Today was Williams’ funeral. All of Hollywood was abuzz as the producers and directors and actors descended upon Angelus Funeral Home in Los Angeles. The reporters were lined up on the streets like vultures, as the entourage entered the funeral home.
Heddy was sitting in her limo (a favor from her doorman) dressed to the nines in her black ensemble. Hair done, make up perfect. She hoped that when she cried her fake alligator tears she wouldn’t ruin her peach nude blush. Steve had come through and the boys had posted bond. Nancy Grace had taken up her vendetta against them, crying about murderers running free and the American justice system running amok.
Heddy was not altogether sorry that William was dead. She planned on speaking today, getting her fifteen minutes of fame in. The nation was watching, they were gripped to this story and dammit, she would have her place in it. She was entitled. Her limo pulled up to the front of the line. She slowly stepped out of the car, revealing a black stocking and black pumps with a diamond tattoo on her ankle. Cameras flashed. Heddy sucked in her gut. Fame was an addiction and she was an addict. She put on her best bereavement face and walked gracefully inside, hat tilted to one side.
The inside of the funeral home was packed with people. An organist and a harpist churned out somber Beatles tunes. Heddy made her way over to the wine table and scooped up a glass of white wine. She sipped it slowly, stalking the room. She spotted a well-known producer of the Blue Moon series Erik Van Der Butte, standing in the corner by himself in a black Armani suit. She made her way over to him.
“I am so very sorry Erik.”she shook his hand.
“Yes, I’m sorry too. I’ve forgotten your name…..”
“Ah yes, excuse me…Heddy…You were a friend of Williams?”
“Yes, a very personal friend.” she raised her eyebrows.
“Ah yes, such a shame…Any word yet on the killer?”
“They’re free on bond. The suspects…..”
“Yes, quite tragic.”
“I wonder if they will catch the real killer.”
“I don’t follow you.”
“William had a lot of enemies in Hollywood.”
“Well now, I think I’ll get seated. Nice to meet you Erik. Can I get your card?”
“Yes.” He handed her a plain embossed card.
“My agent is Colleen Black, if you need an actress for the series.”
“I will keep that in mind Heddy.”
Heady took a seat in the front pew. She fanned herself with the program and scanned the room. It was jam packed with celebrities. She spotted Cindy Mason, a supermodel that had dated William, and Karen Butterworth, a wealthy socialite. William had had a scandalous affair with her after she left her husband at Cannes Film festival. There were plenty of William haters there and Jennifer wondered if the killer was present.
The service began and the minister held a Bible in one hand.
“We are gathered here today to celebrate the life of William French. A talented actor, musician and artist. William brought joy and creativity to all of our lives. Many of you knew William, as a friend and as a colleage.”
Sniffling could be heard in the room.
“I would like to invite those of you to share your memories of William.”
Heddy raised her hand. Cameras started rolling, flash bulbs went off. This would be her Oscar winning moment. She moved gracefully to the pulpit.
“My name is Heddy Marks and I was a longtime friend of Williams’.William and I shared many things together, a love of animals, a love of film, of travel and a love of acting. William was a fine actor and I supported him in his career when he was an up and coming actor, down on his luck in Hollywood. Today you all know him as a big star, but I was there in the beginning, to encourage him and guide him in his career. I believed in him, when no one else did.” She bit her lip.
Heddy paused, as if over come by emotion, wiping her brow. Her hand shook slightly as she read her note.
“I hope that you will hold Williams’ memory deep in your hearts and let his legacy live on.”
A big tear rolled down her peach blush cheeks.
“Thank you. I am Heddy Marks.”
Flash bulbs went off. She stepped forward and gazed into the TV camera and blew a kiss. Life was sweet for Heddy.
The men at the Boca Raton golf course stood around and watched the rain.
“Had to rain today dammit.” said Jamie
“It’ll clear up…”
“I’ve been working on my swing.”
“Nice wood you got there.”
“I’ll let you try it.”
“Seen that Stavros feller around lately?”
“No, he and the missus went off to Greece.”
“Mighty sudden dont’cha think?”
“He’s got a business over there, he imports olives and wine or some shit like that.”
“Don’t they live over by the intracoastal?”
“Yup, near that actor that got killed. I think they’re neighbors.”
