Open The Door

Read this first:

Vivian las Vestidos was located on Rua de Rio Longa in downtown Sao Paulo. The street stretched for a mile but Vivian’s storefront was narrow. She accessed her place from the alley and street in back because she could be undetected by customers. Tomas and his Sampas knew this so, Lenore dropped Vivian and Danela in front. As dictated to Marco o, he was sitting in a cigar store next door called Loja de Fumaça de Rio. The owner, an expatriate of Portugal named Gian Fuentes, often flirted with Vivian.

“Lenore, we’ll fetch Marco. Open the shop, unlock the back door for the fabric delivery and shoot anything that looks Sampaish.”

Lenore’s sly grin in the rearview mirror was the reaction Vivian wanted Danela to see. The backseat passengers stepped from the sedan and Lenore drove to the back street to park. Vivian hoped Tomas was waiting there so he could be shocked when one of his victims blew him away.

“Onde estamos indo, vivian?”

Vivian had grown tired of Danela’s shaking damsel act. She didn’t answer her, but grabbed the young woman’s left arm and pushed her toward the cigar store. Gian’s bearded presence bounded into the street as the women reached the storefront. Gian spoke English well. Vivian suspected that he spoke it too well.

“Good morning Vivian. And what a gift, two lovely Princesses pay me a visit. “

Vivian sighed, straightened her dress, and pushed her full C cupped chest forward an extra inch.

“Morning to you, Gian. I think you have something inside that we need to pick up. But you know, Lenore, my housekeeper, smokes Punch Churchills in my backyard when I’m not around. I’ll take a pack of ten off your hands for the trouble.”

Gian’s smile went from pleasant and somewhat phony to sincere. The well-groomed hairs of his medium beard seemed to rise as Vivian touched his right arm while they walked past him inside the smoke shop.

Marco sat next to a humidor texting. He neither smiled nor showed Danela affection when she sat down next to him and leaned in for a hug. That made up Vivian’s mind about the twenty-two-year-old young man. Through a snarl directed at Marco, Vivian paid for the cigars and finished speaking to Giani.

“Giani, thank you for helping me this morning. Young couples need the guidance of those of us who’ve figured some things out. You agree?”

Vivian’s voice carried throughout the store. Marco and Danela glared at her. Giani answered.

“Ah, yes, Vivian. Young love is passionate gun without aim or accuracy. We should show them how to shoot.”

Vivian let out a laugh. She loved the analogy.

“Don’t worry about these two, Giani. That’s exactly what’s about to happen to them. Relationship target practice is what I’ll call it.”

Giani was staring at her breasts to pick up any meaning in her statement. Vivian waved Marco and Danela over and the three of them left Loja de Fumaca del Rio in silence.

Lenore stood at the counter counting out Vivian’s register and writing down an order she took over the phone.

“Well, look Danela, Lenore doesn’t really work here and she’s already doing a hell of  job. Let me guess, Lenore, Mrs. Learda wants skirts and tops for her daughter’s cotillion?”

Lenore smirked and stared at Marco. Standing 5’8″, weighing 155 pounds, he looked like a futbol striker. But the almost healed bruises on his face told of another extracurricular activity. Following their plan, Vivian took over the dress shop while Lenore became twisted detective.

“Como eles o torturaram? Marco?”

His dark eyes narrowed. He moved away from Danela and drew his hands into fists. Lenore took three steps toward Marco and dove toward his legs. He fell to the floor of the shop in pain. Lenore jumped on top of him and pulled his soccer jersey up to reveal his damaged torso.

“Stop it Lenore!”

Danela yell was silenced by a syringe in the back of her neck. Her small, slender body dropped into Vivian’s arms and she pulled the unconscious Danela into the back room.

Lenore looked over Marco’s burn marks and realized he’d been turned into a informant mule and more as she had been at his age. She took his cell phone from his jeans pocket. Lenore rose and stared at Vivian. Two female customers approached the store. Lenore growled at Marco.

“Get up. You have another phone or any other device? Then give me, now. You contact Sampas, Vivian will load syringes for you and girlfriend that will make you sleep forever. Then, I shoot you.”

Marco slinked into the room, and Lenore followed him. Customers walked through the front door. Vivian las Vestidos was open for business.

*****blogger’s note******

Time for two new chapters for your favorite female killers Millicent aka Vivian and Pauley in Brazil right now. Here’s my chapter. Go see Tara aka @Tara_R ‘s chapter first called The Air Up Here.

