Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chapter 19

“So what did they quiz you on after they separated us?” I asked, pulling bowls from the cupboard. We danced around each other in the kitchen, preparing our dinner. I had mixed us some strong gin and tonics with lots of twists of lime in large high ball glasses. Sour puckers. Great for winding down from stress.

“Detail-type things. How long had I worked on the bathroom? Did I know anything about electronics or wiring? Did I know anything about lunar phenomena? Did I know the location of Kip’s ex-wife? How long had Trevor worked there? Was I in league with him to steal from Kip? Weird stuff that….”

I spit out my drink and coughed for like a minute into the sink. “His ex-wife?!” I asked after I finally recovered. I dragged on my cigarette and my larynx relaxed. Smoking is really good for throat relaxation. A nurse told me that once. Kills all the nerve cells that tickle the crap out of you at the most inopportune moments. So, when you see doctors and nurses standing around smoking, you know it’s good for you. Not.

Paul slapped my back a couple of times and held my arms above my head. He tossed my cigarette into the sink and washed his hands. Seeing that I was fully recovered, he began pulling plates from the cupboard, enlightening me. “Yeah, yeah, crazy bitch. I couldn’t believe Kip married her. ‘Course I also couldn’t believe what she did to his bathroom.”

“Well, don’t just babble! Who was it?” Shit! I was about to know something Harshy didn’t know. How rare was that? She was going to shit her pants. I was definitely going to have to call her later that night. Or maybe she already knew this information and it was so boring, she forgot to mention it? That wasn’t like her. Maybe Faraday’s wedding wasn’t a highlight on the LA society scene. Or maybe Hollywood actresses upstaged him?

“You remember that actress, Charlene Dietz? She had Kip’s number from day one. She knew how to play him. Man like that could have anything he wanted, because people wanted him. They wanted him as a client, investor, friend, lover, etcetera, so they were like dogs to him. They would do whatever he wanted, no matter what was asked. Charlene was a woman who knew how to deal with a man like Kip and somehow she figured out his Achilles heel. She made herself very unavailable to him and blew him off, denied him, and flat-out ignored him whenever they were at the same functions or events. With her wily, womanly ways, she knew that if she treated him like he was a nobody, he wouldn’t be able to resist her, that he would come after her. She would drive him crazy, weakening him for the kill.”

Well, duh, all women know that trick, said the spider to the fly. Guys are so simple. “So what did Kip do to get her to go out with him?”

Paul shook his head, inhaling his gin and tonic in one swallow, and laughed. “He asked her to marry him. Ego.”

“And?” The suspense was killing me. This was so cool – hot gossip, and from my boyfriend, no less. He was a keeper.

“She said yes, of course. It was what she had wanted the whole time. Kip and his millions!” revealed Paul. “Marriage didn’t last long though. That was the only thing that I ever saw crush Kip to the point of paralysis.”

“Wow,” I said, sipping my drink and dragging on a new cigarette. Paul waved the smoke away and turned on the stove exhaust hood. Patient man. “So, where is she now?”

“I don’t know and that’s what I told the cops. Haven’t seen her in a couple of years,” said Paul. “And Kip kept blaming his business funk on that stupid bathroom design. I think the truth was that she really got to him and he was willing to try any gimmick to get his game back. He was superstitious like that.”

That guy was his own traveling freak show. “Oh, so you think that’s why he hired me to redo his bathroom? To erase his memories of the blonde, gorgeous, man-killer?” I asked, snarling a bit at the end, because I was not even close to being the beauty that Charlene was. I was satisfied with this reason why Faraday had never hit on me. Ha, ha! To even think such things, Lo. Yuck.

“I’m sure of it,” affirmed Paul. “Once he had Jasmine hanging around again, they got as thick as thieves. I’m sure she convinced him to have the bathroom redone to erase any memory of her. Charlene was the one with the Bat Cave = Superhero concept.”

I laughed. I had told Paul of my design theory about Faraday’s bathroom after we’d gotten together as a couple. We had dished about our ideas and opinions and laughed ourselves silly when we realized that we’d had a lot of the same thoughts even though we were at opposite ends
of the room. Paul thought that I had hit the nail on the head with my theory.

