Stain of the Berry – Chapter One

I awoke startled, my heart playing a spicy salsa within the cavity of my chest. Perspiration stuck to me like shrink wrap, yet the room was cool as a tomb. I was unaccountably frightened, disoriented, not fully conscious really, struggling to identify the source of my discomfort. Was it a dream? A nightmare? Someone was chasing me. A hand was reaching out for me, almost touching me. But no, it wasn’t me the hand was reaching for, it was someone else, someone I knew, and I was watching from afar, helpless to save my friend. Then the image was gone, replaced by a jarring clamour assaulting my fuzzy brain. My left arm shot out for the phone on the bedside table, knocking it to the floor. Thankfully the action brought to an end the unsettling din, but then came something much worse. A deliberate, dark voice invaded my addled brain: The boogeyman is gonna get you. My eyes flew open, searching the empty space before me for whomever it was who was haunting my room. I heard it again; a voice, disembodied. I rolled onto my side to the edge of the bed and reached down, fumbling for the phone’s receiver. I pulled the handset to my ear.

“What? What? What!” I called into the phone, loud enough to wake the two schnauzers at the foot of my bed, both completely hidden beneath the bedcovers I’d wrestled off myself sometime during the night.

“What?” a voice repeated back, sounding not at all like the Grim Reaper in my head but rather more like a frightened woman.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” I answered back, for some reason relying on repetition to propel me further into this unexpected conversation. “I was sleeping.” Bet she was surprised. Through slitted eyes I saw that the clock on my bedside table read 2:37 a.m. “Did you say something about a boogeyman?” I asked.

“Oh God, I’m sorry…you’re gonna think I’m crazy.” Her voice sat in the lower registers, but was no doubt feminine. Then, more to herself, “Maybe I am crazy.”

Well, I don’t know who you are, but yup, I pretty much don’t think too highly of you so far. “I think you have the wrong number,” I growled, instinctively pulling at the bed sheet to cover myself. Barbra and Brutus, my mutts, growled their own displeasure at the rude awakening. “Oh be quiet,” I said to them.

“What?” this from the woman.

“Not you.” Well maybe. “Wrong number,” I told her again and was about to hang up when I heard her call my name. Huh? “Excuse me? Do I know you? Who is this?”

“Russell Quant?” she repeated, haltingly.

I debated a lie. “Yuh-huh,” I answered, my tongue still thick and eraser-like with sleep.

“He…he’s coming to get me…I don’t know why…but I can’t…take it anymore!”

A ripple of shivers surged over me and I sat up in bed, focusing on the caller’s voice which was trembling like an aspen leaf in a breeze. She was definitely scared, not hysterical, but close. My shift in position caused Brutus to hop off the bed in search of a quieter resting place on the floor. His sister Barbra sighed greatly but stayed where she was. “Are you okay, miss? What’s you’re name?”

“He won’t leave me alone. He wants to hurt me.”

I was still confused but not because this strange woman had roused me from a sound sleep. “Listen, is something happening right now? Are you in danger?” My voice sounded anxious. I had to do something about that; it wouldn’t do my caller any good if I sounded more scared than she was.

She said nothing for a moment, but I could hear a sort of whimpering as she considered the answer to my question.

“Should I call the police? Tell me exactly what’s happening.”  I felt like a 911 operator. “Is there someone there with you right now?”

And then…dial tone.

 

It was turning out to be one of those mythical Saskatchewan summers. The days long and hot and dry, often punctuated by nameless winds born of the same capricious air streams that give rise to the gentle Mediterranean zephyr, the dust-laden Saharan sirocco, the insistent French mistral, the dry Egyptian khamsin, the Rocky Mountain chinook and the indefatigable African harmattan.