My first book, technically a novella, called The Ballad of Helene troy is now available of Amazon  Kindle, and Smashwords

Remember this song from 1996′s Magnapop? You should. Here’s Open The Door.

Sweet Dreams

Earlier in the story, when Millicent/Vivian first met Stan.

Washing the same dish for the third time, disgust rolled through Vivian. She checked her phone for the ninth time since sending a text message to Pauley twenty minutes earlier. She knew her friend was with Stan, an attractive, sophisticated man who was showing Pauley attention. But Millicent Stingley’s negative characteristics traveled to Brazil and became Vivian Alves’. She couldn’t kill jealousy and pride. Lenore’s voice distracted her.

“Miss Vivian, I gave Danela the special tea you made. She’s napping in my room until our other guests come. Are you all right?

Vivian turned her phone over so she couldn’t see the screen and toweled the dish. She turned off the water and turned off the water.

“Yes, Lenore, I’m fine. Pauley and Stan are going to want to talk to Danela but I think we should discourage it. Don’t worry, I’ll handle that as well as making the same tea for them that I gave Danela. Prepare the yellow room for Pauley and Stan. They’re a couple, and will probably want to share it.”

Lenore looked at Vivian with a blank face. She raised her thin, dark eyebrows.

“Then, why are we giving them the same tea we gave Danela?”

Vivian wanted to shove a syringe full of the kumare she laced Danela’s tea into Lenore’s neck but instead she tossed the hand towel at her arm. It draped over the colorful tattoos that adorned Lenore’s right shoulder.

“It’s been a long day, Lenore. Everyone needs to sleep and attack the Sampas gang problem with fierce focus in the morning. Also, you and I need to hem some skirts I want to display in the store. I have to make money to maintain this glamourous lifestyle, my dear.”

Vivian’s sarcasm trailed off into the kitchen as she walked into the living room. Lenore’s laughter made Vivian smile until the front door opened.

“Hey Viv! You remember Stan. Where’s our Danela damsel in distress?”

Tall, fit, and well-groomed, Stan filled up the doorway to Vivian’s home. She hated his self-assuredness and the trajectory on his eyes, lasered on Pauley. Lenore appeared in the living room with a ray holding a teapot, two cups, and some biscuits. Vivian purred.

“Hello, Stanley. You look terrific. And you two arrived in a limo? How cozy. Sit down, you two we’ll go over what Danela told us while you were gone, Paulette. She’s asleep.”

Pauley shook her head, rolled her eyes then glanced upstairs.

“Asleep? We need to debrief her.”

Stan put down his bags as Lenore poured tea into cups and placed them on the oval cherry wood coffee table.

“It’s okay, Pauley. I’m sure everyone’s exhausted. I am too. Let’s visit a while then get settled in for the night.”

Pauley relaxed at the sound of his voice. Vivian cringed. Lenore walked over to Stan’s luggage.

“Miss Vivian, I’ll go get our guests’ room ready for the night.”

Pauley sat down on the couch while Stan scooted aside her and opened a file on his phone.

“Viv, we wanted to go over Tomas’ organization and how we think Artur and Marco can be gotten out.”

Vivian stared at the poor condition of her nails, pondered a trip to a salon, and eased into a chair adjacent to the happy couple.

“Drink some tea, please, I insist. Tomas and the Sampas are a tomorrow problem. Tell me about the two of you. Paulette, you know I’m fascinated.”

Pauley stared at her friend and picked a cup. She and Stan drank at the same time.

“Viv, this tea’s really good. But Stan, show her the file you have on Tomas.”

Pauley stifled a yawn and Stan rubbed his eyes as he handed his phone over to Vivian. Vivian smirked and whispered.

“Sweet dreams, you two.”

****blogger’s note****

This is my chapter of the two new ones posted today for mine and my writing partner Tara aka @Tara_R of Thin Spiral Notebook check out the small piece about this entry when Millicent now Vivian met Stan.

Today’s song is obvious. Vivian is Millicent is bad. She’s jealous of anyone else being friends with Pauley. Here’s Eurythmics’s Sweet Dreams.

It’s Time

Read this first please:


Vivian enjoyed watching her friend squirm. In her business dealings with Pauley’s old boss, Butch, she’d dealt with Stan and wondered if Pauley had found him as handsome as she did. She poured more tea and caught Lenore grinning at her naughty intentions.

