Excerpt from Unsaid

"Mr. Pappadapoulos", Detective Ignacio Herrera continued. "So you're telling me you have no idea why those three perps were after your, ah, lady friend, this Miss Chardonnay person?"

"His name, detective, was Cesar Reynoso", Julian insisted from his position in an uncomfortable chair, one of four, along the wall. He was still in tears. Kurt sat next to his lover with his arm resting behind Julian's back. Laura was standing next to Stefan holding his hand while his feet were dangling off the edge of the examination table. Stefan's head was bandaged and a small bloodstain could be seen on his forehead. He had hit the pavement harder than he thought. Detective Herrera and his partner Detective Wanda Lou Aikens were standing near the door. Both were making notations in their small notepads. They had already talked to the hooker with the gunshot wound in her shoulder. She didn't tell them anything worthwhile.

"That's correct, sir. I do not have the foggiest idea. They just started chasing us", Stefan lied. "As I said, we were just on our way home and these goons started shooting." Stonewalling, he looked up at Laura. She understood. Follow his lead.

"Did you recognize any of them?", asked Herrera.

"No. Never seen them before in my life."

"Do you know if this Reynoso, ah, guy, had enemies?" Herrera was obviously uncomfortable investigating the murder of a drag queen.


"Cesar was a sweet, kindhearted person, Detective. He couldn't have done anything that would make someone want to kill him", added Kurt. Herrera raised an eyebrow.

"Was he involved in drugs or drug trafficking. A lot of these impersonator types...." Julian looked up.

"No way. Cesar had gotten off that stuff a long time ago and he was not like any other performer. He had talent, real talent, and wanted nothing to do with that side of the business. He made a name for himself as a professional, not a dealer."

"I see, well somebody was certainly out to get him."

"Ah, could he of had a rival, ah, well...", Aikens paused. She glanced over at Herrera and searched for the words.

"If you're trying to insinuate that some other freak in a dress may have hired hit men to get rid of Cesar, no!", snapped Julian. "If they were out to get him they would have done it themselves. Drag queens don't usually hire assassins. They couldn't afford it anyway. These people are saving their money to buy implants, not mercenaries." Julian clearly did not like the tone of this questioning. "Excuse me, I thought you assholes went through sensitivity training these days. We are talking about my best friend. He's dead. What difference does it make if he was wearing Donna Karen or Armani, they still pumped him full of holes and dumped his body in the middle of the street like a piece of...."

"Hey! Mr. Saintjohn, take it easy!" Herrera was getting impatient.

"Julian, calm down hon.'" Kurt massaged his lover’s shoulders as Julian wiped tears from his cloudy eyes and put his head in his hands.

"Look, we've got a murder to solve here, we're not out to win any popularity contest. We're sorry if we seem a bit gruff, but.."

"Detective, we are all a bit dazed here", interjected Stefan. "This should not have happened to Cesar."

"Umm, you said that you were all out on the town. Why did you split up? Aikens pressed.

"Ah...." Stefan was reaching. Laura spoke up.

"I had a headache. My brother and Mr. Schroeder took me home early."

"Okay. And Mr. Pappadapoulos, you were leaving with the victim? Where were you headed?"

"We, ah, we were going to meet up with our friends at the condo."

"Where was Mr. Palaez?"

"Excuse me?"

"Emilio Palaez, Miss Chardon..., I mean, the victim's lover. Why didn't he accompany you two out of the club?"

"He, ah, had already gone to the car." Stefan looked over at Julian and Kurt. Lying was not something he did on a regular basis.

"I see. You and Reynoso couldn't of had anything..."

"I'm not gay if that's what you are trying to get at", snarled Stefan. "And we were certainly not having an affair. Look, I don't know what more I can tell you. I didn't even know Cesar that well. Now, if you are through, my head is killing me and I'd like to get some rest."

"Umm, I think we've done all that we can here", remarked Herrera as he motioned to his partner. "I hope you all realize that this is an ongoing investigation and you are all potential witnesses. Don't go to far we may need to question you some more."

"Detective, we live in Key West and are planning on returning in the morning", explained Kurt.

"Aikens has your addresses and numbers where we can reach you. I see no problem in that, just keep yourselves available."

"No problem. Please, do what you can to find these creeps. Cesar was our friend and he didn't deserve to die this way", Kurt stated as he led Julian out to the corridor.

"We'll do our best Mr. Schroeder", assured Herrera. Laura helped Stefan get down from the table and guided him as they left the examination room. Watching as the four individuals walked solemnly down the hall to the main exit of the emergency ward Wanda Aikens frowned.

