The photographs of Lilian and Roger Smith’s child progressing from infant girl to young woman were displayed more or less in chronological order on the kitchen table. Looking over the older couple’s shoulders was detective Roberts. Those shoulders were slumped to match the expressions on the old couple’s faces.
Lilian, tears streaming down her face, spoke pointing to one picture, “See here is my beautiful little girl Mary about 3 years old dancing to entertain us. She started moving to music soon after she started walking. She probably danced as much as walked!”
Roger pointed to another picture, “Here she is in a dance recital when she was 13. She won the contest for jazz dance.”
Other pictures showed Mary winning a debate as a member of her high school debate team. There she was in another receiving a crown as her college home coming queen.
Detective Robert’s asked, “What is this one?”
Lilian replied, “She is receiving an award for most sales at the real estate company she worked for.”
Roger said as he pointed to several pictures of Mary with male companions, “These are some of the men in her life.”
A long silence ensued as all present remembered the life of Mary Smith.
Detective Robert’s broke the silence, “She was a beautiful and talented young lady. I know you were very proud of her.”
“Yes.”, said Roger with a tear in his eye.
“These photos led us to her murderer. The clue was the bracelet she is wearing in this last photo. The bracelet was missing at the crime scene.”
The woman replied, “She never told us who gave it to her. I asked her but she would only say she would tell me some day. I never found out.”
“We had it analyzed by jewelers from the pictures. The information they gave us helped find it at pawn shop on 45th street. We staked out the pawn shop for over a week hoping for the owner to return for it. Eventually, the owner did show up to reclaim it. She proved to be the wife of the man who killed your daughter. When she picked up her husband’s suit jacket to bring it to the dry cleaners she noticed the bracelet in one of the pockets. She thought he had bought if for her and desperate to pay their overdue rent, she pawned it. He, of course, didn’t mention it to her since it had been removed from your daughter’s body. Of course, you already know the whole story. There is no use in going over it again. I’m so sorry that this happened.”
Roger said, “Justice has been served thanks to you and your team. We thank you for that, but it is just not enough. Our lives will never be the same.”
. . .
“Sam, I’ll meet you whenever and wherever you want. It’s been too long. I long for your smile. I miss your wonderful sense of humor that makes me laugh so much. My body aches for your gentle touch. Why do you have to leave for such long periods of time? Where do you go?”
“Well, Amy, I understand and feel the same way, however, my work keeps me gone a great deal.”
“Why can’t you tell me what you do and why it keeps you away so much?” pleaded Amy.
“I can tell you nothing, not even why. In fact, if you press me I will have to disappear, forever. I am ordered to avoid any inquisitiveness, because it is an indication that that parties involved may press on for answers to the point where they get them and that cannot be risked! That, you can understand, makes long term relationships almost impossible for me.”
“All right, all right, I’ll cease and desist! When do we get together again?”
“I’ll send you the date, time, and place in the usual way. Look for an Apple iPad for $565.”
“OK”, replied Amy.
“Sam clicked off his phone and pulled a concealed pin from the battery compartment. He threw the phone into a drainage culvert and continued walking.” One minute later the phone exploded like a 4th of July fire cracker. No traces would be useable from the junk left behind.
Mary received a call on her cell phone late in the day, “Hello”
A male voice responded, “Hi, are you Mary Smith?”
“My name is Larry Jorden and I’m interested in the condominium at 411 South Shore Drive.”
“Great, when can I show it to you?”
“I can meet you there in an hour, but you must tell no one. I must remain anonymous. Would that be OK? I’ll explain why if and when I decide to buy the property.”
Mary with a puzzled expression said, “OK! That would be fine. I’m sure you’ll love it.”
So, Mary grabbed a quick dinner by micro wave heating yesterday’s leftovers from Sal’s Italian Restaurant. She said out loud to no one but herself, “This stuff is great, even a day old. Sal, you are a genius!”
Mary threw the empty dish in her dishwasher, cleaned up, and grabbed her purse. She left her two bedroom condo on 214 South Shore Drive, took the elevator to the fourth floor, and began walking down the hallway to 411. She saw Larry before he saw her. Her initial impression caused her to utter a low volume, “WOW”, as tingling deep down inside of her began. He was about 40 years old she guessed, stood six feet or so tall, wore carefully cut and styled blond hair, and was dressed in a blue suit tailored perfectly. As he turned toward her his handsome boy like face came into view. She could see that when he saw her for the first time his eyes opened wide and a wide pleasant grin illuminated his face. He said to her, “I hope you are Mary Smith. If so I’ll take the condo sight unseen!”
