It was Wednesday and William was rehearsing his lines for the series. He felt he had Drakes character down now, thanks to his trip to South beach. But where the fuck was his wallet?
He read from Scarface:
Well, the irony of this is that
this money, which is in the billions...
...is coming from your country.
You are the major purchaser of
our national product which is cocaine.
On one hand, you're saying
the US government...
...is spending millions to eliminate
the flow of drugs onto our streets.
At the same time, we are doing business
with the same government....that is flooding our streets with cocaine.
A white van slowly eased up the street. Two men sat in the front of the van, looking at the address on the driver’s license. They drove past 906 Gordon Street once and looked in the driveway. There was a truck in the driveway. They eased on back down the road.
“I’m telling you it’s William French, the actor,” said Harold
“I don’t care if he’s an actor or not, he’s loaded. We’ll kill a few hours and come back later and get the goods. He’s got to leave the house sooner or later man.” said Roberto
Jennifer was having lunch with Melanie and the girls today. She was really looking forward to it. They always had such hot gossip. They were meeting at Taboo in Palm Beach, where they would mingle with the idle rich for an hour or two.
She thought about her little affair with William. It was exciting, for a one time deal. She knew Stavros would be so hurt if he found out. It had just been an innocent little fling. She was due for one. But you couldn’t tell a man that, their feelings were hurt easily. They always wanted to be the one and only in your life. Men couldn’t handle any competition. They had huge egos. Lord knows what he would do. Of course, they had their own double standards and God forbid the drunken little office floozies who veered into their path. Men couldn’t resist being a conqueror, taking their prisoners and being the King. They were really all latent Elvis’s.
Yes, it was a world of double standards. No married woman was allowed to cheat. It was taboo, it was frowned upon and it was sinful. So she was a sinner now, she might rot in hell. She felt bad but still excited at having had the fledgling TV star in her own bed.
Wait until she told the girls!
Melanie arrived, her hair freshly done from the hairdresser. She was wearing a bright red dress and matching pumps. Val arrived, looking a little dumpy in a black business suit, looking slightly frazzled. Jennifer waited for them at the front of the restaurant.
The maître seated them in a comfortable banquette. The room was cozy with terra cotta tile floors, painted latticework, wicker chairs and a rose at each table on white linen tablecloths. Jennifer was practically bursting at the seams. The waiter came to take their drink order.
“Hello ladies, what are we drinking today?”
“We’d like to see the wine list.” Said Melanie
“But of course. I will return.”
Val studied the menu.
“I think I’m going to have the warm steak salad.”
The waiter returned.
“We’d like the Alice White Chardonnay please.”
“Great. Are you ready to order?”
“We’d like the warm steak salad, fresh poached salmon and fresh fruit and mixed field greens.”
“Thank you ladies.”
Melanie leaned over and spoke in hushed tones. Her face had a painful look on it.
“I think Charles is gay.” she whispered.
Damn! She’d been beaten to the bomb news of the day. Val dug right into this tidbit of information.
“Gay? Really? Are you sure?” said Val loudly. A few people looked around at them.
“Shhhhhh…..He’s color co-coordinated, got great taste, his apartment is spotless, he doesn’t watch sports and he is gorgeous. He’s just too damn good to be true. I’ve never met a straight man like this.”
“Sounds flaky to me. I think you might be right” Jennifer said.
“And he’s never been married or engaged and his last roommate was a guy whom he lived with for five years. I just hope I’m not some kind of rejection rebound fling for him.”
“Are you still going to Italy?”
“Yes. He bought the tickets. We’re going to Tuscany to a villa there at a winery and then driving back to Rome to see architecture because Charles is a huge architecture buff. I think he’s gay. Just my luck! I’ll be back to dating The Maytag man again.”
“I think you are jumping to conclusions. Just because he is perfect doesn’t mean he is gay, you need to go through some more skeletons in his closet.”
“What do you mean?”
“Look up his old friends on Face Book. Now there’s a wealth of knowledge. Someone will know something.” Val suggested.
