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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Past Crimes: Part 1 (Sisterhood of Violence)

My friend Elias got involved in an unfortunate situation. Due to his circumstances he found himself riding in a bus with Helen Golay and Olga Rutterschmidt to a hearing in federal court. Their names may not immediately ring any bells, but you might have heard mention of the women in early 2006 when they were arrested for murdering two homeless men so they could collect substantial life insurance settlements. The kicker in the case was the suspicion of the arresting authorities that these two old broads had actually killed their victims themselves by running them over with vehicles in dark alleys. Neither of the women is under seventy years of age and it appears that neither one is afraid of getting her hands dirty. Of course there is further evidence that this pair may have exterminated more than just the two hapless individuals for whose deaths they are being prosecuted.

All the passengers in the bus that day were inmates at the Metropolitan Detention Facility in downtown Los Angeles. They were being transported to the Federal Courthouse to attend their respective hearings. Olga, the blondish 73-year-old, created a commotion throughout the journey. For the short duration of the ride she complained incessantly and melodramatically about the cramped conditions of the vehicle and declared that she was claustrophobic and just could not take it anymore. Several other inmates present suggested that she did not deserve to ride anywhere in comfort. Various men, (Helen and Olga were the only women in the bus), were calling out such things as:

"Hey, you the ones that killed those men..", "Why do you think you deserve something special? You killed those men..", "Settle down, lady, it ain't going to get any better for you..", etc.

Olga vehemently began insisting to the other inmates that she had been set up and that her friend was responsible for all the murders. She passionately protested her innocence and blamed everything on Helen as Helen sat a small distance away in steely-eyed silence. The dialogue became so animated that the federal agent driving the bus called out repeatedly for silence in the specific rows where the conversationalists were seated. Elias was stuck immediately to the right of Olga and hoped her diatribe would subside every time the driver demanded "Quiet in Row 6!"

Elias further described how Helen never once reacted as Olga continually pinned all the blame on her. I rolled my eyes to indicate my skepticism that Olga could possibly be innocent. Elias shrugged and then remarked in a serious tone that something about Helen's imperturbable silence and fierce demeanor made him feel like she legitimately could have been the mastermind. "She was cold. Cold. You would have had to have seen her to understand." he kept insisting. Elias is often a good judge of such things. Incidentally, he did not know the names of the two women. He referred to their crime and described scary Helen as the one with the big red bouffant hairdo. "You know, the one with the big red bouff," he told me as he framed his hands around his head to indicate the dimensions of her massive hairstyle. Well, I couldn't actually picture her in my mind at that moment, but I did a search on the Internet for their mugshots several days after he told me all this. The big red bouff belonged to Helen.

I mentioned the old ladies and my thoughts on their existence to Jewell the next time we met at her house for a workout. She looked at me with disapproval and reminded me that people in the United States were innocent until proven guilty. I ignored that and asked her how many people she thought they might have killed. After all, there is little likelihood that this conniving pair had waited until they were in their seventies to start murdering. I expressed my conviction that they must have begun their swath of carnage much, much earlier in their lives and that the body count would be very significant if the truth ever came out. Jewell listened to all this in silence and then asked me in carefully measured tones:

"Don't you think it would be unfair if people accused us of stuff? We haven't done anything but imagine if we were put on trial for skipping out on our tab at a sleazy bar in the desert and hitting the bartender with our vehicle as we fled the scene? We could be tried in the court of public opinion long before we ever saw the inside of an actual courtroom. Would that be right?"

Oh, fuck. Why was she bringing this up? It appeared that my best option was to try and strangle her with her jumprope. Jewell fought back much harder than expected..

Did Jewell triumph in this nasty battle? Or did I? Has our past history of violence escalated to new heights? Will there be another run-in? Will Jewell and I someday be riding in the same paddy wagon to a courthouse in a major city? Are those things called "paddy wagons" anymore?

The answers are inside my Playhouse at .

- XXOO Tanya

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