Yet another day.
Ok. About Juan-Carlos, Manda, and Maybelle.
They had always lived together. At one point Juan-Carlos moved his boyfriend in. At another point, Maybelle moved hers in too.
Manda hadn’t really cared much about people. She’d had birds. and she’d had plants. And she’d noted that the boyfriends didn’t last.
Let’s be accurate. She pointed out to Juan-Carlos that Ray wasn’t around when he said he would be. That he was out later, and left earlier. That he didn’t do his share of the cleanup. (Juan-Carlos ignored that, so she shifted tactics.)
Ray wasn’t around much was he?
Ray was a trifle, oh, sharp with other people when it wasn’t necessary.
Ray didn’t really seem to realize that he wasn’t very kind, oh not to /me/, but why does he keep commenting on your age and height?
Ray eats rather a lot, but comments on you constantly. (The references to appearance didn’t work so well either)
This was her most magnificent plan (that’s how she would have described it to you if you’d asked and if she liked you – but she wouldn’t like you) it took a few examples to get under Juan-Carlos’s skin, but eventually these stories worked very well. Ray was gone within three months.
Dear, dear. Ray is getting a little near sighted. No really, I saw him the other day and he didn’t see me. He was with friends. I don’t know who, but they must have been friends because their conversation was so animated.
Oh, Juan-Carlos I didn’t expect to see you home! I just ran into Ray downtown.
Coming home late one evening Manda went into a wonderful dithery rant de la rant:
Where was I tonight? Oh on 52nd Street, coming out of one of those clubs. I don’t know which one. Didn’t I say? No I suppose I didn’t. I was just so startled when Ray and his friend snubbed me. A very nice looking young man. So it surprised me no end. I must have told you all about it Juan-Carlos, but all I know is that I waved and he didn’t see it, so I called out to him and he didn’t hear it. Well! Imagine my surprise when he didn’t respond! That’s how I knew he must be aging. And hiding it! So obviously he’s getting near sighted and perhaps deaf.
You and Ray know such lovely people! I saw him with the sweetest boy last afternoon. The boy? Oh I don’t know. About twenty-five I think. Dark. I told you, very good looking.
If Juan-Carlos had other lovers, neither Manda nor Maybelle ever met them.
For two years, Manda had a suitor. He may or may not have loved her, but it was clear that she enjoyed having him around. She told him what to do. She berated him. She ignored him.
In anyone else this would have read as nastiness, or a humiliation based relationship. With Manda however – it was forgetfulness. She liked the man briefly. She was sexually intimate with him (that’s how she described it to Maybelle.) She had enormous contempt for him for not being herself, Maybelle, or Juan-Carlos. She told him to go away and not come back. He left.
Weeks later, if they’d cared, they might have read a series in the post about a rash of suicides. Manda’s man was one of them. (Or was he?)
Maybelle had a genuine boyfriend. That’s how he referred to himself. “I’m your genuine boyfriend.” She didn’t argue the point. For six months when she was in her teens she’d gone to movies and clubs. For a year of her twenties she’d allowed men to buy her drinks. In her thirties she’d had dinner dates and occasional flings (Manda’s term). But once, in her thirties, the “genuine boyfriend” called and called again. He must have loved and respected her – he told her each time they met up: “Maybelle, no one else will love you or respect you. But I do. I’m your genuine boyfriend.”
Maybelle doubted his genuineness, his love, his respect.
“That’s easy to test.” said Manda. “Have him come by tonight.”
He did. Maybelle, Manda, and Juan-Carlos were waiting.
“Maybelle’s money is in a trust. I administer the trust. Juan-Carlos is allowed a very small allowance in return for signing at my discretion.”
“You know I love and respect Maybelle.”
“Maybelle tells me so. Juan-Carlos says he will offer you 2000 dollars per year to leave her alone. Maybelle is entitled to 1000 dollars without my signature.”
“I won’t be bought.”
“What if Juan-Carlos offered you one hundred thousand dollars, just to leave us alone?”
Maybelle’s man was venal enough to look interested.
“So, Maybelle, Juan-Carlos. Who does it?”
Juan-Carlos threw a chair at Wayne. It startled him just enough for Manda move in and to cut his throat.
The three of them wrapped the body in a rug which they carried to the esplanade and dropped into the river.
He was found eventually. No one thought of them.