A Will to Kill: Chapter Fifteen
Seeing a silver Lexus in the Grymski’s driveway made Glen smile. Looks like Teresa listened to me, thought Glen as he parked his car in his driveway.
Seeing Glen, Wanda, who was just walking onto her deck with a tray of glasses and a pitcher of what appeared to be sangria, yelled out, “Great timing Glen! Do you have a minute to talk?”
“Of course,” shouted Glen.
“Give me a minute, I’ll be right over.”
Glen watched as Wanda placed the tray on her patio table in front of Teresa. He heard her instruct Teresa to help herself and that she needed to speak to Glen for a few minutes.
“We’ve been lucky with the weather these days,” said Wanda as she walked up to Glen who was leaning against his car.
“A bit on the cool side for my liking, but it has been sunny. Isn’t this what is known as an Indian summer?”
“For Steve, this is what is known as perfect barbequing weather.”
“What weather isn’t for him?” said Glen with a slight chuckle.
“True. Glen, I want to thank you for all you’ve done for Steve and me. Teresa told me you suggested she call me… as you can see, she took your advice. We have a lot to talk about, air out things we’ve kept buried for much too long. We don’t have a perfect friendship, but we’ve been friends for much too long to throw it away. Teresa has a right to feel as she does, and I need to respect that.”
“Glad to have been of some service. When you and Steve are free, I’d like to sit down and go over what my investigation uncovered. You and Steve were lucky… very lucky.”
“I’d like that. Teresa explained how she never did send the fruits, which I take it was poisoned.”
“Yes, with phenobarbital, a drug used to treat epilepsy, which Steve, and Josh, would be familiar with since Praxis Pharma manufactures it. Did Teresa tell you that her phone is missing, which is why she never replied to your voicemails?”
Wanda stared at Glen as if reading his face to see if he was joking. She could see he wasn’t.
“Yes, she said she lost her phone. Why would anyone want to poison Steve and me?”
“Let’s set a time when the three of us can talk and I’ll explain everything.”
“Fair enough. In the meantime, I’d like it if you and Veronica joined Steve and me for dinner. Teresa is staying, and Josh will be dropping by soon. Steve’s gone to Metro to pick up a few shark steaks, which are perfect for grilling. I can text him to pick up a few more. Athena is welcomed to join us too.”
“I appreciate the offer. How about Veronica and I stop by for dessert, say around seven? You and Teresa should catch up, and I’m sure Athena’s making dinner. Instead of waiting a few days, I can fill you, Steve, Teresa and Josh in on what has transpired.”
“You mean like in those old mystery novels when the investigator calls everyone into the library to reveal who the killer is?”
“Something like that,” said Glen with a smile. “Lawrence Block uses the gathering to reveal the murder scene even in his latest mystery novels… the classics stand the test of time.”
“Okay, dessert it is, but you’ll be missing what will be mouth-watering shark steaks.”
“No doubt Veronica and I will be missing out. We’ll bring dessert, does seven work?”
“It does… see you, then.”
Glen waved to Teresa as he was heading towards the side door and told her he and Veronica will be over shortly with dessert and that he was looking forward to meeting Josh. Athena was setting the kitchen table when Glen walked in; a chicken was roasting in the oven.
“Hi, dad. Did you and Tyler have a good talk?”
“We did, quite enlightening actually, however due to client confidentiality I cannot say more.”
“Yes, really. I know it sounds weird, but Tyler deserves his privacy, just like any of my clients. I will say this, I’m very proud of you.”
“For what?” asked Athena as she walked over to the cutlery drawer.
“The way you treat Tyler… you show him friendship when most don’t.”
“Thanks. I like Tyler; most of the kids at school are too busy trying to act as if they are cool and therefore, cut a wide path around him.”
“That’s too bad, he’s interesting to talk to, but right now I need you to text your mother for me and ask her to bring home some dessert for 6 people. Your mother and I will be having dessert with the Grymski’s, would you care to join us?”
“Let’s see, spend an evening sitting around with people almost three times my age talking about back in the day, or doing my chemistry homework, or washing my hair, or reading the Bible, or…”
“Okay, I get your point. Text your mother, please.”
Glen got a Coors lite from the fridge and began walking into the living room. As he was retrieving his iPhone, he turned in the doorway to Athena.
“I meant what I said about being proud of you, I really am.”
“I know dad, thanks for saying so.”
Glen texted Don: You free tonight? Would like you to come over, for six, meet a few people, have some food and the beer I owe you.
Almost immediately, Don texted back: Sure, UR address?
As Glen was texting Don back, he shouted towards the kitchen, “Athena, set another place, we’re going to have company!”
Don showed up promptly at six. Veronica and Athena took a liking to him and his stories of his travels and nomadic lifestyle. At twenty-seven, Don was far from ready to put down any semblance of roots. His home life and childhood, which took place in Terence Bay, a town southwest of Halifax, was at the best of times precarious. A few weeks after his eighteenth birthday Don got into his van, a lime green 1987 GMC Vandura, which his uncle bought him as a graduation gift, and headed east. Over the years, Don modified the van so he could live in it, and has been pretty much doing so fulltime other than when the weather is too cold, and he will find a friend’s couch or a cheap motel to sleep for a few nights. Don has never been back to Terence Bay. He never understood why his uncle gave him the van.
“It seems symbolic,” surmised Athena.
“Symbolic?” said Don as he helped himself to more honey-glazed carrots. “What do you mean?”
“Maybe your uncle always wanted to leave Terence Bay, maybe even Nova Scotia, and just never did. You said yourself; you grew up in nothing more than a rural fishing village.”
“My dad and uncle had a fishing boat and barely made a living for themselves. My uncle never married and as my father was always angry… you’re probably right. I never gave it much thought; I just thanked my uncle and got out of Terence Bay as fast as I could. Since then, I’ve been all over the country; grabbing odd jobs when I need to, try to stay ahead of the cold weather as much as possible. For a few years, I had made my way to Vancouver or Victoria by late November, but these past few years the winters here in Toronto have been relatively mild, so I have taken my chances and stuck around.
“Have you never asked your uncle why he gave you the van?” asked Veronica.
“I should have, but never got around to it. He passed away some six years ago from lung cancer… I always remember him as a heavy smoker. I didn’t go to his funeral, which now I regret. My dad asked me to come back for the funeral… I said I would think about it. That was the last time I spoke to my father.”
“I don’t know anyone who isn’t riddled with regrets,” said Glen. “What about your mother, is she around?”
“Cliché story of leaving my father and me for a travelling salesman from Montreal… what he sold I couldn’t tell you. I was not much older than three when she left, so it was just my father and me.”
“I know it’s not my place say,” said Glen, “but I’m sure your father did the best he could under the circumstances.”
“That’s debatable,” replied Don in a deadpan manner.
Athena broke the awkward silence that followed Don’s comment.
“Dad, weren’t you mom and Don going over to the Grymski’s for dessert?”
“I said we’d be over at around seven… we have time?”
“Is this when I will find out what all this is about?” asked Don.
“Yes, and a few surprises will be revealed. Your assistance was invaluable and that’s why I want everyone to meet you.”
To be continued.