapped in me as I ran my finger and them over the blade and felt the coolness of the metal.
“Daisy, what are you going to do. You’re frail, weak, and can’t take on any man. When was the last time you ate? When did you shower last? That red hair sure is nasty. Let me cut the mats out for you. For someone in her twenties, you sure like you’re about fifty.”
“Dusty, why are you giving me a hard time? I just came in here to get a new start.”
“Because, if you have enough for a new start, then you have enough to give me a portion of it.”
I gripped tightly around the knife. The voices started all over again. “Do it! Do it! Just pull it out and fling it. You have the best aim of anyone I know. Just do it. He will never harass you again. No one is around. No one will know. Just remember to take the knife.”
The voices kept talking. I saw Dusty’s mouth moving as he walked around the dirty, dusty glass counter towards me. I gripped tightly onto the knife and pulled it out of my pocket and flung it. It hit him in the chest. He fell against the glass counter and slid down. The blood and dust on the glass mixed in together and his face had bloody brown streaks down it. I walked over, took my knife out of his chest and slowly slit his throat so as to not get any more blood on me. I then walked around the counter and opened the cash register. I pulled out all of the money. I just happened to look and down and saw the safe was open. This was my lucky day I thought. I knelt down and looked in. I saw the diamond they had purchased from me before and a lot of cash. I took all of it. I had deep pockets on my coat. I took it all and left. Thankfully no one saw me walk in or leave. I left Dusty there lying in bright red pool of blood on the dirty white tile floor. He got what he deserved. I just got to him before his drug supplier.
Well now that I had more cash, than I had had in a very long time, I might as well, make myself look like a million bucks. I know I can’t spend much, but the goodwill store down the street might have just what I need. As much as I hated to admit it, I needed to get rid of my fur coat. Now that it had blood on it, it was no good.
I was getting close to the goodwill when I saw a police car heading in the opposite direction towards the pawn shop. I thought that was fast. Someone must have walked in and found him. I continued to walk and entered into the goodwill. Racks upon racks of clothes were lined up in rows in the store. I looked at the signs on the ends of the racks to find women’s clothes and coats. I had no clue what size I would wear. Since being homeless I turned to bones.
I found the women’s rack and walked down it looking at the dresses. I tried to find something that wasn’t too faded or stained. Then a dress caught my eye. It was black with silver speckles in the material and silk. I loved silk. I pulled it off the rack and it said size two. I knew I had to be able to fit that, because I was a size four when I was forced to move. I pulled it off the rack. I walked through and pulled off more dresses, slacks, jeans, coats, shirts. I was going to have a temporary whole new wardrobe. I say temporary, because as soon as I had my business up and running again, these clothes would be back on the goodwill rack.
I walked across the dingy hardwood floors to the cashier. She sat behind a TV tray with the cash register on the TV tray. She looked over her wire rimmed glasses at me, and ran her hand through her wavy gray hair before she started ringing me up. She bounced one of her plump legs up and down as she pressed buttons on the cash register. I noticed she seemed very nervous.
“That will be twenty-two dollars and sixteen cents,” she said as she handed me a bag of clothes.
I reached in my pocket and pulled out thirty dollars. “Keep the change. Someone will need the money to help them out. Please use it for someone who will need it.”
She looked up at me with a surprised look, and then put the money in the register. I walked out and was blinded by the sun. I squinted a little looking at the street lined with cars. The reflection of the sun was bouncing off of some of the windshields. The sidewalk was crowded with people walking around. Many of the shops were having a sidewalk sale and people were taking advantage of the sales.
I began to walk down the street to find a motel to stay in and clean up. As I walked I noticed a sign in the dusty window that said for rent. I put my hand up to provide a shield so I could look in. The area was small and needed a lot of clean up. Tables were turned over, the counter was piled with boxes, dirt was all over the floor, but with some clean up, I could make it work. Just as I backed up a man in long wool trench coat walked up to unlock the door.