Our summer nights come late on a rising moon of many colours. And when it’s hot enough and conditions are exactly right, careless skies unleash a fury so powerful it’s as if the whole world is under the unpredictable control of Seth, the ancient Egyptian god of storms. These are wild, crazy storms that blow like hurricanes across the prairies, fracture the sky with kilometre-long, jagged fingers of lightening, and deposit enough water to float an ark. After minutes or hours—one can never be sure which—the storm passes, leaving behind rainbows so perfect they might have been drawn upon the sky by a child’s hand, fields of diamonds born of droplets of water, and the sweet, sweet aromas of everything that is fresh and new.

Yet as much as prairie folk pray for rain to bolster the crops (whether you’re a farmer or not does not really matter), they also need the heat and dry to turn thin green stalks into fat golden ones. So thankfully, in between these glorious bursts of wet, most of our Saskatchewan summer days are bone dry. And as dry as the weather was, so too was my business. My name is Russell Quant. A few years back I decided to leave my stable, scheduled, regular-cheque-every-month job as a police constable for the Canadian prairie city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and hang my shingle as a private detective. Saskatoon’s population is somewhere over the 200,000 mark and growing, with a large network of towns, villages and farming communities surrounding it. So, there’s stuff for a detective to do, just not always. And not always interesting.

My cases have stretched the gamut from The Case of the Stolen Perogy Recipe to murder—with emphasis on the perogy side of the scale. And lately, business had been bad. My resume of recent cases was looking pretty sparse and my bank account even more so. I had reached a point where I’d begun to think I’d never work again and would have to sell the family jewels—which consist of a green-tinged, silver ID bracelet from my first high school boyfriend (well, I pretended he was my boyfriend) and a pair of cufflinks (one broken) that had belonged to my late father but which he’d never used.

You see, every year, sometime in June, the population of Saskatchewan slips into a comatose-like state of inactivity that lasts for the duration of our short but sultry summer months. People go to lakes, they golf, they camp, they have celebratory barbecues for no apparent reason, they eat copious amounts of tiger-tiger and grape-flavoured ice-cream, they attend a plethora of summertime festivals and they go for long walks. They do just about anything but work. And apparently, troublemakers—the people who keep me in business—have the same routine. But come September, with the first whiff of cooler evening air, the populace grudgingly slough off their sloppy sandals and loose-fitting shorts and slip on their most rigorous dress shoes and slick business suits, at the ready for action. Kids are back in school, university hallways are packed, committees are formed, boards return from hiatus, decisions are made, hobbies are reborn, business is done and, thankfully, evil-doers get back to doing evil. I could hardly wait. But until then, I was relegated to long mornings at home before schlepping to work to stare at the phone, rearrange files and hope for something interesting in the mail, like a flyer for two-for-one geranium plants at my favourite greenhouse.

My office is on Spadina Crescent, just out of downtown, in an old character house that used to be called the Professional Womyn’s Centre. Several years ago a young lawyer, Errall Strane, purchased the property, did some remodelling and in deference to a piece of history, renamed it the PWC Building. After renovations, PWC was left with four office spaces. Errall runs her one-lawyer practice out of the largest suite on the main floor, the balance of which is rented to Beverly Chaney, a psychiatrist. Two smaller offices on the second floor belong to Alberta Lougheed, a psychic, and me. Mine is the smallest, but the only one with a balcony and a view that more than makes up for its size. From the small deck I can gaze across Spadina Crescent into beautiful Riverside Park and beyond to the South Saskatchewan River.

Because of the disturbing phone call which had kept me tossing and turning the rest of the night, it was close to 11 a.m., later than usual (really) when I pulled into the gravel lot behind PWC. I hustled up the metal staircase that hugs the rear of the building and takes me directly to the second floor. I think at one time it was meant to be a fire escape, but now the ancient railings are so unstable I’m the only one who dares to use it. Stepping indoors, I heard the unexpected; it was the sound of…what was that noise? It sounded distantly familiar. It was activity—maybe even bustle? I peered over the banister of the stairs that lead down to the main floor. The PWC reception area is dominated by a massive circular desk which divides the space into two: a waiting area for Errall’s clients to the right and one to the left for all the rest of our clients. The spot of honour behind the desk is home to our ever-cheerful group receptionist, Lilly. As I looked down, all appeared as usual, except for the fact that there were a number of people milling about, sitting in chairs, drinking coffee, chatting with Lilly. Who were these people? They appeared to be…clients. Some were for Errall (these were easily distinguishable by their serious manners and clothes to match). The others were for Beverly and…could it be…some for Alberta too? I glanced at Alberta’s office door and saw a never-before-seen, hand-written sign that said in quite serious-looking print: Spirits At Work—Do Not Disturb!!! That Means You!

