— Posted in Vampire Noir, WIP - WASP in Peril

Becky is Better [Episode #068]

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”Winston Churchill

Stacy, Danica, and Becky are not returned to Stacy’s apartment from which they were taken. They appear in an alley between the privacy fences of Pershing Avenue and the parking lot of Straub’s gourmet grocery store in the Central West End. Although Stacy and Danica left well before Becky, they arrive together.

There is a commotion, but it has nothing to do with them. No one seems to notice their arrival. The attention of the crowd is upon the naked body of a middle-aged Caucasian male, lying face-up on the asphalt. His genital has been sliced off and stuffed into his mouth. Sirens. Lights flashing. A patrol car arrives on the scene.

Becky walks toward the adjacent crime scene. They ending up here at the post of a murder can’t be a coincidence. Another hint is being ham-handed Becky. Stacy takes the lead, flashes her badge at the onsite flatfoots, getting Becky and Danica close to the action. CSI arrives.

Detectives Molly Minders and Vanessa Walsh come into sight. Having rounded the corner of Maryland Avenue and Kingshighway Boulevard. They are on foot. Attracted by the sights and sounds of a homicide’s aftermath. More flashing of badges to the patrol officers as the two detectives step up. Theirs are hanging around their necks via badge chains.

Becky knows the victim. He was Jim Gavin, a retired cop [military, not civilian]. Gavin was her TO (training officer) at the Military Police Academy. Like a lot of MPs he never cottoned to the civilian police force when he got out of the service. He did try being a state trooper, but got bored fast and quit. MP’s police military personnel; in other words, they police skilled, trained killers. After a gig like that, dealing with common ass thugs, gang bangers, Mafioso, and other flavors of run-of-the-mill [aka ordinary] career criminals pales in comparison. So, he settled on being a house dick—a nice, cushy, well-paying job with lots of fringe benefits—if you’re going to be bored, do it in style and get paid in fat stacks.

In the service he was dirty. Gavin did his job, and did it well, but he always had his hand into something black-market, and he never got caught. He received a boatload of commendations as an MP and an honorable discharge from the army. Gavin and Becky kept in touch over the years, so she doesn’t have to imagine that he mended his ways and went straight when he got out. She knows better. Most of his illicit juice came from skimming working girls who hooked at the Tikki.

Into this smorgasbord, Becky “hears” a whisper that seems only meant for her. It’s unintelligible, but momentarily beguiling, beaconing her to look skyward. Just in time she sees a fleeting translucency as it hops and skips its way into bye-bye from west to east down Maryland Avenue from the Chase Park Plaza [hotel], past the Fairmont, into the Bree at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Maryland Avenue, then poof.

This world is not advanced enough to be allowed the unlimited cache of more than one ROOM. Such are the rules that govern such things. There is only the Anonymous ROOM that Becky once owned. The uncouth display indicates that she again owns the ROOM. And that tells her much.

The affectation is known to her, but the ROOM she knew would have never elicited it. ROOMs are edifices. They are also artifacts. Artifacts are people too. Even the most well-mannered person can pick up bad habits. This seems to be the case, here. In the period since her previous ownership of it, it has picked up some bad habits—namely, this unattractive outburst of erratic behavior to herald her as its new-old owner.

Then, in the middle of her gossipy muse, she realizes what it’s really doing. The pieces come together like a ton of brick dropping on her head. The killer is one of the call girls that Gavin was fleecing and the round heel in question lives at the Bree.

In the case of a numbered ROOM, you can’t “acquire” ownership via murder or anything nefarious. That’s not the case for an anonymous one, though. Madam Yun killed Roberts so that he wouldn’t be the ROOM’s owner. But, for the transfer to work its way back to Becky, Madam Yun had to have been its owner before Roberts. Then Madam Yun would have had to have abdicated any claim on the ROOM, and every owner between Madam Yun and Becky would have had to have done the same thing in the exact reverse order of succession. That isn’t even the stickiest part of this wicket.

Only the initial change of ownership in this reverse take ownership can be done via murder or coercion or any other nefarious means, for an anonymous. The rest of the abdications, even in the case of an anonymous, have to be completely voluntarily. That adds up to a lot of collusion.