“Excuse me sir, do you own this building?”
“I’m the rental manager. I was just coming in to see what kind of clean up needed done. This property was forgotten about and has been vacant for about a year. We typically don’t rent in this neighborhood, and that’s how it got forgotten.”
“What is the rent on it?”
“Ma’am I don’t think you can afford this. I’m sorry. How long have you been homeless?”
I looked at the balding business and looked right into his deep brown eyes, and replied “I’m starting over. I want to reopen my business.”
“I see. Just what kind of business do you plan on reopening?”
“Daisy’s Unique Diamond Designs.”
“Are you Daisy?”
“I saw some of your jewelry. You do good work. I’ll tell you what, I know what happened to you and I know you need a break, I’ll give this to you for three months rent free, but you do all the cleanup, painting, and remodeling.”
“You have a deal! Where do I sign?”
“I have paperwork in the car. Let me get the door unlocked and you can look around. Now after three months the rent will go up to $900 a month which is due on the first of every month. No exceptions.”
He opened the door and I walked in. The space looked even smaller when I walked in. It would be big enough to have a couple of counters and two small tables. I wanted to make this shop homey feeling. I walked to the back and was surprised. It was big enough for me to do my jewelry designs. It had a counter against a wall with a bar stool that would be perfect for working. Tall silver storage cabinets with locks lined on wall. Those would be perfect for storage. Then I turned around and was surprised to see a safe. I large black safe was installed in the wall. The combination to it was taped onto the door.
I walked about out to the shop area and looked around. To start I would have to get some area rugs to cover up most of the ugly dark green tile floor. I knew I wouldn’t have enough money in the beginning to carpet over it. I could find some small used tables to start with and place table clothes on them. I knew I was going to have my work cut out for me. I started to feel optimistic and alive again. The police officer was right. I needed to do this to start over.
The man walked in. He unbuttoned his coat, reached in his pocket, and pulled out white handkerchief to wipe off the counter. He then opened his coat a little to pull a black ink pen from his light blue shirt pocket.
He crossed out a few things at the top of the paper, and then wrote in free for three months. He then crossed out one year lease, and replaced that with two year lease. I looked up at him kind of funny, because he said, “I know you can do this. Don’t hire anymore crooked accountants.”
I just smiled. Then I stopped real quick becoming aware of the fact that I didn’t know when I last brushed my teeth. I then realized when leaving here I would have to go get essential items to get clean.
“Daisy this lease is simple. I’m making to where if you need a year to get on your feet, I’m giving it to you. My office will do all of the maintenance on the building, but any remodeling is on you. I want to help you get on your feet. Your diamond shop, before it went under was one of the best in town. I know you can do this again and it won’t take long for the word to get out that you are back open. Also when you are back on your feet, I want to move you downtown, where you will be seen by more prominent people. By the way, my name is Clyde. I’ll be the only one you have contact with.”
“Thank you. No one has done this for me before. Why do you want to help me?”
“Because you did it once, and I know you can do it again.”
I grabbed my head. The voices were coming back. “He wants something. Don’t trust him. We will kill him eventually. He will deserve his death.”
Clyde put his hand on my shoulder. I shrugged him away. He stepped up, “Daisy, I need you to sign the lease.”
I turned to face him, took the pen, and signed. This time the voices wouldn’t get to me. I would block them out and move forward.
“I’ll make a copy and bring it by the shop tomorrow. I’m assuming you will be here getting it ready to open. And here are your keys,” he said as he held out a key ring with four keys on it.
“Yes, I want to get started as soon as possible.”
“Don’t let me down. I’m in enough trouble for forgetting about this property, I don’t need to lose my job for taking a chance also.”
“I understand, thank you.”
I watched him leave, then let out a heavy sigh. This was all starting to work out. After Clyde was gone I locked up the shop and went to find a motel. I walked a few blocks and found a hole in the wall to stay a few nights in until I could find a cheap apartment.