“Well, it’s hot as hell here but I’ve got to stick around ‘cause if I go home my wife’ll make me work.”
“You’re singing to the choir man.”
The evening was cool. Jennifer put on a white linen dress and a pair of dangling silver earrings. Stavros was getting dresses up in a pair of black linen pants and a red shirt. The evening would be lively tonight at the café. Most of the people there would be there to welcome the Americanos. They drove to town, past the farms and the quaint houses.
“So do you like Sethes?”
“Yes, I do. It’s so lovely here.”
“Maybe one day we live here?”
“Do you like Greek people?”
“But you love me?”
She put her hand on his thigh. He was so vulnerable.
“I love you Jennifer, you are my life.”
“I love you too Stavros.”
“Ok, we go to the party now.”
“Happy Birthday baby.” She gave him a kiss on the lips.
The party was in full swing, people dancing, food, wine, and music. There was a lamb roasting on a spit in the corner and trays of pita were being passed around. Some of the Greek men began to dance in a circle, crossing their arms together and bending at the knees. They pulled Stavros into their circle and shouted “Opa"! Opa!” the people began to clap. Some of the women eyed Jennifer jealously as if she was their competition. Jennifer smiled back at them, not sure of what to make of the whole scene. Soon everyone in the whole village was dancing. Jennifer got pulled into the dance too, kicking off her shoes and dancing wildly. The bouzouki music was playing faster and faster, until they all fell on the floor from exhaustion.
Jennifer and Stavros sat at their table and drank white wine and feasted on roasted fish. It was a lovely birthday party.
The medical examiner completed the autopsy and it had been determined that William had been killed by a blunt force to the head. It was ruled murder in the first degree. The boys were out on bail, holed up in a Radisson in Miami Beach.
Steve Schwartz had taken their case. Steve stood in the middle of the hotel room, his armpits sweating furiously through his pink cotton shirt. He questioned the boys again.
“So, tell me again, what exactly happened. Tell me the truth dammit. I am your lawyer and I need to know.”
“We followed William on South Beach from GOGO Bar and Harold stole his wallet.”
“Did you Harold?”
“Yes, I took it. It was Roberto’s idea.”
“Shut up!” cried Roberto.
“Boys, please, would you just stick to the story?”
“So then we got the wallet, there wasn’t much cash in it but we had his drivers license so we decided to go to his house and rob him.”
“So what happened next?”
“So we drove from Miami to his place in Delray. We drove by once but saw his car was in the driveway so we waited a few hours until it got dark and he was gone.”
“So then we came back and we saw the place was empty so we opened the sliding glass doors with a crow bar and got inside. Harold took his TV and I took his computer and then we got the fuck out.”
“So you never saw William?”
“You boys know your fingerprints are all over that house?”
“And you know that you are the only suspects in this case?”
“From where I stand as your lawyer I can honestly say that you boys are fucked.”
Harold and Roberto looked at each other.
“But, there is one crucial thing missing from this case, you know what that is?”
“A murder weapon. And I intend to find it.”
“I got a report today from the medical examiner and they determined that Williams’ death was from a hit to the head with a blunt object. Could have been a knife or a gun. Could have been a dildo or a lampshade. The object is to find that object.”
The two boys looked at each other.
“We didn’t do it. I swear!”
“You just leave this to me guys. I believe your story. This case has blown up to epic proportions and the public is out for justice. I might be the next Marcia Clarke or Johnny Cochran, and you amigos might be the next boy band on cellblock number nine if I don’t win this damn case!”
Jennifer sat on the swing by the farmhouse. It was an old wooden swing, held by metal chains. It rocked back and forth gently. She sat and pondered her life. Almost half her life was over and what did she have to show for it? She vowed that when she got back to America she would do something on her won, maybe start her own business, something that she liked to do. She liked fashion. Maybe that was it.
The water from the small pond rippled gently in the hot summer sun. The big pink pig came waddling over to her into the pond. Maria came chasing after it.
“Oh that pig!” she cried
“I think he just wants to cool off a bit.” said Jennifer
Maris shooed it away. “Get out, move!”
Something seemed wrong with Stavros lately. He seemed so quiet these days. He seemed to be happy here in Greece and she wondered of he was apprehensive about coming back to Florida. They were due to leave at the end of the week. Jennifer thought of home again, would the murder trial still be on? She wished it would all go away.