Holy cow. Even Alberta was busier than I was. Could it be that it was just me suffering from summer doldrums? I looked down at my business attire, which over the past few weeks of heat wave and inactivity had slowly but surely deteriorated to consist solely of wrinkled cotton, khaki shorts, one of my collection of diva concert Ts (Cher, Shania, Whitney) and a pair of flip-flops that had seen better days. I backed away from the banister as if beyond it was the Twilight Zone and scooted into my office shutting the door soundly behind me.

Shit. This didn’t feel good. Everyone else was busy. What was wrong with me? My last paying client had been Bohdan Mazurchewich who paid me less than four hundred bucks two weeks ago to find out what his wife did while he was out of town on business. Turns out she ordered-in, rented Meg Ryan movies, drank daiquiris and banana milkshakes, hung with girlfriends, laughed a lot and in general enjoyed life. Something she apparently didn’t do while Mr. Mazurchewich was at home. This was definitely information he needed to know. I should have charged him more.

I selected a Diet Pepsi out of the mini bar fridge that holds up one end of my desk and took a seat behind it, pulling my Daytimer front and centre to study its contents. What was on my schedule? Lunch today with Anthony. Next week was Darrell and Nick’s seventh anniversary—I had to remember to send a card—and Brutus was due for a dental exam at the end of August. Today was July fifteenth. I sipped my drink and stared at the phone.

 

Fringe Festivals, with their culturally diverse, mind challenging—and sometimes boggling—array of live theatre and off-the-wall entertainment, occur annually in cities across the continent, and Saskatoon’s version is reputably one of the best, maybe not for its size, but certainly for its heart and energy. Everything takes place in a handful of venues and blocks in the historically rich Broadway/Nutana area of the city, and it was along these busker-lined, poster-plastered, sun-drenched streets that I meandered until it was time to meet Anthony for a late lunch.

Owner of several high-end menswear stores carrying his surname (with a small “g”) gatt, Anthony is a man of indeterminate age (far beyond his forties and maybe even his fifties?), immeasurable means (lots of dough), and unquestionable breeding (speaks with a smooth English-accented flourish), all topped off with a dashing Robert Redford/Great Gatsby handsomeness. He and his partner, Jared Lowe, are vanguards of the Saskatoon society set. Anthony is wise in the ways of the world, gay and straight, and is determined to make me so as well, taking his role as my friend/instructor/occasional pain-in-the-ass very seriously. If I didn’t love him so much, I’d hate him.

“You cannot be serious,” Anthony said a little too loudly as he strode towards me wearing exquisitely tailored pants just this side of white, a shirt of orange and pink that defied the odds by looking just right on him, and a pair of white leather shoes that were making a comeback that week.

I looked at him questioningly, pretending I didn’t know what he was talking about when of course I did. Anthony can be a bit of a snob and as much as he tries to mentor me in how to properly hold a wineglass by its stem and keep my elbows moisturized, I also had a role to play in his life in teaching him how to loosen up and get a little down and dirty.

“You really don’t expect me to eat meat off a stick that’s been marinating in sun and flies since six a.m., do you?” He’d obviously caught sight of some of the wares being offered by food vendors who were lining the streets selling everything from corn on the cob to sushi to deep-fried Mars bars. “And without a seat or glass of wine to choke it all down with? Barbarous!”

I nudged him forward with my right arm, me in my messy flip-flops and him clip-clopping in his fancy shoes next to me. “Anthony, you haven’t even given it a try. This is what you do at the Fringe.”