Jennifer sat back and all of a sudden her old days of being single flashed by her again. Meeting losers, dating, and disappointments…. She was glad she had Stavros now. For as long as it lasted which she hoped was forever.
“What are you thinking about Jennifer? You seem so preoccupied today.” asked Melanie
“I’m having an affair.” She blurted out.
Val and Melanie did a double take.
“What?” said Val, almost knocking over her wine glass.
“With who?” asked Melanie
Jennifer lowered her voice.
“It’s not an affair, it was just a fling. A one time deal, we did it and now its over.”
“With who?” demanded Val
“William, my neighbor. He’s an actor on some series Blue Moon.”
“William French? He’s the actor that plays Drake….Drake? You’re bopping Drake?” Val shrieked.
The waiter returned with their food. Jennifer made a “shhh” sign. He put their plates in front of them.
“If there’s anything else I can get you ladies please let me know.” he walked away professionally.
“I can’t believe this. Do you know who he is?”
“No. He’s my neighbor. We’ve known each other for years.”
“He is TV’s hottest young actor. He’s definitely on the rise. You are so fucking lucky! So?? How was he? Don’t hold out on us girl!”
“He was great! But…..” she smiled.
All three ladies sat and smiled and picked at their salads. Jennifer felt better letting the cat out of the bag. This was trusted, confidential information, never to be leaked out. She didn’t know William was the bomb. She only knew she was attracted to him. How many others were too? She could only imagine. She had been used really. Used to stroke his vanity. Used to be a trophy he couldn’t have and wanted just because he could. She was the fool.
“You ladies certainly have me beat in the gossip department today. I am calling Liz Smith.”
It was Thursday morning. Jennifer’s cell phone rang. She was still lying in bed, groggy. The dog had been barking all night. She answered it.
“Turn on your TV.” It was Melanie.
“What are you talking about?” Jennifer said sleepily.
“Turn on your TV now.” she commanded.
Jennifer picked up the remote and flicked the TV on. There was an anchorwoman reporting from Florida outside a familiar looking house. She looked again. It was Williams house.
“Actor William French has been found dead today by his housekeeper. William was an up and coming young actor on the hit TV series Blue Moon. Details about the murder are sketchy, we will have more news at 10.”
Jennifer sat up and grabbed her robe. She went to the window. The news crews were up and down the street, police cars everywhere. Oh my God! What had happened?
William was dead! And she had been with him! The reality slowly sunk in. Stavros would find out about the affair and she would lose him. Where was Stavros?
She went into the kitchen. He left a note on the counter.” I am golfing, see you later. I love you. You are my life. Stavros.”
Stavros was golfing during the most traumatic time of her life. Soon they would be knocking on her door; soon there would be cops everywhere. Soon she would be caught cheating. What a mess this was. She felt so horrible for William. He was so special, so talented, so handsome and now he was dead. She shuddered at the thought.
Someone was knocking at the door. She answered it. It was a reporter. She fixed her robe.
“Excuse me Ma’am, but we’d like to know your thoughts on the late Mr. French.”
“Oh, it’s just terrible, terrible. So tragic.”
“Did you know him well?”
“Well, he was my neighbor, we chatted from time to time.”
“Any thoughts on why this could have happened?”
“No. I am dumbfounded really.”
“Sorry to bother you Ma’am.”
“Yes, it’s alright.”
She shut the door and collapsed onto the floor. This was crazy! Who would have killed William? He was so harmless. She glanced over in the corner of the kitchen. The Fed Ex package was still there. She had never given it to him. She went over to the box and looked at the label. It was from Blue Moon Productions in Los Angeles. She opened the box. Inside there was a script.
She took the script and shoved it in her desk drawer so Stavros wouldn’t find it and shred the box to pieces and threw it in the garbage can. She needed to destroy any evidence linking her to him. She needed to forget what had happened and carry on with life as normal.
Stavros returned home. He parked his car in the driveway and a reporter accosted him.
“What do you think about the murder of William French sir?”
“Who is William French?” asked Stavros.
“He was your neighbor. He was found murdered this morning.”
“I know nothing about this. I am sorry. Please. I must go in my house.” Stavros lifted his golf clubs out of the car. A policeman came over to him.