She had watched some of the funeral on TV. CNN was broadcasting it. She had never known that an actor carried so much weight in Hollywood. She somehow felt that his death was linked to her but she couldn’t place it. Probably just being paranoid. They had found the suspects that they thought killed William. They seemed guilty.
Stavros held her that night in bed. He gently cupped her breasts in her hand.
“Kukla.” he whispered.
“Yes?” she sighed
“Would you like to live here with me?”
“In Greece? Forever?”
She sat up in bed.
“No, I have to go home.”
“Why? Don’t you like my home here?”
“Stavros, we have a home in Florida.”
“Would you be happier here without me?”she asked
“No, I will never leave you.” he said
She got up out of bed and sat down at her laptop. Stavros stirred in bed.
“Honey, check out what golf course is near here for me, I would like to go and play.”
“Ok, we go tomorrow, Kukla? You come with me alright? You can be my caddy.”
“Alright…” It was boring but she would do it. Besides, it might be nice to see some new scenery.
They awoke the next morning and drove to the golf course. It was a wonderful resort. Stavros got the cart and rented clubs, as excited as a schoolboy.
“Beautiful course!” he beamed. “Almost as good as in Florida.”
“Looks better to me.” she said
They drove to the first hole. Stavros checked his GPS. It was 340 yards to the first hole. He got out his driver and teed up. He struck the ball and it faded a bit to the right.
“I love it!” Stavros was in heaven. Golfers heaven.
Heddy had lucked out. Her marketing plan had worked. She was responsible for tugging at the heartstrings of America. Heddy Marks, slut, prostitute, loser, stripper had won over the network executives and landed a role on the series. She would play a cops wife. She had won! Thanks to William she would now be seen in every television in America and would get a big fat paycheck and residuals. Now she was batting one hundred. If her hunch was right on the two boys, she would cash in on the book deal and movie rights to their story. Steve was on the case and she knew they were pleading innocent. There were too may motherfuckers in Hollywood that had been envious of William too many vindictive husbands out for revenge, even the Hollywood executives could have killed him off to boost their ratings, you just never knew in Hollywood. Everyone was out for blood.
The police had done their homework. Williams’ cellphone records had been retrieved and they rounded up some of the last callers that had spent time with him. One was Stephanie Zulutski, a high school student from Coral Ridge. Stephanie was eighteen years old and very promiscuous, so promiscuous in fact that she had been warned by the high school principal to leave the football players alone. So she had switched to older men, men that took care of her and pampered her. William was one of her sugar daddies.
Stephanie sat in the questioning room chewing gum with a blank look on her face. The detective continued his line of questioning.
“How long had you known Mr French before he was murdered?”
“Two weeks.” she answered reluctantly.
“Where did you meet him?”
“At the mall.”
“At the mall? Can you elaborate on that?”
“I was shopping and he followed me. So I says to him, “If you’re going to stare at my ass it’s going to cost ya.”
“What did he do?”
“He said “No problem.”
“Explain why you were at Mr Frenchs’ residence.”
“Well, if it’s like any of your business, I was there to get laid. He is a big movie star you know.”
“We are aware…..Would you say your relationship with Mr French was casual?”
“Yeah, pretty casual. We didn’t really know each other very well. We were friends. Casual friends.”
“Did he mention any problems he’d been having?”
“Ok, thanks Stephanie. We will call you if we need have further questions. You are free to go.”
Detective Grant sat back in his chair. All the leads were cold. He had no other suspects and no motive. He did have two pretty powerful suspects now free on one million dollars bond. His gut told him they weren’t the ones, but his mind said that all evidence was pointing to them. He would run by the house again and take another look around. Maybe he’d find something interesting.
Jennifer and Stavros left Sethes for Athens airport. They were coming back to America. Jennifer was estatic. Stavros was quiet and brooding. The driver drove stealthly through the small villages and they arrived in Athens two hours later. He helped them check in their bags at the ticket counter.
“Honey, do you have the tickets?” she asked
“No, you took them.” he said
Jennifer searched through her bag.
“Oh yes, here they are. My god, I almost thought that we forgot them.”
“That would have been good, then maybe we would stay here.” he sulked.