The motel room was nothing to brag about. I couldn’t complain though since it was only thirty-five dollars a night and I wasn’t sleeping in a tent with holes on the ground. When I opened the door a strong smell of moth balls took over. I covered my mouth and nose. I dropped my bag and tent on the bed that looked broken in the middle. It wasn’t, it was extremely worn out. The bedspread had big faded yellow flowers all over it. I walked into the bathroom and noticed the towels were stained and yellow, when they should have been all white. The tub was grimey and brown. I had to remember, this wasn’t sleeping outside and it was much better. I could use one the towels to wipe the tub down before getting in it and I did just that. I found the free toiletries, which wasn’t much, but enough to get me clean.
After wiping down the tub, I ran hot water to soak in a hot bath. That was something I hadn’t done in a long time. The only missing was lavender smelling bubbles. That would have made the bath perfect. I washed my hair and conditioned it. I let the conditioner soak into my hair as I soaked. The water turned dark brown almost immediately and I had to run more water. I didn’t care, it felt so good.
After soaking and washing, I went to the bed and pulled my brush out of my duffel bag. Definitely something new that needed purchased when I went shopping. It seemed my list was growing. Toothbrush and toothpaste had to be added to the list also.
I kept a towel wrapped around me and laid down on the bed. I grabbed my head as it started to throb.
“Please don’t come now. Please don’t. Leave me alone!”
“No. Did you remember the gun? You know that has to be with you. With all the killings that you have done with the knife and gun, you better have remembered the gun.”
I sat up because I didn’t remember if the gun was in my bag or not. The cop didn’t see it. I started to rummage through my bag, and it was wrapped up in a pair of sweat pants.
“Good girl, and the cop didn’t find it. You’re good. Now remember to carry that tomorrow when you are out. Remember you have to be safe. You probably should put it under your pillow tonight.”
“I know. I’ll do it.”
“You know you should start leaving little gifts in the people you kill so you can get famous, get a famous name.”
“Diamonds, but what if I get caught?”
“You’ll get caught if you get stupid.”
I placed the gun under my pillow and went right to sleep. Even though the bed was worn out, it was much better than the ground and sleep overtook me. I slept most of the next day. I had to rush around and get things I needed to clean the shop. So much for finding an apartment, I guess that would have to wait.
After getting the shopping done, I went by the shop with all of the cleaning supplies and started cleaning. I started in the back and worked my way to the front. Thankfully the shop was small and didn’t take much time to clean it. I even had enough time to go by the goodwill shop again and find some area rugs and two small tables with chairs. The tables and chairs didn’t match, but to me that didn’t matter. Someone at the goodwill was even kind enough to drop the things off for me and bring them in the shop. Once the rug was down and the tables were arranged, the shop looked much brighter. I was so tired when all of that was done, I went back to the motel and went directly to sleep.
The next morning, I wondered if my suppliers would work with me again. I needed to get some sort of phone and to the library for a computer to see if my accounts were even still active. I went to the nearest store and purchased a cheap prepaid cell phone to get me by until I get what I wanted again.
I then walked over to the library and entered into the marble building. Even though this was bad neighborhood, this building was beautiful. The white fountain in front of the building that poured blue water was inviting and calming. I wanted to sit on the edge of it, but I had to get things done. There was no time for relaxation.
I walked up to the door and saw the sign said no guns. I wondered how I could hide mine. My shirt was long and baggy and the pants were slightly big that I purchased from the good will, so I pulled the gun from the front of my pants and placed it in my pocket. I wasn’t going to leave it behind.
I opened the large glass door and walked across the shiny lament flooring. It was slightly slick from just being mopped. I was careful to walk in across the floor in my beat up loafers. One thing I didn’t get while I was at the goodwill was new shoes. I should have. I walked straight back down a hallway lined with water color paintings that were for sale by local painters. When I got to the area of the computers, they were in a large open room. The center of the room was lined with tables that had computers on them with metal chairs to sit on. Shelves were on either side of the tables filled with books from floor to ceiling.