“Excuse me sir, did you know William French very well?”
“No. I do not know him.”
“Did you hear anything or see anything last night?”
“No. I was sleeping.”
“Any strangers in the area? Anything suspicious?”
“No. I know nothing.”
“Thank you sir. Have a good night”
Stavros opened the door and walked into the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and poured himself a glass of white wine, took out some bread and olives and sat down to eat. Jennifer came in the kitchen.
“Hi. I guess you found out.”
“Yes, I found out our neighbor is dead. Too bad for him.”
“That’s all you can say, “Too bad for him?” she asked incredulously.
“What can I say? He is dead.”
“I feel so bad.”
“Why do you feel bad? You did not know him very well.”
“We have nothing to do with his business. He was an actor, you know how Hollywood is. These things happen.”
“Yes, I guess so.”
“Kukla, come here. I love you. Now don’t worry, all will be alright.”
Jennifer stared at Stavros devouring his food. He was a simple man after all. Luckily he suspected nothing.
Jennifer was late for her Friday morning nail appointment at Sun Lee nails. She backed her car out of the driveway. There was one police car outside Williams’ house. She shuddered at the thought.
She felt ten years older now, the weight of her fling on her shoulders. She arrived at the nail salon and checked in with the Korean man at the front desk.
“Just doing my nails today.” she said
“Pia will see you.” said the Korean man.
Jennifer picked out a bright red color for her nails. Might as well play the part of a temptress, she thought. Her mind was racing with thoughts. There was really no evidence linking her to William. He had come over and left, leaving behind no traces. She had been one of the last to see William alive, yet no one knew this. Stavros suspected nothing. Her friends were sworn to secrecy, they would never tell. No one knew. She breathed a sigh of relief. The Korean girl massaged her hands.
“Good for you?” Pia said.
“Yes, thank you. “
“I put the color on now.”
Jennifer wrapped up her nails and drove back home. She felt she needed to be there in case there were any developments. Stavros was out playing golf. Thank God for that. She felt nervous with him around. It was almost as if he knew something but was keeping it quiet. He was so quiet and calm, exceptionally calm during this whole ordeal.
Stavros rode alone in the golf cart. He was approaching the third tee. It was a water shot and he hoped he could hit to the green beyond the water. He took out his wood and placed a ball on a tee. He swung once. He missed the tee. His concentration was shot. He swung again and hit the ball. It flew high in the air and over to the green on the other side of the lake. Bravo! He was doing well.
He thought of all the commotion at the house. The police were everywhere. He was so close to the murder. They were asking questions. He had nothing to say. He never liked this actor too much. He didn’t think much of him and his attitude. He knew that Jennifer liked him. That was in the past now…. He hit another ball for practice. It was good. He continued to the hole.
Stavros returned home to find breaking news on TV.
“They caught the guys that killed William.” Jennifer said
“Yes? So soon?” he asked incredulously.
“Yes, the robbers were using his credit cards and they caught them down in Miami. The are taking them in for questioning now. I can’t believe it.”
“See? The American police are very smart. Greek police would never find them.”
“I can’t believe it. They had his wallet. He said he was going down to Miami. They must have stolen it and then came up here to case his house and they killed him. Poor guy.”
“Yes…Are we going to eat soon? I am hungry.”
“Oh yes honey. Sorry I was so caught up in this. I can’t believe they’ve been caught.”
“Yes, you must have liked that man so much.”
“What?”she looked at him
“Did you like that man?” he asked
“No. I mean, he was a good neighbor but I never liked him. Not in any weird way. Not like that honey.”
He smiled at her.
“I would like to eat now.”
“Ok.” Jennifer got up off the sofa and walked into the kitchen. She got some bread and feta cheese and olives out and set them on the table. Stavros was in a weird mood. Maybe he would feel better after he ate.
“I would like to take you to Greece for awhile.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I think we should go and live there on my farm there for a month. I have goats and grapes and chickens. Would you like to go?”
“Yes. Sure, I’d like to go.”
“Good. I will make the plane reservations tonight.”
