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Leave a Whisper Bookcover

Leave A Whisper

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Chapter Nineteen -Steak And Freud Go Together
The steak house was crowded with people shoulder to shoulder, like sardines packed in a tin can. The aroma of smoking meat caressed every nook and cranny, triggering an appetite even if you weren't hungry when first entering. The sound of forks and knives clacking and clanging against plates, were as loud as the jolly voices overlapping one another.

Toni sat across from Meadows and looked around at the antiques hanging from every wall and all the wood ceiling beams, while he read the laminated menu. Harnesses and horseshoes decorated walls and leather saddles hung from the ceiling. Various styles of barbed-wire were displayed in cases, trimmed with weathered, wood frames. Milk cans sat in corners with dried flowers sprouting from their opened lids and worn black and white portraits of old-timers hung on panels between knotty pine trim. The room's ambiance felt like the 1800's, provoking the feeling of wishing one could have witnessed olden days past, before they disappeared into the progression of present days.

"The T-bone is the best cut here. I've heard they're famous for the thickest and juiciest T-bones in town," he announced, not looking up from the menu.

"Sounds good to me. I'll have mine medium-rare," she answered, while still looking around.

"That's what I'm getting, too, with a baked potato and all the trimmings," he told her. "Same for you?"

Before Toni could answer, a cute waitress appeared, asking them what they wanted and offering drinks and an appetizer to start. She wore a hand-tooled, leather belt adorned with an engraved, sterling-silver belt buckle, and boots and a cowboy hat that complemented her beyond the title of cowgirl.

She nodded that she'd have the same, and after Meadows ordered, he attempted small talk, avoiding the case entirely. "See that case hanging over there," he said, pointing to a barbed-wire display, "the different kinds of wire inside and were used for different kinds of jobs."

"Really? I don't know anything about barbed-wire, but that makes sense for the reason of having so many different kinds and all," she replied, not really interested in the histrionics of barbed-wire.

"Yep, and I know about them personally. See this scar," he said, rolling his sleeve up and showing her his upper arm, "I got it helping my dad one day, putting up a section of new fence on our farm back in Indiana."

"You lived on a farm, Brad? In Indiana?"

"Sure did. And I still miss those days a little. There were rules, you know. You knew what the day ahead held and you looked forward to the night."

"What do you mean by that?" she curiously asked.

"Well, you knew you had to get up at 4 am, milk the cows, feed the chickens and fork hay to the horses, and after breakfast, you knew you were gonna work at least fourteen hours before day's end. And by then, you were glad it was night so you could finally sit down and relax, but usually go to bed early-- if you're lucky."

He had piqued her interest with his childhood history. "What'd you do in those fourteen hours?"

"Oh, shoe a horse maybe, mend a fence or two, hence the scar," he smiled, " and plow the fields, pick corn or whatever mama needed, even break a horse in, some days."

"Okay, life on the farm must of--"

The waitress returned with their drinks and an appetizer plate filled with an assortment of goodies, then placed a short bourbon in front of Meadows and a glass of wine in front of Toni.

"As I was saying, life on the farm must of been a hard life, but what brought you here and to become a detective?" she asked taking a sip of wine.

"My mother passed away when I was fifteen. After a few years of helping my dad, he passed, too. I think he died of a broken heart personally, and no one can convince me of anything else. Although technically, it was a heart attack. So, I stayed a short time then sold the farm to our neighbors, adjacent to our farm."

"I'm so sorry, Brad. I lost my father, too. I know how hard that is. What did your neighbors want with your farm?"

"They tore down the fence line that separated the two farms and made it into one big one and let their oldest move into our house with his new wife. It's all good, and I'm glad I sold it to them. They're good people. I grew up with their son-- the one that lives in my old house, and I heard they're expecting their third child now."

"Then it all worked out all right for you and for them. Do you ever go back and visit them?"

Meadows finished off the bourbon, shaking half-melted ice into his mouth, crunching the cubes into slivers. "I haven't in a couple of years. But I've been planning on going as soon as this case is solved," he replied, realizing he'd accidentally touched on the subject he'd intended to avoid for the evening.

Toni, noticing it was the first mention of the case, decided the subject might as well be open for discussion. Maybe it would be more free-flowing over a steak dinner, than forced as it'd been in his office under pressure, she wondered.

During dinner and more small talk, Toni broke it with questions of case scenarios. "Well, not to change the subject-- as your boyhood days are interesting, but I'd like any new thoughts you might have on the case."

Meadows swallowed the bite he was chewing and washed it down with iced water, then blotted his mouth with his napkin. He hadn't expected her to bring the subject up, and she'd taken him by surprise. "Well, to tell you the truth, Toni, I was intentionally avoiding the subject tonight, but since you've asked, I have a few things to consider."

"Okay, what things?" she asked, taking another bite.

"Well, we mentioned Freud before. So I did some research on his theories and thought possibly a few of those could actually apply to this psycho," he responded.

Toni had studied him in college and agreed that his theories could be accurately applied, if used in correct correlation of modern psychology. After all, we all have Ego Ids, and childhood events do form our adult behavior and dominate on a subconscious level. "I think you're right in this case, Brad. With an abusive mother and probable traumatic events in his childhood, he's displaying the typical signs of displacement."

"That's exactly what I was thinking. Usually, displacement manifests from inhibitions and subconscious anger. I think he's using other women as a substitute for his mother. You know, taking out his anger on them because he can't take it out directly on her, or in another way-- a healthy way, like most people do" Meadows told her.

"Makes sense. And I think also, he displays the fantasy theory, too. When a person can't achieve or do something that they want, they channel the energy created by the desire, into fantastic, outrageous imaginings. It provides a temporary relief from the anger and stress. He desires to get even with, and punish his mother, so he punishes helpless victims that he doesn't identify with, or see as personal. What if he had sexual desires for his mother?" she asked.

"Could have. What if he did have sexual relations with his mother and she's deceased now and he's reliving that with his sexual killings? What if he has delusional obsessions? Maybe he looses track of reality as he switches for long periods into his fantasy world. But then again, I think he's stuck in that world and it's became his reality now."

Toni knew that if he were right, the killer was also possibly in an idealization phase, the over-estimation of the desirable qualities and the underestimation of the limitations of a desired thing. He would also tend to idealize those things that he has chosen. His mother and his victims. His art.

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...he's using other women as a substitute for his mother...

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