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Blair S. Walker's
HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW
A Darryl Billups Mystery
 
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HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW
Chapter One
(Read or print)

When it comes to spreading a fog of temporary insanity inside the male brain, few things rival sex. But this time it's my girlfriend's sister who's lost her mind-that's the only way I can explain the ridiculous proposition she just whispered in my ear.
"What's the matter, Darryl Billups, you frigid? Imagine that shit, a frigid brother! Now that's got to be a danmed first!" LaToya laughs easily as she tightens her hold on my tie. Her other hand has a death grip on my behind.
Smiling sweetly, LaToya pulls me toward her and smacks her lips. It's at this point I realize that this simple child might not be joking. This is my punishment for those times I've glanced at LaToya and idly wondered what her shapely pelvis would feel like wriggling under mine.
From the next room comes the sound of rustling bedsheets. LaToya's twin sister, Yolanda-my girlfriend and potential fiancé--is still asleep. In our apartment!
Look, LaToya, this isn't funny. I don't know what you're trying to prove, but you need to chill," I say in a low voice. "I know you don't want me to call your sister!" Grabbing at her wrists, I pull her hands away and step back.
Arching her unkempt eyebrows, LaToya lets out a snorting laugh. "Go ahead, call her ass," she says with a contemptuous wave. "See if I care. Because me and Sis share everything."
I'm halfway tempted to call her bluff and wake Yolanda. But nothing but major-league unpleasantness would flow from that move. And blood is still thicker than water-I don't want to stack LaToya's word against mine. Anyway, LaToya will be out of here and back in Houston in a few days.
It's amazing how two children from the same family, identical twins at that, could be so different. Yolanda has her adventuresome side, but for the most part she's prudent, sensible, responsible. I guess she has to be with a three-year-old son.
But LaToya is the original wild child, someone who dangles over the precipice regularly, just to see if she can pull herself back at the last second. Our little encounter isn't about her finding me irresistible. It's about danger. The only thing that surprises me is that she would contemplate stabbing her own flesh and blood just for an adrenaline rush.
The more I learn about you, Sistergirl, the more you scare me.
Before I'd even met LaToya I suspected she had a loose screw, just from listening to Yolanda talk about her. Now, there's no doubt in my mind.
"Don't judge me," she murmurs, reading my mind. "Try me! "
I find this so preposterous, so utterly outrageous, that I can't help myself-I begin to laugh. Loud, too, so Yolanda will get out of bed and see what the commotion is all about.
I hear more rustling and sure enough here comes my sweetie, rounding the comer barefoot, wearing one of my T-shirts and rubbing her eyes. It always freaks me out when Yolanda and her twin are in the same room together. They make a classic before -and -after shot. Pre- and post-sanity, that is.
Yolanda is my baby, as beautiful a sister as God ever put on the planet. When you love someone they automatically become attractive to you, but Yolanda was already the epitome of fine, with her auburn cold waves, high cheekbones and awesome full lips, before I even knew her name.
LaToya looks like Yolanda, too ... on acid. She has the same lithe, willowy frame and long legs. Even the same semi-husky voice. And Yolanda's face, only framed by platinum-blond hair about a tenth of an inch long. Fuzz, really. Each of her cars has been spindled, folded and mutilated with six earrings apiece, and a nose ring juts out of her flared left nostril.
Top that off with another one sprouting from her right eyebrow, and a third in her tongue, and you have a classic beauty-camouflaged by industrial -grade peroxide and several pounds of metal. Why, LaToya, why?
She proudly informed me and Yolanda that she even had her clitoris pierced. We'll have to take her word on that one.
"Hey, baby, hey, Sis. What's so funny?" Yolanda asks, frowning. She can be one evil sistah first thing in the morning. Especially when a bunch of foolishness has awakened her at 9 A.M. on her day off.
I walk over and plant a kiss on my woman's forehead, followed by a hug. I was afraid that life with her and Jamal would grow old pretty fast. But a few months into our big experiment, I'm finding that it's not such a bad arrangement, not bad at all.
"Nothing's funny. LaToya was just telling me one her little jokes before I left for work."
"Really?" Yolanda walks into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator door, yawning. "What was it?"
"Nothin'," LaToya spits out. "Just a little something about an impotent brother. But I couldn't remember the punch line."
"Oh, really?" Yolanda emerges from the refrigerator with a bottle of milk and a bemused expression. "Don't pay my sister no attention, baby," Yolanda says in a sleepy voice. "Not much she won't say or do for shock value." "So I gathered. Well, I'm gonna leave her here to work her charm on you."
"Okay, babe. Be careful, okay?"
LaToya stands with arms crossed, watching us disdainfully. "Excuse me while I barf. This Leave it to Beaver/Cosby Show shit is a little more than 1 can take." She grins, rummaging through her black rucksack for a cigarette. Neither I nor Yolanda are smokers, which is another reason I'll be glad to see LaToya go.
Standing on tiptoe, Yolanda snags a box of cereal from the cupboard, then comes to where I'm standing and gives me a another hug. "Don't pay LaToya any attention, she's just jealous. She wants to move beyond meaningless onenight stands, but doesn't know how."
LaToya throws back her head in mock dismay. "Chile, if anybody's jealous of anybody around here, it's you," she purrs. " 'Cause my kitty is wiiild- it's too damn much for one man. It cannot be domesticated."
I laugh uneasily, eager to head to the Baltimore Herald so I can get away from Yolanda's touched-in-the-head sibling. Things are a little too intense around here for me.
"Hey, see you guys later," I say, adjusting my tie. "I'm in the wind. And, LaToya . . . why don't you tell Yolanda your joke? Maybe she can help you finish it."
Chuckling, I close the door to our apartment and walk outside to my little black Japanese coupe that's at one hundred thousand miles and counting. I shake my head all the way to work, thinking about my encounter with LaToya. Thank you, LaToya, for livening up my morning.
But your bold ass will definitely be on a plane headed to Houston come Saturday. You best believe that.

HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW
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