A Will to Kill: Chapter Thirteen
Eric was really whom Glen wanted to speak with. He now had a basic understanding of what had transpired, now he needed to put the pieces together to understand the logistics.
Glen parked in the Home Depot’s parking lot. Before getting out of his car, he texted Athena asking her if she had seen Tyler in school today, or if not find out if he was.
As he walked towards the paint department Glen glanced at his watch noting it was just after noon. Hopefully, Eric takes a traditional midday lunch, thought Glen as he turned into the paint aisle. As luck would have it, Eric was talking to an elderly couple. From what he could overhear he was explaining the benefits of priming their walls before applying their paint.
“Primer is an undercoat you paint onto the wall before painting it. It’ll seal the surface, so the paint doesn’t soak into the wall. Since the drywall in your basement has never been painted before, you’ll need to prime it first.”
Glen stood back a distance watching the couple agreed with Eric’s explanation and then taking the can of primer from him and placing it in their shopping cart along with their paint. As the couple began pushing their cart away, Glen walked up to Eric.
“You’ve been doing this for a while? You seem to know the ins and outs of painting,” said Glen.
“The training here is quite good,” replied Eric. “Anything I can help you with?”
“With paint, no… however, I just came from speaking to your parents, and I need to talk to you. I’d rather do it somewhere private, maybe outside at one of the picnic tables. You’ve taken your lunch break yet?”
“Who are you and why were you visiting my parents and why do you need to speak with me?”
Glen handed Eric one of his business cards. “Like I said, I’d rather talk to you somewhere more private than here.”
Eric starred at Glen’s business card for several moments.
“You were speaking with my parents?”
“About a half hour ago. I need you to help me understand.”
“You’re not going to try and play dumb now, are you? I’m just looking for answers, now you either tell me what I’d like to know, or I go to the police with my suspicions and the construction site’s security camera video footage… your choice. Wanda and Steve just got sick. If what I’m thinking is even remotely right you are lucky… very lucky.”
“Look, when you’re desperate…”
“What part of we need to talk in private don’t you understand? Take your lunch break now.”
“Okay,” whispered Eric.
As Eric led the way towards the picnic tables outside the front of the store, Glen stopped at a vending machine and purchased a can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale and a can of Sprite.
“Which one?” asked Glen as he sat down at one of the well-used picnic tables opposite Eric.
“I’ll take the ginger ale.”
Glen handed over the can.
“You started to say something about being desperate.”
Eric opened his can of ginger ale and took a few sips as he pondered what to say.
“They going to be alright?”
“Wanda didn’t get very sick. Steve needed a few nights in the hospital. He’s home now. He’ll be fine.”
“Thank God! Not to sound callous, but what do you want me to say? It was a dumb thing to do, but they are my parents.”
“Who’s idea was it?”
“Some six or seven weeks ago I was having Sunday dinner at my parents when Tyler told them Wanda and Steve was leaving him their house. As to be expected they were happy… more than happy actually. Then my dad says Wanda and Steve could live for another 25 or 30 years, maybe even more and how it be nice if Tyler could get their house now. A couple of days later my dad calls me to invite me for coffee with him and my mother. It was then he laid out the plan for Tyler to inherit the house as soon as possible.”
“Let’s not try to sidestep what you were trying to do. The plan was to kill Wanda and Steve so Tyler would inherit their house. Do I have the right picture?”
Eric gazed out into the parking lot while taking a few more sips of his drink. After giving the nod to a passing colleague, he turned his attention back to Glen.
“Yeah, you have the right picture, but you don’t understand.”
“Educate me,” snapped Glen as he opened his can of Sprite. “I take it them losing the booth at the Pickering flea market is what made them desperate.”
Eric let out a dry chuckle. “How I wish it were just one event. I have never known my parents to even be close to financially prudent. It’s like they are repelled by money. Both of them have this need to spend money as soon as they get it like they have to get rid of it before it can harm them.”
“So when they lost the booth that was just another financial downturn for them?”
“They were barely getting by with what they were making trying to sell artisan bread in a flea market of all places. You know who shops at flea markets… bargain hunters, not people looking to spend six dollars on a loaf of pain brioche. This went on for something like fifteen years. The only reason they lasted that long was they kept dodging suppliers. They’d pay the first few orders, then ask for credit and then string along the supplier for as long as they could with small payments here and there. Eventually, the supplier would drop them. My parents would find another supplier and start the process over. It came to a point where they burned so many suppliers throughout Toronto and a good portion of eastern Ontario that nobody would touch them unless they paid upon placing their order, which was never part of their business model and thus they went bankrupt. They actually walked away from the booth, no notice or anything, owing 4 months’ rent.”
“I know, but like I said they are my parents and I do love them. So when my dad asked me to execute his plan so Tyler would get Wanda and Steve’s house now, I went along with it.”
“You went along with murder?”
“Does seem extreme, but as I said when you’re desperate you will do almost anything, even kill someone. Even though Tyler gives his paycheques to my parents, they are on the verge of losing their house. When my dad spoke to me over coffee, he said he and my mother are behind 2 mortgage payments. A few years back my parents remortgaged their house so they could buy a car. They took the money, bought a 1993 Corolla and used the rest of the money on a 2 week trip to Mexico and a waterbed… a waterbed of all things! Then they started missing mortgage payments and lost the house to the bank.”
“I presume this was the house on Lawson and Meadowvale.”
“So you know what happened. I bought them the house on Bush Drive and started making the mortgage payments. I threw down a huge chunk of money from my Fort McMurray savings and made their mortgage payments for almost 2 years. One day I had enough of being bled financially so I told them to start making the mortgage payments and I got myself an apartment over Shamrock Burgers. Their house is in my name, so if the bank forecloses on it, I am out all my savings and more. I thought my dad’s plan was foolproof. My parents were going to talk Tyler into giving them the money from the sales of Wanda and Steve’s house, and I would get a big share of that to pay me back for all the money I spent helping them over the past 3 years.”
“You thought your plan was foolproof? It’s common knowledge, or at least I hope it is, there’s no such thing as a perfect crime. Signing the card on the gift basket with Teresa and Josh’s name was an amateur mistake. You, nor your parents, can claim to be professional criminals. Who would sign their names to a gift basket of fruits they poisoned?”
“My parents had witnessed an argument, which apparently was huge, between Wanda and her friend Teresa over Tyler getting their house and that gave my dad the idea of making it look like Teresa and her husband sent the fruits, to make it seem as if Teresa was offering an olive branch to Wanda.”
“Wanda has tried to call Teresa a few times to thank her for the gift basket, where’s her cell phone?”
“I presume my parents have it. My dad said he and my mother would stop by Teresa and Josh’s to steal Adrian’s medicine and Teresa’s phone.”
“They knew where these were kept?” asked Glen skeptically.
Just as Eric was about to answer Glen’s iPhone pinged. It was a text from Athena. Tyler was in school.
“Give me a minute,” said Glen as he started texting back. “It’s a text from my daughter about your brother, whom I also would like to speak with.”