THE VICTIM looked like a child who had toppled over in prayer. Her skull was crushed, flattened, and blood pooled out from the enormous fissure like holiday ribbons on a cake. She was childlike though definitely adult, wafer-thin, the type of model trash you might find passed out in Hollywood coke parties. Except this bitch was lying on the street, in East LA, and the sun was beating down like a furnace. Stax grimaced as he lifted the dimpled sheet of newspaper someone had draped over the head, and examined the morning's find. She was beautiful.

<<White, female. About 19. Jesus. It looks like someone took an ice cream scoop to her brain.>>

<<Stax, over here. White powder. Is it coke?>>

Stax dropped the sheet again, and sniffed the bloodstained $50 note lying on the roadside. <<Mmmm, sure smells like coke. At least she went out in style.>> He turned and peered out at the crowd, held back now by one of the uniformed officers. The girl was lying in the middle of the street in East LA, and a sombre crowd had assembled. The smell of blood was in the air, and hungry animals were lining up for a glimpse. It was feeding time at the zoo.

<<Do we have any witnesses?>> There wasn't even a ripple of a reply, and Stax's buddy Phil Gates spat on the ground. <<Does anyone know this girl?>>

He rifled through her handbag.

<<Her name was -------. That mean anything?>>

<<Isn't she that actress?>> some woman said. <<I saw her on SEX AND THE CITY.>>

Just then Stax caught sight of a small, narrow-faced man who immediately turned away.

<<Gates>> he said quickly <<take care of things here. I want to talk to that man.>>

Stax pushed through the crowd, saw the little man hurrying ahead of him. Before he could scuttle free of the crowd, Stax had him by the shoulder, pincer-style, ready to be interrogated. The sun was beating down like a furnace, and the crowd was getting heady on the smell of blood. It was just another day in East LA.

<<Say, friend, don't you want to talk to me?>>

The man looked sideways at him. <<I see>> he said with a broken Spanish accent. <<I see, but I no talk.>>

<<Why not>> Stax (profile: black, 31, divorced) said gently, edging closer.

<<DIABLO >> the little man said. <<It was not a human being. It was a demon.>>

The crowd's attention was caught now, and a swift, frightened murmur swept through it. Bloodlust was in the air, and it was still only 10am. Stax bit his lip, real nervous like.

<<All right, little man, just tell me what you saw.>>

His witness exhaled sharply, and Stax caught a whiff of old beer and worse. His teeth carried a week's worth of yellowish brown tartar, but there was still an ember of intelligence glowing in the muddy eyes. The little man held himself and rocked back and forth disconsolately, and made the sign of the cross. <<It was terrible, senor. First woman gets out of car, she's screaming. Big Cadillac, very flash. She tries to run up this street, but man in a lounge suit jump out of car and chase her. They go into alley together. Scream, and then screaming stop. More sounds, then man come running from alley. MADRE DIOS, senor. He glows.>>

Stax stopped, sucking in air. Oh god. Just when I thought I had something...

<<Glows. >>

<<Si , senor. Glows. He runs, faster than anyone I ever see. And he glows.>>

<<Glows. >> Stax tried to smile, tried to hide his disappointment, and could barely summon anything except disgust. <<Well, thankyou. I'll remember that. Glows.>>

The faces in the crowd around him were a spectrum of responses - everything from amusement to superstitious awe. Jesus Christ he groaned to himself. I can just see the papers tomorrow.

stalker -- sex and the city.
copyright plankettpods april 19 2002.
email alure@catcha.com for all your compliments and insults.