"Ah, that's a pretty curious outfit you're wearing there Miss Saintjohn." Laura paused, then looked down. She forgot she was still wearing the silver buckled black bodysuit portion of Cesar's "Whitney Houston Queen of the Night" garb..

"Ah, oh, yeah. I wanted to do my workout before I went to bed." Laura couldn't think of anything better to say.

"That's your workout gear?"

"I thought you said you had a headache?" Herrera recalled.

"Ah, it went away", Laura replied as the electronic sliding door slide opened and let the group out. "Goodnight."

"Goodnight, Miss Saintjohn." Aikens looked at her partner. Both watched as the forlorn group disappeared. "They're hiding something, aren't they?"

"Yep" "

I thought so, now what?"

"We wait"

"Wait for what?"

"For them to come crawling back to us when somebody else gets killed", answered Herrera matter-of-factly. "I have a feeling we’ve not heard the last of our three perps. I know one thing, though."


"They didn't get who they were after, that fruitcake Saintjohn was right. Once they got their hands on that nutcase in a tutu they tossed him aside like stale leftovers. They'll be back and our little friends out there are in deep doodoo."

"Come on, we've got to get to the morgue", Aikens replied. Herrera grimaced as he followed his partner. He hated that place.

Back at the condo Laura and Stefan crawled into bed and held each other close all morning. Physically exhausted, Stefan could not help but drift to sleep but Laura had trouble keeping her eyes shut. The condo was eerily quiet but for the faint sounds of whimpering coming from the direction of Kurt and Julian's room. God, Julian was taking this hard. Even Gunter, Kurt’s ailing brother, resisted egging him on when they got back from the hospital.

Zillions of things were racing through her head. How did it come to this? Cesar was dead. She still couldn't believe it, that poor boy. Of all people why him? He had such a zest for life, lot to look forward too. Miss Florida. Miss Continental. Perhaps fame as a dancer. Sharing the rest of his life with Emilio. And Milio, he looked so lost when Laura saw him at the hospital. He didn't even want to speak. Just kept staring off in the distance. Cesar was dead, wow. That could have been her. Laura hated to admit it, but she was somewhat relieved it wasn't. Self-preservation is a bitch. How could she ever repay Cesar for his sacrifice? She couldn't. It was a done deal. God, Stefan could have been killed himself, all of them. Julian. Kurt. What about Raquel? Oh, God. An hour later, Laura finally fell asleep.

That afternoon, Laura awoke to discover that Stefan had already gotten out of bed. Reluctantly, she too arose and snaked her way through the condo to the kitchen were Julian, Kurt, Gunter and Stefan were quietly sharing a cup of coffee. She joined them in their silent vigil, everyone's thoughts were on Cesar--his smile, his humor, his accent, his drag.

On some pre-arranged signal, they all scattered and prepared themselves for the day. Dejectedly, Laura got her daughter Raquel dressed and their things packed. Even Raquel wasn't her usual energetic talkative self. Then Laura, Raquel, and Stefan said their farewells to Vera, Kurt’s mother, Gunter, and Solange, the housekeeper, and caught up with Kurt and Julian at the elevator. They loaded up the Neon and followed Kurt and Julian's Grand Cherokee out of the gates and through Sunday traffic to Miami's famed Little Havana district and the home of Cesar's father and stepmother.

That proved even more depressing. The only member of Cesar's large family who seemed affected by his death was his big sister Yolanda. Yolie had stepped in and cared for Cesar after their mother died of cancer when he was just eight years old. Effeminate since adolescence, Cesar had been an outcast in his own family. Only Yolie accepted him for who he was. The others had written him off years ago.

To Laura, this Sunday afternoon looked as any other would appear in this household. Silvio and his surviving sons were gathered around a television watching a soccer game on Univison while his daughters cooked and watched after all the Reynoso grandchildren whom had the run of the house.

Anxiously, after gaining permission to handle Cesar's memorial from Yolie, who knew her own family would not want to be bothered, Julian gathered up the rest of the gang and left. Cesar's real family was down in Key West anyway. Needless to say, the ride down the Keys was much quieter than the ride up the Keys had been yesterday. Mindful that Julian needed some time alone, Laura and Stefan, with Raquel in toe, left him in Kurt's care at the bungalow then headed over to the New Town home of Kristoferos and Helen Ysantis. Helen was the younger sister of Stefan's mother Irene. They did not notice the car parked down the block. Nor had they any idea that at that very moment Laura's summer cottage was being wired professionally. Somebody had, indeed, become very interested in her activities.


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