“I am Mary Smith, and you don’t look to bad either! Now let’s get down to business.” Mary passed painfully close to Larry catching a whiff of Gucci Guilty. She nervously unlocked the door, opened it and let Larry into the condo first.
“How chivalrous of you Miss Smith”, he teased.
“OK, it is Miss. I am, currently, unattached.” She blushed having revealed that information so quickly and willingly. However, she thought, she wasn’t getting any younger and this guy was hot.
Larry smiled, “Me either.”
Mary continued, “This condo is a little over 2,000 square feet with 2 bedrooms and 2 baths. You can see the kitchen with granite counters, maple cabinets, and chrome appliances. I’ve had experience with these appliances and they are trouble free and work as well as anything I’ve ever used before.”
“Here is the dining room. Notice the hardwood floors throughout the floor plan. There is the spiral staircase that leads to the loft.”
They looked at all of the rooms with Mary explaining every detail of the condominium. Larry asked some questions, but mostly just listened taking it all in.
While in the living room she commented, “This is one of the best features of all as she opened the sliding doors to the balcony. The view of the intra-coastal is unobstructed. You see the mainland, Lake Park Marina, Phil Foster Park, Munyon Island, MacArthur Park, and sometimes Peanut Island. The bedroom has a large sliding door that opens onto this balcony. The sounds and smells are great for curing insomnia. What do you think about the whole package?”
Staring at Mary he said, “From here the whole package is fabulous.”
Mary, bushing, replied, “Your package isn’t bad either!” Then realizing what she just hinted at she turned a darker shade of red, “Wait, that’s not what I meat. You are very handsome!”
Larry said, “I know what you meant,” and smiled broadly. Then walking around looking at the every corner of the condo he kept saying, “Fabulous, Fabulous …, I’ll take it.”
Mary was flushed with excitement. For one thing, this would be a big sale with a very nice commission. For another, this man with no wedding ring would be only two floors up from her. “OK the price is half a million.”
He said, “No problem! Now, please tell no one about this. I like to keep a very low profile, for reasons I can’t share with you. Will that be a problem?”
“No, she replied. I’ll keep the paperwork with me and show it to only those who need to see it.”
The details of the sale were completed the next month and Larry Jorden moved into his new condo about a month later.
Soon after moving in, Larry found out that Mary lived two floors down. The frequency of their ‘chance’ encounters in the building increased and soon they began dating.
Mary continued to wonder about the secrecy Larry required, but didn’t worry too much about it since his financials were sound and nothing in the reports that she saw indicated any kind of a problem. He was self-employed as a business consultant and had plenty of income to afford a couple of the condos if he wanted.
She did notice that he only used the condo a few times a week. When she asked him about it he explained he traveled a great deal on business. That seemed logical.
So, over a month or so, they became close, but never intimate. Mary made sure of this. She wanted to be cautious, but felt an extremely strong pull to get intimate with Larry. “It is only natural”, she said to herself. “Wild thing, let’s get it on!” she kept saying to herself.
So, it was only a matter of time. One evening they ended up at Sal’s Italian Restaurant early in the evening.
Sal’s has tables and booths in sections that are broken up by brick walls with arch ways allowing a view of surrounding sections. The kitchen is visible through brick walls and arches also. The cooking aroma permeates the whole restaurant.
On this particular visit Larry and Mary were seated near the kitchen. As they were lead to their table they held hands and smiled at each other. There was an intimate glow to the couple as they walked through the restaurant. Other patrons could see it and looked up at them as they walked by.
One woman whispered to her husband, “That couple is in serious love like we used to be!”
Her husband replied, “Oh yea, well give it a few years!”
The loving couple was seated next to each other sharing the same menu.
Mary said, “What do you want?”
Larry replied, “Well, I want to order pizza. We can eat some of it here and then take the rest to my condo. Then we can eat the rest of it periodically over wine and love making, as long as our abilities and desires hold out! I know I’m being forward, but that’s what I want. Now, it’s your turn, what do you want?”
Mary blushed but nodded her head affirmatively, “I thought you would never ask. I am sooo ready for an evening like that!” Then she thought to herself, “Wild thing, let’s get it on!”
She could not have known how bad the timing would be.
They finished a couple of pieces of pizza and one glass of wine each. During this abbreviated dinner Larry presented Mary with a beautiful tennis bracelet. “Mary, I want you to have this”, he said, “Let this be a symbol of our new and lasting love.”
“Larry, I don’t know what to say. I will always cherish it.” Under her breath she said, “Why not an engagement ring?”
“What was that?” Larry said.