Jennifer looked at his scowling face. She didn’t really want to pick a fight, not here, not now.
“Oh, honey, we have to go back.”
“Ok, ok, whatever you say. You are the boss, no?”
“No, I am not the boss, it’s just that we have a life in Florida and we have to get back home.”
“Sure. I will play golf again. That is the best part.”
“Yes, think of it, golf every day sweetheart.”
She kissed him on the cheek. Now he was coming around. Golf. They boarded the plane and settled into their seats. She had the window seat and she gazed out one last time at Greece. Her mind fast forwarded to home and what might be awaiting them when they returned. Would the reporters still be around? Or had things quieted down. She hoped that things would get back to normal at the house, for all the parties involved.
Stavros unlocked the front door. They stepped inside. The house was fine. Jennifer sighed a sigh of relief. They were finally home. Her kitchen, her leather sofa, her china. It was all perfect and just as they had left it. Stavros went upstairs to the bedroom. He checked the safe. All his cash and his gun was there. He was annoyed that they were back. At least he had golf to look forward to. He went downstairs to the kitchen and opened the refridgerator.
“Would you like some wine Kukla?”
He poured them a glass each. They toasted.
“Welcome home. To a great trip.” she said.
Heddy arrived on the back lot of Blue Moon Studios. She made her way to the dressing room. Her stylist was there. Ed was a charming, talented man who could do wonders with hair and makeup. He was gay and proud of his “wife” Phil. He was dressed in black cargo pants, a black T-shirt and had a long black ponytail down his back.
“Good morning Ms Marks.”
“For Christsake, call me Heddy, Ed.” she said
“Sure, ready for your wash Heddy?”
“I’m ready. God, my hair is a friggin’ mess.”
He washed her hair with herbal shampoo. His fingers massaged her scalp. It felt so good. So fucking good. He towel dried her hair and began styling it. In the series she played a cops’ wife Victoria. She had all her lines down pat. She felt sharp as a tack today. It would be a good shoot. She was not going to screw this up.
The director came in. He was a young guy, maybe thirty- five with red hair and a red beard. They said he was hot now because of the success of the new series. Heddy thought he was a dork.
“I need Ms Marks on set in fifteen minutes.”
“Just enough time to finish your make up.”
Ed applied her make up, giving her a minimal, polished look. She didn’t need to look too glamorous as she didn’t have a glam role. She was just a cops’ wife.
“Are you nervous hon?” Ed asked.
“No, I’m ready to nail it.”
Heddy walked on set and stood around with the other actors. They were all talking about William. This shoot was the death of him on the series. It was a big scene. Heddy had him to be thankful for getting her there. Her co-actor was Mel Young. Mel was known for his tough guy character roles. Heddy had seen him around and knew first hand that he was an arrogant prick.
“Ready for action sweetheart?” Mel asked her.
“Bring it on.” she said icily.
She played the part of his sweet loving wife. Mel eyed her. She was one hot looking broad. How come he had never seen this one around before? After the shoot Mel came over to her.
“Hey Heddy. I thought you were great today. You really nailed the part.”
“Why thank you Mel. You are pretty slick yourself. You play an excellent cop.”
“Thanks.” he beamed. He checked his cell phone. “By the way, you want to go to a party with me tomorrow night? My friend is a producer in the hills. He throws a great bash.”
“Sure, I’d love to.”
Heddy tried to play down her look of excitement. She was ramping up.
Someone was knocking at the door. Jennifer answered it. A cop in uniform stood there holding a pad.
“Yes? Can I help you?”
“Sorry to bother you Mrs Papadopoulos.”
“Can I speak with you for a moment?”
“Yes, come in.”
They sat down in the living room. The cop checked his notes.
“Our records show that a Fed Ex package for Mr French was signed for by you in the afternoon before his murder.”
Jennifer sat back dumbfounded. Shit. They found out about the package.
“Ah yes. I accepted a package for Mr French. He said he was going out of town and would I accept it for him.”
“Did you accept the package?”
“Yes. I gave it to him that next morning.” she lied.
“About 11:00 am”
“Did Mr French make any remarks on what his business away from home was?”
“Yes, he said that he had to go to Miami on business.”
“Ok, thanks…..Mind if I take a look around?”