“Come on, Paulette, Lenore’s known you less than two hours and she sees it your Stan crush too.”

The laugh between the Vivian and Lenore infuriated Pauley. She swallowed the angry words her tongue wanted to release and leaned against the kitchen counter with her arms crossed and eyebrows arched. Vivian kept at her.

“I know I’ve influenced you with your wardrobe, but, we’re all girlfriends here. Stan was why you cam back to America and stayed in the business you’re in, right?”

Pauley grit her teeth and walked out of the kitchen. She yelled over her shoulders as she strode down the hall.

“Lenore showed me where the bathrooms are around here! You two get this gossip out of your systems!”

Vivian retrieved her phone from her purse and dialed Danela’s number. As it rang, Lenore wiped the table in front of Vivian and smirked.

“me gustan ella, Vivian. No esté tal hembra a ella. Necesitamos su ayuda.”

The call went to voicemail and Vivian acted out a message in Emglish, knowing Danela was probably gone from their store or talking to Tomas and the Sampas.

“Sweet Danela, it’s me. Call me back as soon as possible, it’s important. I’ll be at the store later than I thought. Bye.”

Leaning over Lenore’s left shoulder she whispered.

“Relax, you. Pauley and I are bulletproof and I have the antidote to any poison that comes from my mouth”

Lenore smiled and finished cleaning. Vivian announced to the hallway.

“Pauley’s meet me in the basement! We can finish our Sampas conversation there!”

Then she turned to Lenore and instructed.

“Wait five minutes, then come downstairs. Take off your apron and your sombrecamisa. She needs to see your markings.”

As Pauley returned from the bathroom, Lenore positioned herself in the kitchen’s entrance and did as Vivian had asked. Pauley saw the tattoos on Lenore’s left arm and recalled the pictures Stan had sent over her phone, earlier.

Lenore stared at Pauley and walked past her with deliberate slowness.

Pauley muttered in disbelief.

“Tatuajes de ganga. Holy shit, Lenore was a Sampa.”

*****blogger’s note******

This a new chapter to mine and my friend and writing partner, tara aka @tara_R ‘s Brazilian seuqel to Dead Money, a fiction series about female killers Millicent aka Vivian and Pauley. You can find Tara’s chapter, which you should read first, here:

Today’s song fits the story. It’s from earlier this year. Imagine Dragons’ It’s Time:


Read this first:

Vivian studied the self-satisfied expressions on both Pauley and Lenore. Her angered steamed like the broccoli in Lenore’s stove pot

“We’re having salpicao. It’s my favorite Brazilian salad.”

Before Pauley could respond, Vivian sat her tea on the table and moved her body to the edge of the wooden chair. She narrowed her dark eyes and grit her teeth.

“Both of you get those shit-eating grins off your faces and tell me what I don’t know. The more stupid you treat me, the more I will….”

The sound of a metal spoon against the granite top counter silenced the room. Lenore let out a loud sigh and Pauley shook her head. She had just met the short, twenty-nine-year-old black-haired woman, and she already liked her. Pauley leaned towards the table and took over the conversation.

“Viv, you went into business with people you thought you could control. They’re scumbags with no regard for tomorrow, much less human life. Sampas are the local muscle of the corrupt local government. And they know who you are. Think about that.”

The duality of Vivian’s existence has clouded her thought process. She’d never be just Vivian Alves, Sao Paulo dress shop owner. She’d be Millicent Stingley, fugitive killer, who was posing as someone else. The two people in the room with her knew her secrets, and now they were making her aware of her mistakes. Millicent Stingley was always the smartest person in any room at any time. Vivian Alves was something else.

“Fine. Why don’t the two of you tell me how much I’ve screwed up. Pay me on the head and tell me who I have to charm why you all fix everything.”

She was hurt. Pauley tried to lighten the mood.

“Bring Viv back, Millicent. I like her. I liker where she lives and I really like the smell of salpico.”

Vivian rolled her eyes at Pauley’s mispronunciation. She lifted her cup and let the warmth of the tea comfort her mouth. Lenore spoke from a few feet away as she cut pieces of chicken.

“Es sal-pee-cow, Senora Pauley. Like sausage but mixed with chicken, vegetables and spices. Miss Vivian likes chicken and peppers. I prefer beef, but you know, her house, so….”