“I thought I told you about Charlene when we first started the bathroom?” questioned Paul.

“Not a word. You were probably afraid of scaring me off because you knew I would immediately ask you if she had an interest in you at any time,” I said looking at him for conclusion. Now that he had brought her up, I really did want to know this information. I couldn’t stand the idea of anyone else desiring him.

“You’re probably right and, yes, she hit on me all of the time. I didn’t spend much time at the estate during their marriage,” said Paul. “Charlene may not have respected their marriage, but I did for Kip’s sake. Kip didn’t really notice my absence anyway. He was very into his new Charlene, obsessed and consumed by the relationship. I always wondered if that suffocation was what made her leave him.”

“When did she leave?”

“About two years ago. Kip immediately left Los Angeles after the breakup and went overseas for a while to ‘recover’. When he came back, that bathroom made him hysterical. I thought Bruce was going to have a permanent shit stain in his pants the way Kip carried on,” explained Paul.

“So she was gone only a year before the bathroom renovation got started? How could everyone keep this from me?” I asked. “Don’t bother answering. I know, I know, they were all under strict orders never to say her name in the house or acknowledge her existence, right?”

“You got it, babe!” Paul clinked his glass against mine.

Wow. I dragged on my cigarette. This was news. Why hadn’t the police asked if I knew of an ex-wife? Maybe Paul had already told them I didn’t know about her? When would they have had the time to ask him and get that info to Detective Patrick? Maybe Bruce had told them that no one knew about Charlene except the estate personnel. That would include Paul.
Charlene Dietz, Super Star actress. All the big money movies, an in-demand celebrity for every block buster summer feature. Why would she marry Faraday? He never seemed the type to be interested in movies, music, plays or any other form of entertainment. If it wasn’t business or sports, Faraday wasn’t likely to be involved. Charlene made her own money, so I couldn’t see her marrying Faraday for that reason. Or had she? Financial problems? Or was she attracted to him physically? Creeeepy! Seemed a long shot though as he had easily twenty years on her. Just the thought of them together in the biblical way made my skin goose pimple.

Or maybe she just had a thing for geeks? More likely he was just another challenge, a conquest to occupy her mind when she had down time from movies and was bored. Was she the female version of Faraday? Little game of cat and mouse? Boy, if I were Faraday and I’d found out that I was just an amusement, a way to pass the time, I might go ballistic. I’d have to make a point to ask Harshy all about Miss Charlene Dietz when I saw her next. Guy as well. Look into her financial and legal situations. That should be easy enough for him. I should see them both together so I wouldn’t have to repeat myself.

“I can see the gears moving a little more quickly than usual.” Paul jolted me out of my reverie that was so deep my drink was still settled at my lips and I hadn’t taken the intended sip. Instead, I sloshed it up my nose. Paul handed me a paper towel, laughing in his sexy way. He was the only person I could take outright laughing at me; I trusted how much he loved me.

“Just musing over this latest tidbit,” I said. “Do you think Charlene could be a factor in all of this?”

“I don’t see how. No one’s seen her in Kip and Jasmine’s social circle in at least a year and a half,” said Paul.

“Do you know who saw her last?”

Paul stared out the kitchen window, biting his lower lip in thought. “Weirdly enough, I think it was Bruce, of all people. Man, she treated him like dog shit on her shoe. He hated her like you hate cauliflower. Last sighting must’ve been when she came to collect the rest of her things. Faraday had put her stuff in a dumpster. Rented the thing until Charlene came back. A ‘personal message’ I think Kip told me. She’d been in Europe shooting one of those period pieces actors do to pay the rent. Boy, was she hopping mad when she saw all of her stuff in that twenty-yard dumpster! Bruce had to baby-sit the stuff the whole time, waiting for her return. He was pissed when she did finally come back and then promptly turned around and left it all after she got the ‘message’. He had a celebrity garage sale on Mulholland Drive, just off of the servants driveway.”
I laughed. I could see Bruce on a little folding chair at the end of the driveway, holding court with all sorts of celebrity whores trying to buy up Charlene’s clothes, shoes, perhaps used underwear? Yuck!

“So she hasn’t been seen around the estate since?”