“We will get away from here for awhile. I don’t like all this mess.”
He continued eating and Jennifer stared at him. He was acting strangely. She just assumed that he didn’t like all the attention Williams’s death was causing.
Jennifer and Stavros arrived at West Palm Beach airport Saturday morning. Their flight to Athens would be leaving at four pm. Jennifer was excited at the idea of traveling.
The airport was bustling with travelers. They arrived at the ticket counter. She pulled their e-tickets out of her bag.
The agent was a red faced middle-aged man. He smiled pleasantly at them.
“Gate 4H, boarding at 6pm. You are all set.”
They preceded to the gate though security. They took off their shoes and jewellery and walked though the scanners. Jennifer was getting nervous about going to Greece. Would she like it there in Stavros’s small village? What if there was no nail salon there? Would there be a mall?
They sat in the lounge and waited for their plane. Stavros held her hand and smiled at her like a teenage schoolboy in love. Finally they boarded. Rows 27C & 27D, window aisle.
Jennifer felt a loss. She felt very badly about William. His career cut short, talent wasted. She knew that Stavros knew nothing about her fling. She gazed out the window at the men loading the luggage onto the plane. She was starting to feel trapped again, smothered. But what could she do? This was her life now. She had a good man, no more losers. No more dating, no more one night stands.
Stavros sat quietly in the seat beside Jennifer. He watched her face staring out the window. She seemed sad these past few days. He vowed to make her smile again. He reached in his pocket and pulled out the gold chain. He handed it to Jennifer.
“I think your friend left this.” he clasped the chain in her hand.
Jennifer looked at him in amazement.
“Thank you.” she said
“No more golf for me in Greece. I will be with you always.”
The plane landed six hours later in Athens. Jennifer breathed a sigh of relief as the plane taxied to the gate. From Athens they would travel by car to a little village outside of Salonica called Sethes, which was Stavros’ olive farm and family home.
Stavros had a serious look on his face as they collected their bags from the baggage claim. She wanted to ask him if he was alright but figured he had a lot on his mind being back in his homeland. Then he turned and smiled happily at her.
“Welcome to Greece Kukla.” He kissed her.
Their driver was waiting for them in a black Mercedes Benz. He stowed their luggage in the trunk while he and Stavros rapidly in Greek. Jennifer felt like Jacqueline Onassis in her dark sunglasses and black linen pantsuit. The driver whisked them away from the airport, gliding stealthy through the sunset.
The gorgeous scenery unfolded before them, the bustling city of Athens, with its shops and cafes. The hills with homes dangling from the edges surrounded by majestic cypress trees. Jennifer loved the architecture of Greece. The austere white stucco buildings adorned with bright blue shutters and pink flowers.
It was night by the time they reached the outskirts of Sethes and approached the long driveway of the farm. Maria, Stavros’ housekeeper was there to greet them. She was a short woman with thick brown hair and brown eyes and a warm smile. She was clad in a blue and red housedress.
“Welcome my children.” She cried out.
“Maria, good to see you.” Stavros hugged her tightly.
“This is my wife Jennifer.”
Maria embraced Jennifer, kissing her on both cheeks.
“So nice to meet you Maria. Stavros has told me so many good things about you.”
Maria took her hand. “Come inside, please….I have food for everyone.”
They entered the farmhouse. The ceilings were high, with wooden beams across, the walls were white stucco with rustic painting son them and the floors were wide plank cypress wood with scattered woven throw rugs scattered around. The dining room table was set with fine bone china and candles and thick white placemats. Maria had made a huge spread of food for them, with fish and souvlaki and roasted potatoes and several bottles of Stavros’ homemade wine.
“Welcome to our home.” Stavros was beaming with joy as they sat down and began to eat. The food was so tasty and delicious and fresh. But of course, it was authentic Greek cooking.
“Maria, what has been happening here while I’ve been gone?” asked Stavros.
“The grapes in the vineyard are almost ripe. We will be making some more wine soon. And the goats have a new baby now. She is a darling. You must see her. The chickens are fine but the pig has been causing so much trouble I think we should roast him.”
“Fine, fine…And the olives?”
