January 2019 / Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
A Will to Kill Chapter 10
By Nick Kossovan
“Another great meal Athena!” complimented Glen as he got up to put his plate in the kitchen sink. “You’re becoming quite the chef.”
“Well she certainly doesn’t get her cooking skills from me, that’s for sure,” said Veronica as she too got up with her plate.
“I have no comment on that subject, but your gardening skills are borderline artistic,” replied Glen as he sat back down at the kitchen table and turned to Athena who was finishing the last of her pork roast. “What you said earlier, that it’s odd someone would put their name on a fruit basket they’ve poisoned, makes sense. When I read the card, I thought the exact same. Most likely Teresa and Josh are being framed.”
Athena looked at her father briefly.
“That would seem to be the case. More than once you told me your first step in an investigation is to ask yourself, who has the most to gain from this?”
“You’ve been paying attention, I’m impressed.”
“I’m not,” said Veronica as she too returned to the kitchen table. “We’ve talked about this, you’re not raising our daughter to be your assistant.”
“Can I help it if I take an interest in dad’s work? He has such a cool job,” said Athena as she placed the last of her baked potato into her mouth.
“You can be interested, but not too interested… understand?”
“Give me some credit Veronica, I never give Athena details that may breach client confidentiality. In this case, she happened to overhear my call from Teresa. She says she, nor Josh, send the gift basket; I tend to believe her, thus the question who would have the most to gain from poisoning Wanda and Steve?”
“You think someone just wanted to poison them, not kill them?” asked Athena. “If that’s the case then the question is, who would have the most to gain from killing them?”
“That would be the question.”
Glen turned towards Veronica.
“I’m going over to Wanda’s. Let her know what’s I’ve been up to and maybe go see Steve.”
“Say hello to Wanda for me. Tell her I’ll drop by once Steve’s back. Try not to get home too late.”
Ten minutes later Glen found himself back Wanda and Steve’s living room, sitting in the brown leather wingback chair.
“I’m glad you dropped by. I was going to call you. Steve called me at work this afternoon. He said he’ll be discharged tomorrow morning. I’ll be picking him up around ten. I’m going to see him briefly tonight.”
“That’s good news! Mind if I tag along?”
“Not at all, Steve would enjoy seeing you. A few days of rest, lots of liquids, and he should be fine. I take it you think Steve, and I it would also seem, ingested the phenobarbital from the fruits Teresa and Josh’s sent us.”
“I don’t think Teresa and Josh sent you the gift basket. I spoke to Teresa this afternoon, as well as Adrian. She denies ever having sent you a gift basket. She asked Josh, and he too denies having sent you a gift basket. I believe them. In my line of work, you get a feeling when someone’s lying to you. Then there’s the question of why would someone put their names on a gift basket of fruits they’ve poisoned?”
“I have to admit it wouldn’t make sense to do so. So who did send the gift basket?”
“From what I know so far there are two possibilities. You said Steve recently was promoted at work.”
“Yes, to Regional Sales Manager.”
“You also said he was eyeing this position since he started at Praxis Pharma. Do you know if anyone else was also hoping to become Regional Sales Manager?”
“Can’t say Steve ever mentioned anyone, though he didn’t talk about work much. I guess you’ll have to ask him, should make for good conversation,” said Wanda as she pushed herself off the couch. “What say we go see Steve.”
Like any other hospital, Scarborough General Hospital’s hallways were stuffy, and the air had an undertone of bleach. Glen took in the bustling activities around him as he and Wanda walked toward the elevator. Sterile, calm, unhurried efficiency, latex, and packaged gauze were descriptive words that crossed his mind. Steve’s room, a semi-private room without a second occupant, was on the ninth floor and offered an eastward bird’s eye view down Lawrence Avenue East. In the not too far distance, Glen could see the various lit up store signs at Cedarbrae Mall.
“Quite the view you have here,” commented Glen as he looked out the window.
“Was hoping for a view of the lake,” replied Steve with a chuckle. “I appreciate you coming by. It wasn’t necessary. I’ll be out of here tomorrow morning. I presume Wanda told you what happened.”
“Yes, I told him,” replied Wanda as she tossed her coat on the back of the only sitting chair in the room and then sat down. “Glen doesn’t think Teresa and Josh sent the gift basket to us, which I have to admit I agree. Think about it, why would they put their name on the cards if they were trying to poison us?”
“Yeah, that wouldn’t be too smart.”
“I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your work, would that be okay?”
“Of course,” replied Steve. “Ask me whatever you need to ask.”
“Wanda tells me you recently got a promotion to Regional Sales Manager.
“That’s right, back at the beginning of August.”
“Wanda, also tells me you have a strong dislike for the office politics at Praxis Pharma. How did you put?” asked Glen as he turned towards Wanda.
“Loves his job, hates the office politics,” replied Wanda.
“That sums it up. I can’t say I’ve ever met someone who claims to enjoy navigation their workplace politics, though I’ve met more several who played the game very well.”
“I presume several of your coworkers were hoping to be Praxis Pharma’s next Regional Sales Manager.”
“Honestly, off the top of my head… I’d have to say no. The outside sales team is a small group, just 12 of us. I’m sure one or two guys was hoping to get the position, but I’m just assuming. Mark, who works out of Halifax comes to mind.”
“When Josh got promoted to VP, how did you feel?”
“You don’t hold back, do you? Josh got me into Praxis, which I’ll always be grateful for. I had no issue whatsoever with Josh becoming VP. I saw firsthand how hard he had worked for it.”
“Was probably better navigating the political landscape,” said Glen with a grin.
“Yeah, Josh can talk a good talk, but as I said Josh earned his promotion to VP.”
“Which I understand makes Josh your boss.”
“That’s right. I certainly don’t have a problem with Josh being my boss.”
“Praxis manufactures phenobarbital and you were poisoned by phenobarbital, does that not strike you as a huge coincidence?”
“Are you saying Josh poisoned us?” asked Wanda.
“Like I said, I’m certain neither Teresa or Josh didn’t send you the fruits. However, given that anyone at Praxis would have access to…”
The room fell silent as Glen trailed off. For several minutes the room filled with the hallway noises of nurses, orderlies and doctors rushing from room to room. A code blue was announced on the speaker.
“I don’t see it,” said Steve as he reached for the water pitcher on the nightstand next to him.
“You don’t?” asked Glen?
“I’m sure it occurred to you a pharmaceutical sales rep would have extensive knowledge of the drugs they sell. They would know the consequences of administering large doses of a certain drug, especially to someone who hadn’t been prescribed the drug. There are many drugs Praxis manufactures which would have been much more effective to poison, dare I say kill us, than phenobarbital.”
“Yeah, I admit this occur to me.”
“You said there were two possibilities as to who would try to poison us. What is the second one?” asked Wanda.
“I’m hoping I’m wrong, so I don’t want to say anything right now. I’ll poke around a bit more to be certain my thinking is correct.”
“Fair enough,” said Steve. “Wanda and I appreciate the time you’re taking to look into this. I guess it pays to have a PI as a next-door neighbor.”
“As a neighbor, I might be good to have, as a husband I think Veronica has other thoughts. It’s what I do. You, of all people, not barbequing on a beautiful Saturday evening didn’t make sense. I had to find out what was going on. Glad I did. Mind if I ask both of you a question, it’s somewhat personal.”
“After all you’ve done for us!” said Wanda. “You’ve earned the right to ask us a few personal questions. Please go ahead and ask.”
“Why did you leave your house to Tyler?
To be Continued.