“No, go ahead.”
The cop looked around.
“Well, thanks a lot. Take care Mrs Papadopoulos.”
Stavros arrived at the golf club. He put his clubs on the back of the cart. His nine iron was bent. He looked closer and noticed a spot of dried blood on it. He put the cover back on it to cover the stain. Jamie was watching him, smoking a cigarette.
“Hey old man.”
“Jamie! Good to see you my friend.”
“Ready to play?”
“Yes, I am ready.”
They hopped in the cart and drove out to the first tee. Stavros set his GPS on his Garmin wristwatch. It was 300 yards. He pulled out his Nike driver. He focused on the shot. It landed in the middle of the fairway.
“Good shot.” said Jamie “How was your trip?”
“Very good. We went to my home in Greece. I have an olive farm there.”
“Just you and the missus?”
“Yes, it was very nice. You must see Greece sometime.”
“Do they have golf courses there?”
“Yes! We played there.”
“Ok, I am in then.”
They sailed along in the golf cart, shooting an excellent game of par golf all the way.
Steve poured over the evidence. It was looking tough for his boys. They were linked to the crime, fingerprints and stolen credit cards. They were even on video using Williams gas cards and credit cards and had stopped to eat at Golden Corral for a buffet dinner. Who the fuck ate at Golden Corral in the middle of a murder? There was still no murder weapon linking them to Williams death. He picked up his cell phone.
“I need you to do a bit of sleuthing at the crime scene. Check the house for anything the police department might have overlooked. Look around, check out the neighbors, see if anything doesn’t jive.”
“Sure thing Steve.”
Jennifer was at Wal Mart shopping for food. It was freezing in the meat department. She picked out some chicken breasts and a couple of steaks. It would be nice to do a bit of grilling. She thought about her plan for the rest of her life. She loved clothes, why not start a boutique? She loved fashion and was good with people. She could go on buying sprees and travel to New York and Los Angeles and maybe even Paris. She wondered what Stavros would think of her business plan. It would mean time away from home and time away from him. He would probably hate it. That was the problem with him, he needed so much attention. He was so spoiled.
She stopped in front of the cereal aisle. So many choices, but she only ate one kind of cereal and that was Special K. Stavros liked Cheerios sometimes, but he preferred bacon and eggs in the morning. She tossed the cereals into the cart. She had to put her foot down about the boutique.
Jennifer paid for all the items at the register. Her cashier was Natalie and she had red hair and an earring in her nose. She smiled at her and thanked her for shopping at Wal Mart. Jennifer got home and Stavros came out to the driveway to help her unload the groceries.
“Hi honey…How was golf?”
“Good, I played great today. I got a 78 today.”
“Great! Be careful hon, there’s eggs in that bag.” she warned
They went inside and prepared dinner. Jennifer busted out the steaks. Why not get him in a good mood with a good meal? The way to a mans heart was through his stomach. It was true. Stavros got the steaks ready, sprinkling them with salt and pepper and garlic salt. He placed them on the grill.
“These are good steaks.” he said
“Yes. Do you want a glass of wine honey?”
They drank their wine. Now seemed like the perfect time to spring it on him.
“Honey, I would like to talk to you about something.”
“Well, you know I have a lot of free time. I’ve been thinking I would like to try something on my own. I want to open a clothing boutique.”
He was quiet. Then he slowly got up and went over to his bag of golf clubs and pulled out the nine iron and bent it in half and threw it out into the middle of the yard in a fit of rage. Jennifer sat there shocked. He walked back to the patio white faced.
“You mean I don’t provide enough for you?”
“It’s not that honey….”
“I will have to think about it.”
“Lets eat now.”
He took the steaks off the grill and they ate dinner in a strained silence. So much for her plan. After dinner Stavros sat in front of the TV and watched golf. Jennifer was beginning to wonder if her marriage was unraveling.
Morty arrived at 906 Gordon Street. The house was quiet. All the news media had left. He opened the door. The house was post crime scene. All of the fingerprints had been taken. The evidence had been collected. Remaining were Williams personal belongings, furniture and knick knacks and prints on the walls. He was looking for a different angle to the story. Maybe there was a hidden clue somewhere.