The computer was already on. I clicked on the icon for the internet and did a search for diamond suppliers and gold suppliers. I found my supplier, Aging Diamonds and Precious Metals, I dialed the phone number and prayed.
“Aging Diamond and Precious Metals, this is Karen, how may I assist you?”
“Good morning Karen. My name is Daisy Henderson with Daisy’s Unique Diamond Designs. About a year ago, my business went under because of my accountant; I’m bringing my business back and would like to place an order. Can you see if I can place an order?”
“Absolutely. Do you have your account number with you?”
“No, I don’t. Can you look it up under my business name?”
“Yes, I can. Can you give me the name again?”
“Daisy’s Unique Diamond Designs.”
“Just a moment,” Karen replied. A few minutes later she came back on the phone, “Your account has a zero balance.”
I let out a heavy sigh. My accountant may have done something right before he got what he deserved. The day I confronted him, I wasn’t sure what he was doing.
“How much of a credit limit do I have?”
“Before I can give you that information, I have to get some additional information from you. Do you have your tax id number?”
“No I don’t. I’m not sure where that is even at.”
“How about the last four of your social security number?”
I rattled that information off to her, then the old shipping address, then provided the new shipping address and found out I had a million dollar credit limit. I used two hundred thousand hoping that would give me a good start in supplies. She was going to have everything overnighted to me so I could get to work. It was going to cost me a little more, but I was anxious to get back to work.
Now I would have to go back to the motel and get my identification and go to the court house to get my tax id and let them know my business would be active again. I forgot I had to do that. Now pray I don’t owe any taxes that they can come after me for.
The voices started, “Well who are you going to kill if your taxes aren’t paid. We tried to tell you before not to trust anyone, but no you wouldn’t listen. You had to trust that crooked man and you almost went to prison for his murder.”
“Stop!” I screamed. A person sitting beside me looked over at me and I rose from my chair to leave. When I got outside, “I didn’t kill him! The only person I killed was Dusty. That was self-defense.”
I tried to shut them out. I had to focus on what I needed to do. The voices had to be blocked. I tried to hurry because I knew I would have to catch that bus to get to the court house. My stomach was starting to growl. I didn’t understand that because I could go for days and not eat. I had to keep telling myself to keep going and not worry about food, and remember mind over matter.
When I got to my motel, my door was open. I knew I didn’t leave that door open. I put my hand in my pocket and felt my gun. My knife was slid through my belt loops, so I could grab either one if I needed to.
I walked slowly up to the door and heard heavy breathing. I stood beside the door and up against the wall listening. Whoever it was, was rummaging through my things.
“I know that bitch has to have the diamonds.”
My heart stopped. What if that is Dusty’s dad in there. He helped me so much and I killed his son. I didn’t want to have to kill him also. I grabbed the wooden handle of my knife and slid it out of my belt loops. I stayed near the wall and the edge of the door and slowly moved into the room. Since I was small, I knew I could be quiet. I dropped to the floor beside the bed. A very large man had his back to the door and was going through my duffel bag. It was the man who checked me in. He must have recognized my name when I signed in.
His dirty white shirt was rolled up in the back and I could see the crack of his butt. It looked like he hadn’t bathed in days. He smelled like he hadn’t bathed in days. I listened to the rustling of him going through the bag. I wanted to jump up and throw the knife in his back. Better yet, I have a better idea.
I stood up and cleared my throat. He turned around slowly and looked at me with his mouth open. “Sir, why are you in my room and just what are you looking for?”
He stammered for a couple of minutes, “I know who you are. You’re that rich bitch that went into hiding and pretended to be homeless after you killed your accountant.”
