Part 51

Posted by Barbanne on December 12, 2002 at 22:18:15:



Some people never learn.
Like me.
I mean after that time with Roddy, Sherilee's brother, you would think I'd know better than to stick my nose in but I don't.
So my nose, surmounted by my specs and my shaggy dog hair, peered around the door to Frankie's flat. I had decided to grow my hair long again and it was at present in the healing stage. I had also decided when Roxie came into Playdead in tears that enough was enough with her and Frankie and Chas. I would go around and sort things out. I mean there has to be a way around things doesn't there? I have always thought so anyway.
So, wearing my "Dead Girls Never Say No" tee shirt and a short denim skirt and my sneakers (the ones I like to "die" for Alex in) and ankle socks, I had fronted around to where Frankie lived in a high rise apartment complex within walking distance of our warehouse studio and had banged on the door.
No answer.
I knocked again.
I tried the handle and found it unlocked and pushed the door open and called out, "Frankie."
Still no answer.
"Frankie are you here?"
I waited listening to the silence and then went in.
Me screaming hysterically.
Frankie lay on the lounge with her clothes disarrayed and looking really and truly dead and what looked like wire was wrapped around her throat and she was going purple. I ran over to her flapping my arms and crying.
"Frankie, Frankie, Frankie," I squawked in a high thin voice.
I heard a sound to my right and turned to find Chas looking at me with a stunned, dopey sort of expression.
I felt cold and drifty and thought "I'm going to faint," and then I thought, "if I faint now I am dead."
I staggered and nearly fell alongside Frankie's body.
Chas looked as though he was going to speak and then he turned away and fled. I fell to my knees beside Frankie and found the wire, it was a thin like electric wire made up of tiny strands wound together and it was biting into her neck so hard it was like buried in her flesh. I got it loose and then I shook her and then punched her chest a few times and tried to think of first aid things and couldn't but got on top of her, prised her lips open and shoving her tongue aside I breathed into her mouth. Her breath smelled sour and I gagged but kept going and kept thumping her chest and then she started breathing, raspy and ragged, but good big breaths, gasps almost. She moaned loudly.
I fumbled with the phone and dialled triple zero and gasped out my message calling for both the police and an ambulance.
The girl told me to slow down and repeat my request but I was by now hysterical and just blathered out the address and told her to hurry. Then I dropped the phone and went over to where Frankie was gasping and coughing and had an awful red welt around her throat and got her propped up and then suddenly I felt violently ill and rolling away from her I sicked up all over my tee shirt.
If you are ever in trouble don't come to me. I am hopeless, pathetic, a sad nothing when it comes to dealing with crises and this was no exception. Frankie had been throttled and was gasping for breath, more dead than alive and Chas had gone to do gawd knows what evil and here was I tossing my cookies all over myself. I staggered to my feet and, holding my tee shirt up to contain the mess, made my shaky way to the kitchen where I leaned over the sink and washed the sick off and thoroughly drenched my shirt to wash away the muck. I rinsed out my mouth and then tottered over to where Frankie was in all sorts of trouble on the sofa. I got to her and got her on her side and started rubbing her back and trying to get her breathing back to normal and then thank god there were cops in the room and the medics arrived moments after and they started working on Frankie and the uniformed cops took me aside. There were two of them a young guy and a girl. The girl was talking to me, asking questions, jotting notes, looking wonderingly at my saturated clothing. I had started filling them in on what I had found when it hit me.
"Oh jeezus," I said.
"What's that Ma'am?"
"Roxie, Roxie, he'll go after Roxie."
"Who's that ma'am?"
Chas, the person who did this, Chas, he'll go after Roxie."
"Who's Roxie Ma'am?"
"Frankie's friend. She's been telling Frankie that Chas is no good for yonks and now we all know he is, because he just tried to kill Frankie and if I hadn't come along, well, he would have and now I reckon he'll go after Roxie."
"Where can we find Roxie Ma'am?"
"Probably at our work place and Chas knows the way and Oh you have to get someone there."
"Where is this Ma'am?"
I told them the address and they got on the two way calling for a car to go to Playdead.
"I gotta ring them," I said.
"Who Ma'am?" asked the young guy.
"Roxie and the others, I gotta warn them."
I looked around. One of the medics was using the phone I had used to call help. There was another wall phone in the kitchen. I grabbed it and dialled Alex's number. The cop watched me as though uncertain whether I was a crazy or just the dipsiest dame he had ever met.
"It's Barb and I'm here at Frankie's with the cops and Chas has just tried to kill her and if I hadn't gotten here when I did he would have and I was sick and Chas is gone and I think he might come after Roxie and I've asked the cops to send someone and they have and you have to keep Roxie there and look after her and lock the doors except when the cops come and........"
"Yes, yes."
"Roxie's gone, she's on her way over there, to Frankie's."
"Oh shit, come on you." I dropped the phone letting it dangle from its cord and grabbing the cop's arm dragged him after me.
"Hey!" he shouted.
"COME ON!" I screamed.
I galloped down the stairs with the cop in pursuit. As I reached the lobby level I saw Roxie through the glass doors. She swung in and Chas emerged from behind a pillar clutching a knife and totally berserk.
"Stop right there," shouted my cop hero and he had his service pistol out.
Chas shrieked in frustration and then he turned towards us.
"Run Roxie!!!" I screamed at her.
She was half inside the door and wide eyed and then she turned and fled back into the street.
Chas looked at her and then at me and then back at her and then he ran toward me the knife held high."
"Bitch!" he screamed, "fucking interfering bitch!"
"Put down the knife sir," said my hero cop.
Chas never even heard him and kept coming, looking straight at me and quite insane.
"Put down the knife!"
Chas screamed in animal frustration and kept coming straight at me.
The bullet hit Chas in the thigh and he went down sobbing and shrieking and the cop pounced on him and I grabbed up the knife where it had fallen and the cop cuffed him.
Roxie came sneaking back.
With adrenaline draining rapidly out of my system I sat down suddenly very very tired.