Vivian laughed for the first time since they’d arrived.

“Oh good God, Lenore, don’t be such a drama queen. I let you pick dinner last night. I just thought Pauley would love salpicao with chicken. I’m realizing you two hens are a lot alike. I think I’d rather hang around that little liar Danela and her Sampas boyfriends.”

Lenore and Pauley laughed in unison. On a pegboard near the refrigerator, Pauley glimpsed three postcards she’d sent Vivian during her time with her mother, Gail, in Morocco. She smiled at Vivian then frowned at her friend’s loss of confidence.

“It’ll be okay Viv, we’ll get this back on track.”

Vivian stood and shook her head.

“Pauley, you and your new best girlfriend figure out how you’re going to lecture me on these gangsters. I’m going to head to the restroom and make sense of how I’m gone from sixty to zero in less than a day.”

****blogger’s note****

This is a new chapter of the story I’m co-writing with my friend and writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R of Thin Spiral Notebook. Read her chapter first, then this one.

Today’s song was tough. Zero is the title of two great songs from Smashing Pumpkins and The Yeah yeah Yeahs. Both fit the story. I took a twitter poll and the Pumpkins won 7-3. Here’s Zero.


Read this first!:

Vivian walked a few feet away from Pauley in the alley. She took out her phone, dialed her housekeeper, Lenore, and cursed herself.

“Damn it Millicent! You know you can’t just have a little dress shop in Sao Paulo. You’re so fucking stupid!”

She composed herself and played her part for Lenore.

“Olá Lenore, Eu estou chegando em casa cedo. O meu amigo da América e gostaria de recuperar. Ver-te em breve. Bye bye.”

Pauley walked over and tried to lean in for another hug when Vivian straightened her posture and said in a cold, measured tone.

“There’s a taxi across the street. Let’s get out of here. Danela doesn’t know where I live. I didn’t make that mistake.”

The women walked to the taxi, filed into the back seat and Vivian attempted another call but lost service. She threw the phone into the seat. The little black case came apart and Pauley picked it up and had it reassembled.

“You’re back to being Millicent and that’s okay. You know, my mom, um, well, Gail, and I tried going by other names in Morocco. I just couldn’t get used to it. It’s the reason I think I came back.”

The revelation combined with Pauley’s gentle pat on her right arm calmed Millicent.

“I screwed up Pauley. I just screwed everything up. I really thought I could be someone else here, in this city, thousands of miles from the United States.”

Pauley pulled her hand away and moved against the car door so her entire body faced her embarrassed friend.

“Millicent, you’re whoever you want to be. You’re Vivian Alves, a dress shop owner in Brazil because you have to be and damn it, because you want to be. So what, you let your guard down. You trusted some scumbags. From now on, you have to be more careful. Take the good parts of Millicent, that tough bitch with razor wire instincts, and mold them into this froofie whatever you are, Vivian. You made me like the clothes, so get over it, alright!”

Millicent smiled and closed her eyes. The smell of upholstery cleaner and cigars made her want the fresh jasmine tea she knew Lenore would have ready when they arrived, even more. She opened her eyes and smiled. Vivian was who she would have to be, but with much less carelessness. She shouted at the driver.

” Parar no jardim do lado esquerdo!”

Pauley looked out the window and saw a large, well-kept garden, with no villa in site.

“Viv, what are we doing?”

The car came to a stop. Vivian took cash from he handbag and paid the man in the front seat. She opened her door, turned around and leaned into Pauley and whispered.

“I’ve never used this taxi service. Sampas like Tomas pay these guys for information. We’re walking the rest of the way. “

*****blogger’s note****

This is a new chapter in my blog series with my friend and writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R of Read her chapter first then this one. It’s our female Killers, Millicent/Vivian and Pauley, the Barzilian Sequel.

Today’s song fits the story very well and it’s something Millicent aka Vivian would listen to on her iPod a lot. Here’s Paramore with Careful.