He looked at Williams pictures on the walls, pics with him and his costars through the years. Pics of his family. He seemed like a good guy. Why would anybody want to kill him? There wasn’t much in the house that pointed to any clues. He stepped out onto the back patio where the swimming pool was. There were some white robes hanging on hooks, some floaty devices stacked up in the corner. A girls’ bikini hung on the fence. He picked it up, it looked pretty small, almost like for a small girl. He peeked through the fence into the neighbors yard. There was a patio and a grill there. A flash of metal caught his eye. It looked like a golf club lying in the middle of the yard. He went around the fence and bent down to examine it. It was bent in two. He looked closer at it. It had a spot of dried blood on it. He picked it up and threw in the back of his car. Might as well have it examined just for the hell of it.
Mel picked Heddy in his black Porsche. She came out of her apartment wearing a black min-dress and a pair of cowboy boots and a silver belt. Together they looked every bit of the young fucked up starlets that they were. In some ways, Mel was the answer to Heddy’s quest for fame and fortune. A loner by nature, Heddy found it hard to commit to any man. She trusted no one. Men had always been disappointments to her, using her and discarding her. Now money and fame and fortunes were all she craved at any price. Love was on the back burner.
Mel was a poster child for one word: Jerk. Mel was self absorbed, a chronic drug user, Mel was all about one thing. Mel. His career as an actor, his Emmys, his hair, his nose job and his cocaine. But he liked this chick. She was a bit out of the box, a tad different. She seemed kind of tough. He was tired of whiny, spoiled actresses. He wanted to get fucked hard without worrying about messed up hair and implants breaking.
“Nice boots.” he said
“Thanks.” she said
They sped off in the Porsche into the Hollywood Hills, in search of party number one of the night. The party was on. The mansion was lit up. They parked the car and walked hand in hand to the door. The house was a 1920’s Meditterrean villa, with terra cotta tile floors and large wooden beams in the ceiling. A band was set up in the corner of the living room by the French doors and a totally fucked up couple clad in S&M gear were dancing wildly.
“What are you drinking?” he asked her.
“I’ll take a Stoli on the rocks.”
“Coming right up.”
Mel went to fetch the drinks. Heddy found herself alone in a crowded room. She looked around the mansion. It was awesome. She was here now and that was all that mattered. Last week she’d been doing laundry at the laundromat and now she was here in a room of fucked up big wigs. This week she was a star. Life was sweet, for now. Mel returned with the drinks.
They sipped their drinks.
“Want to do some blow?”
They stole into a bathroom and Mel laid out the cocaine. They snorted some. He started to touch her legs.
“I dig you.” He said. They made out. Their attraction was based on mutual narcisism, two stars colliding in the night. She pulled away suddenly.
“I want to go back to the party.” She said
“Not so fast…Why don’t you blow me?”
“Fuck you.” she said
“Alright….” he said. He liked her. This chick had balls.
Morty dialed Steves number on his cell phone.
“Bingo.” said Morty
“Bingo?” said Steve
“B I N G O” said Morty
“Would you stop saying bingo for Christsake?”
“OK, we got something. There, that clear enough for you Sherlock?”
“Yeah? What did you find motherfucker?”
“I don’t mean to blow sunshine up your ass but we got a club, a nine iron, with Williams blood on it.”
“That’s a payday right there. Where did you find it?”
“In the neighbors yard.”
“I think we scored the murder weapon chief.”
Steve started to sweat. This could be the break they were looking for. This could be the “glove” in OJ trial. This case could make him famous. For a guy with a degree from law school in Newark New Jersey, this could be his ticket to the big time.
Stavros sat and watched Tiger Woods on TV. He loved him. He thought that he was the best thing that had ever happened to golf. He wanted to go out and buy a Nike hat.
The band played a slow song. Mel held Heddy close to him. Flashbulbs went off around them. Soon the moment would make the world news. Tommorrow they would be on TMZ and other fan sites. Heddy Marks dating Mel young. They left the party and he drove her back to her place. Heddy was staring to come off her high. She felt tired and a bit cranky. Tommorrow they had to be back on set.
“Goodnight, thanks for a great time.”
“See you tomorrow.”
