The Case of the Fiery Grillman

A Portland Restaurant Mystery - 1979


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#3 Bangs 1 Next Sunday, Chapter 2 - Righteously Laid


Djuna secured their favorite, private, high-backed booth in the empty afternoon dining room and ordered a Manhattan up. She didn’t order for Yvonne, who rarely drank before work. Besides, with Yvonne there were always two choices: most of the time, Kentucky whiskey, Maker’s Mark usually, neat, water back; but when savoring life, Remy warm in a snifter.

Fishing a cigarette from her purse, Djuna glanced out the window and noticed the rain had stopped. Sun shining through dark clouds made new spring leaves glow like a moment from the first days of the world. If only life could change as quickly as sun emerging and you could run free of a million small decisions that had led you to become a person you had never envisioned and didn’t particularly like. Djuna figured you could do that, leave everything and move to a place where you knew not a soul, had no entanglements, no expectations, where you could invent yourself anew. It was delicious thinking, which brought an unaccustomed moment of peace. But she sensed Yvonne’s presence - they had a spooky connection that way - and turning, saw her ordering from the bar, her short black Open Door skirt hidden by the huge, ugly, gray thrift store sweater she wore to hide herself. She made her way to Djuna’s table, carrying both a double whiskey and a water back in her left hand. She kissed Djuna lightly on the lips (a thing that did not quite satisfy) and slid into the booth with a grace that Djuna envied. Yvonne said, “Funny you should call. I was thinking of giving you a Bangs. What’s happening?”

“Paul.” Djuna spread her hands wide. “I can’t decide. At least with Johnny, I know what I’m getting. I’m twenty-five. What would I do with a nineteen year old, a cook of all things?”

Newspaper 1 "The Obituary"

On Wellington Street

There was an obituary that appeared in the newspaper a few days ago. The person who died was an adult male, almost forty-five years old. The entry had his name, birth date, and the date of his death. However, all other information had been withheld.The only other piece of text that was included was a single line; “Their pain has ended.” The lack of information is especially strange considering obituaries are often written by or with the permission of the family involved. I have asked around, but few people have been willing to comment on it.

Upon speaking with the family and talking with local police I was able to get some information. The following is from the testimony of the families eldest daughter of sixteen. It is important to note that despite the strange nature of her admission, she has been deemed sane, and has not be accused of having any fault in the death of her step father.

“I was waiting at the park when the man came up to me . He sat down on the bench and asked me how I had been. He used my name, though I had never seen the man in all of my life. He was very old, and smelled heavily of cologne. His suite was olive green and his eyes were slightly pink. He had dark gums and thin, pink lips. His skin was pale, and was very wrinkly. I didn't like his voice. It was like listening to glass speak.

I asked him how he knew my name. He wouldn't answer that, and simply asked me again how I had been. I didn't know what to make of him. He was talking to me like I knew him, but I knew I had never seen his face before. I was going to leave, but David had told me not to go home for at least a hour. It had only been a half hour, and I was beginning to worry about my sister again.

I told him I was fine, but something in the way he frowned at me made it clear he knew I was lying.

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