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Feb. 3, 2021

Ep.69 – Good to the Last Drop - A Hot Cup of MURDER

Ep.69 – Good to the Last Drop - A Hot Cup of MURDER

Episode Notes

Who doesn't like a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter's morning? Well this percolator will make your coffee give you a lot more than a pep in your step, it could make you KILL.

Good To the Last Drop by Rob Fields

For more of Bella Taibon check out Episode 64 "The Last Taibon"

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Music by Ray Mattis

Produced by Daniel Wilder

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Adam Lester watched his girlfriend, Jarren Hatley, move around the kitchen. There were days when he really enjoyed seeing how animated she could be as she multitasked. She did it all: worked on washing dishes, tending to the stove for making both her breakfast and her lunch, wiping things down, and even making a fresh pot of coffee. She would even be able to talk to Adam as she did all these things.  Adam was one of the premier basketball players on the Strickfield High School team. Adam had always been about sports from his days in Strickfield Junior High all the way to now. He even had scouts come and see him, some offering him full rides through colleges and universities. However, he would have to keep his grades up and be able to graduate. Mathematics was never his strongest subject, which was why he needed a tutor. Around football season, Adam saw a flyer on the school bulletin board that Jarren Hatley had put up about tutoring. He texted her number, got a response, and she had been tutoring him in math since their first session. Adam hadn’t planned on taking a real liking to this geek, but his overall grades were greatly improving because of her – not just math. He was so grateful to her one day that he kissed her, just intending for it to be a peck on the lips. But it ended up becoming much more. Now Adam and Jarren were an item, the talk of Strickfield High.  The one thing that Adam couldn’t believe about Jarren was how much caffeine she drank. Now, she was pouring her freshly made coffee into a thermal cup to drink at school. She had just finished everything when she smiled at Adam. “Okay, done!” Adam accepted the breakfast sandwich from her, along with a kiss. The two of them were about to leave when they heard a strange noise. They both looked to see the coffeemaker making louder noises. Then it gave off a sudden surge; they saw a brief, giant spark of electricity. Shortly after, the coffeemaker was smoking.  “Shit . . .” Jarren muttered. “And I just bought it last week.” “Take it back,” Adam suggested. “You still have the receipt?” Jarren gave him a look of finality before shaking her head. “Best Buy’s going to think I abused it.” She sighed. “I’ll just have to buy another one, but I’m not going to have time today.” “That’s right, you’ve got those meetings tonight,” Adam recalled.  Jarren sighed. “Student council after school. Key Club right after. Followed by your football banquet.” Adam smiled and eased Jarren into his arms to give her a gentle hug. “Don’t worry, I’ll find you a new coffee pot.” Jarren looked into his eyes. “You’re not going to have time. We could make it out to Strickfield Towne Center Mall before they close at nine, but Best Buy closes at eight.” Adam caressed the side of her face. “I’ll get you your coffee pot tonight. That’s a promise.” They kissed one more time before they left her house and went to school.  *                    *                    * After the football banquet, Adam and Jarren couldn’t get out of Strickfield High fast enough. Adam drove them out to Strickfield Towne Centre Mall. By the time they had pulled in and parked, Adam saw that Jarren was sound asleep.  “Probably hit the wall,” he mumbled to himself.  He wanted to wake her up, but she looked so peaceful that he just let her sleep. He got out and went into the mall. As Jarren had said, Best Buy had closed at eight. There were only a select few other stores open. Adam shook his head to himself. He couldn’t believe this mall was still open. There were so many vacancies, especially after the holidays were over. He kept expecting to come to the mall and see it finally closed for good. Still, it continued to stay open.  Adam moved past the food court, which only had a Subway and a mom-and-pop pizza place. Just thinking about food made him think about Denoyer’s Grill. He checked out the rest of the mall, but he wasn’t having any real luck. There was one last store down where Radio Shack used to be.  “Tinker’s,” he muttered. “What have I got to lose?” He walked to the store and went in. He couldn’t believe all the odds and ends that were there. Just then, a man in his late forties approached him. “Can I help you, young man?” Adam shrugged. “I hope. My girlfriend’s coffeemaker crapped out on her this morning, and I promised her I’d get her another one – tonight.” The man smiled. “Well, my good man, you’re in luck. I just happen to have one right over here.” The man took him to what appeared to be a percolator. Adam gave the man a look of uncertainty. “She’s more of a Mr. Coffee type person. She wants her coffee as soon as she gets out of bed. I mean, she lives on coffee – and energy drinks.” “I do have energy drinks in the cooler by the cash register, but I’m afraid I can’t help you in terms of an automatic drip coffee maker.” The man raised his finger. “However, your girlfriend will never have to worry about electricity with this percolator.” He lowered his finger. “Unless she’s using electric . . . ?” “No, her dad made it so her house either runs on natural gas or burning wood.” He took a deep breath. “How much?” “Hey, no pressure, son.” “I know, but I want Jarren to be happy and have her coffee in the morning. Maybe she can learn to appreciate this. If not, I’ll get her what she wants tomorrow after basketball practice.” The man took the percolator, and they went to the cash register. A few moments later, he quoted Adam the price. “Twenty dollars.” “Twenty dollars?! For this thing?” Adam raised his hands in front of him. “I mean, this thing’s gotta be an antique.” “And you are right. However, you look like your heart’s in the right place with wanting to get this for your girlfriend. So for you . . . twenty dollars.” Adam dug out his wallet. 

