“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.” ~ Arthur Conan Doyle
Follow the journey of mystery, passion and everything in between.
I was drawn to the cold breeze from the windows. The cream-coloured wall by my office held a hinge to halt the chilly sensation. At my desk, I noticed the grotesque images printed on the newspaper. About two nights ago, one of the ladies working at a brothel was in-between clients and decided to wash up. When she returned to work, she did not meet a man in his forties with hair on his chest, grey hairs drooping, nor a gold ring on his left middle finger. Rather, she was welcomed by stains of blood on the bed sheets and walls in the room. A struggle for life and an unfortunate loss.
Judith, a co-worker at the accounting firm walked up to me, as every other day, to fill in on the latest gossip.
“Everyone’s talking about it,” Judith said as she leaned over my desk.
“That’s the picture of the grocery guy from the third street and fifteen avenue. Who would have thought that a brothel and a grocery store would be owned by the same person? It was my favourite stop for gelatos.” I replied as I skewed my mouth to the side. An expression of disgust.
“He was smart about it. Creating a mirage of his identity. No one would have suspected him.”
“How do they know the age of the victim if they never saw the body. No name has been identified yet. Are there any charges lately?”
“They have pictures of the customers. They have to keep track of the people coming in somehow. They are suspecting that two or three other men were also there last night, but they obviously did not come for the ladies that work there. They had a target.”
“And there was no trace of the victim, quite odd.”
“Shows that they had their plans all laid out. Studied the routine in the brothel, or maybe involved an insider.”
“Any evidence? Any faces?”
“Only got street cameras. Brothels don’t use cameras, think it might be breaching privacy. They want their customers to feel ‘at home’. Now the owner of the grocery store is losing both businesses and he may be listed as one of the suspects.”
“Just sad, is the economy that bad? Being a pimp and owning a grocery store?”
“Talk about multi-tasking.”
My sense of humour is a bit dry, I usually end up slapping my thigh and clapping like a penguin. Usually, Judith smiles at me till I calm down. Other colleagues think I have an odd personality. I don’t think I am close to odd or unusual. Owning a grocery store and being a pimp, now that’s unusual.
“He’s an Arab-Canadian. He was born in Saudi Arabia and his family moved shortly after his first birthday. He has not visited the country since he left,” Judith continued.
“He’s probably more Canadian than Arabic.”
“You know how the media is. If you do something like that, Canada does a great job on disowning you. But he learnt everything here. He’s a Canadian Pimp.”
“He gonna end up in jail right?”
“Big time, he got family too. I wonder if his wife knows about this.”
“Probably not. Everyone got their secrets.”
“Well, this one came with a big price tag.”
There was an array of words in the images. Police Line Do Not Cross. It was as if the yellow tape spoke to me. I kept on reciting that phrase in my head. What were the areas of my life that I had gone beyond myself? Where have I committed a crime? What boundaries do I need to observe? I didn’t want to believe that they existed. Frank has been separated for three years, his divorce papers were still pending. He wants a new life with me, but his past is clinging direly to him. He’s basically single. The lies I tell myself.
My soliloquy is interrupted by a text from Frank. He had to treat the inflammation on his right hand. He is concerned that the area might be infected.
Frank walked into the pharmacy with his right palm placed on top of his left arm. Frank and Requis, the owner of the pharmacy, always got along. They have been old friends abroad and reunited as neighbours.
“How’s my man, Frank? You don’t look too good.” Requis said as he performed their ritual; a handshake that lasted for two minutes.
“No kidding. Why do you think I’m here?” Asked Frank.
“Let me have a look. Bruises here and there; probably got a deep cut. It could be an artery that cut open. I’ll give you topical and painkillers. But you have to go see the doctor.”
“No. I’m good. I’ll take what you have.”
“By the way, did you see the news today? Some guy in the north owns a brothel and a grocery store.”
“Yah, everyone has more than one identity. People choose which one they share”
“Interesting to say. How’s Jeminah been? What has it been, almost a year?”
“Yah. She’s been doing great. Working and all.”
“Is your ex back from Seychelles?”
“She lost all contact with me. I don’t know if I can find her to sign off the divorce. The only option is to report her as deceased. But her family won’t want to hear that. She’s been travelling and hiding, she wants to elongate the process so I don’t end up with anyone new.”
To be continued…
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