Mystery & Crime

The Orange Curtain


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The top floor of the one percent meets the grim reaper.

Things aren't what they seem at the South Coast Tower, aka The Orange Curtain, so named because of its glassy veneer that reflects the sun, a fifty-story apartment building located in ritzy Newport Beach California. A violent murder takes place in penthouse 5008, prompting an investigation by Lieutenant Detective Max Cusini and his partner, Detective Jimmy Sanchez. And what begins as a lone murder quickly unfolds into a string of serial killings inside this upscale building that not only confounds Detective Cusini's skills as a veteran sleuth but also stirs from his past certain haunts. Cusini's only hope in solving this case is to negotiate a taut relationship with the Tower's two most eccentric tenants: a Mr. and Mrs. Capote, two novelists who know a lot more about these murders--the Orange Curtain's cryptic gallery of tenants--than they should. That is until Detective Cusini finally decodes the cryptic message.

A gripping psychological thriller, pitting two noble detectives against a cunning killer.


Jenny-Anastasia was a has-been actress who was once a pretty good porn star, who, at the moment, lay propped on all fours, howling out her greatest love scene yet. Jenny-A, so called by her friends, family, and lovers, used to be a daytime soap celebrity with occasional bit parts in B-movies. Harold Simmons, her postman and current lover, knew all this. He also knew that Jenny-A’s number one requirement was for well-endowed, hard-bodied studs like him to give her what she needed, what her cheating heart deserved, a wham-bam thank you, dude. After all, the old geezer Jenny-A ended up with, another has-been in the movie biz, was none other than Derrick Rollings, otherwise known as Kit Rollings. Kit was huge in the sixties and seventies for producing sci-fi flicks, big on the cheese, small on the taste, nothing but a cuckold now, many times over.

Jenny-A liked her hair pulled during doggy style; she also liked to be slapped on the rump, occasionally in the face, and sparingly on the legs—even with a strap sometimes; the girl was kinky. But today Harold decided to push the envelope a bit, pun intended, and go beyond leaving rosy handprints on Jenny-A’s shapely buttocks. Today Harold was going to do Kit Rollings a favor and screw Kit’s lying, cheating wife like she’d never been screwed before. On this fourth of August in the middle of one of the most intense heat waves in Newport Beach, California’s history—a mercury boiling 106 degrees—Harold Simmons, buck naked inside Penthouse 5008, located in the illustrious high rise called the South Coast Tower, was literally going to bang, then beat the living fuck out of Jenny-Anastasia-Rollings.

After her usual run of squeals and shrieks, Harold decided it was time to complete his mission. He reached for a police baton; a lightweight ugly stick Jenny-A kept close to the bed. He cocked it back and pronounced with the twang of a country preacher—Harold thought the redneck cadence added character to his act— “Jenny-Anastasia! Yer guilty, gurl, of the sin of lust! “After the first blow of cocobolo atop her head, she didn’t even flinch but remained on all fours. Harold waited for her to collapse, but instead her spine, head, and neck were stiff as a cobra. He shrugged, then resumed clubbing her platinum-blonde noggin until she finally buckled onto the silk bedspread. Her head too finally cracked, splattering blood and brain matter all over him, the bed, and the walls. He stopped, then eased toward her suffering, state-of-being, partially face down with her blonde hair now a bloody crimson.

A trace of life puffed from her nose; a weak heartbeat throbbed along her carotid artery. Her eyes stared in a comatose daze. Perfect. After the ten minus one he administered to her skull, he would now do something he thought would really please Kit. He’d prolong Jenny-A’s near-death concussion for an ungodly period of time.

A faint cry murmured from her. Jesus, she’s a fighter. Harold observed one of her butt cheeks twitching, or more like jerking, trying to move her leg, to jump out of bed and bolt for the door or rush him with one of her ball-busting tirades.

He poked his fingers into her twitchy glute. Must’ve short-circuited her brain, he thought. I wonder if she’s having an out-of-body experience right now? “Hello, Jen-A,” Harold pronounced in his spot-on Forrest Gump, waving his hand in the air like a stupid redneck. He reshaped his cordial gesture into a single-fingered salute. “Have a good dream weaver, Jen-A.”

Harold’s stomach began to growl. Sex always made him hungry, but sex with a head-pounding murder made him damn hungry. Except now the taco sauce that was Jenny-A’s brains was splattered all over his chiseled upper body. He dared not look too closely at the mess for fear of an intense queasy; that kind of shit always made him hurl.

