The Opposite Side of the Moon
By Jaime Lyn


Chapter 14


"I don't know how I can help you," Gracie said.

For the fifteenth time in ten minutes, the older woman wrung her hands nervously on the hem of her peach blouse.  Her weight constantly shifted from left foot to right, and her eyes looked tired and troubled.  Gracie was a small woman, not even five foot two, with mousy brown hair stuck up in a messy bun and mismatched clothes that made it seem ironic that she was the wardrobe lady.  Scully's guess was that Gracie was not from New York, not even from up north, and that perhaps this was the woman's first time speaking to an officer of the law without the words, "good day to you, sir," coming out while passing on the street.

"All you need to do is be honest," Scully said, not knowing how else to allay the woman's fears.  It was just too frustrating to even try at this point.

"Well," Gracie said, "like I told you, I was in and out of here the day that Jen---that Jen---"

"It's alright," Scully said quickly, laying a hand on Gracie's arm to convey reassurance.  "Just tell me what you can."

Gracie smiled and patted Scully's hand, gratefully.  Scully barely registered it.  God, I'm hungry, she thought, her head pounding like a hammer.  I need food.  I need sleep. I feel like having chinese tonight.  Why don't I just go home and take some asprin and get some sleep.  Then I can---

"----Of course I never had time," Gracie said, waving her hands for emphasis.

Scully shook her head when she realized that she had missed the first part of Gracie's sentence.  Goddamn it, focus! she thought angrily.  Pay attention! If you don't, then it means that Mulder was right.  And if Mulder was right, that means I have to go out to the window and look to see if pigs in tutus are falling from the sky.

"I'm sorry," Scully said, leaning back against the makeup counter.  She rubbed her forehead for a moment.  "What did you say?"

Gracie stared strangely at Scully, then frowned.  "Are you alright, Agent Scully?"

Scully nodded and tried to think about how unprofessional she looked right at that moment.  "Fine," she said, taking a breath. No, I won't think of that now, she thought.   "You were saying?"

Gracie frowned again, startled by Scully's sudden exhaustion, but then went on, "I had so many actors in and out of here, you have to understand, and Jordan too.  Actually, Jordan was back here when Jen... when it happened.  He was mad about Mercutio's death scene costume."

Scully forced herself not to roll her eyes.  Mercutio's death scene costume?  I haven't done Shakespeare since grade school.  I should have brought milk money...I should've...mmm.. milk...Oh Jesus I'm hungry, she thought.  Out loud she said, "what about Mercutio's costume?"

"Well, it was torn," Gracie said.  "Ben had torn it right under the arms so he brought it in that morning, you know, because if he had tried to rehearse with a torn costume, Lord knows, Jordan would have had a fit.  Thing is, I don't know how in the world he managed a tear like that.  Odd place for a tear, you know?   But he was in here for awhile.  Talked to me, asked me to get him a soda, you know.  Nice boy."

Scully nodded, desperately trying to keep up with the conversation.  She was tired, annoyed, hungry and not at all sure there was even a case to be bothering with. Everything was just piling up to a bunch of nothing, and all she and Mulder seemed to be doing was upsetting everyone by prolonging things.   It was ridiculous how... well, ridiculous this whole thing was turning out to be.

"So I was going to repair the costume, you know, but then Jordan came in and said that Juliet's costume needed mending and that's more important because she's in more scenes after all and I don't wanna lose my job, so I---"

Scully began to count the cracks in the floor.  Then she stared at the wall. Then she stared at nothing. Ninety eight bottles of beer on the wall, ninety eight bottles of beer....

"--it, and then when I was leaving for lunch and Amanda came in, saying that something was wrong with her gloves but she didn't have them with her, which I thought was odd.  So I told her to take a different pair while I was out and---"

"I'm sorry--" Scully snapped immediately back to the situation when Gracie mentioned Amanda.  Something just wasn't right with that woman, hadn't been in fact, ever since high school.  Scully'd always known it.   "What did you say about Amanda?" she asked.

Gracie frowned as if flustered.  Her little hands began to scrunch and unscrunch her shirt.  "I said Amanda came in when I was on my way out to lunch."

Scully frowned.  "Was she here when you were gone?"