“I didn’t kill my accountant. I’m not a murderer. If I was, I could have easily killed you just now. What are you looking for? I don’t like to wait for answers. Are you looking for diamonds? I don’t have any. I’m just getting started again. Would you like to come see my shop I’m working on to prove to you that I don’t have any. Matter of fact, any diamond you find, you can have.”
“Well sure. I would love to see your shop. I want to get a diamond. I know you have to have them there.”
“I assure you sir; I don’t have any diamonds at this time. It’s a short walk from here. I would rather walk and have people see us together, in case you try something, there will be witnesses on the sidewalk.”
When we got to the shop I unlocked the door and let him walk in first. He walked around looking at everything, even went to the back. I had the safe opened letting it dry out and I saw he even looked in that.
“You’re right, no diamonds. How are you starting over?”
“Sheer luck. I have been blessed. That is all I can say is, I have been blessed.”
“The shop looks real good. It was a donut shop before. I used to come down here every day and get a donut or two.”
“Or three,” I mumbled under my breath. “Since you are here, can you help me hang this paper sign I made last night? I’m not tall enough to get it to the top of the window.”
“Sure. I don’t mind. I’m sorry. I got greedy and I shouldn’t have. I’m sorry I accused you of killing your accountant.”
“You’re not the only one who has done that. People have to remember, he multiple clients and he screwed a lot of us over.”
He held the sign up to the window, “Is this high enough?”
“Perfect,” I replied. “Thank you.”
After he hung the sign, I heard the door open. I looked over and it was the police officer that investigated the killing at the river.
“Daisy, I’m so glad you took my advice. I was walking by and saw this man hanging your sign. I hope that’s just a temporary sign.”
I laughed, “Yes it is officer…. Scott” I had to look at his name tag.
“Call me Gavin,” he replied as he put his hand on his gun to rest it. “When will you be open?”
“Soon. I have some supplies being delivered tomorrow. I plan to start work on the jewelry then.”
“Good. Are you going to use those diamonds you have stashed away?”
That perked up the man from the motel, “You have diamonds?”
“You didn’t find them, so you don’t get one.”
“You also said you don’t have any.”
I let out a heavy sigh, pulled out my sock full of diamonds and handed him a small one. He looked like a child getting a free piece of candy. I looked back at the officer and he was chuckling.
“Since I’m on duty Daisy, I have to go, but I’m going to be watching the place for you. This isn’t a safe neighborhood.”
“Thank you officer..”
“Gavin, remember, I’m Gavin.”
“Yes, officer, I mean Gavin, but you don’t need to do that. You have a family at home. Go home to your wife.”
“But you said…”
“I know what I said, but we are going through a divorce. She can’t handle being married to a cop. I’m ok. I don’t have a life now. Thankfully we didn’t have any children or won anything together, so this divorce will be fast and easy, except she wants spousal support. I’m fighting that since she works and makes more money than me.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I hope it all works out for both of you.”
He looked down a little sad, then looked back up and put a big smile on, “I’ll see you a little later. Make sure to keep coffee on for me. That will be my charge to you for watching the shop, coffee.”
“You got it. I think I can afford that right now. Oh no! I have to get to the court house. I have to get my license for the business. You both have to scoot so I can take care of business!”
The motel man and I walked back together because I still had to get my identification. When I got back, I ran in and grabbed it. I ran back out and caught the bus. It didn’t take long at the court house to get my license. I thought I would have to wait, but they printed it out for me there. I didn’t understand how I didn’t owe money for anything. There I didn’t owe anything for my license. My accountant had messed so much up and stole so much money from me; I don’t know how all of my bills are paid. I just shook my head.
All of a sudden my thoughts turned to Gavin. How could such a handsome, hardworking man be going through a divorce. Those steel blue eyes were enough to make any woman melt. I was sure he was nothing but muscle underneath that uniform. I had to shake the thoughts because I didn’t have time to be interested in anything but getting back on my feet.