He kissed her good night. She went inside. Heddy unlocked the door. Her place was a big mess. She opened the refridgerator and poured herself some white Zin. Tonight had been a blast. Mel was a jerk but had served his purpose. Now she’d have to deal with him on the set. She was just waiting for the show to air so that all the losers that had dumper her in the past could see her on TV. Sweet revenge. She smelled an Emmy coming.
Stavros opened the door. There was a police officer standing there.
“May I come in for a moment?”
The officer looked around the room. “We found a club in your backyard.”
“Yes, and it had William Frenchs blood on it.”
“It did not belong to me.”
“We didn’t think so.”
The cop looked out on the patio at Stavros golf bag.
“Do you mind if I take a look at your golf bag?”
“No, please do Officer.”
The cop went over to Stavros’ golf bag. There was a brand new set of Ping golf clubs in it. The cop examined them.
“Thank you sir.” The cop left. Good thing Stavros had bought the new clubs. He might be Greek, but he was no fool. Things were getting close now. He thought about what he might be forced to do. Jennifer came down the stairs.
“Who was at the door honey?”
“What did they want now?”
“They found a golf club, but it wasn’t mine.”
“Oh good.” She was relieved it had nothing to do with her.
“I’ve been thinking about your store Kukla….I think you should have it.”
“Really honey? Are you sure? Oh thank you!”
“Whatever make you happy. How much do you need?”
“One hundred thousand dollars.”
“I will do my best.”
Jennifer hugged and kissed him. She couldn’t have a more devoted husband……She couldn’t believe he was finally coming around.
The trial was being televised. Jennifer and Stavros watched the proceedings on TV.
“Is the State prepared to call a witness?”
“You may do so.”
The judge addressed the courtroom. “Everybody have a seat please.”
They sat. Harold and Roberto sat with Steve on one side of the courtroom and the prosecution team sat opposite them. Penny Douglas entered the courtroom.
Jennifer nudged Stavros. “It’s our neighbor!”
“Could you please turn towards me and raise your right hand? Do you solemnly swear the testimony you’re about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?”
“Have a seat please. In a loud, clear voice please state your name, introduce yourself to the ladies and gentlemen and spell your last name for the benefit of the court reporter.”
“My name is Penny Douglas. D O U G L A S.”
“Where do you live?”
“I live at 907 Gordon Street.”
“Are you married or single?”
“Do you have any children?”
“What do you do for a living?”
“I’m a nurse.”
“Where was Mr Frenchs’ house in relation to your house?”
“I face directly across.”
“Can you tell us what you saw on the afternoon of June 1st?”
“I was home from my shift and noticed a white van sitting in front of Williams house. I thought that he might be having some work done inside.”
“Did you note the license number of that white van?”
“No, I did not.”
“Did you notice the driver of the van?”
“Is he or she here in this room?”
“Can you point them out?”
She points at Roberto.
“The objection is sustained.”
“Please proceed Ms Douglas.”
“Well, later that night, it must have been around 10pm, I noticed that the van was back and the two men in the van were loading something in the back of the van. I noticed that Williams truck was not there. Then the van left. Around 11pm I noticed that Williams’ truck was back in the driveway.”
“Were the lights on in the home?”
“No, it was dark.”
“What happened then?”
“I went to bed. In the morning I found out that William had been murdered.”
“So you are insinuating that the two men in the van left and William was still alive at that point?”
“Thank you, no further questioning.”
Thank you Ms Douglas. You can step down now….We’re going to break for lunch. We will see you back in court at 1:30 pm.”
Stavros and Jennifer looked at each other. Penny Douglas was their neighbor. They had not been asked to testify, yet….The trial dragged on for weeks and weeks. The tabloids had a field day with all of the possible murder suspects that could have had it out for William. Finally it was declared a mistrial, due to lack of evidence and insufficient witnesses. The boys were set free. Stavros was relieved it was finally over. Jennifer also breathed a sigh of relief.
“Now we can get our lives back to normal.” Stavros said.
“Yes, thank God.”
Stavros remembered the real events of that night. It was about 10:45 pm. The dog had gone out to the backyard to take a shit. He went out there and looked through the fence and saw William in his house. He hopped the fence, taking his Titleist nine iron with him. The dog would not stop barking. He confronted William about Jennifer. William denied it, saying that nothing had happened. They began to fight and he hit him in the head with the golf club. William fell to the floor and he left. He remembered seeing the broken doors and glass on the ground, as if someone had broken in earlier. It was like a strange blur, it had happened so fast. He had gotten off on a technicality, he was a free man. He could go on with his life and leave this big mess. She was a big bitch too, for having cheated on him. He doubted he could ever really forgive her for this. In his blood, he was still Greek. And Greeks did not forgive or forget too soon.