There were cops everywhere.
Like the place was crawling with them. I gave my statement to the lady cop, the one who arrived first with the hero cop who shot Chas. Chas went off to hospital with his wound bandaged and two cops for company. Frankie had already gone off with the medics who had treated her. Roxie had to give a statement and then she and me beat it back to Playdead as soon as we could to get away from the whole horrible business.
Back with Alex I found myself shaking badly and really shattered by the whole experience. Alex calmed me as best he could and gave me a hot drink and warm clothing and eventually I started to get on top of it and relax a bit. Roxie was shaken up too but she was more intrigued by what had happened than shocked by being involved in the way I had been.
"I told you he was a shit and I knew it would end badly," said Roxie.
"I can't get my head around how horrible it was. I really thought Frankie was dead."
"You shouldn't have gone around there without someone else going with you," said Alex.
"Good thing I did or that man would have finished Frankie off."
"You could have asked me Barb."
"I knew it was going to get bad," said Roxie almost to herself.
"I didn't expect to blunder in on a murder," I said, "I had no idea it was anything but an argument."
"Chas is a shit, a horrid violent man."
"Well you saw that Roxie when the rest of us didn't."
"Poor girls. I'm so sorry this had to happen."
"Oh Alex I suppose these things happen and you never know when, but I can't believe how gruesomely ghastly Frankie looked. I'll never play dead again."
"Never say never Barb."
But you don't understand. It was horrible."
My mind was filled with visions of the choking Frankie and I shuddered to think how different from my mild fantasies real death was. I felt that I could never pretend again. I wondered if Candice wasn't right and if maybe I got out of this and went back to being a boring little broad waiting on tables whether I couldn't get over all of my nightmares.
Alex could see the doubts assailing me and he suggested I should maybe try and rest and try to start putting it into perspective.
"C'mon Roxie," I said, "you can't be alone and especially not in that apartment not after this. You can stay here tonight."
Roxie nodded gratefully.
"I'll cook some dinner soon but for now I am going to try and rest."
Roxie and I went to my bedroom and lay together holding on to each other and trying to draw comfort from ourselves. Then, quite naturally, Roxie kissed me and I kissed her back and we started to explore each other's bodies, our hands roaming each across the other. And then, as if it were meant to be, we were undressed and wearing only bra and panties and we were kissing and touching and then mutually masturbating and then climaxing and sliding into sleep in each other's arms.
I woke in dusk light and saw Alex sitting in a chair inside the room watching us as we slept entwined together. I looked over at him and smiled and said, "Thank you Alex for being you."
He smiled back and my heart filled with love for him, for his gentleness, for his understanding, for his love.
He put a finger to his lips and said, "Shhhhhh," and rose to go.
"Time to cook," I said and turning whacked Roxie's silk clad bum and said, "Up and at 'em girlfriend."
She squealed and then groaned.
Alex slipped away smiling.
We ate and talked some more and then I went to bed and slept deeply.
The next day Roxie and Alex and I went to visit Frankie in hospital. She looked appalling, but evidently there was nothing very much wrong with her long term, however, she had taken an awful emotional beating and had decided to go home to her parents place somewhere out of town and of course she had no desire to work at Playdead anymore. I wasn't surprised and when she asked Roxie to go with her I thought regretfully of losing two friends to say nothing of two good models. Roxie quietly told Frankie that no, she would be staying here in town and pobably staying with Playdead. I could see Frankie was disappointed but they kissed and parted friends. Promising to come back and visit again before she left we all trooped out and went back to the warehouse studio. I fixed up a permanent bed for Roxie who had no desire to return to the flat she had shared with Frankie and tried to bury myself in writing.
I dragged Roxie along for a session with Candice who managed to put the whole episode into some sort of context for us.
I was confused and disoriented and this brush with real tragedy had changed the way I thought about myself and my life.
I had to reassess.