You’ve been waiting for it, and here it is: the tenth and final chapter of 10, 12th Street Online’s first serial novel. Tony Tallon has wrapped up a far-ranging story began last November by Mario Zambrano and continued each week (with a break between semesters) by J.L. Balderama, Sarah Finch and Geoffrey Jason Kagan Trenchad. You can read the first nine installments here.
Enjoy, and keep checking 12th Street Online for new posts daily.
She had not heard from the guy that puked on his shirt and then fucked her in her hotel bed. He had left two mornings ago mumbling about his ex (they all had exes). She didn’t like to share her men. She especially didn’t like to share with someone who should be gone. It frustrated her. Infuriated her. It built in her a rage that could not be squelched. So when the second phone call came, she scribbled the number down in a rage-filled chicken scratch that perturbed her. (She hated unnecessarily sloppy penmanship.) She did this before he woke up, before knowing it was his ex, something about the dead silence from the other woman’s end gave away that she was competition for his affections. And when he confirmed that this woman, this Katherine, was in fact an ex, she waited for him to leave and used technology to find her.
Using the reverse phone book, she found one Katherine Banning, who needed to be dealt with. She couldn’t help herself. Katherine had woken her up at 9 a.m. Katherine had driven her newfound flame out of her hotel room before she got another stab at fucking him. Katherine had ruined her trip to New York City. Katherine was a bitch—a fucking bitch.
But that was over now. As she packed her bags to head back to home, she realized the trip to New York wasn’t a total loss. If anything she did get a nifty granite butterfly hair clip as a consolation prize.
* * * * *
Katherine was buried.
Mike was still her husband, technically. Her parents turned to him to make the decisions. To be the deciding vote, the tiebreaker in what to do with her. Her father wanted her buried, her mother wanted her cremated and Mike suddenly wanted her back in his bed with her chestnut curls falling down her back and shoulders. We all want something. Katherine had wanted to be let go.
Mike chose to have her buried. They chose a spot in Greenwood, so that Mike could visit her throughout the year.
Her parents left him with the task of cleaning out her apartment. Jay, Mike’s partner, helped with the heavy lifting, but Jay left when Mike started to look through photo albums and old diaries. The Black Maria T-shirt. The Forever War sitting on her nightstand. He was looking for the butterfly hair clip that had been his first gift to her, but could not find it in the wreckage. Death was hardest on the living.
Mike thought that he would find some clue. Something the police had missed. The only thing he knew was that the doorman had seen a girl come calling for Katherine in the afternoon. He could not remember the name, it was either Amber or Emily, and his description of her was so vague that it proved no help.
Mike now understood why Ballard’s father wanted to believe someone had pushed him off the terrace of some tony catering hall. But Katherine was the one that had been murdered. Ballard had not been pushed. Katherine was buried. Mike was not. Tomorrow was Saturday. Maybe he would have his coffee like hers.