Last time:

Go read this one too, by my friend and writing partner, @Tara_R:

He opened the door and along with a cold gust of wind, she came in. Paulette watched the goateed man walk into the street to meet his friend. He glared back at her until she closed the door to the dress shop.
“Oh my God, Paulette, you’re wearing a silk skirt! That’s a Marc Jacobs! I knew my influence would change your life!”
Paulette rolled her eyes as the shop’s owner, now going by the name Vivian Alves, walked around her, examining her wardrobe. Vivian touched Paulette’s professional haircut of blonde layers that bounced off her pale shoulders.
“Paulette, your style is terrific. But, when you came in I could feel the chill of Northeastern air. We’ll get some sun on this skin today. Please tell me you’re on vacation.”
Vivian almost hugged her complicated friend, but grasped Paulette’s small wrists and waited for her answer.
“Yeah, Milli, I mean Vivian. When I read your note I wanted warm climate and interesting conversation. So, what’s going on with the minor league Scarface and his buddy that just left?”
Vivian let go of Paulette’s hands and walked back to the table where she’d been talking with the men. Paulette followed her lead and sat down across from her.  Vivian moved her white- tipped manicure across the metal table, sighed, and forced a smile.
“You’re in Sao Paulo. You need freijoada for lunch, some shopping and dancing.”
Vivian knew there was one person she couldn’t bullshit and she was sitting across from her, with a weapon strapped to her hip.
“Paulette, when I came to Brazil, the fake identification and money I had got me settled in the country, but I couldn’t be chemist or pharmicist without a license. In Sao Paolo, unless you know local politicans, the only way you get money and open anything is through black market brokers.”
Vivian stood and walked to the refridgerator to grab a gallon pitcher of iced tea and two tumblers. She knew Paulette was figuring out the rest. She returned, poured drinks, and let Paulette speak.
“So you borrowed, what, twenty-five, fifty grand? Out of town girl with a snooty dress shop has trouble drawing customers so payments get late?”
Vivian swallowed her tea and laughed.
“No, silly, I pay my bills, And this place is doing great. After the third month I was profitable, I mean not by much, but I make money.”
Vivian was surprised. She figured jet lag and many months away from each other had clouded Paulette’s deductive reasoning.
“Everything in this shop, Paulette, is imported. Mexico, Columbia, Chile, South Africa, that’s where the best fabrics and cuts are made. But those places also have something else in common.”
The women placed their glasses on the table at the same time. Vivian she knew her skilled friend had gotten it.
“You’re running coke or heroin or both in the dress shipments.”
Vivian was proud of Paulette. Her new sense of self, the simple blouse with the flowing skirt, and her intelligence.
“Well, Paulette, those losers you met are trafficking drugs. I don’t have to pay interest on my seventy-five thousand dollar loan, customs treats me great, and Tomas, the wiry one with a goatee and false bravado, doesn’t tell people where Millicent Stingley is now calling home. Of course, I’m uncomfortable with being a blind, deaf, and dumb mule so I got a visit, today.”
Silence set in. With Vivian’s young assistant, Danela, peaking in the Vivian Alves Couture’s storefront door widow, there was little time left to talk. Paulette reached across the table and clasped Vivian’s left hand.
“Viv, I’ll come back at noon and we can figure out what to do with this scumbag, Tomas.”
Vivian stood and pulled Paulette up for a warm hug. She whispered in her friend’s ear.
“Check out of your hotel. I have plenty of room. I won’t take no for an answer and you don’t know how I made that tea. So, don’t mess with me.”
*****blogger’s note****
For the prompt exchange this week, Barb Black at gave me this prompt: He opened the door and along with a cold gust of wind, she came in.

I gave Debra Elliott at this prompt: In 500 words, write a breakup letter without using curse words or revealing the sex of the person you’re writing too.

Tara and I are writing a sequel to our Dead Money summer series.
Today’s song is from Ray La Montagne. Here’s Trouble:

Hello, It’s Me

“Nem toda a gente pode ser comprado,” she said.

Vivian didn’t believe that, in Portuguese or English. She crossed her legs but didn’t lift her peach-colored dress over her knee. She knew how to distract the two men sitting six feet away. The one doing most of the talking ran his right index finger and thumb over the pencil-thin lines of his dark goatee. Bald, but still holding on to his thirties, he squinted as he spoke.

“I know who you are, Millicent Stingley. You’re a killer, like me.”

She’d lived the past few months knowing this could happen. The world was smaller because of computers. But Vivian Alves thought law enforcement would come to the door of her Sao Paulo dress shop using her other name. She didn’t allow herself to squirm or sweat, but spit words, back.

“Then, telling someone, Tomas, would hurt us both.”

He stroked his goatee again, and muttered to his cohort.

“Ir buscar o dinheiro.”