“Nope, she’s a faded memory, a blip on the estate record. When the police brought her up, everything came flooding back to me,” said Paul. “Every awful thing.”

“I wonder if Trevor knew anything about her? Did she even know who he was?” I asked.

“No, Trevor was hired at the estate after Charlene. To tell you the truth, I think Trevor is pretty much clueless about everything important that went on at the estate. He’s a target because he’s easy for the police to deal with. I think if you threatened him enough, Trevor would admit to anything,” said Paul.

“Interesting. After dinner we should call down to the station, see how he’s doing, and if he’s been released yet. Find out where he’s staying, so we can keep an eye on him,” I suggested. “I guess if we haven’t heard from the cops by now, he must not have pointed a finger at us?”

“Great,” Paul groaned, “just what I want to do this evening.”

“It won’t take so long. Then we can finally take some time for ourselves,” I promised, taking Paul into my arms and kissing him passionately and playfully.

“You big tease, freako,” he said as I nodded in return.

I laughed and pulled away. Going to Paul’s phone, I pulled Detective Patrick’s card out of my bag and dialed the station. The desk sergeant – or was she the intake officer?- answered the phone, “Yes, hello, this is Lois Pushkin. I was in earlier and interrogated by Detective Patrick…”

“Yes, I remember you. Cute shoes,” she replied.

“Oh, well, thank you. Um, so, could you tell me if Trevor Gerard is still there or if he was released?” I said. “Uh, we need to know if he needs a ride home?”

“Yeah, right.” She was not so complimentary now. “Mr. Gerard was released shortly after you and Mr. Atkinson. He was able to get his own ride home courtesy of the LAPD.”

“Oh, OK, thank you,” I said and hung up. Turning to Paul, I said, “Well, I guess Trevor isn’t such a threat to us after all. He was released shortly after we were. Nothing has happened so far. So maybe nothing will?”

“Don’t count on it,” he said moving behind and wrapping his arms around my waist. He kissed me lightly and repeatedly on the back of my neck. Between kisses, he said, “He’s a snake and he’s going to lie in wait for the opportunity to strike. He’s a regular gutter club punk. Best not to be so trusting at this point. Right now, we’ve got only each other to trust.”

I turned around to face him, “Don’t forget about Harshy and Guy. We can trust them, too.”

Paul sighed and pulled me into his body. “Yeah, that’s true. And let’s not forget the other punk, Brian.”

“Shut your mouth! Brian is a wonderful young man. He just has habitat issues. And an addiction to TV. You like him, admit it,” I teased.

“He’s OK. If you like him, I like him,” assured Paul. He started pulling me up the stairs to his bedroom.

“Anything to shut me up?” I asked, following him willingly. His hand was warm and his ass hot.

“Wait!” A thought shot through my brain. “Let’s make sure that we’re being given protection by the LAPD.”

We crept back down the stairs and pulled back the window coverings to the windows facing the street. After a few seconds, a cop car leisurely drove by. We looked at each other. Next, we went to the windows off of the kitchen facing the side street. Just down the block was a plain brown wrapper parked across the street under a tree. I suddenly hoped that the police didn’t have one of those listening devices that looked like a dish in there. Everything that Paul and I had said could’ve set the police off. But if they were still sitting there, perhaps they didn’t have the
technology. Budget cuts. Or maybe we just weren’t that interesting.

After making sure that there were no scuba cops in Paul’s pool, we returned to our task at hand. At the top of the stairs, Paul kissed me longingly. When we took a pause, I was breathless. I was also feeling quite dog-tired, but I wanted him so bad. The booze had kicked in and made me fluid and willing. Our hands were all over each other as we made our way to the bed. Clothes were stripped and tossed. Tracks leading to our location, should anyone need to find us. Hopefully not Detective Patrick and his goon squad. I laughed out loud at my frightful thought.

“What?” murmured Paul, lifting his mouth from my breast, his hand in midstroke between my thighs.

“I was thinking how much I didn’t want Detective Patrick to find us together like this,” I whispered, pushing his hand back into play.

“Please don’t think of other men when I’m pleasuring you,” Paul said. “You’re going to give me a complex.”

“Very funny, babe. You know that you always have my complete and undivided attention.” I moaned when he ramped up the action on the sweet spot. God, I was going to gyrate off this bed and spasm on the floor.

