Serial Saturday: All The Queens Men: Part One by Robert Gabe

 

 

Part One

 

Prologue:

Three years ago I went to a publicist about a memoir I was writing concerning Tana Molnar. The novel was complete. I had spent the better part of the last five years assembling the book – writing treatments and outlines and by the fall of 2022 I was content with the outcome. The Publisher initially emailed me in the days that followed saying that they were fascinated by the memoir, but to publish it would be a near impossibility. The reason being I hadn’t changed the names, places or peculiar details about Tana’s story. These were real people I was writing about. The memoir involved the real story of a beloved college beauty queen I knew in passing known as Tana Molnar, her murder and the subsequent details about her life. Her reputation would be ruined, the family would have protested the publication and overall people were going to be hurt by the contents of the book as it so shamelessly unfolded secrets Tana and I only knew about.

The night after having received the email from the publication company I sat upon my high rise balcony which resided in the central metropolis of Philadelphia and contemplated what to do with the material. I felt as if the story was so important, so mesmerizing with an urgent need for listers it never occurred to me while writing that it would never reach a wide audience. The wind was howling and from my apartment I could see the flickering lights of the nearby casino as many thoughts raced through my mind, one of which was the recent suicide of one of my former colleague, Sarah Winstion, a university graduate who had gotten a Bachleors in Communications. She was a part of my sales team. She got one small article in the local times with the headline “Woman Falls to Her Death in Mysterious Circumstances.” But my peers knew what really happened. Her long term boyfriend had recently called off their wedding and as a result, she jumped. After the initial article, there was no further investigation for foul play.

I had another idea. I was going to print copies of the memoir myself through a third party, do-it-yourself publisher. Proceedingly, my plan was to take three hundred printed copies of the book and secretly place them on store shelves, public libraries, the works.. And this is what I did do, or have done rather. I hope someone discovers this work and it will somehow find its audience relating to Tana. In other words, if you are reading this, you have found one of the three hundred copies and what you do with it I will leave in your hands. I have gone by the alias penn name of Vincent Black. My true name will not be revealed. But I’m sure if one cares enough, they will be able to pin down who I am, who the author of this memoir is.  

I know what I’ve done might hurt some people. I know the narrative of Tana Molnar’s secret double life may shatter certain individuals’ perceptions about her, family included. But it’s all gone beyond that. What happened to me in the months after her death is a narrative too rich to go untold. Obsession has come over me, like a moth to a flame, and now, as a thirty-five year old recluse with nothing left but that obsession, I invite you to discover All The Queens Men.

  • Anonymous

 

There wasn’t a mean bone in Tana Molnar’s body. Anyone who knew her would tell you that. Even people who’d only known her in passing claimed she gave off a congenial quality that’s rarely seen today. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, but her hospitable persona is what made her prettier than some of the other glamor girls in her circle. Tana was, quite simply put, a friendly person. She didn’t put others down, she didn’t gossip, she wasn’t a mean girl, nor did she posses any catty attributes that made me weary of other women and I think this made other women jealous of her. She radiated purity and kindness akin to some heavenly being. She was, simply put, a divine soul…

Now she’s bleeding out in front of me, an entry wound at her navel, dark red stains widening against her elegantly laced dress. Minutes before my hands clutching her petite waist. I hadn’t noticed. Not until I saw her smile fade gradually as her knees began to quiver, my hand ever so slowly falling away from her. When she drops to the ground a collective pitching of shrieks fill the summer day air and my only response is no response as I’ve yet to render what’s happening. But then it hits me. Tana Molnar has been shot in her abdominal region. And I’m standing over her. I have not been shot, nor has Casey, the other blonde standing next to me, as her hands cover her gasping mouth she become hysterical and runs off. I quickly drop to my knees, but my assistance is futile and without practicality. When my mind comes to, I add pressure to the wound, a sea of spectators rushing and frantic, some watch, others just scream. I catch Tana’s eyes, filled with water, she gazes directly into mine and pulls me closer to whisper something in my ear. Crying and half audible, her only words: “Dream Rabbit.”

We were in our mid-twenties and running a campus film festival, which Tana was the star guest. Members of the teachers staff were there as well as we gathered around the music hall building socializing for something we had spent months planning. The idea of the festival was for certain students to make short films which would be screened in the music hall theater and the best film would win an award of five thousand dollars. Ted Gittis, a biology professor, approaches me and compliments me on the suit I’m wearing.