“Oh, the olives are wonderful. They have grown so ripe and they are ready to be picked. We have been processing them all this month.”
Stavros maintained a healthy business exporting olives from Greece. His wine business was just a hobby, he sold bottles to tourists that came to visit the farm.
“Please Jennifer, tell me about America.” asked Maria.
“America…It’s so vast. It’s a wonderful place….We live in Florida, we have an ocean and beaches and palm trees and lots of wild birds. There are great shops and restaurants and the people are friendly.” Jennifer said
“Sounds like Sethes!”
“There are so many things to see in America. It varies so much from coast to coast. In New York you meet all kinds of eccentric people, artists…In California you see the movie stars and in Washington you see the politicians.”
“I would love to see this one day! Do they have Greek food in America?”
“Oh yes! They do!”
“What do American eat?”
“Hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, and very healthy food too like vegetarian and nouvelle cuisine, fine American food.”
“Yes, I would like to try these foods!”
“When you come to America we will show you around.”
Stavros looked over at the women. “How is everyone? How are the people in the village?”
“Not so good. The economy here has ruined so many people. Christos lost his barber shop.”
“What a shame! What happened?”
“They couldn’t afford to keep it running so they turned it into a café.”
“Yes, he and Soula run it. For some it’s been so bad. One man killed himself after he lost his farm. It was too much for him. He could not afford to feed his family.”
“These are bad times for Greece. Lets toast to better times! Stiniyassos!”
They toasted to good health and drank the rest of the wine. Jennifer was getting tired and she retired to the master bedroom. It was a large room, decorated in white and blue, with a large four-poster carved wood bed flanked by two large chests. The bathroom was adjoining with marble floors and countertops and fresh flowers. Jennifer washed her face and she was glad that they were here, away from all the media mess. She still had a hard time grasping that William was dead. She took her clothes off and turned on the shower. It was a European hand held shower and she stood standing up, washing her body off. She dried off and curled into bed, exhausted. Tomorrow she would explore the farm.
Stavros finished his wine and walked outside to the barn. He turned the light on. All of his chickens were sleeping. He could smell the scent of animals in his nostrils, he inhaled deeply as memories of years gone by flooded him, intoxicating him. In America he was a stranger, but here he was home. It was in his blood. He looked at the pictures on the walls of he and his olives and with other farmers from the region. Stavros thought about the murder. It was a pity that the actor was dead. But he had deserved it. Sleeping with another mans wife in his bed was a death sentence. What kind of man didn’t know that?
Tomorrow was a new day. He would take Jennifer to town to meet some of his friends. Maybe have a nice lunch by the sea. Yes, tomorrow and the next day and the next day would be splendid. He was a free man.
Hollywood was giving its final send off to William French. The media blitz was out of control; the famous faces being interviewed and the lesser-known characters from Williams past being pulled out of obscurity. The ratings soared on the series.
The reporters had descended on the crime scene, camping out on corners of the quiet residential street. All of the neighbors were on high alert. Jennifer and Stavros’ yard had been taken over by a giant satellite dish. The national Enquirer was running stories of all of Williams past loves, waging a war between who was thinner, who was richer and who was sexier. The headlines read, “Lost lust in Hollywood.” Of course Jennifer was never mentioned in the tabloids, she was a no name, a no face and a nobody to Hollywood.
Williams’ body was flown to Los Angeles to be buried there in a private burial. A trust fund for young actors had been set up in his name at NYU Film School. His old girlfriends were being fitted for chic black outfits to wear at the funeral by fashion stylists.
Heddy Marks was a well-known B actress and had a reputation for being a total slut, as far as Hollywood was concerned. She had slept with William and many others during his early days. They drank, got high and slummed around during his early days as an artist. Luckily, Heddy had the photos to prove her relationship with William.
Heddy made sure she was invited to the funeral. It would be one big photo opportunity she did not want to miss. Personally, she thought William was a conceited, immature jerk and was not surprised that he had been killed.
“Probably someone had it out for him” she confided to her hairdresser.
Her hairdresser washed her long unruly hair, blow dying it into a long straight mass just below her shoulders.
