This is another loose chapter of the international mystery murder sequel to ‘Cale Dixon and the Moguk Murders’. The soon to be published title is, ‘Cale Dixon and the Women of Cho’.
Paula Henderson got out of a yellow cab across the street from Cale’s flat with a small day bag and a smile. She leaned in the passenger window to pay the cabby and thank him for the ride. She wore a light purple silk tank top blouse and beige skirt with simple bleach brown sandals. Her silver anklet chimed with subtlety against her tan body as she pranced out of the way of on-coming traffic. Once she reached the sidewalk in front of Cale’s apartment she took a look at herself in the reflection of a parked car and turned the car mirror out to see her face. She wanted her face to be perfect; she wanted to be perfect – for Cale. She bent down to look straight in the mirror. She didn’t wear much make-up because there was nothing ugly to hide. But still, she wanted to blow Cale away with that first impression look. Just ad a line here and there to bring out her florescent green eyes and a light pink lip gloss, just enough for that first kiss. After that- there would be no need. Besides, he had already seen her naked. They had made love in Mandalay on more than one occasion. It had been a long time since Paula had played dress up for a man, considering she had been living in South East Asia for the last fifteen years wearing next to nothing and definitely no make-up. She finished with her eyes and lips and stood up and turned sideways looking in the window at how her blouse and breasts looked. She didn’t even own a bra. She giggled at herself and came to the conclusion she didn’t need one. She quickly inspected her teeth in the side mirror and purposely scrambled her bangs. Her hair was shorter than she had had it in the past but liked it and the bleached blond on brown lowlights were real. Satisfied she put the rear view mirror back and went up the concrete entry stairs and searched for Cale’s mail box slot in the side wall of the entrance. His apartment was on the second floor. She opened the front door and stepped into the shade of the entryway. Now that she was off the street, last minute touches were in order. She put her bag down and adjusted her blouse and her skirt. She so hoped he was home. Paula had waited a full month on Ko Chang, a Thai island near the Cambodian border, thinking about Cale and the times they had had together; the late night cool breeze walks, the candle lit veranda talks under starry skies, moonlight sex on a Rangoon roof top, waking up next to someone she wanted to wake up next to again, the laughs; but most of all, the comfortable companionship and closeness she knew only one word for; love. She had spent the latter half of her life trying to convince herself, and more recently trying to convince Cale, that she was hardened; to come across tough, as if it didn’t matter, that Cale didn’t matter. But after a month of wanting to run into his arms, she finally thought enough time had passed that he wouldn’t feel as if she was a stalking freak and she could still play the nonchalant world traveler. If it went south – she’d leave. If it was as good as before – they could let it play out. Paula told herself to calm down and not get her hopes up. Take a deep breath. Cale’s just a man. Her hormones fought with her mind; god I hope he hasn’t picked up a girl friend. What if he’s really married? With kids! How do I handle it? God I hope he’s home. God, I hope he wants me. Paula glanced up the stairs. Maybe I should call again. I wouldn’t want some dude I picked up on my travels coming to my house unannounced. Oh god, what am I doing here. I have to call. I don’t want this to be awkward; I want it to be perfect. Paula walked back out of the Cale’s building and down the stairs. She looked both ways for a telephone booth or a gas station or somewhere there might be a public phone. She went to the left towards a small park and corner liquor store. She stopped and turned around thinking, I’ll just leave a note. I won’t even knock. I’ll pretend I’m not coming to see him. I’m just leaving a note to let him know I’m in town. That’ll work, it’s got to work. I’ll get a hotel room, I should have one anyway. God, I hope he’s not home. What if he doesn’t call? Well then I guess I’ll know where we stand. How much time do I give him? Stop it. I’m going to drive myself insane. Just leave a note, ‘Hi Cale, its Paula. I’m here in San Francisco and I’m pregnant with your child, call me.’ Paula laughed at her state of mind and walked back into Cale’s building and up the stairs to Cale’s door. The door was ajar.
She froze at the door listening to a man talk on a phone. She knew it wasn’t Cale. Curiously, Paula pushed on the door and it swung open freely. She inquisitively stepped inside and watched as a man frantically searched through photographs on the table. He glanced at the curtains as they billowed, caught by the sea breeze, into the room and he saw Paula standing in the open doorway. She stood staring with stiletto eyes at the man before her who seemed too edgy to be a friend of Cale’s.
He flipped his phone closed abruptly, “So you’re Cale’s girl friend.” The man pulled out a gun and aimed it at Paula. “Come in.” He reached for a chair at the dining table and spun it on one leg into the middle of the room, “Sit.”
Paula didn’t move, at first.