Next stop, was the bank. I had to get to the bank so I could open an account, then find an apartment. I had no choice. I didn’t feel comfortable walking around with the money and the diamonds. I saw the bank I used to bank at, and thought why not. I knew it was never overdrawn, just probably closed for lack of activity on it.
I walked in, and went up to the counter. A very young girl, probably in her early twenties, had her black hair pulled back in a ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her lips were bright red from the lipstick she was wearing. She had pale white skin, and the lipstick made her look paler. She smiled a big smile when I walked up. Then I noticed the form fitting red shirt she was wearing matched her lipstick. I shook my head. She was a very slim, pretty girl, she just needed help choosing colors for her skin tone.
“How may I help you today?”
“My name is Daisy Henderson and I used to have an account here, but it may be closed for lack of activity on it.”
“Let me take a look. Do you know your account number or have a bank card on you?”
“No, I don’t.”
“What was the address on the account?”
I rattled off the address and my social, and then she looked at me with a big smile, “You have an open account with a balance. I’ll write it down, because I don’t want to say this balance outloud.”
“Excuse me,” I choked out? “I thought I was broke. I have been homeless the last year thinking I was broke.”
“Oh no ma’am. You are far from broke,” she replied as she slid a small piece of paper over the counter to me. I thought I was going to faint.
“You can’t be correct. There is no way I have this much money. Please look again.”
“Ma’am I’m looking at your account now and that is what it says.”
“You mean I have three million dollars in my account?”
“You have a little over that. How did you not know? How could you not know?”
“Long story, and I have told it so many times, I don’t feel like telling it again,” I replied as I slid money across the counter. “I need to deposit this and get some temporary checks. Please order me some checks also. I will need some in the business name and some personal checks.
She quickly did my deposit, got me some checks, and ordered checks. I was still in aww over all of this. I did not understand. I could have kept my house and business I had known I wasn’t broke. Was my depression that bad?
“No stupid, your depression wasn’t that bad. You ran away. You ran scared and just assumed you were broke.”
I whispered, “Shut up voices. Not now!”
I thought to myself, I have enough money I could open another shop and hire a couple of employees, not to mention get a decent place to live, furniture, and a car. If I live conservatively for a while, I could make this work. Maybe I should just keep the one shop open, get it running, then look for a second shop while it’s going. So many things to think about. First thing first, find an apartment or something and a car.
What am I thinking, I could call Clyde. He may have something, which would save me a lot of leg work. I went back to shop to look at the business card and the lease to see if it had a number on it. I found it and dialed him.
“Clyde, this is Daisy. I have a question. Do you have any apartments or anything in the area to rent?”
“I don’t think I do Daisy, but I have been finding files of forgotten properties so let me look to see what we have. Some files I’m marking to sell. Can I get back to you in a couple of hours?”
“That would be fine. Thank you.”
Just as I turned to go to the door to lock up and leave, Gavin walked in. “Hey beautiful, do you want to go to lunch? Well late lunch,” he said as he looked down blushing.
“Aren’t you on duty? I don’t know. I was heading out to find a car. I’m hungry, but I’m ignoring the hunger pains so I can get things done. I’m putting pressure on myself now. Clyde is also going to call to let me know if he has anything I can rent for a few months.”
“I’m on duty, but I still have to eat. I can also take you car shopping. You will just have to go with me if I get a call.”
Just as he got the words out, his radio went off for a call. He put the radio up to his mouth and indicated he would be on his way.
“Get in the car. Time to roll. You’re in luck, you get to go on a call with me.”
“Sounded like it is at the motel. Is it?”
“Sure is. Body was found on the floor.”
It only took a few minutes to get to the motel and some officers were in the process of taping off the office. My heart sank. I hope it wasn’t the motel manager. He was creepy, but I still didn’t want him to die.