As the other man unlocked the shop’s door, Tomas scooted his metal chair closer to Millicent. The sound of metal on concrete jarred her. The invasion of her personal space didn’t intimidate her. It drew disgust and anger. She imagined him choking to death on something she could make from her back room refrigerator.

“Listen, Millicent, Vivian, who gives a shit about your name? We’re business people, right? We kill when we have to. I’m going to leave the money. You help me move the product and we both get to live in peace. Okay?”

His smirk made him face smaller and more sinister. To her, being a drug mule for a mid-level criminal felt gross, but better than solitary confinement in an Atlanta prison. She uncrossed her legs and stood. It was time to redistribute power. He tried to stand, too, but she touched his left shoulder, pressing Tomas to the chair.  The curvy, tan, easy-going Vivian became the southern United States ice queen, Millicent.

“My shop opens every morning at 9. If I see you or your errand boy, here, after that time, I’ll make sure you know why both of my names exist. Deal?”

Feeling his dark eyes on her breasts, she leaned down then picked up his chin with her left hand. Tomas’ associate returned, delivering a small, black neoprene bag. Tomas opened it, removed cash, and counted it on a small table.

A female voice called from the doorway.

“Viv, you alright?

Vivian looked up. Her eyes widened and her a smile spread across her face. Her excitement couldn’t hold the name from leaving her mouth.


Tomas stared at his helper and then at both women. He let the money fall onto the table and walked out.

****blogger’s note*****

Inspired by my friend and writing partner, Tara’s, quick return to Pauley and Millicent this week  , I did the same for Write On Edge’s “Money” prompt

You can read the story Tara aka @tara_R and I wrote here:

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Today’s song played in my head as I wrote this. Obviously it’s about a love affair between Todd Rundgren and whoever was enjoying him at the time. This is more of a sweetly ironic nod to the weird friendship of Millicent and Pauley. Here’s Hello, It’s Me, by Todd. Great song.

You Found Me

Read this first:


Three deputies, two males and one female,  stood cross-armed with guns holstered against the door of the holding cell. Millicent sat by herself, handcuffed, on a stainless steel bench. She absorbed the tension of the room until a knock echoed behind her stern-faced company. She allowed a smile when her attorney, Reeve Mattox, walked in. He carried a cup from a gourmet coffee shop and barked at the deputies.

“I want to speak to my client, alone!”

The deputies left without speaking. When the door closed, Reeve sat next to Millicent.

“Here’s a cinnamon dolce latte with extra cinnamon, Millicent.”

Her hands rested on her lap. The deputies were instructed to not uncuff her after she dosed the cola cans of two other deputies with sleeping pills during her trial for the murders of her of two ex-boyfriends and the female neighbor of one of them. That escape attempt was stopped when the courtroom’s elevator stopped working.

“Reeve, can you take the top off so I can smell the cinnamon.”

She bit her top lip and winked at Reeve. He grinned and moved his left hand over his salt and pepper hair that thinned at the temples. Popping the plastic top, Reeve held the cup to his Millicent’s nostrils. Her eyes glimpsed blue ink written on the inside of the lid.

“Bathroom. 2nd stall. now”

Millicent and Reeve mouthed the words “I’ll miss you” to each other . He rose and walked to the door.

“My client needs to go to the restroom, immediately!”

The tall, slender female deputy opened the door, grabbed Millicent by the right elbow and escorted her.  They entered together and the deputy grumbled.

“Stingley, you’ve got five minutes. I’ll be outside the stall with my hand on my revolver. Understand?”

Millicent rolled her eyes and went inside the stall, locking it with her restricted fingers. When the latch clicked, she heard a buzz and a thud. A familiar voice beckoned.

“Millie, open the door and shut up. We’ve got three minutes, tops, to get to the parking garage.”

Millicent smirked, unlatched and peered out of the stall.

“Paulette, oh how I’ve missed you. You look tan.”

The deputy lay a few feet away, unconscious, but alive. Pauley spoke through a clenched jaw while unlocking Millicent’s handcuffs with the deputy’s keys.

“Damn it Millie. I said shut up. Put this on and let’s go.”

Millicent took a blonde bob wig and used the restroom mirror to push her brown hair underneath. She followed Pauley as they walked at a brisk pace down three flights of stairs and into the parking garage. After a few hundred feet, Pauley opened the door of a black Lexus.