Heddy was triumphant. She met with Harold and Roberto and quickly found a writer to write their life stories. The plot was heart wrenching. The boys had come from poverty in Cuba, been thrown to fend for themselves in the streets of Miami and had resorted to petty crimes to feed themselves. They had higher aspirations. Harold wanted his own cabinetry company and Roberto wanted to be a chef. Now they finally had their chance to straighten themselves out and live the American dream. It was a made for TV movie and Heddy planned to capitalize on it quickly, to strike while the iron was hot. Every network in America wanted an interview with the aquitted killers.
Jennifer was busy planning her boutique. She found a location for a small shop in an exclusive part of Fort Lauderdale and was busy shopping for merchandise to stock her shelves.
Stavros was growing increasingly unhappy. He longed to go back to Greece and see to his farm there. He went to the bank.
“I wish to see the manger please.”
“Of course sir, he will be right with you.”
Stavros waited for the manager.
“How can we help you today?” the manger was a perky, chubby man sporting a gray business suit.
“I want to withdraw one hundred thousand dollars.”
The mangers face fell a little.
“That certainly is a large amount sir.”
“How would you like that sir?”
“In thousands please.”
“Have a seat.”
Stavros waited. He felt this was the end for him. It was time to go back to his homeland. He felt badly about the murder. At least he had been cleared. He felt that once Jennifer had her money she wouldn’t need him any more, she would have her store, her job, her life. He was sad, but felt in his heart he belonged in Greece with his goats and his sheep and chickens. He would grow old in his olive fields. Maybe one day Jennifer would join him. Maybe not. He had to go.
The bank manager came back with a black bag full of money. He handed it to Stavros.
“Thank you sir, for banking with us. If there’s anything else we can do for you let us know.”
Stavros drove back to the house with the money bag beside him. He opened the door. Jennifer was not there. He opened his safe and took his cash and his passport out. He packed a small suitcase and left the bag of money on the bed. He wrote Jennifer a note.
You know I love you from the bottom of my heart but I am going back to Greece to live. I have left you your money for your store. I hope you make a big success. I love you now and always,
Jennifer was diving home from her shopping spree. She had found some really cute outfits for the store. She couldn’t wait to tell Stavros. It was all so exciting. She pulled into the driveway. His car was gone. Maybe he was out playing golf.
She opened the front door and stepped inside. The house seemed eerily quiet. It was as if something was missing. She found his note. Her hand trembled as she read it. He was gone! He had left her and left her the money. She broke down into tears and lay on the floor sobbing. It was all her fault. This whole, whole mess was all her fault. She felt as though she might have a nervous breakdown. It was all too much.
Six months went by, Jennifer was putting up the awning of her new store. It was called Smart Ass and she had just finished decorating the window. The clothes had arrived from New York and people were stopping in and commenting on what a lovely store it was. She was so proud of it. She missed Stavros, but had gotten in tune with her own needs and decided to become the best enterprenuer she could be. Her friends backed her 100%, she was lucky. She had even started searching for a new date on E harmony, but with no luck so far. No more foreigners for her. She would stick to domestic guys this time. Maybe she would just lay off men altogether for awhile.
A young woman with a hat on walked in the store.
“Hello, welcome to Smart Ass.” she said
“Thanks….I’m looking for a cocktail dress. Something I can wear to a wrap party.”
“We have some wonderful dresses right over here…..What size are you?”
“I’m a six.”
“Hi, I’m Jennifer…..I own the store.”
Jennifer looked at her closely. She looked so familiar.
“Aren’t you Heddy Marks? The actress?”
“Why yes, I am!!!”
“I saw you on TV. You are great! I love Blue Moon.”
“So you were a good friend of Williams?”
“Yes, I was..”
“Me too, I was his neighbor.”
“Sorry to hear that. Yes, he was a great guy. So tragic.”
“Yes….Well, getting back to that dress now…..What color did you have in mind?”