Taking his own sweet time and making me a prisoner of my mind and body, Paul finally entered me and brought me to another body-and-soul-shattering climax. Oh, I am not worthy, I am not worthy. But I’m going to stay and take all I can get until he gets wise to me.

Chapter 18

The “Interogation Room” wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. Having never been to a police station, I had feared the worst Law and Order episode. Maybe those weren’t so bad now that I think about it.

Inside the room, Detective Patrick invited me to sit in a lovely, hard, steel chair certain to make any perp confess inside of an hour. The table was government issue in the lovely, federal green color of bridges. It was littered with droplets of dried coffee, sticky soda, and crumbs from what I was assuming were various pastries. That wasn’t so bad. Reminded me of my desk and the mocha stain that had been on the right side near the corner for a year. A constant splotch that faithfully continued to remind me that I needed to clean. It was a good, loyal stain. Didn’t have the heart to get rid of it.

The walls were painted a matching green and looked to have matching stains. Too matchy-moo for my taste. The lighting was typical police station d├ęcor. Fluorescent downlighting units attached to a pockmarked suspended ceiling system that looked decayed and ready to collapse with the next earthquake.

After seating myself, I faced Detective Patrick and composed myself for his probing questions, feeling my face get warm and my eyes sting a little. God, I was tired and my butt ached already. Now I looked embarrassed and thus guilty. I wished I had some ice water.

“Your full name please?” he asked.

“Lois Louise Pushkin,” I answered, correctly. One point for me. I wondered when I should ask him for that water. I am allowed one water, right?

“Are you married, Ms. Pushkin?”

“No. What does that have to do with anything?” I was now tired, achy, annoyed, and needing that water. Why should he care if I was married? What did that have to do with the murder? Well, I guess a bit since most married people are killed by their spouses. But Faraday hadn’t been married to me so what relevance did the question even have?

Detective Patrick said, “Hmmm.” He wrote something on his notepad. Looking back up at me, perhaps to check if I was lying, he asked, “How long had you known Kip Faraday?”

“Like I said before, about a year. I remodeled the executive bathroom off of his office,” I replied.

Detective Patrick hmmm’d again and wrote some more notes on his pad. “How involved were you in the actual construction? Did you visit the bathroom regularly?”

I snorted a little and Detective Patrick eyeballed me suspiciously. “Mr. Faraday asked me that during construction. I visited the bathroom once a week and then sent him a weekly progress report wherever in the world he was. He put me in charge as the project’s construction administrator.”

“Was that typical for Mr. Faraday? He certainly had enough assistants to do that sort of work?” asked Detective Patrick. “Why would he choose you to do reports for him?”

“Because that was my job as a construction administrator. I monitored the general contractor and his subs, plus kept the construction schedule and everyone on task. I was Mr. Faraday’s liaison for the project. Besides, I personally don’t think he wanted any of his assistants around the construction. I don’t think he trusted them with anything outside of concierge, clerical, and butt-wiping duties,” I answered.

Detective Patrick twiddled his pencil between his fingers and asked dryly, “Butt wiping duties?”

“Sorry,” I said, “that was rude. Um, Faraday would have his assistants do anything he wanted and they would do anything he ordered. I just meant that if he needed his butt wiped, they would do it.”

“He was that comfortable and trusting with his assistants?”

I thought about that for a moment. “I wouldn’t call it trust. I would say he believed they existed to serve him and if he needed their assistance for such a delicate matter, well, duh, they would, of course, do it.”

“Would Mr. Gerard do it?”

“No.”

“Would Mr. Hansen do it?”

“I’m inclined to answer yes since he was Faraday’s shadow and also rumoured to be in love with the man,” I said. I could see Bruce doing that, with latex gloves of course. Homoerotic images flooded my mind. Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts, La la la la!

“Are you alright Ms. Pushkin?” asked Detective Patrick as he leaned across the table toward me. “Do you need some coffee?”

Startled out of my mental rendition of “There’s a Hole in My Bucket”, I stared back at him. “Yes, uh, actually, I would like some ice water. Are there any relevant questions you’d like to ask me?”
“You’re the one who started with the butt reference,” stated Detective Patrick. “We know where you were the night Faraday died and that checks out for now. Do you know where any of the other persons of interest were that night?”