“Oh, nothing. I just commented to myself that I am a very lucky girl!”
The waiter took a couple of pictures of the two of them, printing them instantly on a Wi-Fi attached printer in the restaurant. It was a standard service of the restaurant. Mary would bring the pictures home where she would mount one of them in a frame and hang it for all to see. After all, love had finally found her. She proudly wore the bracelet for those pictures. They had the rest of the pizza boxed and headed to Larry’s condo.
While he waited for Mary to join him on his 4th-floor balcony, Larry, with a glass of wine in his right hand, leaned against a chrome railing, gazing west over the intra-coastal, just after dusk. The lights of the city and boat traffic had a hypnotic effect. Warm humid August air blew by as he sipped some wine and continued to spot landmarks below.
He had left the door opened. So, as she stepped quietly out on the balcony behind him he commented without turning, “Your perfume announces your presence, while your footsteps say nothing. I’m glad you’re here!” He turned and put his glass of wine down next to her glass on the table beside them. “I could recognize that perfume in if it blew by me on the beach. It’s like your name, uniquely you and wouldn’t seem right on anyone else.”
She smiled up at him reaching out and pulling him towards her. He, with no hesitation, wrapped his arms around her in a passionate embrace. They kissed, her breasts firmly pressed against his chest. He revealed to her his excitement as his hardness pressed against her. They separated walking hand in hand back into the condo. Once inside, they kissed again as he unbuttoned her blouse and pulled it up over her head leaving it on the floor. Her hand began to explore the hardness between his legs as he removed her bra exposing her firm breasts and hard nipples. They were beyond the point of no return now as they both, as a team, removed each other’s clothing all the time kissing passionately and moving toward the bed.
They fell into the bed tangled in each other’s bodies. He caressed between her legs with his tongue and fingers, while she licked and stroked his erection. It didn’t take long before she uttered the pleasure of a wet orgasm. She moaned, “Put that hard thing into me, now. I want it now!”
He turned and gently entered her well lubricated body pushing in as far as he could. Locking his arms around her tightly he cried, “Oh, you are so warm and inviting! I really need you this way.”
She replied, “And I you. Now, show me what you’ve got!”
He pulled out so that only the tip of him remained in her then pushed far in, slowly but firmly. He repeatedly moved in and out, while she moved to into him and away from him in perfect timing, until together they reached simultaneous orgasms. They both ejaculated leaving the bed wet with their passion. Thankfully it wasn’t until then that his cell phone rang. He found his pants and then his phone in the right front pocket and answered. “Hello”
The woman, on the other end, said, “Andy, we have an emergency. Jake crashed his skate board cracking his head wide opened. He is unconscious and being rushed by ambulance to the hospital. We’ll meet you there!”
“Amy, I’m on my way!” Larry rushed to get dressed, said his hasty good byes, and darted toward the door. He should have taken a shower.
“Wait”, said Mary. “Who is Amy? What’s the hurry?”
“I’m sorry, Amy is my sister. Her son had a bad accident. I have to go. Sorry. I’ll call as soon as I can.”
“Let me go with you!”
“No, he shouted. I’ll call you later!”
That was it. Once out the door, he put his wedding ring on. Within an hour, he was at the hospital inquiring about his injured son. Amy, his wife, grabbed him and brought him into the emergency part of the hospital where a team of surgeons and nurses were working feverishly on his son’s head wound.
Amy asked, “Andy, you got here quickly. Where were you? I thought you were in a meeting in Miami?”
“My plans changed. What happened to Jake?”
“Well, he and his friends were trying a new trick on their skate boards. Jake crashed doing that maneuver. That’s all I know.”
“Why do you let him do these dangerous tricks?”
“I can’t follow him around all day. Maybe if you were home more, you could help. And, what is that perfume I smell? It’s not mine.” Amy got closer to Andy. “That’s not all, is it? You’ve been engaged in sloppy sex! What is her name? How many out of town trips do you spend with her? I knew something was going on.” Amy didn’t cry or pursue her line of questioning. She simply walked away.
Jake Jenkins died that night and his parents couldn’t even console each other. Amy knew more than she let on. She had hired a private detective who informed her of the tryst, Andy’s alias, his new condo, and Mary Smith’s identity. She had visited Mary’s agency and spoke to Mary about looking for a new place to live. She understood her husband’s attraction to her, but not his actions.
. . .
Amy used a yahoo search for, “Apple iPad for $565”, and received one hit for that exact text. The ad should a picture of an iPad displaying the following text, “Chicken Parmesan for 5 at 10:21.” She knew what this meant, Nick’s at 5:00pm on October 21st. Today was the 19th, so she didn’t have to wait long.