Inside Mr. and Mrs. Rollings’ Italian-marbled shower stall with the gold-plated shower head and nozzles—they even had one of those floor nozzles that could bidet your anus while lathering up—Harold crooned out a Rolling Stones tune. . .

“Some girls give me money

Some girls buy me clothes

Some girls give me jewelry

That I never thought I'd own. . .”

He glanced down at the five thousand dollar, slim-fit Rolex that he was able to con out of Jenny-A’s three-million-dollar trust fund.

After his shower, he returned to the kitchen, where he began his hunt for foodstuff. He opened the fridge and continued his songbird routine with revised lyrics:

“Give me all your money

Give me all your food

Give me all your pooty

That I always knew I’d bone. . .”

Using his forearm, he leaned against the doorframe of the fridge and surveyed the inventory. First on the shelf was a carton of orange juice, heavy on the pulp, the way he liked it. Then a gallon of whole-fat milk, hell no, a blueberry muffin and a god-awful concoction of leftovers stuffed in Ziploc bags packed the rest of the fridge. No fruit or vegetables, he noticed. No wonder the bitch’s breath stunk all the time.

Harold rarely brought lunch to his route; most in this fifty-story residential building that he serviced were either nouveau riche millennials or retired boomers always willing to do things for him like feed him sweet and salty snacks, give him hot stock tips, and also slip him love notes with a door key to their penthouse tucked inside. Harold had a sizable collection of door keys. They did this because Harold was a tall, blond, slender, well-built, sun-bronzed, thirty-something, with a chiseled face and pearly white smile, that is, when he wanted to be. Even so, Harold had only been on his route for six months, and along with his newfound job came his newly acquired side gig of racking up an impressive list of horny bimbos. 

With the carton of OJ in hand, he walked to the bed, lifted the nightstick, and, avoiding Jenny-A’s blood-soaked noggin, began thumping her dying carcass, pounding her legs, arms, and back, trying to make the twitchy shudder in her right butt cheek to stop. He paused and rubbed his right shoulder, thinking it’d be stiff later from the generous favor he was leaving Kit. And Kit knew, just like everyone else within a hundred-mile radius, that Jenny-A was nothing but a horny cat who’d spread her legs for any John with decent junk. “We’ll call it what it is then, Kit, ol’ boy, uxoricide by proxy. Thank you very much.”

Another faint cry blubbered from her. He stopped the thumping, then eased in close to her face and was both surprised and pleased to find a glimpse of suffering still trapped inside her open, gazing eyes.

Harold downed the rest of the OJ, then tossed the empty carton across the room where it smacked the wall, leaving a cubical impression inside the oozing blood and brain matter. He chuckled and thought, what’s a work of art without the artist’s autograph? He walked over to the wall, then lifted a bobby pin from Jenny's bloody hair and scratched a short phrase inside his four-inch square creation.

With a wide grin, he eyed his artwork, then paced across the room and lifted from the bureau a small camcorder that he’d placed there to film his latest sexcapade. He viewed the footage, making sure he captured all the gore.

Satisfied with his work, he slipped on his Jockey briefs, then retrieved his uniform and began to dress. Zipper zipped, belt buckled, hard-on tamed. He headed for the front door of Kit and Jenny-A’s $8.2 mil penthouse.

He stepped out the door and closed it behind him. With a jolt of awareness, he had a sudden contemplation—prints of my hands and feet and traces of my body fluids are all over everything inside Kit’s abode. He noticed a scratch on the underside of his forearm, blood, my blood, and tacky wet, enough to leave my DNA! He laughed, snarky and reflective as if people were watching, but no one was, not in the room he just exited or in the corridor he now stood in or any other place. I’m a ghost, a shifty voyeur, one hell of an incubus. His flip attitude practically overtook him as he considered his most wanton demon, the lecher that enjoyed snooping through mailboxes, then slipping through keyholes and seducing lonely, desperate women.

Harold Simmons, everyone’s favorite delivery guy, returned to the mailroom that morning and finished delivering the mail for all the rich A-holes who lived in the South Coast Tower.

About the author

I'm an avid reader, (essential to all else that follows), a writer of mystery thrillers, and an eager-to-please husband, neighbor, all-around nice guy who views life as a mixed bag of genres: a long parade of the human carnival. So, be amused, smile; roll with it. view profile

Published on March 15, 2018

80000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Mystery & Crime

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