A Will to Kill: Chapter Two
It’s not as if I gave them a specific time when I would drop by, thought Glen as he walked up the Grymski’s front steps to their front door.
A private investigator’s biggest asset is their gut instinct. Glen’s gut told him something was not right at the Grymski’s.
Steve not barbequing on an evening like this, something’s off. Inviting Wanda and Steve over for Thanksgiving dinner is a good non-intrusive way to find out what’s up, if anything.
Wanda answered Glen’s knocking. Her face looked gaunt and ashen.
“Oh, hi Glen,” said Wanda weakly.
“Steve and I must have caught a bug somewhere. Please come in, Steve’s lying on the couch.”
“I’ll only be a minute. I came over to invite you and Steve toThanksgiving dinner next Monday, say around five? My brother is coming in from Kingston, as well, Veronica’s parents will be coming. Be nice if you guys could join us.”
Before Wanda could answer Steve yelled out, “Wanda, is that Glen?” He also sounded weak.
“It’s me,” answered Glen from the doorway. “Wanda says you guys may have caught a bug of some sorts?”
“Yeah, feels like the stomach flu. Come on in.”
“I was wondering why you weren’t out barbequing on a gorgeous evening like this,” said Glen as he stepped into the Grymski’s entrance and sees Steve lying on the couch in the living room covered in blankets. He also looks ashen and is sweating.
“One of us must have picked up something at work,” said Wanda as she went over to Steve and picked up the damp facecloth lying on the coffee table. “Both of us were fine last night when we went to bed. Do you mind getting the bottle of water and Aspirin on the kitchen counter?”
The Grymski’s kitchen could be described as being nondescript and dated. Basically a white kitchen with patches of color thrown in mostly from the orange tile backsplash, a red toaster and an Andy Warhol lithograph Campbell’s Soup “Cream of Mushroom” hanging on the wall. Glen spotted the bottle of water and Aspirin on the counter. It was when he turned around to return back to the living room that he noticed an open basket of fruit on the kitchen table. A card, lying next to the basket, read: We are extremely sorry for our behavior and the words we said. We have let the silence between us go on for much too long. Can we get together sometime soon? We miss you. Sincerely, Teresa & Josh
“The gift basket….” Glen started to ask as he handed Wanda the aspirin and water.
“It’s from Teresa and Josh, you’ve met them a few times at our annual Victoria Day Weekend barbeque.”
“The delivery guy literally woke us up it came so early,” interjected Steve.
“Yes, I remember them. Josh is pharmaceutical sale rep and Teresa works at Fabric land.”
“Good memory,” commented Wanda. “Teresa works at the Fabricland on Eglinton… has for quite a few years now.”
“Veronica mentioned you had some sort of disagreement with them at this year’s barbeque.”
“Right, you weren’t able to make it,” said Steve.
“I was in Sarnia following up on a few leads on a missing person case. Veronica and Athena said they had a good time as always, apparently your coleslaw was especially tangy this year. Mind my asking what the disagreement was about?”
“I mentioned we finally gotten around to getting our wills done. Teresa then asked me who we were leaving our house to. I told her since we didn’t have any children we decided to leave our house to Gary and Ann’s son Tyler.
“Gary and Ann?”
“You briefly met Gary. Steve introduced you to him last summer, back when he and Ann were over. Ann and I were sitting on the porch, Steve and Gary were just walking back from Azumi with dinner, and you were walking to your car.”
“Somewhat tall, with dirty blond hair, right?”
“That`s Gary,” said Steve.
“Not to pry, but why would you be talking about your will; especially at your barbeque with so many people around?”
“Well,” answered Wanda “As I said, Teresa asked if Steve and I had finally gotten around to having our wills done.”
“She just outright asked?”
“Earlier this year, during a girls night out, the topic of wills came up.”
“Fun topic” commented Glen.
“Remember that multiple car crash back in March, the one on the 401 at Brock Road, right in from of the Pickering Town Centre?”
“Can’t say I do.”
“Well someone in our group knew the couple that died in that crash, knew them quite well actually. Turns out they didn’t have a will and thus we started talking about the importance of having a will… I mentioned Steve and I didn’t have one.”
“We just keep putting it off,” said Steve.
“So basically Teresa asked if you had gotten around to making a will and when you said yes she then asked you who was getting the house. When you told her it would be Tyler she didn’t like your decision.”
“That be an understatement. Teresa was furious! She kept going on about how her and Josh have known Steve and I longer and how their son Adrian had over the years helped around our house with painting, mowing our lawn, shoveling our driveway… she even mentioned Adrian planting our juniper hedge out back.”
“We paid him,” said Steve. “We always paid him when he helped around.”
“Teresa had had a few wine coolers and said quite a few hurtful things to Steve and I before Josh said they should leave. She caused quite a scene. They left and that was the last we heard from them until the gift basket today.”
“No phone call, an email… just the gift basket?”
“Knowing Josh,” said Steve, “he’d be too embarrassed to apologize directly.”
“Teresa… would sending a fruit gift basket be a likely way for her to apologize?” asked Glen.
“I’ve known Teresa for over thirty years, long before she met Josh and I had met Steve. We met when I did my last year of high school at Stephen Leacock. I can’t say I’ve ever seen her as mad as she was that day. We’ve had a few minor falling outs over the years, what friends don’t, but after a few days one of us would reach out to the other and that be the end of it. Possible it was Josh’s idea to send a gift basket.”
“But this time neither of you reached out.”
“The things Teresa said… she was deliberately hurtful… alcohol or not she was out of line, way out of line, and she did it in front of all our friends and neighbors! There’s was no way I was going to reach out to her first.”
“Looks as if the gift basket is Teresa and Josh’s way of extending an olive branch to you guys,” said Glen matter of fact like.
“She’s right, the silence between us has gone on too long. I called her this morning and got her voicemail. Left her a message, so far she hasn’t called back.”
So not to keep looking down at Steve Glen walked over to the brown leather wingback chair in the corner of the living room and sat down.
“Steve, you said the gift basket was delivered early this morning?” asked Glen.
“Yeah, just right after eight. The doorbell woke us up. The delivery guy said he had lots of deliveries today and was sorry to have woken us. The delivery instructions were to deliver the gift basket as early as possible.”
“I take it you ate some of the fruit.”
“I had five or six grapes” answered Wanda, “Steve ate two apples and several chocolate covered strawberries.”
Steve started to try to sit up, however in doing so started to feel dizzy.
“Just rest,” advised Wanda. Turning to Glen, “You’re thinking we have food poisoning. If that’s the case then it was the chicken breasts we had last night. I had left them out all day to thaw, which is a no no. This’ll pass.”
“I think one of us caught something at work,” said Steve. “Lots of my co-workers coughing up a storm these past few weeks.”
“Could be food poisoning, could be the stomach flu. I suggest you guys go to the hospital and have yourselves checked out.”
Wanda nodded and looked at Steve whose tee shirt was damp.
“Glen’s right, better to play it safe.”
“Agree”, said Steve as he again tried to lift himself up from the couch, this time succeeding to stand up.
Glen glanced at his watch. Noticing it was almost seven o’clock he got up.
“Thank you for the invitation,” said Wanda. “Steve since we don’t have any plans what do you say we go over for Thanksgiving?”
“That be great. We have a nice merlot we can bring.”
“Great! We’ll be sitting down for dinner around six so come around five. Hope you both feel better. If you need anything don’t hesitate to reach out to Veronica or me.”
to be continued