A Will to Kill: Chapter Twelve
“Stop… go back,” said Glen.
Chris rewound the security video five seconds and then pressed the play button.
“Stop right there.” Glen pointed to the monitor. “I take it that’s Randall.”
“He certainly fits the description you gave me; especially being plump. Now that I know what he looks like I can say I’ve never seen him around.”
There was Eric, posing as a construction worker. I have to give him credit, thought Glen, not having the fruits delivered to his home was good thinking. Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen a construction site, but it did the job.
“Thanks, Chris. You’ve been a big help. I haven’t forgotten about your cousin. I’ll see what I can do for him, you should hear from me in a few days.”
“I’d appreciate that. He’s a good guy and could use a break.”
“Couldn’t we all.”
As Glen was walking back to his car, he glanced at his watch. Seeing how it was almost 9:30 AM Glen retrieved his iPhone and pulled up Wanda’s text from last night with Ann and Gary’s home address, 23 Bush Drive. Given what he knew of Ann and Gary, Glen couldn’t imagine them having anything better to do than be at home on a weekday morning.
As Glen turned onto Bush Drive, he could see the neighborhood was in need, like many pockets throughout Scarborough and Toronto, of gentrification. At one time it must have had a quaint cottage country-like feel, however now it was rundown clapboard shacks in their last years. These were the homes purchased for their land, to be torn down so a 4,500 square feet mini-mansion could be squeezed in.
Ann and Gary’s home was a border-line eyesore. A late model sun-bleached green Saturn, with a cracked windshield and rusting wheel wells sat, sunk down, on the overgrown front lawn. The roof had several raised shingles, and the small front porch sagged. Strewed next to the side door were empty barrels, tires, a cracked cooler, a television, a box spring, a couple of broken cheap plastic patio chairs, an Ikea type black bookcase, puffed up due to moisture, with its shelves missing, and a pair of wood cabinet stereo speakers.
Glen had visited this scene many times throughout his career. While most would judge, few will ask, how did this happen? Perhaps years ago unanticipated losses resulted in a grief that consumed the occupants. Maybe the homeowners faced challenges they never imagined they would confront, like a child with special needs. Much of life is far from amusing and hardly ever comes close to being a situation comedy. A house’s facade betrays its owners in so many ways.
As Glen walked up the gravel driveway the front door opened. A woman, wiping her hands with a dish towel, who could be anywhere from her mid-forties to well past sixty, stood in the doorway. To Glen, she looked to be dull and lumpy.
“Can I help you? Whatever you’re selling we’re not buying.”
“Not selling,” replied Glen. “You must be Ann. We briefly met a few years back at Wanda and Steve’s… at one of their barbeques. I’m their neighbor, Glen.”
“I remember you! You’re the private investigator. Gary!”, yelled Ann into the house, “It’s the Grymski’s neighbor, the private investigator.”
“Who? What does he want with us?” yelled back Gary as he made his way to the front door.
“Yes, I remember meeting you,” said Gary when he appeared next to his wife. “What is it we can do for you? Please come on in.”
“Thanks,” said Glen as he stepped through the doorway. “My visit shouldn’t take long.”
The odor of there being a cat immediately hit Glen. The morning sunlight beaming through the living room’s half-closed blinds created a creepy feeling; especially with the neatly stacked pizza boxes, magazines, shoe boxes and bundled junk mail flyers stacked up against the wall.
“Ann’s somewhat of a hoarder,” explained Gary. “I insist we at least keep it as organized as possible.”
“I’m not a hoarder,” said Ann defensively. “All of this will eventually be recycled. Glen, can I offer you anything? Coffee?”
“No thanks, I’m good. The reason I stopped by, I was hoping to speak with Eric. By any chance is he around?”
“He’s not in any trouble is he?” asked Gary. “Eric hasn’t lived with us for at least five years. Has his own place, an apartment above Shamrock Burgers. Please have a seat here on the couch.”
“That’s literally just a five minutes’ walk from here,” commented Glen as he sat down causing cat hair and dust to rise as if someone had dropped a sack of flour.