Sam had a table reserved at Nick’s when Amy arrived.
Sam greeted Amy, “Wow, you are fantastic, I really missed you.”
Amy never sat down but just broke down crying, “Did you hear that my son was killed in a skate boarding accident? Let’s get out of here and find somewhere private.”
“Amy, I’m so sorry. I’ve been out of touch with the news and didn’t know. Yes, let’s go!” Sam got up next to her and they embraced briefly before apologizing to the waiter and walking out with Sam supporting Amy.
When they climbed into Sam’s car Amy sobbed, “I guess this is private enough.”
“OK, Amy, I don’t know what to say. This is horrible news.”
“My husband the SOB was fucking his mistress when it happened. Everything you said was going on was and is going on. He isn’t working out of town. He has a condo and a whore to escape to when he gets tired of Jake and me. Now he has one less person to lie to. You were even right about the alias he set up, Larry Jorden. What a joke! I don’t know what I’m going to do. Jake and you were all I have. Now he’s gone, and you are seldom here to run to. I’m desperately hanging on by a thread!”
“Amy, you have to hold on to what you have left. I’ll be around as much as I can. My life depends on me continuing what I am working on. By now you know from the information I retrieved on your husband’s extra marital activities that I have very rare skills. Those skills cause a lot of nasty people major headaches and sometimes their lives. As a result, I am a marked man who will parish at their hands if I don’t pay close attention to what I am doing. You and I have a good thing going. Let’s see if we can work this out somehow. I have a few days as long as I keep a low profile. What do you want to do?”
Amy quivering her speech replied, “I don’t know. My husband left me and my son left me. I have to divorce one and bury the other without anyone to lean on. My parents are gone and I have no brothers or sisters. I don’t have any close friends. It would be good for me to hide in a dark corner and evaporate. No one will miss me.”
Sam listened quietly and then spoke, “There is no way that I can possibly know what you are going through. I’m here for you now, but in two days I must leave. I’ll get back as soon as I can!”
Sam and Amy spent almost every minute of the next two days together. They talked, held each other, and made love. However, Amy was broken and Sam new that she would spin out of control once he had to leave.
Sam did leave to continue his covert activities. He changed the ad that Amy was to search for. Now it was a Motorola Cable Modem for 97 dollars.
Amy turned into herself disappearing somewhere. As she expected, she was not missed. But, she knew she would be heard from again. Someone had to pay.
Andy buried Jake. Jake’s friends came to the services but no family could be seen in attendance. No one noticed the frail gardener peering over the surrounding headstones at the burial.
. . .
Larry, aka Jake, knocked on Mary’s door around 6:00 pm. Mary answered the door and began to cry uncontrollably. “What on earth happened to you? Why didn’t you call? I tried to find you first, but no one has heard of Larry Jorden. Then I tried your sister, but figured she was not using her maiden name since she is married. Talk to me. What is going on?”
“I’m sorry. I’ll explain.” But, he realized that his situation had gotten way too complex for his meager attempts a lying his way out. So, he just did the best he could. “My sister’s son is dead. I had to console her. She may be thinking of suicide!”
“Larry, do you mean the boy who died in a skate boarding accident? It was all over the news. Is your sister Amy Jenkins?”
“Yes, that’s the one.” When he said that, he realized too late that he had forgotten to take his wedding band off. Mary noticed it too by following his guilty gaze to his hand!
“Larry, what the hell does that mean?” pointing to the ring. “OK, come clean, are you married?”
Larry uttered, “Ah.”
“Good grief, I guess you are. Wait a minute, you left me so abruptly. Any is not your sister; she is your wife, right? I’m just guessing now, but I’m thinking the worst case scenario.”
Larry could only utter, “Well,”
At that point, the Mary slammed the door in his face giving his nose a good whack. The door latched and double latched. He left and Mary kept the tennis bracelet. It should have been the last they saw of each other.
. . .
She lay in a field of tall grass near the fairway of the town’s municipal golf course. Her skirt was pushed up to her hips and her panties lay nearby torn apart. Her legs were spread apart into an unnatural position bent and pointing out. Blood soaked her clothing that remained. Her body was still, dead still. Water from the sprinkler system had begun the process of washing the blood and dirt from her body. The grimace on her face showed the pain Mary Smith had suffered from her rape and multiple stab wounds.
Not far away, Larry was found. DNA evidence proved he was the rape and stabbing perpetrator. It was fairly routine to deduce that after he was done with Mary, he took his pistol and fired one shot into his temple, thus completing a murder suicide.
