Hello again. You’ll notice I use the same dark and stormy photo I’ve used before. It’s about the gloomiest I could find and it portends trouble and grief, which is the way I view incest and other abuse, especially child abuse. I would have liked to use Munch’s “The Scream,” if I could have found an available copy. I hope like me you read it and weep – then set out to help!
Frank Ryman, the lead detective is in his office where a young black couple has been ushered in. He notices that the woman is somewhat unsteady on her feet and her companion is very solicitous of her. She has been the understudy for the murdered woman. Frank has asked the man to wait outside.
“My name is Carlotta Matthews. I’ve never been married, so it’s Ms. Matthews, my father’s name.”
There was something about the way she said it, with a tinge of bitterness. Frank sat in hhis chair at an angle to her. “What is it you want to talk with me about?”
Her hands shook little less than her voice. “I’m going to tell you something that will shock you, and I’d give my life not to have to say it. I know you want me to tell you what I know about this woman’s death, but this has to come first. Someone else’s life is in danger, someone I love deeply.”
Frank nodded. “Please relax and go on.” His heart went out to her because she so plainly suffered.
“I’m not going to beat around the bush. Being a detective, you know about incest. She said the word as if it were a rattlesnake in her mouth.
“Yes, I do know. You don’t have to stand on ceremony with me, Carly. There’s nothing I haven’t heard about. If it’s something you’ve known, I won’t sit in judgment and I’ll give you what help I can.’
That should clear up any notion she had that this was some uhneard of evil.
“Okay.” Tears slid down her face. He handed her a box of tissues. “My father and I … oh God, it goes back to when I was an older child and it–didn’t stop until I was sixteen and ran away. I told him I’d kill him–I’d kill myself if he tried to make me come back. He didn’t.”
She sttopped for so long, he said gently, “Please go on.”
Her face was a study in agony then. “He said he wasn’t to blame, that I was a born whore, that most women were.”
He felt the start of outrage. “The biggest lie ever told, but I’m sure you know by now he had to excuse himself. This kind of behavior is common in men who sleep with their daughters.”
Frank hurt for her in some deep place within himself. Matthews? That cooperative man who had looked at him with such sorrowful eyes when he had talked about the murdered woman? What must he have thought of her. The man’s voice came back: she’s so good to me.
“Listen,” he said, his voice both angry and soothing. “You’re dead when you stop caring in this business, so I’ll help you in any way I can.”
Just a little later Frank talks to his detective buddy, Hux, about the woman’s story.
Frank sat thinking about Carly Matthews and her anguished face when she’d talked about the incest and her fear for her younger sister. Hux saw the look and sobered. Frank told him the story and Hux whistled.
“What do you think?” Frank asked.
Hux looked at him with a baleful eye. “I knew there was something I didn’t like about Webster Mattheews. He looks like a half-assed knight on a white horse.” Hux seemed to get more rattled as he talked.
“Listen,” Hux said, “I’ve always thought motherfucker was the most useful word in the English language. And by God, men like Matthews prove it.”
There you have it, another turn in the case. I had intended to make this the last excerpt, but what will be the sixth and last excerpt will go on Friday. It’s about Frank’s beloved off and on lawyer girlfriend and her soul-searing rage at a former lover. Abortion and miscarriage and lifelong grief and urge to kill. It’s too powerful to miss.
I hope you’ll still be with me next Friday when you’ll read the longest of the excerpts, almost the whole chapter. Many women will identify and weep. Many men should hang their heads in shame, but many more men will empathize and swear never to go there and will look at the loved women in their lives in a different light.
Will I see you next Friday? I think you’ll identify. Until then -