“I don’t know your whole list. I only know where Trevor was because he told me, but that’s just hearsay.” Oh, yeah, I need to tell Detective Patrick about my lawyer’s request. “My lawyer will be needing a copy of my statement regarding this case.”

“No, he don’t. What about Paul Atkinson?”

“I only know where Paul was because he told me,” I said. “And yes, he, my lawyer, will. In fact, I’d like to call my lawyer right now.” Who did this cop think he was? This was not right. The hairs on the back of my neck started to prickle and rise.

“No, no that’s OK, Ms. Pushkin. Not until we’re finished,” warned Detective Patrick. “Was Mr. Atkinson with you?”

“No. And I’m not going to answer any more of your questions until I see my lawyer,” I said. The whole interview was starting to creep me out. Detective Patrick pulled himself upright in his chair, rolled up his sleeves, and laid his beefy, sinewy, tan arms on the palette of the green table. His breath was hot and he had a sweat bead on his forehead. His eyes were glassy under his monobrow, and he probed me with them indelicately. It was intimidating and gross.

I had to get out of that room immediately. “If you’re going to charge me, do it now or this conversation is over.”

“I’m going to get a statement from you now, Ms. Pushkin,” Detective Patrick picked up his pencil and pointed it at me menacingly. Was he going to hold it to my cheek and threaten to ruin my modeling career if I didn’t confess?

That was the last straw. I simply couldn’t stay in that room. The chair had gotten harder, my butt muscles were on fire, my head was pounding and my face was still flushed. Bastard had never gotten my water. The walls were getting closer together. Quickly pushing my glasses up against my nose as a distraction, I grabbed the pointy end of his pencil, snatched it out of his grip, and snapped it in two with a ‘crack’.

“You will receive my statement from my lawyer.” I reiterated, firmly. I was so done.

With that, I stood up, wiped the crud from my ass, clutched the broken pencil for support, and headed for the door. I heard Detective Patrick’s chair skid across the floor. Turning to find him approaching me, I stood with the pointy end of the pencil aimed at him and said, “Don’t make me scream ‘rape’ 'cause I will. I took a class and I was the teacher’s pet.”

“Watch yourself, Ms. Pushkin,” Detective Patrick cautioned. He leaned past me and opened the door. His body odor wafted across my nose. “I’ll wait for your statement. If I don’t see it in 48 hours, we will come looking for you. Oh, yeah, don’t leave town.”

He laughed at his little joke. I scooted out that door as fast as I could without looking intimidated. Shit, now I would have to go to the lawyers. Don’t leave town – Jesus, what TV show was I on? Well, that was done. I was so exhausted that I could’ve fallen nose first onto the drab precinct vinyl tile flooring. Thankfully, I had enough strength of hygiene disgust to
overcome that desire.

Paul was waiting for me at the double doors and took my arm. “Why don’t you take those off?”

I looked over at him, pushing my glasses farther up my nose. “I need them to see.”
I hadn’t had the time nor the desire to put my contacts in when this adventure started, so the trusty, back-up glasses got pulled out for service.

“No, not your glasses, your shoes.” He pointed down to my swollen feet and winced with pain for me. I hadn’t really noticed the fatigue or blisters that had materialized throughout the day. My toes started to throb violently, now that my brain was paying attention to them, the way children swarm from out of nowhere when mothers are dialing phones. My heels stung and my ankles itched. I would need an emergency pedicure for sure.

“I can’t take them off in here,” I hissed. “It’s disgusting! Hooker and junkie feet –yuck. It’s worse than a motel room. I’ll wait ‘til I get in my car.”

“I can’t vouch for that being cleaner than a motel room, especially since we’ve used it as a motel room,” reminded Paul with a big goofy smile. (Yuk, yuk, yuk, three stooges abound.) I punched him in the arm. In the car, I took off my Jose Ferrars and rubbed my feet on the floor mats. Paul looked at me questioningly. “You know those mats are full of germs and crap, right?”

“Oh, shut up,” I said. “I’m trying to get over my cleanliness freak, so leave me alone.”