Gracie stared at Scully oddly, as if she just didn't see the sense in this direction of conversation.  She folded her arms across her chest as if unsure now what to do with them, and cocked her head to the side.  "Yes, as a matter of fact." Gracie squinted her eyes then, like the action would help her to somehow remember the afternoon better, and she licked her lips.  "Amanda was very insistent.  'I need a new pair of gloves, Gracie, right now,' she said to me. And so I said, 'well, sweetheart, I have to go to lunch but you're welcome to help yourself to a pair.'  And she said ok and then I left."

Scully considered that new bit of information and looked around.  The room was small, white walls cluttered with old posters of Vaudeville acts and Broadway plays like 'Cats' and 'Le Miserables.'  On wire racks in the left hand corner of the room, old fashioned Shakespearean costumes hung on plush hangers with worn, silk bows on the handles.  Many of the costumes had doubles of each other--just in case, Scully assumed, and the ones currently not in use were slung over some of the wooden chairs and mending tables in the center of the room.

The right hand corner of the room---not that the room was that large, of course---looked as if it had been reserved especially for make-up and hair.  There was a double sized mirror with lights adorning it mounted upon the wall and underneath, a counter strewn with make-up; Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder and Revlon. Scully recognized some of the labels.

Two of the tubes of ruby red lipstick lay mel-pel about the counter, as if they'd been used and tossed aside carelessly, and one compact of blush lay open and cracked upon an empty music box.  A scarlet glove was tossed over the corner of an open drawer, as if it had been dropped in haste.  Scully's brow furrowed and she looked closer at the glove.  Then she looked at the make-up.  Her eyes went back and forth: lipstick, glove, lipstick, glove.  An idea was starting to form.

"Gracie," she said, moving towards the makeup counter, "whose lipstick is this?"

Gracie cracked her neck and leaned back against one of the mending tables.  "Oh, if it's Rose number Five, it was Jen's.  She'd left her lipstick open before she---"  Then Gracie covered her mouth with her hand, refusing to say more.

Scully  nodded distractedly.  "And the glove?" she asked.

"Oh the glove," Gracie said, sniffling through her fingers.  "I think that was Jen's, too.  Though it could have been Amanda's.  She was in here for gloves that day and nothing on that side of the room's been touched since."

"Right," Scully said, slipping her own gloves from her pocket. Hers were plastic, not scarlet velvet, and they were made for investigating.  "Nothing? You're sure?"

"Yeah, I'm sure, ah... Did I say something wrong, Agent Scully?"

Scully looked back over her shoulder.  "I'm going to need to bag these for evidence," she said distractedly, carefully removing a plastic bag from her pocket along with the two plastic gloves.  Scully always kept evidence collecting items in her pockets for emergencies and she found that, from her experience working with Mulder, emergencies frequently came up.  Scully slipped the gloves over her fingers with a snap and scooped up the lipsticks.  Holding them closely to her eyes, she found that, with a grudging moment of respect for her partner, the situation was slowly turning suspicious.  --Just as he had predicted.

"Is there a murder investigation going on?" Gracie asked.  "Was Jen.. was Jen---" Her tone became low and conspiratorial, and she bent her head as if she and Scully were trading secrets.  "Was she murdered? And that other girl--the one in the elevator---was she murdered too?"

Scully sighed wearily.  God, she was still so hungry and so tired of all this bullshit.  Out of automation more than concern, she said, "We're just trying to asses the situation and be as thorough as possible.  Agent Mulder and myself have found nothing at this time that would suggest murder."

Gracie frowned and said "oh," as if Scully had just deflated a giant gossip bubble.

"Were these lipsticks opened when you got back from lunch?" Scully asked, still staring at the tips of bright ruby red.

"I don't know," Gracie answered, staring at the agent intently.  "I don't remember.  But nobody's touched them since... since---"

"Thank you," Scully said, not really paying attention, feeling the need to end the conversation and get back over to the NYPD  lab just as quickly as she could.  Staring at the tips of the lipstick, she found a thin sheen of power caked to the side.  It didn't look like blush to her trained eyes, but then again, drugs rarely had a specific texture, taste or smell. Hallucinogens could look like anything.  She wouldn't know for sure until she could get it to the lab.

Shit, she thought.  That means I have to call Mulder.

Now there was a phone call she was not looking forward to.

"Thanks again, Gracie," Scully said, bagging the glove and the lipstick with one hand, pulling out her cell phone with the other.  She was about to push the memory dial button when it chirped loudly, nearly scaring the living crap out of her.