“Weird, I know,” said Ann as she sat down on the opposite end of the couch. “Eric always liked his privacy. In our old house, he would spend hours in his bedroom with the door closed, listening to music or whatever else kids at that age did behind closed doors.”
“Your old house… how long have you lived here?”
“Come January it’ll be four years. We owned a split-level around Lawson and Meadowvale,” explained Gary. “We wanted to take advantage of Toronto’s housing market, so we sold and moved here. We admit this place needs work. It has good bones; we just haven’t gotten around to deciding what to do first.”
“I understand Tyler lives with you.”
“Yes,” said Ann. “His bedroom is in the back. Tyler works nights. He just got home a few hours ago and is sleeping.”
“I was also hoping to speak with him. I can come back later this afternoon. Does Eric work? Would he be home now?”
“Are my boys in some sort of trouble?” asked Ann. “Why do you need to speak with them?”
“Are you aware that Wanda and Steve have been poisoned?”
“Poisoned!” exclaimed Gary. “When did this happen? Are they okay? You think Eric and Tyler poisoned the Grymski’s? That’s a heavy accusation to make, especially when sitting here in our home. Do you have any proof it was my boys?”
“They’ll be fine. Steve just need a couple of days in the hospital. I’m not accusing anyone. I’m just looking into what happened. It came to my attention that Wanda and Steve had bequeathed their house to Tyler…”
“Bequeathed?” said Ann.
“In their will, they left their house to Tyler.”
“We’re aware of this,” said Gary as he sat down on the loveseat, which didn’t match the couch, causing another rise of cat hair and dust. “Awfully nice of them to have done so. They’ve taken a liking to Tyler, which we appreciate. I don’t see what this has to do with the Grymski’s being poisoned. It probably was an accident, food poisoning happens all the time; especially if mayonnaise is involved.” Gary then looked at Ann. “Remember last summer when we got sick on those egg salad sandwiches you made. I told you they shouldn’t have been left on the counter as long as you have, mayonnaise does nasty things to you when left out too long.”
“You might be right Gary, though mayonnaise was not involved in this case. I promised Wanda and Steve I would look into what happened and in doing so, I need to cover all bases… do my due diligence.”
“Well, I don’t like what you’re implying. If you feel you need to talk to Eric, I can’t stop you. He works at the Home Depot on Eglinton and McCowan. When he came back from Fort McMurray he looked for weeks to find something that paid a decent salary, unfortunately, he ended up having to take a job at Home Depot in their paint department. However, he does have a chance to move up.”
“He’s earning an honest living, that’s all that counts,” said Ann.
“I agree with you, Ann. I find many parents put too much pressure on their children to achieve their definition of success.”
Glen could see his comment didn’t sit well with Gary. “I just want him to have it easier than I did, nothing wrong with that.”
“I want the same for my daughter too. To change topic, Teresa tells me you dropped in on her and Josh last Thursday.”
“You seem to know everything, was that wrong?” said Gary. “We happened to drive by, saw their car in their driveway and decided to stop and see how Teresa was doing. I’m sure you’re aware of the falling out between her and Wanda.”
“I’m aware. Mind if I ask where you were going?”
“Actually I do mind,” said Gary in a tense voice, “but if you must know we were going to see about a washer and dryer someone had advertised on Kijiji. It so happened they lived on Hill Crescent.”
“Did you buy the washer and dryer?”
“No,” said Ann. “They were asking five hundred for the pair. We were only willing to pay three hundred and fifty.”
Glen stood up and began walking towards the doorway.
“I’ve taken up enough of your time.”
“That you have,” said Gary sarcastically. “We’re sorry to hear Wanda and Steve were poisoned, but you are hunting down the wrong road if you think either Eric or Tyler would have anything to do with it. Like I said it was probably an accident.”
Glen stood in the doorway for a moment nodding in agreement.
“Anything is possible. Would you mind if I came back this afternoon to speak with Tyler?”To be continued.