November 2018 / Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
A Will to Kill: Chapter Nine
“One more question, do you and Josh know Ann and Gary Curso?” asked Glen.
Teresa gave Glen a puzzled look.
“Funny you should mention them,” replied Teresa. “I can’t say Josh, and I actually know Ann and Gary. Until this past Thursday, we only saw them at Wanda and Steve’s, at one of their barbeques or dinner parties.”
“Until this past Thursday?”
“They stopped by around 7:30 PM. Said they were driving by and remembered we lived on Hill Crest and saw our Lexus in the driveway. Josh answered the door and invited them in. They stayed for almost an hour.”
“Ann did most of the talking, said she was concerned with how things were between Wanda and me and wanted to see how I was doing. Personally, I was surprised they dropped by. Like I said we weren’t that close. Ann obviously knows Tyler getting Wanda and Steve’s house is the reason we’re not speaking. Her being concerned about how I feel seems weird. Gary just sat drinking the coffee we offered, he didn’t seem comfortable. My guess it was Ann’s idea to drop by.”
“You’re probably right,” said Glen. “I’m going to be candid with you, Wanda and Steve have every right to leave their house to whomever they want.”
“They could have split the house between Adrian and Tyler. I guess Wanda and I weren’t as close as I always thought we were. I don’t regret what I said. I do regret where I said it and causing a scene. My being angry and hurt was between us. I should never have been made my feelings public like I did.”
“And since the barbeque, you haven’t spoken or communicated with Wanda whatsoever?”
“Not a word! If Josh, Adrian and I aren’t good enough to be in their will, then we’re not good enough to be their friends.”
Over the years Glen had heard more than his fair share of venomous words, pent-up rage fueled by a sense of entitlement. Nothing sparks anger easier than a feeling of not receiving what one feels they are owed. Despite his years of experience dealing with emotional rants and confessions, Glen was taken aback by Teresa’s words.
“Seems harsh,” said Glen. “After so many years aren’t you the least bit interested in reconciling with Wanda? It’s been over three months now.”
“Some friendships, actually I’d say most, have an expiry date. I guess we had reached ours. Wanda and I had been friends long before she met Ann. Wanda and Steve are Adrian’s godparents, and they choose Tyler over Adrian! When she had her miscarriage, I was by her side for three solid days. Who listened to her when Steve lost his job and became severely depressed? Did you know it was Josh who got Steve into Praxis Pharma? All those cruises we took together.”
“Fair enough,” said Glen as he nodded in agreement. “By the way, how did Steve and Wanda ever meet Ann and Gary?”
“They had a booth at the Pickering flea market selling baked goods, artisan bread, French pastries, bagels, stuff like that. Wanda raved about their cranberry raisin focaccia, saying it was worth going out to Pickering. If you ask me, Ann seemed to latch on to Wanda.”
“Had a booth?”
“They closed around 2 years ago… July 2015 I believe.”
“You know the reason they closed? Business wasn’t good, they wanted to retire?”
“According to Ann, she and Gary wanted to free up their weekends.”
“You know how long they had the booth for?” asked Glen.
“Wanda would know.”
“Ok, thanks. Sorry for all the questions. Please think about calling Wanda soon.”
Glen was walking down the driveway when a tall, awkward-looking teenager, wearing a Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute grey and navy blue football jacket, with a backpack slung over his right shoulder, was shuffling up towards him.
“You’re Adrian,” said Glen as he approached the Lexus. “I’m Athena’s father. I was just speaking with your mother.”
Adrian gave what Glen thought was a quizzical look.
“Athena told me what happened. I stopped by to see how you were doing.”
“I’m fine,” said Adrian cautiously. “It was nice of you to stop by.”
“Your mother said you always carry your medication with you, then Murphy’s Law, the one time you forget…”
“I didn’t forget my medication. I had placed it in the pocket of this very jacket right after dinner on Thursday. It must have fallen out somewhere on Friday or Saturday.
Glen could see their conversation was making Adrian uncomfortable.
“Well, the important thing is you’re ok. I’m glad I ran into you,” said Glen as he started to walk past Adrian towards his car parked on the street.
As Glen started up his car his iPhone rang. It was Chris, the 300 Danforth construction site supervisor.
“I asked around like I said I would. Turns out this past Friday a few of my guys did notice a heavy looking red hair guy walking on and off the site a few times. None of them thought much of it since, and I hate to admit this, he looked like he belonged. With all the contractors we deal with faces change literally daily. However, one of my guys was being cordial and asked him how it was going, if he could help him find his way, etc., that sort of thing.”
“Tell me he asked his name,” said Glen.
“That’s why I’m calling you, the guy said his name was Eric. What are the odds two heavy red hair guys would be wandering around here on Friday, one being Randall and the other being Eric?”
“Slim to none would be my guess. I appreciate you taking the time to call me. Tell your guy thanks from me.”
“Glad to be of help. Your visit got me to thinking; actually it showed me what I always knew, that our construction site security is, for lack of a better word, weak. I know you said you don’t do security work, but do you know anyone I can reach out to regarding tightening up the security at this site. We’re here for at least another 2 years.”
“What say tomorrow I drop off a card of someone I know, who in my opinion is one of the best at what he does. Any chance your cordial guy will be around tomorrow, say around 10:00 AM? I would like to have a few words with him.”
“Come around 10:30 AM when the coffee truck arrives, you can buy him a coffee.”
“Fine, 10:30 it is.”
The smell of a pork roast in the oven welcomed Glen when he walked through his front door.
“Someone’s been cooking,” said Glen loudly as he removed his shoes.
“Mom asked me to make dinner tonight,” replied Athena from the kitchen.
“Smells great! I went to visit Adrian’s mother, he’s doing fine.”
“I saw him today in the cafeteria. Which would you prefer, baked potato or mashed?”
“Roasted garlic mashed potatoes,” said Glen with a grin as he walked into the kitchen.
“Baked potatoes would take less time.”
“Ok, baked potato will be fine,” replied Glen as his iPhone rang. It was Teresa.
“Ironically, just minutes after you left, Josh called to inform me he needed to stay back at the office to finish September’s sales report. I told him about your visit. He confirmed what I said; he never sent a gift basket to Wanda and Glen. Josh also mentioned Steve didn’t come into work today. Apparently, Wanda called and said he’d be out for at least a week. What’s going on? Did you stopping by have anything to do with Steve being away?”
“I’m just poking around, nothing more. Wanda and Steve received a fruit gift basket with a card saying it was from you, then they get sick…”
“Wanda was sick?”
“Nothing like Steve, she just felt nauseous for a few hours. Steve ate much more of the fruits then Wanda did, and thus he became much sicker. Steve’s still in the hospital.”
“Steve’s in the hospital! You’re saying the fruits were poisoned and made to look like they came from Josh and me?”
“Like I said, I’m just poking around right now.”
“I can assure you Josh, and I didn’t send the gift basket,” said Teresa sternly.
“I’ll keep you in the loop as things unfold. If you think of anything, don’t hesitate to call me.”
Glen placed his iPhone on the counter and went over to the fridge to get a diet Pepsi. From the way Athena was looking at him, he could sense she wanted to say something.
“What’s on your mind?” Glen asked as he took a long sip of his drink.
“I couldn’t help overhear your conversation. A fruit gift basket was sent to Wanda and Steve, which you think was poisoned, and it was made to look like it came from someone who says they didn’t send the gift basket?
“You got the gist of it.”
“Then riddle me this,” said Athena as she began wrapping potatoes in aluminum foil, “don’t you think it’s odd that someone would put their name on a fruit basket they’ve poisoned?
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