The case was open and shut. Although the story was all over the newspaper, Mrs. Amy Jenkins could not be found for comment. Apparently, she was in that corner she wished for and had begun evaporating.
. . . .
Sam had posted his ad on Craig’s list to summon Amy. But, after waiting for an hour at the appointed place, date, and time, he concluded that she, in fact, had found that corner she wished for.
However, someone did care. He did! So, using his contacts, he began to track her down. He had to help her. He had to.
It took a month in between his other clandestine assignments, but he did find her in a smoke filled room of an abandoned apartment building. She had half a dozen ‘Friends’ with her sprawled on the floor and bug infested furniture. All of them were under the influence of heavy drugs. All of them were hallucinating about their lives. Amy kept babbling on about something that made no sense, at first. Sam kept asking her questions.
“Amy, how did you find this place?”
“It fronded me!”
“What are you using?”
“Dmd f eye no? I payed deerly fur it, tho.”
“Who did you pay dearly?”
“Da man! he comesoon. He here ech dey! Wiff mare.”
“Do you know about your husband and mistress?”
“yer bets a does. Dey urned it, dun’t dey?”
“Well, it depends on your point of view. You have a lot to be pissed off about, but it’s awful that they are both dead.”
“Ay, da bstred did her good and den did hisself! A crgeous pric! Dat cawst me plntie, ya no.”
“Let me get you out of here.”
“I aint goen nwheres. Yur dnt care bout me any har.”
“But, I do.”
Sam tried to help her up and out to his car, but she fought him passionately. The others looked at the scene without lending a hand to either of the struggling duo.
Sam wanted to save this woman he had fallen for. He knew she was broken, but was sure he could bring her back. He had to try. So, he finally was able to pull and coax her into his car, fasten her seat belt and begin to drive away. The got out of there just in time. The buildings drug connection showed up just as they were leaving.
Amy barely made it through detox. After the roughest part was over she began to make more and more sense. Sam, of course, continued the questioning.
“How did you pay for the drugs?”
“I sold everything and used the insurance money on Jake as well.”
“Didn’t your husband have anything to say about that?”
“He was no problem. His guilt kept him quiet!”
“What do you suppose made him kill his mistress and himself?”
“I don’t know! Maybe you can find out.”
“OK, I’ll try. By the way, when you were under the influence, you said something about his death costing you plenty. What did that mean?”
“Are you sure I said that?”
“No, it was very hard to understand you.”
At that, Sam left for the day, to meet some old and powerful friends.
. . .
“OK, Shorty,” Sam said. “What do you know about this murder suicide? You know, I’m sure. You know everything about what goes on around here. Otherwise you would not have survived this long.”
The two were sitting in a dimly lit private room hidden within Nick’s restaurant. Shorty was indeed short, only about five feet tall. But, he seemed to be five feet wide also as he fat stores drooped out over the wood chair he sat on across the table from Sam.
“I suppose I can’t hide anything from you Sam. We’ve been through too much together, from birth on. We did a job on our prick of a father after he beat the hell of mom. So, you know all of my affairs and you mine.” Replied Shorty.
“Yes, tell me about it. Everything. Please.”
“I didn’t know how close you were to the situation or I would have contacted you first. I suppose that’s because you keep so secretive. We should talk more,” Explained Shorty, “This Amy character begged to meet with me, through the normal contacts. When we got together she explained that she wanted her husband and his mistress dead and she could pay well to have it done. She begged and had $500,000 to help plead her case. And you know, I hate cheating husbands with a passion. You also know I’ve been on the wrong side of such a lust triangle. So, I relented.”
“It seems that the loving couple had separated when the mistress named Mary found out that her love buddy was married. But, their lust proved too strong. They were back together the very night that my boys went looking for him. I would have left her alone if she had stayed away from him, figuring she was mostly innocent. But, when we broke into his condo, they were in bed together doing the wild thing.”
“Actually, they were done. So, it was easy for the boys to set up the murder suicide thing. We faked the rape, murder, and suicide, on location at the golf course. You know, how good the boys are, having both been detectives at one time. They know well how to architect a crime scene. That was it. I never could collect the second half of the $500 K. The bitch just disappeared.”
Sam, frowning, said, “I understand Shorty. Your quest for money and justice led you to this. It’s just that I’m in love with the ‘bitch’ in your story. I’ll be in touch.”
The article in the paper reported a murder suicide at the local golf course. No one suspected the truth. When Sam found Amy again, she had overdosed and died. The loss of this attachment freed him to perform his covert activities more effectively in the future and he never formed another long term relationship.