Paul laughed and I was not mad enough not to enjoy the fact that I could make him laugh in spite of the new three-ring circus we had been thrown into. Paul’s interview had gone about as well as mine. His interrogator had tried to get him on threatening a police officer when he wouldn’t give a statement and then on obstructing an officer. He hadn’t had a broken pointy pencil to defend himself, but he had gotten out all right.

We drove back to his place. No way did I want to be alone that night. We decided on a simple dinner with lots of booze and I bought a fresh pack of cigarettes at the 7-11. I called Brian and told him how our interrogations had gone and where we would be. Brian had volunteered that he had already fed and watered Kash for me. Paul then called his lawyer and told him what had transpired at the police station. We made an appointment to meet the next day; he was going to transcribe Paul’s statement as well as mine. Paul convinced me that his lawyer would be at least as good as the one my mother’s ex-boyfriend recommended.

Chapter17

After Brian returned, we parked Paul’s truck in my apartment building garage and took my Subaru downtown. Brian stayed behind at the condo. ‘To hold down the fort’ as my father used to say.

Trevor kicked the back of my seat almost the whole way there until Paul pulled the car over, like a dad who’d had the last straw, and threw Trevor in the way back, behind the dog screen. Obviously, I don’t have a dog and I have never owned a dog, but found the screen helpful for hanging up drawings and drying sandy, wet bathing suits and flip flops from a day at the beach. It was also now useful for containing Trevor. He didn’t dare draw attention to himself, lest a cop see him in the way back without a seatbelt. He knew that I would’ve been more than glad to get a traffic violation ticket just to have a police officer take him off of our hands. He was becoming a burden to us.

Paul kept glaring back at Trevor, who was trying to light another cigarette. Paul kept all the windows open to keep the light from being successful. I watched Paul with amusement. He noticed and smiled a little. I knew how hard this was for him. Trevor was a painful jab in his side when he should’ve been mourning the loss of his friend and mentor. To be stuck with such a pain in the neck was the worst thing that could’ve been going on for Paul. I was so worried for him and well, selfishly at the moment, for me and for us. I shouldn’t have been thinking such thoughts at a time like that, but that’s when they usually came. We had only been together about a year, but our relationship was still relatively new, mostly still within the honeymoon stage. Would Faraday’s death kill our relationship? Faraday had been such a huge part of Paul’s life. Would Paul throw me over to devote himself to the case full time, wanting no distractions from his sexy new girlfriend? God, I was so in love with him. Losing him, I thought, would send me over the edge of my parapet. Brian would have to stay by my side, as I would lapse into a love coma, unable to cope with a life without Paul. I would subsist on a diet of booze, cigarettes and reality TV, staying hidden away in my condo-cave.

“Dollar for your thoughts?” asked Paul, startling me out of my glazed space-out which I called thinking.
I looked over at him and smiled. “No thoughts. Just very tired all of a sudden. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Need to recharge for the next round.”

That seemed to satisfy him and he returned to driving. We were pulling into the downtown precinct as instructed by the cops. With much prodding, assisted by my tapered acrylic fingernails, we got Trevor out of the hatch back, inside the station, and up to the information desk.

“Excuse me,” I asked the officer behind the counter. Desk sergeant? What did they call them now? In-take officers? Or was that drug rehab lingo? “We’ve brought in Trevor Gerard. He would like to turn himself in.”

“Bitch! Cunt!” yelled Trevor before Paul could clamp his hand over his puckered foul mouth and restrain him.

The officer looked past me at Trevor. Trevor had the officer’s full attention now, “You’d better not be calling me names, sir. That will get you arrested.”

“Oh no, he’s not calling you those names. Those are the names he’s been calling me for the past couple of hours. He has issues,” I informed the officer.

The officer now turned her attention to me. She had all the mannerisms of Jabba the Hut. I’m not saying that she was obese and slug-like with excessive drool and pasty skin. Her movements revealed more the subtle and deliberate benevolence of Jabba the Hut, with an ownership of her power and manipulation. Every gesture and expression was measured and done for an exact purpose and effect.

“And the other one?” she asked patiently.

I looked at Paul and then back at her. “He’s my body guard.”

“And you are?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Lois Pushkin. We’re here to see Detective Patrick,” I answered.

