Murder and the Dog - Chapter 2

Chapter 2 - The Journalist Is a Lothario



Paul Ormaza wrote a monthly column for the magazine Ideas. For fifty years IDEAS had stirred serious debate, and enjoyed a faithful but small readership, too small for its financial health. It had to be sold. It was sold to a man who made his millions in phone cards for immigrants. His concept of journalism differed from the founders’. He defined his concept, speaking to the staff: “We need action interwoven to ideas. We need blood.” Ormaza thought he meant new blood, and nodded his approval. But the new publisher meant what he said, and taking him aside told him he wanted the piece on the headless woman.

Besides his social commentaries, his column, Ormaza did long investigative pieces for general interest publications, and his popularity shot up after Public TV adapted one into a documentary and two bloody movies followed.

The piece on the headless woman was to mark a shift to a new editorial and business model, the new publisher assured him, and suggested the title Horrendous Murder in Queens. Ormaza found it redundant, not to mention sensationalist. Challenged, the new publisher swelled. He had a simple and bellicose philosophy: Life amounted to one inexhaustible menu of battles—large, minor, significant or inconsequential—battles he had to win. Ormaza surrendered. Working on the Horrendous Murder in Queens had him in no mood for fighting. If anything, he needed sex.

He looked around the room. The new publisher’s assistant, Ann, also was bored, and looking for anything to help her escape. Having graduated a year earlier from Columbia School of Journalism, one could infer that landing such high-level position at a prestigious magazine only one year out of school responded to a superior mind, what at Ideas was called, not without a tinge of mockery, a star’s brilliance. But the reason was mundane, she was the new publisher’s stepdaughter. Their eyes met. Ormaza walked across the conference room and asked her out for lunch. Ana accepted. She returned to her office for her purse and refresh her make-up.

The lexicographer and IT man at the Ideas, a lanky nerd, overhearing the exchange, told Ormaza that dictionaries soon would confine the term womanizer to the cemetery of language in disuse, with the warning on its archaic nuance for epitaph. Ormaza asked him to define womanizer.

“Proclivity or dexterity to engage women to satisfy an uncontrollable thirst for sexual pleasure.”

Ormaza didn’t see a reason to worry about the term’s longevity. Uncontrolled sexual appetite was not going anywhere.

The lexicographer elaborated:

“Sex no longer is a function of seduction, it now is like having lunch, a sport or dancing, and often women initiates the…” he can’t find the proper word, “the sexual session.”

Ann and Ormaza step out.

Maybe the lexicographer was right, seduction might not be the right word for what he did. Cosmopolitan New York helped Ormaza engage all kinds of women in encounters compressed mostly to the early afternoon. For this purpose he kept a room at a small hotel on 17th street, not far from the Ideas.

They had a bite and proceeded to the hotel. Not Ann’s first visit, she undressed gracefully and diligent. Left alone, unpressured, Ann staged delightful acts. She studied ballet for years and mime. Men, Ormaza told her, had lost the patience to appreciate a girl’s exhibitionism. Ann stopped rolling her pantyhose down at her ankles and looked at him over the shoulder. Boys her age were always in a hurry, she agreed. Climaxing was their only priority. I am surrounded by orgasm-maniacs. Ormaza assured her it was not generational. Men his age had also traded the journey for the adrenaline of the arrival. Ann approached him jumping, and knelt. Ormaza was sitting on the edge of the bed. She knew about his predilection for languid sex after lunch, and apologized.

“I am so sorry, honey, but I have an editorial meeting at 2. A quickie has to do.”

Languid sex—copulating through different stages of consciousness, the somnambulism of a siesta at its best—Ann found weird at first, and incomprehensible how Ormaza kept his erection rock-hard while asleep. Then she learned to copulate in her sleep while dreaming herself copulated. (Ann preferred he old euphemism carnal conversation over copulation, which struck her as stolen from a medical dictionary, and detested the vulgar verbs fuck, screw, bang, etc.) Conveying the concept to her American friends was difficult, none took naps, except one who had volunteered for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic. She loved having sex after lunch in a hammock, but, as she recalled, she was always awake.

“The positive side of nepotism has been your long lunches,” said Ormaza.

“I know, my love, but today I can’t.”

Ann pulled his pants down to the knee, and climbing him came violently fast. She took a shower and left.

Ormaza was left in despair. The Chiluisas story had taken its toll. The violent sex took its toll. Age was taking its toll. Staring at the ceiling he didn’t notice several cracks surrounding the chandelier. He was trapped in a tunnel, that is to say he crossed his investigations, however dark, impervious to the consequences. He closed his eyes. Neon lights poured over a decapitated body. Not the Chiluisa woman. Not even a woman. Ormaza was sleeping, and descending to a deeper stage of unconsciousness, he fought a gipsy. He stabbed the gipsy seven times. He woke up suffocating. No, he could not confront the next hours alone. He called a former student, Masha. Masha promised to come in half hour.

Half an hour… Ormaza walks from one end of the room to the other, naked from the waist down. He estimates the time passed since he visited the morgue. The detective in charge of the case called him early that morning. He had been authorized to examine the corpse, he joked, the head divorced from the body. They kept the head and the body in separate compartments. The autopsy had revealed the cause of death, said a forensic surgeon at the morgue. The head was crashed. Ormaza didn’t see the body, not because of a weak stomach or modesty. He wanted to retain an uncertain image of Rosa while writing. The magazine, of course, demanded photos. He arranged the authorization for the photographer. 

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 The Headless Body

Chapter 2 The Journalist is a Lothario

Chapter 3 The Dog's Name Is Cocu

Chapter 4 The Lover

Chapter 5 An Underworld with Dancers

Chapter 6 The Victim and History

Chapter 7 The Murderous Husband

Chapter 8 A Love Story

Chapter 9 Doubt

Chapter 10 The Homicide

Chapter 11 How did the Escape Plan Fail?