Adam knew that Jarren’s dad would be uneasy if he brought her home as crashed as she was. Adam carried her from his car and into his house, after he unlocked the back door. He carried her up to his room and laid her down in his bed. After covering her up, he went back downstairs to close and lock everything back up. As he was about to lock up his car, he saw the percolator he’d just bought from Tinker’s and picked it up.  Adam went back inside. After locking the door, he decided to see how the percolator worked. He found a quick video on YouTube and knew he could easily make morning coffee for Jarren. 

The next morning, Friday, Jarren yawned and woke up. She saw she was in Adam’s room and turned to see Adam sleeping in the recliner next to the bed. She yawned again and moved to wake him up. Adam opened his eyes, and she kissed him. “Good morning.” “Hey,” he whispered. “You all right?” She nodded. “I could really use some coffee, though.” Adam raised his finger. “Say no more. I bought a percolator for you last night. We can try it out before we leave for school. Why don’t you go take a shower? I’ll head downstairs and make your coffee.” They kissed again. Then Adam watched as Jarren got some fresh clothes out of the two dresser drawers that he let her use for when she’d stay the night. Adam yawned, staggered out of his room, and walked downstairs. 

Jarren came down freshly dressed and accepted the mug of hot coffee from Adam. “I never made coffee before, baby, so I hope you like it.” Jarren didn’t hesitate and took a drink. Then she looked at Adam. “This is really good.” Adam gave her a weird look. “Really?” “I’m serious. This is delicious.” She took another drink. “Very strong – just the way I love it!” Adam wasn’t the cook that Jarren was. All he had to offer her was prepackaged food from the cupboard. She accepted a pack of Pop Tarts and opened them to enjoy with her coffee. Adam poured her some more and topped off her thermal cup that he had washed before going to sleep. 