“William and I were like brother and sister.” She exaggerated.
“Sounds like you two were close, I am sorry for your loss.” said the hairdresser.
“Yes, I am so heartbroken. It’s so fucking depressing.”
Heddy had the perfect outfit planned for the funeral. A black Oscar De La Renta dress, tightly fitted, with a low neckline to show off her perfect saline injected breasts. Complete with black hat and veil it was sure to be a crowd pleaser. This was her moment to shine, to be seen weeping and vulnerable, it would be a fabulous performance, she was sure.
Harold Ruiz and Roberto Martinez sat in Miami Dade County jail awaiting bond. They were due to see the judge in two hours.
“Man, this is so fucked up.” said Harold
“We didn’t even kill that fucking guy.”
“I told you he was famous.”
“Shut the fuck up you moron.” warned Roberto
“Shit man, they got us on murder one and we didn’t do shit.”
“Let’s see what happens when we see the judge.”
“I need a real lawyer, not this public defender bullshit man,”
“Oh yeah? Where you gonna get a real lawyer? You got some cash?”
“I don’t know man. Why did I listen to you? We should have never gone back to that house.”
“Would you just shut the fuck up? Innocent until proven guilty.”
They sat in handcuffs and stared at reruns on the TV of “Law & Order.” They were in deep. The media had already played judge and jury and in the eyes of the American public they were guilty. They had killed a golden boy, two Spanish nobodies from Miami. Their asses were toast.
It must have been six am when the rooster started crowing.
“Cock a doodle do! Cock a doodle do!” he crowed loudly.
Jennifer opened her eyes. Stavros was snoring beside her. She was up now. She slid out of bed and put on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. She walked quietly down the stairs and outside into the garden. The garden was a huge vegetable patch with ripe vegetables busting out of the leafy greens. Zucchinis’, watermelons, tomatoes, cabbage, corn. Some chickens came by to greet her, pecking curiously at her feet. Someone tapped her from behind on her shoulder. She turned around abruptly.
“Tikanis?” a man asked her.
“Kala.” She said. Kala was the one Greek word she knew. It meant good.
“You…Miss Jennifer from America?” he asked
At least he knew her name.
“Yes…I am Jennifer.”
“Me, Stavros brother Peter.”
“Oh my goodness!” they embraced tightly.
Stavros came out to find them hugging and weeping.
“Peter!” they hugged and kissed. It was a very emotional moment. Jennifer liked to see Stavros this way, so happy. They went into the farmhouse where Maria was cooking up some omelets. Jennifer and Stavros sat at the table holding hands while they chatted with Peter.
“How’s the family?” asked Stavros.
“Oh, the boys are getting big now. One is eleven and one is fifteen. They are small men. And Nitsa is fine. How are you my brother?”
“Excellent, excellent. I have my beautiful Kukla Jennifer and business is very good in Florida.”
“Yes, the olives are doing very well. You are very fortunate Stavros.”
“We’re going into the village, would you like to come with us?”
“No, I will see you later tonight.”
Stavros looked at her.
“I have many places I want to show you.”
He was so in love, so eager to please her. She felt bad about the affair. Luckily he would never know or suspect her of cheating. The wound would be slipped under the rug and filed away.
“Yes, lets go Stavros. I want to see your favorite places.”
The judge turned out to be a woman. A powerful black woman. Catherine Anne Barnes. She was known to be tough but fair. Harold and Roberto sat in the courtroom surrounded by the public defenders amongst a throng of reporters and media people. It was a circus atmosphere at best.
The public defender stepped forward. “My client pleads not guilty your honor.”
The second public defender stepped forward. “My client also pleads not guilty your honor.”
The judge snapped down her gavel. “I set bail for the defendants at one million dollars each.”
The media took off, racing out of the courtroom and texting like mad. Harold and Roberto looked at each other.
“One million dollars.” said Harold
“Who is going to come up with that kind of cash for my sorry ass?”
“Hey, at least we got a shot at freedom.”