“Paulette, do you want me lie down in the back?”

Pauley shook her head.

“You watch too many movies, Princess. You’re a blond, right now, in a car belonging to a lawyer that frequents this courthouse. Get in the passenger seat.”

Millicent looked out her window as they drove away.

“Paulette, can I talk, now?”

Pauley looked in the rear view mirror.

“Well, I was enjoying the silence, but sure.”

Millicent smiled and thought about whispering Butch’s name to Reeve, weeks earlier.

“So, where did you get the great skin tone? The Caribbean?”

Pauley turned the Lexus onto Peachtree Airport Road. They were within a mile of a private plane.

“The guy you ran into at the Atlanta airport a couple of days before we met is handling my business.”

Millicent remembered the handsome, well dressed man she shared drinks and almost spent the night with.


Pauley mouthed “unbelievable”. She turned the car into the airport and headed to the tarmac.

“I can’t believe he told you his real name. Yeah, Stanley. He was scouting you for our casino job. Stanley handles my business, now. Your lawyer called him. He tried to get him to be a witness for your defense. Instead, Stanley offered something else.”

Pauley stopped the car about fifty yards from a white and blue Sessna. She reached behind the driver’s seat and pulled a duffel bag. She took out jeans, a solid purple t-shirt and brown loafers. Millicent pressed her back against the passenger door.

“Absolutely not, Paulette! Look I’m wearing a wig and we’re at least thirty minutes ahead of anyone. I’ll wear my dress on the plane.”

Pauley unhooked the holster on her ankle and brandished her gun at Millicent. She responded in a calm, but firm tone.

“Millie, I’d rather blow your brains out than let you or me get caught. They’re looking for a stylish woman, not a casual one. You don’t have a choice. And there’s no potions around.”

Millicent snarled and snatched the clothes.

“Unzip me. But if I ever see you again and you’re holding something other than Milan’s fall collection, expect your iced tea to taste funny.”

Pauley laughed and put her weapon away. She helped Millicent change clothes. Two minutes later, Millicent was transformed. The women smield at each other.

“You know, Millicent, I like it when you call me Paulette. My mom did that the entire time we were together.”

Pauley reached in the duffel bag and took out an envelope. Millicent accepted it and looked inside. There was a passport with the name Vivian Alves, along with several bricks of cash. Millicent shrugged.

“Where am I going?”

Pauley waved at the pilot.

“I know you speak Portugese so you’re headed to Brazil. There’s enough money for you to do whatever you want when you get there. After that, you’re on your own. But don’t come back like I did. I can’t help you, if you do.”

Millicent shrugged.

“In college, I thought about opening a dress shop in Buenos Aires and changing my name to Madeline. But Vivian will do. I’m glad we found each other, Paulette.”

Millicent got out of the car and sauntered toward the plane. Pauley looked into the rear view mirror and smirked.

“One day, Millie, Brazil will make a good vacation for me.”

****blogger’s note******

This is the final chapter to one of the most rewarding writing experiences I’ve ever had, a summer blog series co-written with my friend and writing partner, Tara aka @Tara_R on the twitter from Thin Spiral Notebook.

You can find the rest of the chapters here:
Part 1 – Let it go to voice mail

Part 2 – Remedy

Part 3 – Dressed to Kill

Part 4 – She’s in Fashion

Part 5 – Keep your enemies closer

Part 6 – Hustle and Cuss

Part 7 – Clothes make the woman

Part 8 – Divine Thing

Part 9 – Girls night out

Part 10 – All the plans

Part 11 – Family obligations

Part 12 – The Jack

Part 13 – All in

Part 14 – She’s So Mean

Part 15 – Criminal

Part 16 – Big blind

Part 17 – Name Dropping

Part 18 – The Quiet Things

Part 19 – Lies people tell

Part 20 – Runaways

Part 21 – Return to the scene

Part 22 – This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen

Part 23 – When it hits the fan

Part 24 – Getting Even

Part 25 – Flight plan

Part 26 – Go To Sleep

The final song is a lighter one, but the lyrics, sentiment and texture are perfect for the story. Here’s Denver piano rock band The Fray with You Found Me:

Go To Sleep

Blue dissolved from the Manhattan sky as Millicent walked out of the office building. Clouds the color of gun metal rolled in and she stopped by a trash container to check her Prada for the two pilled sedatives. She removed them and  considered tossing them in the garbage and using the syringe full of undiluted ketamine to kill the man she was walking to meet. She tucked the capsules in the bridge of her black Victoria’s secret bra and covered them with her black blouse. Millicent saw him standing about 100 yards away next to a hot dog stand. She adjusted her business suit jacket and strode to her intended, muttering under her breath.