“Looking sharp, Vincent. What is that, Tom Ford?”

“I got it at Macy’s.” I explain bashfully. “My mother actually picked it out.


“Don’t tell that to any of the women here. Say ‘I picked it out myself.’ You’re on the right road, kid. Are you going into sales or journalism?”


I was twenty five and only had one thousand in savings. Sometimes I felt I could still barely tie my own shoes, let alone find the appropriate attire to wear to such an event.
“Sale-” I barely make out.


“Oh shit, here comes Tana.” Ted exclaims, his attention quickly vanishes from mine as does the crowd of students surrounding us. She’s wearing a sparkling platinum LaDvine dress, her pageant crown on top of her head. She smiles the smile of perfect dental work at the welcoming students as she is whisked into the music hall. Did I have a crush on Tana? Not really. To be completely honest I never had a “crush” on anyone once I passed the third grade. I mean, she was certainly alluring, it was no secret many men desired her, myself included I suppose. I watch her as she approaches the door of the building and makes her way inside the front doors towards the screening room.

“Come on, lets head in.” Ted exclaims.


I’m sitting among a group of my peers in a theater. Casey Hiddelston sits next to me and I feel myself tense up as we accidentally bump legs, her feminine and sexual prowess having a near electromagnetic energy to it. Tana once again comes out from behind the stage curtains, the crowd cheering her, as she approaches the microphone podium. She leans into the microphone.


“Thank you all for coming out today to the campus film race. We have a wide selection of short films ranging from romance, to comedy, to horror.”


A man shouts out “I love you Tana” to which the crowd laughs and she smiles cheekily.


“Our first film is ‘Dormitory of Doom’ made by Rodger Flemming. It follows a group of young coeds as they’re being stalked by a man who claims to know about them cheating on their SATs” Tana readjust the microphone “Afterwards, once all the films are finished, I just wanted to remind everyone we will be taking pictures outside of the music hall with the filmmakers and staff.” I myself had done editing work on ‘Dormitory of Doom’ for Rodger, so that meant I would likely be in the photos.


Casey looks at me. “You worked on this, didn’t you Vincent?”


“I did”, I say proudly, masking slight embarrassment. Dormitory of Doom was not going to win. Rodger was far from a visionary. The film seemed to mimic eighties slasher trends, its only saving grace being it was a mockery of itself.


The film opens up to a group of girls and guys making a secret pact as they steal answers to the SATs. From the bushes, an unknown prowler lurks recording their conversation. The film is only thirty minutes, but in due time they start receiving anonymous phone calls with heavy breathing. In the climax of the film, the alpha male boyfriend saves his girlfriend Sasha, but not before the other conspirators are tracked down and hacked up in creatively, over the top, silly ways. One of the staff members seemed to be offended by a scene where a student gets his head caught in a vice lock and has number two pencils stabbed into every orifice of his face.That was Casey’s favorite part.

 The other films screened, most of which were pretty unremarkable, saving one called “In the Mood for Mary.” The film was a quite serious study of a man who falls in love with a ballerina. They have dinner together and he reveals his past homelife was one of neglect and violence. In the end, she decides to abandon her career until she can nurse him back to a better mental state. The film ended up winning. 

I watched Tana throughout the screenings. She sat a few rows in front of me next to two older staff members. As the films screened her smile never left her face. In that way I envied her. How could someone be so positive all the time? Did she really feel that way all the time? These questions lingered in my mind ever since I met her and still to this day my mind crumbles at the thought that it was all just a front, a put on. She had played everyone well. Because the Tana we thought we knew, was the furthest actual representation of who she actually was..

Tanas lifeless body goes stiff in my arms. My eyes are watering but I’m too engrossed within fear to do anything useful. Casey runs back to me and gets on her knees.

“Is she dead?”

“I thi-I think so.” I whimper. “I don’t know Casey.”

Casey screams out again “Oh my God,Vincent.” Nearly in a frantic state now.  “Tana, no, Oh my God baby.”

I see a black van peel off and I point to it but I’m not sure anyone notices, especially since the crowd around me is utter chaos, half of them focusing on Tana, others taking shelter and the remaining still eyed like deers in headlights, their trauma of what they’ve witnessed lay too heavy upon them. 

A police car arrives and an officer who looks to be in his early thirties runs up to me and puts his hands on my shoulder. I remove myself from the scene. There’s nothing more I can do. I am useless. Tana is gone. And so is whoever put a bullet in her.

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