Heddy watched the courtroom proceedings on CNN. The two young killers looked way too young and innocent to have murdered William. She suspected it was something deeper, but she wasn’t sure. She remembered William the night she had met him. She’d been working at a strip club called Teasers on Hollywood Boulevard. He was sitting at the bar. He waited around for her after her shift and they talked for a while. He wasn’t coming on to her like the other customers did, he was less sure of himself, a pretty boy, he was interested in her career. She told him she was stripping just so she could afford to go to casting calls to land a part in a TV show or a film. And he believed her, naïve creature that he was.
They started dating. She remembered what a great lover he had been, taking his time with her and bringing her breakfast in bed in the morning, croissants and orange juice, like a lovesick schoolboy. He was sweet but she was sour. She was too jaded, too used up, too spiteful for his naïve attitude. They ended up breaking up when he walked in on her and a client from the strip club. He couldn’t take it anymore. Their brief affair was over.
Now he was dead, poor schmuck. Someone had gotten to him. But who? It wasn’t those two kids, of that she was sure. She called her old lawyer friend Steve Schwartz, who was a well-known shyster lawyer.
“Steve…..Heddy Marks.” she said
“Heddy, how are you doll?” he said, his thick New Jersey accent easing through his smooth put on Los Angeles drawl.
“Listen Steve, I want you to do me a favor.”
“Sure, lay it on me kiddo.”
“You heard of that actor William French?”
“Yeah, that guy that got killed?”
“Yeah, he was on that series Blue Moon.” he remembered.
“I need you to post bond for his accused killers, two million dollars.”
“Holy crap! That’s a lot of dough!”
“Can you do it?”
“Why should I?”
“Cause it’s going to make a sensational story, maybe movie deal, rights, there’s something in this whole deal for all of us if my hunch is right. I can smell it.”
“Sure, let me see what I can do. I know a bondsman that can do the job.”
“You’re the best Steve.”
It was Stavros’ birthday and he and Jennifer planned to visit the village. They made love in the morning, warm, passionate love and showered off in the master bathroom. They headed off to the village. The town was awakening, with shop owners putting out their goods for sale.
Jennifer and Stavros entered the café. Christos, a short, bald man with a ruddy complexion came out to see them.
“Hello?” he said
“Oh my god! So good to see you.”
The two men hugged and kissed and slapped each other on the back.
“This is my wife Jennifer.”
“Oh pretty lady, so good to meet you. I have heard so much about you.. Please, sit down. Sit down.”
Christos quickly got them some Greek salad and souvlaki dishes. The talk turned serious.
“For many, times are very hard. I had to close my barbershop.”
“Yes, we’ve heard. It is so sad.”
“We don’t know what will happen, we have to feed our families.”
“Christos, I would like you to help at the Olive Farm when you can. If you have time of course.”
“Yes? Oh, yes, that would be wonderful.”
“I will pay you. Fifty dollar each day you work.”
“Thank you Stavros. You are a good man.”
“We have to go now, we have more to see.”
“Ok, please come by tonight for some ouzo and we will celebrate your birthday.”
“Alright, see you later.”
They drove through the town down to the seaside area. The day was smoldering hot and Jennifer stripped off her sundress down to her bathing suit. They walked hand in hand by the sea and found shade under a tree. They laid out a white sheet and sat down on it. Jennifer pulled two waters out of their cooler from the café. They lay down and talked.
“I am so glad we are here.” said Stavros
“Me too sweetheart. You seem so happy here.”
“I do love Greece, but I like my home in America too. I miss golf.”
“Do they golf here?”
“On the islands there is a place.”
Jennifer lay her head down on the sheet. The warm sand below shifted. It was so quiet here, just the sound of the ocean and birds and children playing. She wondered if she could spend the rest of her life here. She doubted it, she was too Americanized. Would the Greek people accept her? She doubted it.
Stavros lay on his back and thought about his life. Could he really spend the rest of his life in America? He doubted it. His heart and soul was here in Greece. He had his farmhouse, his land, his olive trees and his friends and family. Maybe one day they would retire here for good. Maybe…..He thought of his future. He thought of his past. He had done some bad things but they were over with now, as far as he was concerned. His life was just beginning.