Perceptions: Snuffed and Stuffed…

The man in Dr. Livingston’s closet was not him. That was the official and only report from the police. They never disclosed to Traci who he was, or how he ended up there. Traci and Raun were each other’s alibi. GG’s parents would most likely be hers.

Traci, GG, and Lynda were enjoying their midday meal in the Teacher’s Lounge. The room resembled more a small kitchen than a lounge. Linda had decorated the room with a square table with three chairs pushed against the lemon colored wall. A large four burner electric stove with oven was squashed between a cupboard and dishwasher that was also used as a storage cupboard, as no one knew how to use it. Also in the crowded room was a large white fridge to store the teachers’ lunches.

old fashioned kitchen

Photo Credit: East Valley Tribune

“So who’d you think he was?” Asked GG. She liked to begin conversations like people are in her head, and have an inkling of what she’s talking about.

“Maintenance worker,” replied Lynda. She said it matter-of-fact, as if she was told or somehow knew.

“Really?” Asked GG. She found the news scintillating. “Why was he killed, and stuffed there of all places?”

“Probably stuck his nose where it didn’t belong,” said Lynda.

“Shut up!” Exclaimed GG oblivious to Lynda’s demeanor.

“So much crazy shit going on all of a sudden,” said Traci.

GG whispered excitedly, “What could be crazier than a dead body in a school? This really freaking me out. I mean can you imagine minding your own business, and then next thing you know, you’re dead?”

“Well, that’s just it, isn’t it?” Intoned Lynda. “If he was minding his own business, he wouldn’t be dead.”

“De police ain’t tell me nothing,” said Traci.

“Sometimes the police are useless. People get away with murder all the time ,” sniffed Lynda.

What was she trying to stir up? Did she think? Nooo. She couldn’t believe Dr. Livingston killed that poor unfortunate man. If he didn’t, then who did, and why? Wondered Traci.

Lynda reached for her Bible, which was never far from her hands. Some of the pages were folded over, and green highlight was peppered throughout. “God isn’t sleeping. If you believed he was, watch for the signs.” Lynda was heading towards retirement and grooming Traci to take her place as school counselor. Lately, Lynda seemed obsessed with God. She began taking up the Bible more and more, and proselytizing. Not that anything was wrong with that, but Traci never knew her as a Christian, and she should know, as Lynda was her foster mom.

Looking at Lynda quoting from the Bible, Traci wondered again what preempt this turn. Ian had been missing for more than ten years. Granted Traci moved out, but Lynda had become a Bible toting Christian before Traci moved out. GG was rolling her eyes and fake yawning. An unexpected laugh escaped Traci.

“You find God’s words funny? Seek thy blessings from Jesus for he will walk this land once more. I pray your wicked ways be not your downfall. Like the man found in the closest, I hope you don’t come to such an end!”

“Lynda, just cut it. You need to stop taking everything so seriously. Where did wisecracking Lynda go? I say bring her back, right Traci?”

“Don’t involve me in that Pele case,” laughed Traci. She got up from the table in the Teacher’s lounge and cleared away the remainder of her lunch.

“The soccer player?” GG asked.

Traci smiled sadly, as she turned to face Lynda and GG. “No, my aunt used to say that all the time. Apparently there was a sensational trial in Barbados back in the 50’s or 60’s where Pele, a business man was accused of murder.”

GG leaned forward, while Lynda returned to leafing through her Bible. Her lips moving, her gaze intense. After disposing her garbage, Traci returned to the table.

“It was the trial of the century. People from all over the island came to hear the case. Everyday the courtroom was packed. Witness after witness gave their testimony, but no one really saw Pele commit the crime. After weeks of hearsay, the judge threw out the case. Later no one wanted to be associated with the Pele case.”

GG seemed to have been holding her breath throughout the story. Lynda looked up with disinterest before stating, “people get away with murder everyday. Murder of the soul. The police are useless. Up to now, no one told me what happened to my sweet child. Is he dead or alive.  I know someone killed him.”

No one knew what to say. Traci hoped the fucker met an awful end at the hands of someone crazier than him. People say forgive and forget. She will never forgive that psycho!

“Killed his sweet soul.”

Sweet soul my ass! That man was a spoiled viper.

“Someone corrupted my sweet boy.” Justice will prevail. Judgement is coming for all who led my baby down the road to destruction.” Lynda returned to reading her Bible.

Did Lynda really believe all she was saying? Traci wondered.

GG raised her index finger to her head and made a couple of circular motions. Traci mouthed, “stop it,” but she had a wide smile on her lips. Traci’s mind strayed to Raun wondering if he had located Dr. Livingston.


Raun wondered how Traci talked him into spying on her boss. Dr. Livingston’s car was still in his driveway. Did the police find him already? Was he arrested? This was totally not his scene. He was a photographer. Raun fingered the strap around his neck. His alibi for why he was in this part of town. A black man in a white neighborhood. Some residents were giving him second and third long stares. He was dressed reasonably well, but you never know. Taking the camera from around his neck he pointed to the front of Dr. Livington’s home. depressing the shutter.

A white woman smiled at him as she strolled by in navy blue yoga attire with white sneakers. His looks sometimes come in handy. He maybe a black man, but he knew women found him attractive. He wasn’t into white meat, but he still could look, nod, smile, and appreciate her slim and stunning figure. As she passed him, he noticed that her butt jiggled. No underwear? Maybe a thong. “Miss? Excuse me?” She preened and looked coyly over her shoulder, while swinging her hips more pronounceable. Traci said do not engage anyone one in conversation, but fuck it. He didn’t want to be arrested for trespassing or breaking and entering. “Have you seen Dr. Livingston lately?”

She stopped. “Are you a cop?”

How should he answer that question. With the camera around his neck, he shook his head no. “I’m doing a favor for my girlfriend.” Girlfriend, ha! That sounded so cheesy, but what was she? “She asked me to check up on her boss. His school has been calling him without an answer.”

“The police left a few minutes ago. They removed some stuff from his house.” The woman moved a little closer. Raun could now see she that although she had the body of a thirty year old, she had the face of a much older woman. Smiling, she began to talk about the last time she saw Dr. Livingston. It seemed no one had seen him for quite some time. The day he left school was the last day he was seen by his colleagues, as well as his neighbors. Interesting… Where are you Dr. Livingston? His car was in his driveway. According to Patricia, the police only searched the house and garage. She didn’t know if they searched his car, because her favorite show, Days of Our Lives had started by the time the police got to Dr. Livingston’s garage.

Patricia said a neighbor had called the police because of an odor coming from the garage. The detectives said they would return. An odor? As Raun thought it prudent to leave the area, an unmarked police car pulled into the driveway. Watching with Patricia, Raun saw two detectives in pristine suits exit their vehicle with a white piece of paper. They went to the car in the driveway. A coroner vehicle pulled up behind the cop’s car. By the time they all were together, one cop broke the front window of the car, and popped the trunk.

Even from his vantage point on the sidewalk, Raun could smell the odor Patricia spoke about. Gagging Raun crossed the street, but it was already too late. He saw Dr. Livingston. No way could The Louse have killed that maintenance man, unless he came back as a ghost.


Photo Credit: First To Know


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