Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
Minnie leaned back in her swivel chair and looked up at the textured ceiling above her tiny studio apartment.
Had that mold stain always been there? Well, whatever. It wasn't like the maintenance guy would do anything about it - he was being paid to chainsmoke and eat at least two meatball footlongs a day all while sitting at his desk.
It didn't matter. Her head was pulsing with a migraine - great, just when she was about to go live. She ran a hand through her dark, sleek locks - ew, no, they were oily. She needed a shower. Maybe that would hold off the migraine if she got the recording out fast enough. She doubted it, though.
"You alright, Min?"
Her gaze flicked over to her right hand man, Mars, who was busy proof-reading the script they'd spent the last four days and mostly sleepless nights pounding down into their shared Google Doc. "Alright as I can be," She muttered.
His head stopped bobbing to the music that was pulsing through his headphones. He slid them down so that they sat around his neck. "You need an aspirin, niña?"
"It can wait, really." She sat up and reached for her own headphones. "Let's just..get this one out."
Mars's freckles seemed to shimmer in the naked bulb that hung over their shared desk, which was really just an old door that sat facedown on a few stacks of milk crates. His green eyes narrowed to slits. "Minnie Morales, you can't fool me. Come on, I can run down to the CVS and be back in like, three minutes."
"Fine, just don't start bitchin' afterwards when it really starts to hurt." He ran a hand through his glossy, honey-colored locks and sighed. "We're going live in three, two, one.."
Minnie slipped her headphones over her ears and listened to the opening notes of their intro.
"Hey guys, welcome to another grisly episode of Who Says a Girl Can't Kill? I'm Minnie Morales, joined by my co-host Mars Aqualimpia. Get ready to dive into another twisted tale, maybe with a nice hot drink to comfort you. This is gonna be one wild ride.."
In actuality, Minnie reveled in hearing her own voice played back in recordings - it was soft and high, something totally unexpected when it came to murder podcasts. She was tired of hearing the same old dry, monotone voices flood her ears.
It got boring after awhile. It was time for a change. Fortunately, it was what drew people in - well, some people.
Mars, being the internet junkie he was, had found a doozie of a tale. It was just a throw-away article about some rich heiress who had been married seven times in the past seven years. It seemed cliché in the beginning.
But the strange thing was that each of her husbands had died only weeks after being married, and no traces of foul play were ever found. The only thing each of the crime scenes had in common was the serenity of them, in each of the pictures, the politician, or oil baron or whatever was laid up in bed, body sound and safe. It almost looked like they were sleeping.
The heiress in question, ironically named Serenity Donahue, had been tried time and time again by seven high courts in seven different states - and had been set free.
Minnie had seen photos of her, paparazzi shots and magazine spreads alike. She was elegant, lean and tall, wore bracelets that were stacked all the way up her forearms, and heels so tall that with one wrong step, any normal person would have surely broken their ankle.
What fortune was she an heiress to? Well, frankly, Minnie didn't care. Who would care when such a fucked up story cocooned this woman?
Hopefully, this episode would get she and Mars a shit-ton of of views, and a steady cash flow this week.
Once it was over, she rested her head on their makeshift table-top. If only she hadn't dropped out of school. Then maybe she could be living in a cushy little dorm room. That would be nice.
"Let's go," Mars stood up from his desk and grabbed his coat that was draped on the back of his seat. "You need that aspirin."
"Fine, lemme just get my purse." Minnie reached blindly for the clutter that was piled on her side of the desk.
"I got my wallet. Come on, let's go." Mars grabbed her by the shoulder and pulled her up to her feet with ease.
"Hey, hey, just because I'm petite doesn't make me a ragdoll." Minnie bristled and slapped his hand away as she slung her purse strap over her shoulder.
"Alright, alright, jeez." Mars muttered as he squeezed past unopened boxes and Amazon packages just to get to the front door. "Just try'na be a good friend."
Minnie huffed, slipped in front of him and opened the door. The threshold was basked in blinding florescence as they stepped into the hall, narrow with uneven floorboards. Home sweet home, indeed. Chicago really slammed her with their crazy rentals.
Just when they were nearing the rickety staircase, a woman was struggling her way up with heavy bagfuls of groceries. She seemed out of sorts. Her hair, which looked freshly highlighted was piled up on her head in a messy bun. Her lips were swollen with what Minnie could only assume were lip fillers, yet dry. Thick-lensed, round sunglasses took up half her face.
Mars rushed to help her. Swiftly, he leapt down a few steps and grabbed one of the heavier looking bags from her weak grasp.
"Thank you," The woman breathed. She peered over her glasses at the two of them and grinned, showing off pearly white veneers.
"No problem. You new around here?" Mars grinned.
"Yes, I just moved in."
"Which one? I can help you get this stuff in there."
Minnie stifled a groan. Leave it to Mars to strike up conversation with a random stranger.
"314." The woman's heels peeked out from under the baggy polyester sweatpants she wore.
"Oh, looks like we're neighbors." Mars's eyes twinkled mischievously as he reached down and slung his free arm around Minnie's shoulders.
The woman laughed - it was almost like a bird tweeting. "Oh, are you two boyfriend and girlfriend?" Her lips turned up into a forced smile that seemed fake. She'd probably had a lot of botox.
"Uh, no." Minnie interjected. "We've been friends for a long time."
"Hmm." The woman mused. She took off her sunglasses and graced the two with her milky-grey irises. "They all say that at one time or another." She looked down at the bag Mars was holding and grabbed it from him.
"You know, I think I have a handle on these now that I'm on even ground. Thank you, though." And with that, she turned away and started off down the hall.
"That was..strange," Minnie chided her friend as they headed down the winding staircase to the lobby.
Mars shrugged. "I wouldn't think much of it. People are weird."
"Weird, or insane?"
"Minnie, come on. She was probably drunk." Mars rolled his eyes. "We'd better get you that aspirin before you turn into some tinfoil-hat wearer."
Minnie pressed her lips together in a grim line. Maybe she was reading too much into it.
But maybe not.