July 07, 2006

In which the story gets pretty damn interesting....

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It's hard to follow four very good writers, but here is my contribution for the Psych-vella, Chapter 5:

Dead End?
Mrs. McCuddahey seemed taken aback at the question. “I wouldn’t know, I’m sure,” she said peevishly.  “A mother doesn’t pry into a grown man’s private affairs.”  She sniffed at Cahill’s presumption, but then appeared to realize the importance of the question.  “It’s just SO unlike him, he was never interested in girls.  Just his work….”  She trailed off, lost in her memory.

Here we go…” thought Cahill, and took the plunge.  “What about boys, Mrs. McCuddahey?  Was George interested in men?”  He braced for the fierce rejection, and was surprised when the frail woman burst into tears.

“I don’t know…” she wailed, “He never said so, but once he reached a certain age without ever having told me about a lady-friend, I began to wonder.  He was so private.  I’m sorry, I just don’t know.”

Cahill could see that this was turning into a waste of time.  The woman may have been George’s mother, but she clearly knew less about him than the psychiatrist.  He would like to interview Mrs. Romano, after all, she was the Nosy Nora of the neighborhood, always talking her way into everyone’s business.  She had often caught Cahill and Johnny on their way to some mischief or other.  If anyone had seen a girl (or a guy, for that matter) entering George’s house, it would have been the indefatigable Mrs. Romano, but Mrs. R was deep in her element, scuttling about, minding the distraught mother.  The interview would have to wait, at least until her neighbor was attended to.

What next?  Mitch had time to kill.  Interviewing his own mother would be useless, so he excused himself and returned to the crime scene, where the investigation was in full swing.  “Gimme an update,” he barked at the forensics lead.

“Not much.  We haven’t been upstairs yet.  No prints anywhere, not even the vic’s.  No fluids either, except the leakage you stepped in by the fridge.  Somebody cleaned up.  Knew what they were doing.  We sent out for the LUDs, but the subpoena is held up ‘til we can get a judge.  That might be hours.”

“Address Book? Bills?  Work Papers?  Anything we can get a name or number from?”

“Nix on the address book or a briefcase.  There are some bills here, but just the psychiatrist and ConEd.  No credit cards or store charges.”

Who ARE you George McCuddahey? Cahill thought, and who the Hell is Lenny Markowitz?

Finding frustration on both fronts, Cahill bummed a smoke from the beat cop at the door and went out into the light.  Standing in the street, Mitch breathed deep and was about to light up his first cigarette in years, when he heard a familiar voice behind him.

“William,” it called reproachfully, “you know those things are going to kill you.  I thought you quit.”

“I’m sorry Mrs. Romano,” he said sheepishly, stuffing the unlit cigarette into his pocket.  “But I’m glad you came out, I’d like to talk to you.  Alone.”

“My turn to be interviewed, then?  Alright, let’s sit here on the porch, so your mother and poor Martha won’t hear us.”

“Tell me what you know about George….”

“I don’t like to tell tales, and I would never discuss this with Martha, but I often wondered if George was an actor as well as an accountant.”

“An actor?”

“Yes, although, funny he should choose such roles….  You see, everyday George went to work dressed like a Hasidic diamond merchant, down to the prayer shawl and briefcase.  If you addressed him as he walked down the street, he would ignore you, and I often thought, why don’t you just leave earlier if you’re in THAT big a hurry, but in the afternoons, when he returned home, he was usually dressed normally, and friendly, if almost shy.  Evenings he would leave the house in one of those turbans and drive off to God knows where, and come back at all hours of the night.  Martha doesn’t know.  She takes out her hearing aid when she sleeps.”

“Did anyone ever come to the house?  Either when George was home or when he was away?  In the last couple of days, maybe?”

“A woman came once, last June, when Martha was on that cruise.  She went to Mexico, you know.  She kept knocking, calling for Benny or something…”

“Was it Lenny?” Cahill asked, surprised to hear the name from McCuddahey’s workplace.

“Yes, that was it.  Lenny.”  Mrs. R smiled at the recognition.  “Funny, though, she came to my door to ask if I had seen the man who lived in the house, and when I told her that George had driven off in his car, she said that Lenny was a devout Jew who wouldn’t drive anywhere on the Sabbath.  I told her she must have the wrong house.  George almost decided to be a priest, you know.  She seemed especially troubled by it, and showed me the address written in her book.  It was George’s house, under the name Lenny Something.

She went away after that, and I never saw her again.  Maybe she’s the girl Martha thought he was seeing.”

A noise made Cahill look up.  The cop who had given him the smokes was coming up the steps. “Sir, there’s a call for you on the radio.”

Cahill made his way to the radio car. “Cahill.”

“There’s a homicide at 1216 Baker.  It’s bad.”

“I’m on a case already.”

“Roger that, Ryan says you need to get here ASAP anyway.”

Cahill sighed, apologized to Mrs. R, and drove across town.  The sidewalk in front of the brownstone was blocked off and crime scene tape barred the door.  Showing his shield, Cahill went in, and found Ryan next to a bloody sheet.

“Caller ID says your name and number were the last outgoing on the vic’s phone,” Ryan said, seeing Cahill standing there.  “Dr. Monica Schoedel, she was cut up pretty badly, and the pieces were arranged in a pentagram on the floor upstairs.”

Tune in next week as El Capitan finishes up the story!

Posted by caltechgirl at July 7, 2006 11:15 PM | TrackBack

WOW! Excellent. Love this! I can't wait to see how it all ends!

Posted by: Theresa at July 7, 2006 05:14 AM


Posted by: oddybobo at July 7, 2006 05:55 AM

I hate waiting!!! I want to know what's happening.

Posted by: Mrs_Who at July 7, 2006 07:02 AM

Okay -- that gave me chill bumps. Wonderful job!

Posted by: Omnibus Driver at July 7, 2006 07:28 AM

Just two words of advice for El Capitan: "Jane Austen."

Posted by: Bob at July 7, 2006 08:21 AM

wow, ctg, just wow! i love where you've taken it

: )

Posted by: amelie at July 7, 2006 08:05 PM

Do I detect a SLIGHT hint of a Law & Order influence here? ;-) Not that that's a bad thing in my book, and I say that as a real-life prosecutor.

Posted by: Dave J at July 8, 2006 06:11 PM

More likely A&E....

Actually, the only concrete influence I can credit is The Blues Brothers.

Posted by: caltechgirl at July 8, 2006 08:15 PM

Girlfriend, that is damned good!!

My apologies for being a bit late.

Awesome storyline. You nailed the voices and characters of Cahill and Mrs. R!!

Thank you!

Posted by: Christina at July 14, 2006 06:01 AM