Adam and Jarren had a little time before class, so they sat in the cafeteria and talked about whatever. It wasn’t long before Adam’s fellow jocks approached him. The truth was that Adam never really cared for any of them, especially when they showed their obvious contempt for Jarren.  “Can it wait until class?” Adam demanded, without so much as looking at them.  Brent Haskel snickered. “I don’t know why you put that ho before your bros, man.” Then he looked at Jarren. “Get the fuck outta here!” Adam was ready to get up and stand up for Jarren. Much to his surprise, Jarren immediately stood up. She looked at Brent with such a sharp glare; Adam had never seen this look from her before. “Why don’t you make me, asshole?” The other jocks laughed. Then Brent leaned in. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you, geek.” Jarren didn’t back down. “Yes, you did. You know, this school must be pretty desperate for a basketball team if they’re letting just any dumbasses play for them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you haven’t even won one single basketball game!” Apparently, Jarren’s stating of the obvious was too much for Brent’s ego, because he grabbed Jarren and raised his fist to hit her. As Adam was about to fight him, Jarren struck first. Still glaring at him, she raised her right hand – with lightning speed – and dug her long fingernails into the side of Brent’s face. She seemed to take great pride in dragging her nails down his flesh, making him scream and bleed fast.  The other jocks were about to attack Jarren, but several teachers were quick on the scene. Brent Haskel kept crying out as he continued to bleed from his face, blood dripping on the floor. 

When Jarren opened the back door of her house and walked in, she saw her father waiting for her. “You wanna tell me why the fuck Principal Van Diest just called me to tell me that you’re SUSPENDED?!” Jarren took a drink of coffee from her thermal mug, finishing it. She didn’t even seem to care that her father had just yelled at her, as he had done so many times before during her life. “Yeah? And . . . ? Sure, it’s quite all right for a guy to try and beat me up, right? But when I strike back, oh fuck no! Nooooooooooo! That’s never fucking okay! You’re just supposed to be quiet and –” Her father lashed out and slapped her so hard that she fell onto the kitchen floor. Then he pointed down at her. “Don’t you ever talk to me like that in my house!” Jarren glared at him and slowly stood up. She put her hand on the side of her face and felt the heat her father had just inflicted on her and knew her face was red. Lowering her hand, she said to her father in a deadly whisper, “This is the last time you ever put your hands on me, you son of a bitch!” Without warning, she grabbed a knife out of a nearby cutting block and went at her father. He screamed as she stabbed him, making him bleed fast. Then she stabbed him a second time!  A third!  A fourth! Again . . . and again! When her father was lying dead in a pool of his own blood, Jarren laughed maniacally before she licked the blood off the knife. After she growled in satisfaction, she decided that she wanted some more coffee. Since the coffeemaker was still wrecked, she remembered the percolator at Adam’s house. 

Adam had been depressed after watching Principal Van Diest yell at Jarren. When she stood up and turned his desk over, he pointed to his door and yelled that she was suspended and for her to, “Get the hell out! Now!” What had happened to Jarren? She was always such a sweet girl. He knew that she had it rough growing up, being raised by an abusive father. Still, she had always kept her head high. She was the best thing that had ever happened to him. It wasn’t until the day’s events had unfolded that Adam realized that he truly loved her with all of his heart.  He wanted to call her, but Jarren didn’t own a cell phone. Her dad wouldn’t let her have one. He decided that he had had enough of seeing Jarren suffer. He was going to go and get her and bring her to live with him. He would protect her from her father if push came to shove. He decided to stop at home first. He noticed the snow was starting to come down and remembered the blizzard that was forecasted for the weekend. When he walked into his house, the strong smell of coffee filled the kitchen. Jarren was sitting at the table, wearing one of Adam’s football jerseys, and drinking her coffee. “Hi, honey.” Adam quickly sat across from her. “Jarren, are you okay?” Then he saw the red mark on the side of her face. “Oh, my god . . .” Jarren took his hand and another drink of coffee. “I’m fine, babe. Just fine now.” Her face appeared more sinister. “Daddy’s not a problem anymore.” Then she looked to the percolator. “Have some coffee. Just made it fresh. It’s really cold outside, especially with the blizzard here now.” When Adam declined, Jarren shrugged. “More for me.” Adam took her hand. “Listen, you don’t have to worry about your dad. You can stay here with me – as long as you want.” She squeezed his hand. “I told you . . . he’s not a problem anymore.” She nodded to the window. “You sure you want to be cooped up with me during the blizzard this weekend?” “I don’t want you to go,” Adam replied.  Jarren finished her cup and put it down. Then she stood up, came over to Adam, and sat on his lap. She gazed into his eyes. “I want you.” They kissed passionately. After a while, Jarren got off Adam’s lap. She took his hand and waited for him to stand up. Then she led him upstairs to his bedroom. 

