Discount Prophecies – Chapter 7 – Gossip

Belinda watched the police officer assisting Rick Hightower into the back of a patrol vehicle. A small part of herself felt sorry for the man. He had only been acting on a delusion; it wasn’t his fault his relationship with Pandora was never real. The rest of her was glad to watch him being carted away to jail. Delusion or no, trying to kill Belinda was not cool.

Floyd had just finished giving his statement and walked back to the door of Belinda’s office. He had a new scar on his face that stretched from his chin to his right ear. It didn’t look good with the frown on his face. “You told me the police would catch him before he could do anything,” he said. “He would have killed you if I hadn’t showed up.”

“He was smarter than I gave him credit for,” she admitted. “He managed to trick my Sight. It normally wouldn’t have worked, but my Sight has been a little inconsistent lately.”

“I didn’t know Seers ever had trouble with their Sight,” Floyd said. “In the movies, they’re always infallible.”

“Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t have told you that. I’m not sure. The Seer’s Union has a lot of rules about what we can tell the public, but they’re all dumb and I can never remember them.”

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone, but are you going to be ok? Are you losing your Sight?”

“I’m fine,” she assured him. “This is temporary.”

“How long is temporary? I need you to prove my innocence!”

She sighed. “It goes blurry whenever I change my future. How long depends on how big the change is. I recently made a big change and I honestly don’t know how long it will be. I expected it to clear up by now.”

“But,” Floyd started to say, but Belinda interrupted him.

“It will be fine,” she insisted. “Let’s go inside so we can discuss your case.”

Belinda made herself comfortable at her desk and started rummaging through her drawers for a snack. She noticed that the bottom drawer was emptier than it should be. It took her a second to remember that she had removed the fire extinguisher. She cursed Hightower again for making her have to buy a new one. She grabbed two bags of chips and tossed one to Floyd.

“When I first visited your movie club, my Sight picked out four people for me to focus on,” Belinda said. “At the time, I thought they would help me prove your guilt, but maybe I interpreted that wrong. Maybe they’re potential suspects.” Belinda shrugged. “These four people are: Hightower, Justin, What’s-her-face, and What’s-his-face.”

“What’s-her-face and What’s-his-face?” Floyd repeated dumbly.

“You know, the lady who ran for president of CAMERA against Pandora and the guy who was her best friend until she caught him stealing her identity.”

“Oh, you mean Corrine McAdams and William Bosco.”

“I can’t be expected to remember everyone’s name,” Belinda said, impatiently. “Anyway, Hightower has proven that he didn’t kill Pandora and I already know it wasn’t Justin, because I’ve Seen his murder. That leaves us with Corrine and William. Whichever one of them want Justin dead is probably the one who killed Pandora.”

Floyd looked embarrassed for a moment, but said, “There’s something else you might want to know about those two. I haven’t mentioned it because I don’t like gossip.”

“Gossip?” she repeated with interest. “Spill it, Floyd. Don’t worry whether it’s your business. It might be the detail that exonerates you.”

He sighed. “The trouble with being in a movie club is that some of the members seem to think they’re in a movie. They have the kind of stupid drama that real people don’t. Take, for example Corrine and William’s ‘secret relationship’. We all know about it. We call them Corrilliam.”

“This can’t be a coincidence,” Belinda said. “Knowing about this, I see a few possibilities for this case. The first one,” she said, putting up a finger. “You did it. I still haven’t ruled that out.”

“Of course, you haven’t,” Floyd said with an annoyed eyeroll.

Belinda smirked. It was fun to annoy Floyd.

“The second possibility is that they did it together. Corrine has had beef with Pandora for months. When William got caught stealing, suddenly they both had a motive for murder. One night, while in the throes of passion, they confided in each other and decided that the only solution is murder.”

“You think they had this discussion while in the throes of passion?” Floyd asked then quickly added, “Never mind, I don’t want to have that discussion.”

“The third option,” she said, ignoring him, “is that Bosco did it alone. Killing Pandora stopped her from pressing charges, which was all he cared about. As a side benefit, his girlfriend got to be president of CAMERA.”

 “I’m not sure William would do that.” Floyd said.

Belinda rolled her eyes. Why did Floyd keep arguing with her about this stuff? It was like he wanted to be convicted of murder.

“Fine, you know him better than I do. What’s your opinion of him? What do you think he would do?”

“To be honest, I never liked the guy. The whole time I was dating Pandora, Justin would invite himself over and hang around like an annoying little brother who can’t take a hint. He’s irritating, and I’ve wanted to punch him for as long as I’ve known him, but I don’t think he’s capable of murder.”

“Would you have thought he was capable of identity theft?” Belinda asked.

“No,” Floyd admitted. “That came as a shock to me.”

“Maybe you’ll be shocked again,” Belinda said. “The fourth option is that Corrine did it alone. She already hated Pandora, but when her boyfriend got caught stealing, that finally gave her the excuse she needed.”

“That seems extreme,” Floyd said. “You’re suggesting that Corrine was already thinking about killing Pandora. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to be the president of a movie club so badly that they’d kill for it.”

“It’s not that extreme. CAMERA is Corinne’s community and she’s the type that would go to extremes for the respect of her community.”

“As extreme as murder?” He asked incredulously.

“Let me tell you about a girl I knew in high school,” Belinda said.

“Let me guess – the head cheerleader would talk about you behind your back.”

“No,” Belinda said, affronted. “None of the cheerleaders would have dared mess with me. The girl I’m thinking of was my friend. I can’t remember her name right now, but she was like a miniature mob boss and gossip was the only currency she recognized. She hated cheerleaders, so she tortured them. I helped, of course. I hadn’t been through Seer school yet, but I had the gift and could use it well enough to get gossip that hadn’t come out yet. I was horrible, but she was a thousand times worse. She would have done anything to maintain her status – anything. Corrine reminds me of her.”

“I’m not sure about this,” Floyd said. “We have two suspects with doubtful motives, and we have to prove that one or both of them is a murderer.”

“Or you,” Belinda added helpfully.

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