“He’s unavailable right now. Working on a big case. Can't deal with stalkers right now, even if you did catch them peepin’ in your window.”

“I think he’ll want to see me. It’s about his big case.” I was getting weary of Jabba and I could sense that behind me, Paul was close to snapping Trevor’s neck.

“What do you know about his case load?” asked the officer rhetorically. “Tell me what you have and I’ll relay it to him.”

“No,” I said. “He either sees us right now or we leave. You’ll have to explain your actions later to the DA.” Boy, I really did watch too much television. I didn’t think Jabba would believe me.

The officer held my eyes for a few seconds, sighed, and then picked up the phone to call Detective Patrick. “Yeah, there’s a woman here who says she has information for you about the case you’re working on.” She paused. “Uh, yeah, a Lois Pushkin.” Suddenly, she jerked the phone away from her ear. “Sonofabitch slammed the phone down in my ear!”

The swinging doors to my left flew open and three plainclothes detectives shot through the doors at a full trot. Paul relaxed his grip on Trevor, instinctively pushing him towards the cops. Trevor wriggled his way forward, resisting like a cow to a brand.

“Ms. Pushkin!” said the cop whom I assumed was Detective Patrick. I realized now we had never met in person before. Another officer came around to escort me back through the doors.

“Thank you for coming down and turning yourself in. You have the right to remain silent…..”

“Hey, whoa! I’m not turning myself in. I’ve brought you Trevor Gerard. You said that if I had any information on him, I was to let you know. Well, I have him in person so there you go,” I said as I shrugged off the other officer behind me. Paul was instantly by my side, pulling me into him, creating distance between me and the police. Was it for my safety or theirs?

Detective Patrick looked at Trevor who was now sitting on a waiting room chair, legs crossed, sniveling into his hand, sweat beading on his freckled pale brow, trying to fade into the background. The officer crossed over to him and asked, “Are you Trevor Gerard?”

Trevor looked up at him, defeated, “Yes, I am and I didn’t do anything.”

Detective Patrick began, “Trevor Gerard, you are hereby under arrest for the murder of Christian Harold Faraday. You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you.” Blah, blah, blah, we’ve all watched Law and Order. Another officer hand-cuffed Trevor while Detective Patrick read him his rights. Then the second officer led Trevor through the double doors.

Trevor spun around spastically and yelled at Paul and me. “Bitch, you’ll pay for this! You too, Asshole! God Damn Fuckers!” Then he burst into sobs that racked his entire body, almost pulling the officer down to the floor.

“I need to know if he’ll be all right and when we can see him again,” I asked Detective Patrick.

“We said that we’d be here for him.” God, I hoped I sounded convincing. I really wanted Trevor kept at the station, under supervision. But I definitely didn’t want him spreading lies about me and Paul and pointing an accusatory finger at either of us. Being able to possibly know what he was confessing to the police would be a bonus to us.

Detective Patrick looked at me skeptically, connecting the thoughts after Trevor’s little display. “Be here for him? I think you need to think about yourself right now, Ms. Pushkin. You’re a ‘person of interest’ in this case and I need to take a statement from you. We have never sat down to chat about your version of events.” said Detective Patrick.

“Me?! Why me? I was only the guy’s designer. He paid me in full, always. I had no motive. I’m an outsider to this whole situation,” I protested.

“According to estate security logs and camera video, you were very much a part of the Faraday world and involved with everyone in it,” he revealed. “We’ll need to get your statement.
And while you’re here, since you were able to pull Trevor Gerard out of a hat, would you happen to know the whereabouts of the general contractor, Paul Atkinson?”

I reached over my shoulder and tapped Paul on the chest. Detective Patrick looked at Paul and then back at me and then returned to Paul. Then he said, “I’m definitely going to need a statement from the both of you.”

Paul squeezed my shoulders and kissed my cheek. We followed Detective Patrick through the double doors he so graciously held open for us. He was smiling like the cat that ate the canary. In the corridor, another officer took Paul away from me, and Detective Patrick led me into a tiny, claustrophobic, unaesthetic interrogation room. Martha Stewart, where are your jailhouse hints when I need them? Oh, shitshitshitshitshit.