Read The Man Who Lied to Women - M2 Online

Authors: Carol O'Connell

Tags: #Mystery

The Man Who Lied to Women - M2

THE MAN WHO LIED TO WOMEN
Carol O
20 December

Her fixation with machines had its roots in the telephone company nets which spread around the planet.

The child had only the numbers written on her palm in ink, written there so she could not be lost. All but the last four numbers had disappeared in a wet smudge of blood.

Over time, she had learned to beg small change from prostitutes, the only adults who would not turn her over to the social workers. She would put the coins into the public telephones and dial three untried numbers and then the four she knew. If a woman answered, she would say,

21 December

He had seen the magic bullet again. In dreams, he had watched its slow float from the mouth of the gun to his gut, watched it penetrate his flesh and make the blood fly.

On his way to the bathroom, Riker

22 December

Riker made his way up the stairs of the animal hospital and into a wide waiting room the size of an auditorium. A pet shop smell mingled with odors of cleaning solvents, and a cacophony of barks and chirps emanated from every row of seats. Pet owners crooned to their jiggling, meowing, howling carrier boxes. Others clutched leashes, holding back dogs who would rather be elsewhere. The human noises were choruses of

23 December

For a full minute, Charles Butler had been standing by the door, listening to the scuffle of shoes in the outer hallway. By the light-footed pacing to and fro, he knew his visitor was a small person. And just now, somewhere between acute hearing and Zen, he detected the sound of someone standing on one leg and then the other. He politely waited until his visitor had resolved the hesitation and the door buzzer sounded.

Charles opened the door with his smile already in place, a genuine smile, for he liked small children.

24 December

Angel Kipling scanned the bulletin board, her bright eyes rocketing across the scrolling lines, seeking out the evidence of fresh lies and wondering how much it would cost her this time. Perhaps it would cost her one husband in addition to the fees for keeping her name out of the press.

Each time he kissed her cheek, she recoiled, wondering where he might have been, wondering what he might have done,
had
to wonder, couldn

25 December

All women are bitches.

Only death made them beautiful. That stunned look, when they knew death was coming, when they could see it, hear it coming for them. Only then did he respect them for this experience, this knowledge which had eluded him. To be dead, to be nothing, never to be challenged again.

To actually watch life leave the body was his obsession. But this, too, had eluded him. For in death, they might only have been asleep. The women had taken the secret with them. Bitches, unwilling to share. Perhaps one day, one of them would tell him what it was like as it was happening to her. Perhaps the next one.

He plotted against her as he opened his drawer to find his socks, as he pulled on his pants, as he buttoned his shirt. He schemed as he ate his morning meal and it went sour in his stomach. He kicked a small animal and heard his enemy screaming. He looked at sharp knives with longing and stuck one into a piece of fruit

26 December

She had been unsuccessful in her efforts to bully the maid. Perhaps it was true that Betty Hyde was not at home this morning. And neither was Eric Franz answering his telephone. But the judge was in, and so was Harry Kipling.

She picked up the plastic evidence bag and held it up to the camera to visually record the chain of evidence written on the seal, and then the breaking of the seal. She pulled out the cap gun and set it down on the table in the front room.

Back in the den, she ran a test of the camera equipment which had just made her visual record of the evidence. On her way to the front door, four gilded wall mirrors caught the swift passing reflection of her T-shirt, shoulder holster and jeans. She was pulling on the new brown cashmere blazer, a twin to the garment Amanda Bosch had been wearing when she died. The tailor had reproduced it exactly. Not that most people would appreciate the detailing.

She had been tempted to re-create the cigarette burn on the sleeve, but the ghost of Helen Markowitz wouldn

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