“Gavin, since we’re here, I’m going to grab my things. I don’t want to stay here. Can I put them in the trunk? I’ll go back to the river if I have to until I find a place to live.”
As he was walking off, his smile grew wide and his eyes glowed, “No, you can stay at my place. I won’t bite, I promise. Not much anyway.”
I grabbed my things and I was walking back to Gavin’s police car I saw them zipping up the bag over the motel manager. Blood stained his shirt. I was just with him. As they were zipping up the bag something flashed.
“Wait! Don’t zip that bag yet. I just saw something,” I screamed as I ran up to the body. When I got there, I covered my mouth and started to back away. Gavin saw this and came running towards me.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
I pointed to him and said, “Look at his ear. Someone, somehow embedded the small diamond I gave him just inside his ear.”
Gavin walked over and looked. He looked at me then back at the body. “How? That diamond is burned into his ear. How?”
“I’ve been at the courthouse and the bank since seeing him. I’ve been busy all morning.”
“No, I know you have been busy. I just don’t know how or why.” He then grinned, and continued, “Guess that’s why I’m a cop. I have to figure out the how and why.”
“I don’t understand why they would put the diamond in the ear. How did they get it in like that? It looks like someone used a sauter iron to melt the skin around it. How could you stand the smell of burned skin? I smelled that once. It’s not a smell I will ever forget.”
“You bring up a good point. Whoever did it, must know about jewelry. Do you still have your tools from making jewelry that I could look at?”
“No. I pawned them for food. Shoot, add to the list to buy.”
Gavin laughed, “I’m glad you’re starting over, but take it slow. I can get you to and from the shop. You can stay with me for a while. I’ll sleep on the couch and be good. I have to admit, it will be hard, because I want to run my hands through that strawberry blonde hair of yours. I want to wrap my arms around you and look deep into your gold eyes and kiss you like you have never been kissed before.”
I swallowed hard. No one had ever talked to me like that before. I felt flutters in my stomach. I had never been kissed either, so his kiss would be like no one else’s. I did find him very attractive and I appreciated him wanting to help me, but would it be safe living with him. I can survive being homeless, I guess I could survive living with a cop.
“Since there are investigators here, there is no need for me to stick around. They don’t like us ‘street cops’ in the way anyhow. Let’s go eat and take your things to my place. I don’t live far from your shop. I got a deal to live in the neighborhood.”
“What do you mean?”
“They wanted police presence living in the neighborhood. Since Marcia and I are going through the divorce and I moved out, I decided to take advantage of the deal. A cop’s pay isn’t that much. Thankfully we lived within our means didn’t have any bills. Marcia worked to support her shopping habit, and my income paid the bills.”
“Where does she work?”
“In the mall. She works in a department store in the women’s clothing section. She decided to work there for the discount on clothes. She is a real diva. She had to have her nails and hair done. When we were dating it was a turn off to me.”
“I don’t know. It was something to do I guess.”
I shook my head laughing at him. He opened the passenger side door for me and I got in. The police car was interesting. There were many more gadgets in his car than in the one I rode in as a kid. I put my seat belt on and we drove off. I looked out the window and had to grab my head.
“You know he’s the killer. You know he is. Why is he making moves on you so fast? Does he want to kill you also?”
I tried to block them. I held my head and squinted my eyes.
“Daisy, Daisy, Daisy are you ok?”
When I heard him call my name the third time, I nodded. This time I got a headache.
“I need to eat. I’m getting a headache. I also need something for the pain. Every once in a while this happens to me. I can’t explain it. I probably should just find another motel to stay in because of this. There are times when I wake up in the night screaming. I don’t need to bother you with that.”
“Now you are really staying with me. I didn’t know all of this. You don’t need to be alone. Have you talked to anyone about this?”
“No. This has been going on since one of my mother’s boyfriends…..”
“Don’t you tell him a thing! He doesn’t need to know!”
“Daisy! Daisy! Get up! Daisy!”