Isis arrived at the Double 0 ten minutes after Taylor had. She gave him a bright good morning as she made her way toward her side of the desk. Taylor had left Tina Small’s apartment two hours earlier so that he could shower and shave. He felt terrible about sleeping with the teenager, but he could not help himself. Isis seemed to notice that something was wrong with him.
“You okay, dude?”
Taylor had told her that he was fine.
“Liar. Come on, Taylor,” she said with a look of concern on her face. “You can talk to me.”
Taylor looked at Isis and thought about it. He wanted to get this off his chest, stop all the lying, to just come clean--but he couldn’t.
“Listen, if it’s about that witness, we can talk about it.” The fax machine in their cubicle came to life.
Isis quickly rolled her swivel chair toward the machine. She removed the fax and read it. “It’s from Raymond. It’s a preliminary report on Jonathan Jacob. The C.O.D….” Isis paused for a moment and pinched the bridge her nose, “Exsanguination. He bled to death. They ripped off his penis and let the man bleed to death...son of a bitch.” She passed the fax over to Taylor.
“Damn,” Taylor said. He had a faraway look in his eyes.
“Taylor!” Isis called out to him. “What the hell is bothering you?” Isis held another fax in her hand. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Taylor nodded his head. “I’m fine.”
Isis stared at him for a moment. “Okay, dude, have it your way.” A second fax was a report on Jonathan Jacob’s secretary. The secretary died from a heart attack. An electrical surge in her pacemaker was the cause.
Stacey and Jannifer McHill—who were now Stacey and Jannifer Hill—entered NYU. A group of young men stared at the girls as they entered the building. One of the young men took the initiative and approached the twins.
“Hi, I’m Derrick. Derrick Simmons, are you two lost? Can I help you with something?”
Jannifer glared at the college student. “What’re you, the welcoming committee?” she snapped.
Stacey apologized for her sister. “You’re gonna have to excuse my cousin, she’s a little nervous about enrolling here.”
“You two look like you could pass for sisters.”
The twins looked at one another. “No,” Stacey said, “We’re cousins. This here is Jannifer and my name is Stacey Hill.” The twins told Derrick that they had enrolled in the drama class and that they needed someone to show them the way.
Derrick guided the girls toward the staircase. “This way, ladies.” He let Stacey and Jannifer walk in front of him. The young college student whispered under his breath as he goggled at their asses, “Sexy as hell.
The classroom that Derrick Simmons and the twins had entered had twelve students in it. The students were all sitting in folding chairs. Their chairs were in a large semicircle and a tall, pale looking man stood in the middle. “Mr. Simmons, you’re late.” The tall man froze when he saw the two lovelies that walked in with Derrick. “And who do we have here?” he asked.
Derrick introduced the girls.
“I’m Theodore Welsing, head of the theater department, and I’m glad that you decided to join our little group. Please grab a chair and join the circle. Have you two ever done any acting?” Mr. Welsing asked.
“Yes, well, I have back in Louisiana,” Stacey said as she glanced at her sister. “I was the lead in ‘A Raisin in The Sun.’”
“And you?” he asked Jannifer.
“Okay, listen, this is an advanced acting class--”
Jannifer cut him off, “Can we read something for you?”
The students all stirred in their seats. Derrick said, “Let them read the lead.”
One of the girls shouted, “That part is already taken.”
“Pam, please…” Derrick said.
Mr. Welsing sighed as a slight murmur vibrated through the classroom. “Settle down. Okay, I’m a fair man, let’s see what you two got.”
As Stacey and Jannifer stood up, the girl that Derrick called Pam stared at the twins. Stacey and Jannifer had hourglass figures and cantaloupe sized breasts. Derrick’s eyes were locked on Stacey.
“Okay then, let’s get started,” Mr. Welsing said as he handed Stacey and Jannifer a script. “We’re doing a revival of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. I want you to read the part of Stella...Ms... I’m sorry, I forgot your name.”
“My name is Jannifer Hill.”
“Okay. Ms. Hill, this is the scene where Blanche arrives at Stella and Stanley’s house.” Mr. Welsing took a seat next to Pam—who’d nailed the part of Stella two days ago. She was the best actress in the class. Pamerla Thomas was also the prettiest girl in the class, and Derrick Simmons was her boyfriend.
“Okay then,” Mr. Welsing said as he clapped his hands.
Pam whispered to Mr. Welsing, “They’ll never top my performance.”
“Scene!” Mr. Welsing shouted. Stacey winked at Pam before they started.
Everyone was in awe by Stacey and Jannifer’s performance. Mr. Welsing’s jaw dropped when Jannifer and Stacey took it upon themselves to improvise. The southern accent of Blanche Dubois—the part that Stacey read—was dead on. The body movement, the style, and even the cadence of Stanley Kowalski’s voice—the part that Jannifer read—was unbelievable.
