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That Invaluable Tiffany Lamp
By Kianna Alexander
Friday, February 08, 2008
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Natasha McGee, a young nurse with a big problem, visits a local PI in the hopes that he can uncover the secret of who is stalking her.
There is only so much a woman can take. At a certain point, she has to take measures to preserve her sanity.
With that purpose in mind, Natasha McGee knocked on the office door of Porter Dresden, Private Investigator. The door was soon opened by a tall, slender, white man in his early forties.
“Can I help you, Miss…”
“McGee. Natasha.” As he stepped out of her path, she hurried inside. “Some crazy person is following me,” she whispered urgently.
Porter closed the office door and escorted the visibly frazzled woman to a well-worn leather chair in front of his desk. She was black, in her mid-twenties, clad in multicolored floral scrubs and white loafers. Her raven hair was a conservative bun crowning her head. Porter could tell she was reserved, caring, and singularly stubborn. Once he was sitting across from her, he produced a pen and pad from his desk drawer.
“So, Ms. McGee, what can you tell me about the person who’s harassing you?”
“Well, not much.” She sighed. “His face is always covered. He wears a black hooded jacket, dark shades, and a surgical mask.” She paused. “I’m a pediatric nurse, and he always seems to be hanging around the hospital when my shift is over. I work varying hours, but he always seems to know when I’m getting off work. ”
Porter stopped writing. “Well, Ms. McGee, are you sure this person isn’t someone you work with, at the hospital?”
“I don’t think so.” She chuckled ruefully. “I don’t know why anyone would be so interested in watching me. All I do is work.”
He looked thoughtful. “I assume you’ve already spoken with the police?”
Natasha rolled her eyes in response. “Yeah. And they didn’t do anything. They say they can’t until I have a clear description of the assailant. By the time I have that; I figure I’ll be dead.”
Porter was amused by her irate tone. He knew how frustrated she must feel. He also knew that, without a description, the police really couldn’t help her. “Well just to be safe, I’ll do some checking on your co-workers.” He put his pad and pen away, and stood. “In the meantime, Ms. McGee, I’ll have to ask you to remain vigilant; be very aware of your surroundings.”
“Thank you.” Natasha stood. “You’ve already been much more helpful than the police in this town. How much is this going to cost?”
“I charge twenty dollars an hour for research, and thirty dollars an hour for reconnaissance.”
“Fine.” She approached the office door. “I’d rather pay you than end up decapitated at the bottom of the reservoir. Thanks for your help, Mr. Dresden.”
“Please,” he said, approaching her and shaking her hand, “call me Porter. Would you like for me to take you home?”
“No, that won’t be necessary; it’s just a few blocks down the street.”
“Well, at least let me follow you in my car, to make sure you get home safely.”
Natasha relented. She let him follow her home, his old, blue Cadillac trailing her green Toyota. He waited for her to unlock the front door of her modest one story house. As she waved from the porch, he drove away.
The very same evening, as Natasha laid on her sofa, reading a romance novel, John was stationed behind the bushes just outside her living room window. As he watched her, he admired her exotic beauty. Yes, Natasha Joy McGee would be his perfect handmaiden. She would enjoy the privilege of taking care of his every desire. And his ailing mother would benefit from her skills as a nurse.
Before long, Natasha started to take notice of the prying eyes. Making her way to window, she flicked off the lamp and peered out into the darkness. Seeing no one, she closed the blinds. Being sure that every door and window in the house was securely locked, she went to her bedroom to retire for the evening.
Within the week, Natasha received a call from Porter Dresden.
“I don’t have any reason to believe this guy is a coworker of yours,” he told her. “I think I’ll have to start looking at old boyfriends.”
“I only have two ex-boyfriends…both from high school.” Natasha was rifling through her closet, looking for her apron. “Both relationships were equally disastrous.”
“Well, I’ll start with your exes, and we’ll go from there. Be safe, Ms. McGee. This investigation could take a few more weeks, or even months.”
Natasha plopped down on her sofa. “You know, my mother’s been trying her best to get me to stay with her. But I’m not letting this nut job disrupt my life.”
Porter chuckled. “You’re a real pistol. Well, I’ve got to get back to work. Have a good day, Ms. McGee.”
Replacing the cordless phone in the receiver, Natasha went into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door. As she decided what to make for dinner, she thought she heard a sound coming from the dining room. Closing the refrigerator, she moved silently toward the patio door. To her horror, the sliding glass door was ajar. Closing and locking it quickly, she glanced around to see if anyone had entered the house. Grabbing a heavy wooden dowel she kept in the hall closet, she marched from room to room, looking under furniture, behind doors and drapes, and in all the closets. When she was satisfied she was alone, she sauntered back to the kitchen to prepare dinner.
As she strolled off the beige carpet and onto the green checkered linoleum, she was greeted by the sight of the black hooded jacket and jeans, the surgical mask, and the dark shades of the mysterious man who’d been plaguing her. He was sitting on the barstool at the island, like he belonged there. Enraged by his nonchalance, she lashed out, swinging the heavy dowel at his head, intending to crack it open like a honeydew melon.
But this was not the case. She was shocked when he grabbed the dowel in midair and tossed it aside like a toy. “Now, Natasha. That’s no way to treat a guest. Where’s your hospitality?” His voice was filled with condescendence.
Roaring and charging, she swung her fists at him. He restrained her with relative ease, covering her mouth with a gloved hand.
“Look, gal, it’s no use fighting me. You’re going to come home with me, and be my companion. You’ll see to all my…manly needs…” he trailed his free hand over her hip. When Natasha recoiled in disgust, he grew angry and pushed her to the floor. “And you are also going to take good care of my mamma. She’s sick, and she needs somebody like you.”
Natasha struggled to her feet, backing slowly into the living room, “So hire somebody. What kind of bizarre…”
He cut her off in mid sentence, slapping her so hard she fell back against the sofa table. “Shut up.” He knelt before her, squeezing her chin between his two large hands. “This arrangement is non-negotiable.”
He closed his eyes, as if planning to kiss her. Natasha used the opportunity to grab the Tiffany lamp resting on the sofa table behind her. The colored glass shattered into a million pieces as it made contact with his skull; he slumped into a heap on the floor.
Pushing him away, Natasha rose and sprinted to her neighbor’s house.
Within ten minutes, her yard and house were bustling with activity. The paramedics were bringing out the barely conscious man on a stretcher. Natasha was standing on the porch when they wheeled him by; she followed them to the ambulance.
“Oh my God,” she said, as a police officer removed the shades and surgical mask. The bleeding man who she’d just pummeled was none other than Porter Dresden. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
Weeks later, the police revealed to Natasha that Porter had developed multiple personality disorder after his elderly mother fell ill with Alzheimer’s. He hadn’t been aware of any of his actions as John, the personality that had been stalking her. Therefore, he would spend the rest of his days in a mental hospital, under close supervision, and heavily medicated.
Natasha decided that if she continued to live in her house, she’d need to be heavily medicated. So she took her mother up on the offer, and went to live with her, lest her own mental state be jeopardized. One question remained on her mind for months to come.
Who’s going to replace my damn lamp?
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