It was Wednesday morning before Strickfield High School could reopen. Adam and Jarren walked in holding hands. Many eyes turned to Jarren. She no longer wore the clothes people were accustomed to seeing her wear. Her hair was dyed red and was frizzy and wild. Her clothes now showed off her tapered legs and skinny figure. Adam didn’t know what to make of Jarren’s new attitude – or her makeover. She seemed like her old self when they were together all throughout the blizzard.  Jarren stopped just in front of the principal’s office. “Here, hold my coffee.” She handed Adam the thermal mug and marched right into the office.  Principal Van Diest hadn’t expected Jarren to burst in . . . literally burst through his door.  The principal pointed to her. “You aren’t supposed to be here! I suspended you for two weeks!” Jarren stood in front of his desk, raised her arms, and slammed her fists down. Principal Van Diest couldn’t believe that skinny Jarren Hatley had just destroyed his desk. She glared at him now. “Let me make this clear to you, asshole. I come and go when and where I please. You want to keep pissing me off, I’ll be glad to put you through another desk. Seriously, I am so sick of your fucking shit! How many times have you let bullies run rampant here, while you punish people like me?” She pointed at him. “That changes today! You hear me?!” Principal Van Diest raised his arms in front of him as Jarren grabbed him and lifted him right off his feet. She glared into his eyes. “Don’t fuck with me!” Then she dropped him back into his chair, turned around, and walked out.  Jarren smiled with glee as she took her coffee back from Adam. “All settled . . .” The two of them hadn’t walked ten feet from the office door when it slammed open. The principal burst out and pointed right at Jarren. “You are expelled from Strickfield High School! Leave here now, or I’ll call the police!” Jarren stopped. She chugged the rest of her coffee before she handed the mug back to Adam. She turned around and flexed herself, causing loud cracks to come from her neck and back. Then she gave Principal Van Diest her evil glare again. “You just don’t listen to reason, do you?” Before Principal Van Diest could yell another word, Jarren grabbed him. Easily lifting him up and over her head, she threw him several feet down the hallway. He might have crashed right through the windows of the cafeteria had he not been caught by someone else. When he felt himself being put back down, he turned to see the blonde girl who had caught him. Next to her was Eileen Donnerly, whom most everybody knew as Einstein. He knew Eileen, but he had never seen the blonde girl who now looked even meaner and angrier than Jarren Hatley.  “Principal Van Diest, what is going on?” Eileen asked with surprise, in her mousy voice.  Suddenly, Jarren was right there. She grabbed Principal Van Diest with one hand and shoved the blonde girl so hard that she flew back and through the gymnasium doors. Then she shoved Eileen so that she fell hard onto her rear.  “Now . . . Matthew, where were we?” Jarren sneered.  “Jarren, stop!” she heard Adam calling out.  She didn’t seem to hear him. “I’m going to put you right through these fucking cafeteria doors. Then I’m going to put you through every goddamn table.” Suddenly, Jarren felt Principal Van Diest being snatched away from her. The blonde was back. She put the principal back down and snapped at him, “Get the fuck out of here!” When Principal Van Diest moved away, the blonde turned to Jarren. “You just made a huge mistake, you fucking skank. Nobody puts their fucking hands on me like that. You want to fight?! Let’s fight!” “Bells!” Eileen called out to her.  Bella Taibon quickly turned to Eileen, yanked her up, and pushed her next to Principal Van Diest. “Get him the fuck away from here, Einny.” Jarren grabbed Bella and attempted to throw her, but Bella was ready for her. Much to Jarren’s surprise, Bella was quite strong herself. Jarren found herself being thrown into the gym now. She landed on the floor and slid to the halfway point of the basketball court. Bella marched right in shortly after.  “I seriously do not need this fucking shit, this morning!” Bella snapped. “First, I had to spend the last several days in this motherfucking village during that blizzard! Then I have to wear these fucking clothes just to be able to come to school!” She yelled over her shoulder. “A fucking schoolgirl outfit?! Really, Einny?” She glared at Jarren. “Now I’m in a fucking school. And I have to deal with you first thing this morning? What, did you put your fucking tampon on wrong or something?” Jarren screamed like a banshee and ran at Bella. The two girls met and started trading punches. Bella could easily have avoided Jarren’s fists, but she wanted to know what sort of a supernatural being she was dealing with. When Bella determined that Jarren was just a human, she started taking more of the offensive.  Bella lifted Jarren off her feet and threw her into the bleachers. She crashed through them and groaned. Jarren was quickly back on her feet, both bleeding and bruised now. She screamed at Bella again as she came out from inside the bleachers. Then she ran at Bella again.  Bella knew that she couldn’t unload anymore on this girl, as much as she wanted to. Despite having the strength and powers of a thousands-of-years-old Master Vampire, she would have to subdue her without killing her. Bella snatched Jarren and wrestled her to the floor.  The two girls wrestled one another. Bella couldn’t believe that this human was so strong. Just by seeing the crazed look on Jarren’s face, she knew that Jarren was on something. She had seen many addicts in the past. While Jarren certainly wasn’t on drugs or alcohol, Bella knew there must have been some magic or potion that was making Jarren extraordinarily strong – and crazy.  Bella was especially annoyed at the people who came into the gym just to snap pictures or take videos of the fight. No one would ever see it, thanks to Bella’s inability to be photographed. But in the hallways, students would call it the geek girl vs. the bad schoolgirl.  Bella focused and took the defensive as Jarren threw fist after fist at her. She hoped that Jarren would tire and become easier to subdue. When she saw that this wouldn’t happen, Bella snatched Jarren and took her down to the floor. She wrapped her legs around Jarren’s midsection from behind and locked Jarren’s upper body in a full nelson type move.  Jarren screamed and struggled to break free, but Bella was far too strong and could keep Jarren in her place. Bella held her incapacitated for several minutes.  “Stop this!” Bella yelled. “Now!” “Never!!” Jarren screamed.  Bella soon realized that Jarren’s strength would never diminish, but she had one more trick up her sleeve. She released Jarren and watched her get up. She came right at Bella, which was what Bella counted on. She snatched Jarren and held her so that she could lock eyes with her. Bella never really liked using her glam on people, but this was one time where it was warranted. Jarren felt herself under Bella’s spell and quickly became weaker because of it. Soon, she fell to the floor and went right to sleep.  Eileen and Adam both came into the gym.  “Bells, is everything okay?” Eileen asked.  When Bella was sure that no one else could hear them, she answered, “I glammed her. I don’t know how long she’ll be out, but we need to lock her up somewhere where she can’t hurt anyone.” Adam knelt down next to Jarren. He took her hand and wondered what had happened to his beloved. In fact, that was what Bella wanted to know. She snatched up Adam and glared at him. “What’s she on? You better talk to me. I really don’t want to have to glam you.” Adam protested again and again that he really didn’t know. Bella believed him and put him down. She didn’t let him go, however. “Sorry, boy, but you leave me no choice.” Adam felt himself sink into Bella as she glammed him to her will. Being that she was a Master Vampire, she knew that she could go even further with her glam. She could actually peer deep into Adam’s mind and see everything that he had seen. She looked upon the last week. Then she came to the memory of him visiting Tinker’s at Strickfield Towne Center Mall. And then Bella understood.  After removing the glam from Adam, the three of them waited as Jarren was strapped down tightly to a stretcher and taken away. Adam was ready to leave with the paramedics to be at Jarren’s side, but Bella stopped him.  “Not so fast!” she snapped. “We’re going to your house first. I want to examine that percolator you bought for your girlfriend.” “But . . . !” Adam started to sputter. Then he sighed. “Okay . . .”