Mr. Welsing stood and gave the girls a standing ovation. The man had tears in his eyes. “I’ve never—in my life—seen such a thing,” he said in between bravos. As if on cue, the whole class—except for Pam—stood and cheered. After Mr. Welsing’s thunderous applause, he said, “No doubt about it, the part is yours.” He was pointing at both the girls. “Such passion, such raw emotion...”
All the boys and a few of the girls in the class rushed toward the twins to congratulate them on their performance. “That was absolutely brilliant,” Derrick said to Stacey. Jannifer was watching Pam as Pam glowered at Stacey.
Jealousy consumed Pam. “Derrick P. Simmons, get your sorry ass over here, now!” she shouted. Pam pushed her way through the crowd and grabbed Derrick by the arm. She glared at Stacey. If looks could kill, Stacey would’ve been entering the netherworld. Instead, Pam slapped Stacey across the face. “Bitch, you better stay the hell away from my man.” Jannifer charged toward Pam, but Stacey stopped her. Pam then turned toward Derrick and said, “If you ever disrespect me like that again, I’ll kill you.”
Mr. Welsing stepped in and defused the situation. Stacey and Jannifer, with the rest of the class, spilled out into the hallway. Pam noticed that both girls were rubbing their cheeks. Creepy. Even more creepy, both girls winked at her.
Isis and Taylor sat at a table in Burger King, eating their double beef whoppers. “You know, Williams, if these girls are as good as we think they are—at acting—then we should focus our attention on acting schools or places like that,” he said as he bit into his burger.
Isis was thinking the same thing. She dipped a couple of fries into a small cup of ketchup.
“That’s good, rookie.” Isis chewed on her fries, then she said, “I’ll contact all the universities and colleges that teach drama while you handle all the acting studios…” Isis paused to check out Taylor’s reaction. It took a few seconds before he caught on.
“Damn, that’ll take forever,” he said. Isis stared at her rookie partner.
“Welcome to homicide.”
“What are we looking for?” Taylor asked.
Isis wiped the corners of her mouth with her thumb and index fingers. “We’re looking for two teenage girls between the ages of sixteen and eighteen years old, who signed up for a course in acting on the same day.”
When Isis and Taylor got back to the Double 0, they went right to work. The detectives were on their computers for over two hours.
Taylor took a break. He stretched, then he looked over his list. He had over sixty names so far. He looked at his partner. “How many names do you have?”
Isis’ lips moved as she counted in silence. “I got fifty-two.”
Taylor rubbed the back of his neck. “This is going to take forever.”
Lt. Stone stopped by the detectives’ cubicle and asked for a progress report. Isis told him what they were up to. “Keep pushing, Isis,” he said as he walked away. Taylor noticed that the lieutenant did something with his hands while he was speaking to Isis.
After Lt. Stone had walked away, Taylor asked, “What was he doing with his hands?” Isis acted as if she didn’t hear him.
“What is it, Taylor?”
“What was Stone doing with his hands when he was speaking to you?”
Without looking at Taylor, Isis said, “I don’t know what you’re talkin’ about.” Isis changed the subject. “I think we could narrow our list down by keeping our time frame within a week.”
After two more hours, Isis ended her search. She had accumulated ninety-five names of girls who signed up for a course in theater at universities throughout the city on the same day. The last names on her list were Stacey Hill and Jannifer Hill.
After the incident with Pam Thomas, Stacey and Jannifer had followed her and her boyfriend—by cab—to a motel in Queens. The twins had asked the cab driver to wait for them. He’d told the girls that his cab was an insomniac and that it was hard to get it to sleep. Jannifer gave the cabbie a fifty-dollar bill.
The cab slept.
The twins had entered the motel and noticed that there wasn’t anybody behind the counter. They’d also noticed that there was no computer for registering guests. Whoever worked the counter had to use an old registry where customers had to sign their name into a book. Jannifer peeked at the book and instantly noticed the nickname, Dee, room #1H. She tapped the name with her index finger and she and her sister stared at the room number.
Isis called Toni and told her that she’d be over in about an hour. Taylor had clocked out fifteen minutes earlier. Isis sat back in her chair and looked over her list. “This is gonna take a long time,” she said, as she ran her hands through her hair and sighed.
Toni had a hot bath waiting for Isis when she walked into her apartment. The women bathed together as Isis told Toni about the list. “This case is trying to drive me crazy.” Toni washed Isis’s back as she listened. “But I’ll catch those two before I let that happen.”
“You guys don’t have any other leads, right? So…this is it.”
After the bath and some Chinese food, the detectives climbed into Toni’s queen sized bed and watched a Paul Newman movie. Isis sat in a lotus position at the foot of the bed. She stared at the TV, but her mind was not on Paul Newman. Isis sat there musing over the case while she’d unconsciously picked at her feet. She slowly brought her fingers toward her nose. A pillow popped her in the back of the head and Toni said, “Don’t. You. Dare.”