“I’d stick the k in his neck, but he doesn’t have one.”

As she approached the cart, Butch turned around and smirked. Ketchup oozed over his large chin as he swallowed a bite.

“You look like a million bucks, today, Millicent. Walk with me.”

Millicent waited until Butch’s large shoulders turned then snarled at his back while clutching her handbag. She followed him to  reflecting pond near a museum. She imagined the ketamine taking effect while she shoved his huge head under the water. Butch stopped and extended his catcher’s mitt-like left hand.

“Let’s make this quick and easy so we can put your family business to bed, forever, okay gorgeous?”

Millicent bit her bottom lip and searched several seconds for the syringe. Butch became impatient.

“Don’t screw with me, Millicent Stingley.”

He pulled a smart phone out of his suitcoat pocket and pressed two buttons. The startling image displayed produced concern over Millicent’s face. Arthur Stingley parked her car at his Atlanta office. An assassin watched his every move from a camera on or near what she assumed was a gun..

“Millicent, my guy can drop your piece of shit father from a half a mile away whenever I say so. Take your hand out of the pocketbook and hand over the stuff?”

Millicent sighed and stared into Butch’s dark eyes.

“Are you going to take out both of them; Pauley and her mom?”

Butch pressed a button on his phone and held it within inches of Millicent’s face. Arthur was walking inside his office. The assassin’s video appeared closer than before.

“Give me the pills, tell me how to use them or everyone gets what Arthur could be getting.”

Millicent relaxed her shoulders and pulled at the bottom seams of her business suit jacket, again. She used her right index finger to scoop the capsules from her bra. Butch put away the phone and shot her a dirty grin.

“I should have searched you when you walked up, Millicent. This could have been a much better experience, for me.”

Millicent seethed. She curled the pills to the ends of her fingers and dropped them into Butch’s left hand.

“When you lace their drinks, Butch, make sure you the contents disappear completely. If whatever they’re drinking has carbonation, it will take longer. They should become drowsy within two to three minutes. By the time you have them in their seats on the plane, they will be totally sedated. If their plane flight is more than eight hours, they’ll be extremely pissed off when they wake. I hope you’re next to them so Paulette can kill you with her bare hands.”

Butch laughed. Millicent took his guffaw as an insult and grit her teeth. She hoped he would become so angry with her, he’d tell her where Pauley and her mother, Gail, were going. She wanted to go with them and take Arthur along.

“This will work exactly like I need it to, Millicent. Once Pauley and Gail land, my guy will be pulled off Arthur. You’ll have to trust me on that. I’ll contact you when that happens.”

Millicent turned and took two steps back to the office building where she’d taken a break from her work conference. Butch’s gruff voice carried.

“Oh, and Millicent? If you try to get in touch with Pauley, Gail or your dad before that plane lands? My guy does his job.”

Millicent swallowed and turned back to Butch.

“I’m just glad my family’s business has been put to sleep. Please tell Paulette I said to have a great life.”

***blogger’s note****

Dead Money, my summer blog series with firend and writing Partner, Tara, of have new chapters today.

Today’s song is what played in my ehad as I wrote, Here’s Radiohead’s Go To Sleep

Damned If She Do

Gravel crunched under the car’s tires as Pauley pulled to the cabin. Millicent pushed the console gearshift into park.

“Do you know why I hate being called nicknames, like Millie?”

Pauley touched her gun, while staring at her passenger. Millicent took a tube of lipgloss from her handbag, striped her full lips, then spoke.

“I had a nickname, once. My grandfather called me Cinnamon Girl. Then he got sick, forgot it, and I acted. Nicknames are personal. And what we do, Paulette, isn’t personal.”

Millicent put away the lipgloss, took out two syringes, and opened her door.

“Let’s go, Paulette.”

***blogger’s note****

This is my response to Velvet Verbosity’s “Cinnamon” This is either a one-time stand alone piece with Pauley and Millicent or something Tara and I may include in Dead Money later, if we can conference on it.

Today’s song is awesome. It’s The Kills Damned If She Do. It works great here,and with Millicent.