copyright 2002, by
These characters were created by Thomas
Harris. They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of
admiration and respect. No infringement of copyright is intended, and no
profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this
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Rosa walked quietly down the long hall to the master bedroom on the top floor. She had been working in the mansion for 10 months cleaning the first and second floors. She felt nervous, having recently been reassigned to clean the top floor rooms.
The mansion's landlord was an older, rich, and very distinguished Doctor with a beautiful, younger wife. The Doctor was generous but remote with an iron discipline and very strict on exactly when and how he wanted their rooms cleaned.
Rosa was forbidden to enter the top floor of the mansion before noon and after serving the first course at dinner. These rules did not bother Rosa in the least, for she was very confident in her housekeeping skills. She had been a housekkeeper for many years at a five star hotel in the city. She had seen many peculiar things and was accustomed to the various idiosyncrasies of the rich. The Doctor's wife was gracious and appreciative and would thank her for keeping the mansion meticulous.
No, these rules did not bother her, what bothered her was the reason for her reassignment. Carmen, the previous top floor housekeeper had disappeared 10 days ago. The talk of the servants was that Carmen had run off with a lover. Rosa prided herself on not being a gossip and minding her own business and did not join in the servant's speculations. However, she mused as she approached the master bedroom door, Carmen had bragged to her about having a new boyfriend who was "muy wapo" and how she was going to impress him with a gift of an expensive shirt. She entered the door and thought hopefully; perhaps Carmen had found some happiness and did run off with her handsome lover.
Rosa looked around the large room and diligently went to work. She wondered why she always seemed to feel uncomfortable in this room and cleaned this room much faster than the other rooms on this floor. The room seemed normal enough with the luxurious king size bed and matching furniture. There was a comfortable terrace with a table for dining. The master bath was elegant with a sunken tub and whirpool. The walk-in closets were almost as large as the bedroom and filled to capacity with beautiful and expensive clothes. No, these things did not bother her. It was the other things.
Rosa once found the senora's long beautiful gown cut down the middle from top to bottom in a perfect line, as if with a very sharp knife. Another gown that had been torn haphazardly with jagged edges, almost as if it had been bitten apart. Occasionally, she found shattered teacups on the terrace floor. Another time, she had found handcuffs tangled in the silk sheets. Real handcuffs with a lock, the kind police would use.
Rosa was not concerned with the senora's well being, she always looked content and healthy. In public, the Doctor treated her like a queen and his strange eyes seem to spark whenever the senora is around. Rosa had once overheard a private and strange conversation.
It was a few minutes past twelve and the couple was standing outside the master bedroom door. They spoke in English and the Doctor had said, "Clarice, for the very last time you are not taking the Jag for another food run to McDonalds. I can still smell the chicken nuggets and the Jag's ceiling has a stubborn ketchup stain." The senora had laughed and said,"It's your own fault, the look on your face as I bit into my Big Mac and dipped a fry into red ketchup drove me wild. Besides, this is the kind of thing you were thinking of? Trying something new, far beyond the bounds of your experience?" The senora continued laughing as the Doctor grabbed her roughly and actually snapped his teeth in her face. Muy peculiar. No, this conversation wasn't what had Rosa wondering about the missing Carmen.
One day Rosa found lying by the terrace door, one of the Doctor's expensive white shirt's that was made of the finest, softest Egyptian cotton. The shirt had been ruined with all the buttons ripped off and the jeweled cufflinks still in place. Rosa always dutifully collected these ruined items with the rest of the trash for immediate disposal as precisely instructed by the Doctor. Still, she couldn't help but wonder about Carmen and the expensive shirt she had wanted to impress her lover with.
Her cleaning complete, Rosa looked around the room and smiled. Yes, she was a very good housekeeper and well acquainted with the idiosyncrasies of the rich.
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