Adam, Bella, and Eileen walked into Adam’s house through the back door. Bella immediately spotted the percolator and opened it. The remaining coffee inside was still hot and smelled strong. Bella uttered a brief incantation and discovered that this was no ordinary coffee pot when it gave off a feint red glow.  Bella turned to Adam. “How much of this fucking shit did your honey drink?” Adam sighed in exhaustion. “I really don’t know . . . Jarren drinks so much caffeine.” Bella closed her eyes and stifled a groan. Then she opened them. “Okay, we’ll assume she drank quite a bit, based on what we’ve seen from her.” Then she poured the remaining coffee down the drain.  “Is something wrong with that coffee pot, Bells?” Eileen asked.  “Oh . . . nothing much,” Bella replied. “The metal body is made with traces of Olde Bloodstone – that’s Olde, with an e on the end. Not the kind of shit you want falling into the wrong hands.” “Isn’t that a birthstone?” Eileen asked.  “Take the Olde away, and you’ve got the birthstone,” Bella replied. “Keep it in, and you’ve got some potentially dangerous magical properties that come from it.” Bella turned to Adam. “Your girlfriend’s coffee was tainted with it. There’s a fucking good reason why Olde Bloodstone goes great with a percolator. The tainted coffee brought out whatever pent-up emotions your girlfriend had. Now, it can be good or bad, depending on the person. Say you would have drank the tainted coffee, and you being hopeless romantic, it would have made you appreciate love that much more. You’d even be able to score most any girl you wanted. But in the case of your girlfriend . . . She must have had some really scary shit happen to her.” Adam explained about how Jarren had gone through many years of abuse at the hands of her father. Then he finished with, “She was always such a cheerful person whenever I saw her. When I finally met her dad, I knew right away something was off about him.” Bella looked a little sad now. “I’m really sorry, Adam. Your girlfriend drank all that tainted coffee. It brought out all the pent-up rage that had been building up inside her over the years. The more she drank, the more she percolated. Until she couldn’t take anymore and started lashing out. Like I said, Olde Bloodstone goes real fucking good with a percolator.” She got serious and looked him right in the face. “Now . . . let’s take a little trip to this mall of yours.” *                    *                    * Adam’s jaw dropped. “I’m telling you, Bella, it was right here. I’m not making this up! The store was right here – where the old Radio Shack used to be. Right here!” Bella looked at Adam. “I believe you. When I glammed you, I saw the store called Tinker’s. It made me think of a certain motherfucker named Eisley Tinker. See, he’s known and renowned in the supernatural world for fixing and rebuilding things . . . only he likes to add something . . . special to them to make supernatural shit happen. I ran into him some sixty years ago. Even now, Tinker’s still a slippery son of a bitch. He must have known people would be coming and . . . poof! No more fucking store! The problem is . . . we won’t know where Tinker will turn up next.” Just then, Adam received a call on his smartphone. It was from Strickfield General Hospital. The more Adam heard, the more his emotions lifted. “Yes, that’s great! Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!” When Adam hung up, he looked to Eileen and Bella. “Jarren’s going to be okay. She’s sleeping soundly. She’s going to be kept at Strickfield General until she’s gone through her caffeine withdrawals.” Then he groaned. “But how will Jarren ever be able to come back to school? I mean, a lot of people saw what she did. And then there’s Principal Van Diest . . .” Bella sighed. “Sorry, honey, but I can’t possibly glam that many people. I can glam Principal Van Diest so that Jarren isn’t suspended anymore, but the rest will be up to her.” “Thank you,” Adam said.  Bella knew that Jarren Hatley would be okay, but what about the other lives that Eisley Tinker had claimed? Bella was even more upset now that she couldn’t leave Strickfield knowing that her old enemy had returned. Sooner or later, Tinker, you’re going to fuck up. And then . . . you’re fucking ass is MINE!!

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