Murder on the Down Low

Murder on the Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young

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Authors: Pamela Samuels Young
off.” Eugene tried to sound calm.
    “What are you talking about?” Nichelle asked.
    “She hacked into my law firm’s computer system and sent a vicious, defamatory email to everybody in the firm. I’ll send you a copy. And she also tossed nails in my driveway, ruining my tires.”
    Nichelle gasped. “How do you know Special had anything to do with any of that?”
    “The same way
know she did,” Eugene snarled. “I’m not going to call the cops this time only out of respect for Maya. But if she keeps fucking with me, I won’t be the only one defending a lawsuit.”
    Nichelle didn’t say anything.
    “And your lawsuit is bullshit,” Eugene said. “I loved Maya. I wouldn’t have purposely—”
made the decision not to tell Maya about your other life and
infected her. That’s negligence any way you look at it.”
    Nichelle’s haughty tone surprised him. She was usually pretty non-confrontational. Of all Maya’s friends, he liked her the best.
    “We’ll let a judge decide that,” he replied, then hung up.
    Eugene pulled his Auto Club card from his wallet, dialed the 800 number and requested a tow truck to take him to the nearest tire store.

Chapter 23
    L ater that evening, Special and Nichelle sat at the bar of Magic Johnson’s T.G.I. Friday’s restaurant in the Ladera Center, staring up at the television screen.
    “How much longer before they run your interview?” Special asked anxiously.
    Nichelle spread her hands. “I have no idea.”
    “Don’t take this the wrong way, girlfriend, but what did you wear?”
    Nichelle rolled her eyes. “I know how to dress, okay?”
    Special only hoped so.  At the moment, Nichelle was wearing leopard-skin jeans and a black chiffon blouse with way too many ruffles.
    J.C. slid onto the stool next to Nichelle. “Where’s Vernetta?”
    Special yawned. “Couldn’t make it. Billable hours.”
    “How’s everything going with you and Clayton?” Nichelle asked.
    “Okay, I guess. But it’s not easy dating a man who lives way across the country.”
    “I thought Vernetta was fixing you up with Jefferson’s cousin,” J.C. said.
    Special flicked the air with her hand. “That man wasn’t even out here a week before some hoochie secretary at his office snagged his ass. It’s Vernetta’s fault. She took too long to set it up.”
    Nichelle laughed. “Girl, you—”
    “Shhhhh! This is it!” Special seemed more excited about the story than Nichelle. “Hey, Keith,” Special called out to the bartender, “can you turn up the volume for just a sec?”
    The bartender hit a button on the counter and the anchorman’s voice drowned out the soft jazz from the restaurant’s speaker system.
    In one of the first such cases filed in L.A. county, a local attorney is being sued for wrongful death for allegedly infecting his fiancée with the AIDS virus.
    The anchorman tossed to a reporter in the field who gave a brief summary of the lawsuit. A photograph of Eugene filled the screen.
    “How’d they get that picture?” Special asked.
    Nichelle smiled. “Eugene’s law firm website.”
    The three friends watched in rapt attention as the scene switched to Nichelle’s office.
    Special squeezed Nichelle’s arm. “You look good, girl!”
    Nichelle sat behind her desk dressed in a conservative, dark blue pinstriped suit. The camera moved in for her sound bite.
    African-American women are being stricken with the AIDS virus at a faster rate than any other group. And the majority of these women are being infected through heterosexual sex. They are innocent victims who know nothing about their men’s secret homosexual lives. One of my closest friends, Maya Washington, died because of her fiancé’s deceit. The purpose of this lawsuit is twofold. First, to obtain financial compensation for Maya’s family, and second, to let Eugene Nelson and other men like him know that they can’t endanger women’s lives and get away with it.

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