Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 8 – Montana-Mexican

“You got dinner plans?”

“No, not really.”

“Good. Follow me. There’s a great Montana-Mex place about twenty miles down I95.”

“El Nina’s?”

“The exact place.”

Half an hour later Cortazar had a margarita the size of a small aquarium in front of her.… Read the rest

“You got dinner plans?”

“No, not really.”

“Good. Follow me. There’s a great Montana-Mex place about twenty miles down I95.”

“El Nina’s?”

“The exact place.”

Half an hour later Cortazar had a margarita the size of a small aquarium in front of her. She caught Phyl looking at the bowl-sized glass. “Don’t worry. This’ll take me all night.”

“Okay.” Phyl sipped from her beer bottle.

“You joined the force. How’d that happen?”

“You happened.”


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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 7 – Girlfriends

A guard silently escorted Dr. Cortazar and Phyl through the prison outside to the parking lot. Phyl looked at the sky and drew a deep breath.

“I – ”

“Amazing, isn’t it? You’re in there for what, maybe an hour? Probably less, and you feel it lift from you the minute you’re outside again.”

“I – ”

“Imagine what it’s like for those people inside.… Read the rest

A guard silently escorted Dr. Cortazar and Phyl through the prison outside to the parking lot. Phyl looked at the sky and drew a deep breath.

“I – ”

“Amazing, isn’t it? You’re in there for what, maybe an hour? Probably less, and you feel it lift from you the minute you’re outside again.”

“I – ”

“Imagine what it’s like for those people inside. Not just the timers. The guards, too. The staff. The staff that can’t be made up from inmates, anyway. They get to see the world after eight hours, no overtime on this job. But the timers. Those put in the Hole. Lifers. They get to see the sun maybe an hour a day. You were in there for a small part of your day. Imagine being in there for years at a time.”

“I – ”


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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 6 – The Parole Hearing

The wooden chair screeched across the hardwood floor as Phyl pulled it under her. She’d placed her small, black leather purse on the green topped officers’ table in front of her. It looked like a little black island in a puke green sea.… Read the rest

The wooden chair screeched across the hardwood floor as Phyl pulled it under her. She’d placed her small, black leather purse on the green topped officers’ table in front of her. It looked like a little black island in a puke green sea. The table reminded her of industrial breakroom tables; functional but not inviting. She shifted her purse as she sat, placing it before her but not so far in front as to claim space, not setting a boundary. Her stomach gurgled quietly and she glanced around to see if anyone noticed. No one had.

A guard, the one who met her in the parking lot, absently caught her eye and smiled. He had her move her car to a roped off area next to a construction trailer then escorted her to the parole hearing. He didn’t say much but did chat her up a bit, commenting on her deep blue skirt, cream colored blazer and sky blue blouse, offering that it highlighted her hair and eyes.

She wondered if her outfit was too tight. She didn’t think it was. It was all tailored but not form fitting. She wasn’t wearing her boobshirt. Low, functional heels, not CFMs. Schwab suggested this outfit.

It was okay. She could do this. She exhaled, picked up her purse, opened it, removed a protein bar, closed her purse, giving each act a separate, metered and precise effort.

Porcino was not getting out.

If he got out, she’d risk it all and kill him.


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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 5 – Sisters

“How’s Ol’ Elevator Butt?”

“We kissed.”

“Oh my god. Where?”

“For christssakes, Sandy. On the lips, of course.”

“You kissed your cat on the lips?”

“Goddamn it, Sandy. No. Ritchie. I kissed Ritchie on the lips.”

“Oh my god, Phyl. Where?”

“I just told you, on the lips.”

“No, I mean where?”

“Burger Bob’s.”

“Is this a joke?… Read the rest

“How’s Ol’ Elevator Butt?”

“We kissed.”

“Oh my god. Where?”

“For christssakes, Sandy. On the lips, of course.”

“You kissed your cat on the lips?”

“Goddamn it, Sandy. No. Ritchie. I kissed Ritchie on the lips.”

“Oh my god, Phyl. Where?”

“I just told you, on the lips.”

“No, I mean where?”

“Burger Bob’s.”

“Is this a joke? Your first date was to a burger joint with screaming kids and yelling parents? Some hot date, sis. Burger Bob’s. Whoa. Did you frolic on the jungle gym when you were through swallowing each other’s tongues?”

“I can’t tell you anything, you know that?”

“Details, Little Sister. I want details.”


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Ritchie&Phyl (A Celebration of Life) Chapter 4 – The Date

“This is not a date, understand?”

Ritchie smiled.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. I understand that this is not a date. I am not to buy you a milkshake, a coffee or a burger. I am not to offer to you any of my fries.”

“Good.… Read the rest

“This is not a date, understand?”

Ritchie smiled.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. I understand that this is not a date. I am not to buy you a milkshake, a coffee or a burger. I am not to offer to you any of my fries.”

“Good. We understand each other.”

“I am not to look at you or talk to you. I do not know you. My heart is not to pound when my gaze falls upon you. I am not to fantasize about holding you in my arms.”

She stared at him through aviator sunglasses. Her right hand twitched by her holster, the fingers of her left tapped the top of her nightstick. “You can stop that kind of talk right now, understand?”

His smile never faltered. “Officer Ladd, you called me, remember? I did what you asked. I did what you wanted. I did what you told me.”

“I know.”

“I did not pursue you.”

“I said I know.”

“I sat on my couch in my sad little hovel, staring at the phone, cold cup of coffee in my hand, holding my breath and hoping each ring would be you.”

“This is a stupid idea.”


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