The Birthday Girl

“You, fucking son of a bitch, Rocco. I told you you could use my father’s car to pick up the drop, but I didn’t expect you to bring it back with two severed arms and a head in a plastic bag in the trunk.”

“Cool it babe, no biggy.”

“And where the hell’s the torso?”

“In your closet. I didn’t know what to do with it, so I wrapped it up in your yoga mat and tucked it behind your shoe boxes.”

“So, what you’re trying to tell me is that I can’t go to my 40th birthday party at the Ivy, that starts in an hour. I have to go home and dispose of a torso and then scrub the carpet in the boot so I can get it back to Dad’s before he get’s back from New York tomorrow.”

“It shouldn’t take that long.”

“Well how fucking long does it take to get rid of a body? And then I’ll have to wash my hair again. And should I know who it is that I am disposing of.”

“Don’t sweat the details, Babe. Just wrap them up in cling film and they can wait til tomorrow. And can you do me a favor and pick me up a pack of Marlboros on your way back to the party, I’m all out?”

“Why you!” Stephanie turned to slap Rocco so hard, she jumped the curb and hit a fire hydrant. But, it wasn’t until the car that was trailing them smashed into the back of their car that the airbags deployed, smearing Stephanie’s, ready-for-the-party makeup all over the white plastic.

Rocco slid down, opened his door, dropped to and yelled back, “Outta hear Steph, I’ll tell everyone you’ll be a little late.”

As he turned back at the corner he noticed a rotweiller was scrummaging into the trunk which had popped open on the impact of the crash. Off he ran with an arm, tonight’s dinner. His lucky day. Yum.

Stephanie slid herself out from under the bag, grabbed her purse and opened her door, running across Melrose Boulevard, kicking off her heals so she could dive into a bush before the oncoming cops, that were racing, sirens screaming, found her.

She lay there and figured at this point she may as well go to her party. oUt from under the bush, down a few back alleys. She tidied herself up in the bathroom of a diner on Sunset and walked the half mile to the Ivy.

“Cheer’s! Here she is, the birthday girl!”

“Yippee, weee!”

“Hi Steph, you look great!”

“Happy birthday, darling. So glad you invited me.”

Flash, flash of the cameras. Selfie stick mania.

The night exploded into hours of dancing, snorting, drinking, forgetting. It was the best party Stephanie had ever been to and it was all about her. Wow! Loving my life!

It wasn’t til after midnight, when she ran into Rocco at the bar and a TV report flashed up behind them.

The police chief was holding an impromptu press conference. He reported that the head they found in the trunk of the car that was involved in an accident at the intersection of Melrose and Cieniga was that of Dr. Francis Baily, a prominent figure in Beverly Hills society. Reports from his family and friends said that he had just flown back from New York to surprise his daughter at her 40th birthday party at the Ivy.

Rocco leaned over and bit her ear before whispering, “See Steph, I told you it would work out, nodding toward the TV screen. Now you don’t even have to worry about cleaning out the car. Everything works out in the end, babe, trust me.”

Stephanie stared at the TV screen showing the photos of the deceased and slowly mouthed the words, “Daddy.” She took a wet cocktail napkin from the bar and dabbed the corner of her eyes. She downed her drink in one go, fluffed her hair and followed Rocco back onto the dance floor.