“No, this is what you do if you live in a third world country and have vultures eating carrion in your backyard. Seeing as that fate has yet to befall us, I have a better idea.”

“You said I could pick the restaurant.”

He shot me a disgusted look above the rim of his Maui Jims. “That is correct. And, even without consulting my Oxford, I can tell you that the definition of restaurant includes tables and chairs, handsome servers, menus listing outrageous prices and suggestions for jaunty aperitifs, and…”

“Okay, okay, I give up.” I knew my friend well enough to have mentally given up five minutes before.

“Suspecting your treachery, I took the liberty of calling ahead…” he told me as he ably maneuvered me by the elbow across the street toward one of his favourite local dining establishments.

In the bustling game of restaurant roulette, Calories is one of Saskatoon’s better established players. And in a city—apparently one of many—that purports to have more restaurants per capita than any other in North America, its chances of continued survival and thriving success are surprisingly good. For whereas the city is rife with Asian, Greek and Italian (i.e. pizza) establishments, Calories is one of only a handful of Saskatoon restaurants that offers a truly gourmet dining experience and one of considerably less than half a handful that are listed as “French” in the Saskatoon phonebook. From a menu pasted behind a window near the front entrance, I could see that today’s offerings included an vegetarian special of herb ragout in a Tallegio cream sauce; sautéed frog legs and asparagus tips persillade with a tapenade drizzle and raw arugula; along with a towering blah-blah-blah of blah-blah-blah infused with blah-blah-blah that sounded absolutely irresistible. Not a pepperoni, avgolemeno soup or bowl of special fried rice in sight.

Anthony yammered on. “…And I was able to secure one of the outdoor tables so we both can have our way. You can still be out in nature amongst the odour of beef jerky and unchanged infants while I get to keep my nose over a glass of chilled rosé. How’s that?” We pulled up to a scant collection of blue, bistro-style, metal tables pressed tightly against the restaurant’s façade and roped off from the maddening crowd by a row of black metal poles with chain strung between them. Indeed one of the tables had a Reserved sign on it. A pretty girl with a sweating pitcher of cold water swooped down and removed it as soon as she caught sight of Anthony.

We sat down; Anthony discussed the menu with our cute, shaved-headed server, consulted me and then ordered.

“So tell me what’s been going on,” Anthony asked with knowing eyes and concern in his voice. “You strike me a bit melancholy.”

“Nah, I just really wanted some of that meat on a stick,” I answered back in full smart-ass mode.

“It’s Sereena.”

I looked away, making a show of being busy drinking my water and watching a fire-eater perform on the meridian. Sereena is my neighbour—that is she was my neighbour until she disappeared last year…or rather, never came back from a Mediterranean cruise. Her house went up for sale (still was) and I never heard from her again. I don’t know why I was so surprised. Sereena Orion Smith has always been an enigma to me and to most people. When people ask me about her, I tell them to listen to that song from the early eighties, “I’ve Never Been To Me” by Charlene. Like the gal in that song, I have no doubt that indeed Sereena has been “undressed by kings…and seen some things that a woman ain’t s’posed to see.” That is the easy answer, the answer I give because really, despite all the time we’ve spent together, she remains illusive, shrouded in mystery, parts of her forever unknowable to me. Yet, I do know her; I feel an undeniable and intimate connection with her. The question for me isn’t “Who is Sereena Orion Smith?” but rather “Who was Sereena Orion Smith?”. There is something guarded about her, as if protecting a past she never wants fully revealed. Still, there were times she’d tossed about names of places she’d been and people she’d known, adventures she’d had, not to gloat or boast, but in loving memory of a life lived well (and perhaps a bit raunchily). Yet somehow, the reality of what she was before she came into our lives remains illusory, like some fantasy story that is never told the same way twice.

“Actually,” I said off-handedly, “I’ve pretty much given up on her.”

It was a bit of a lie. Or maybe not, I wasn’t sure yet. I’d spent considerable time and energy attempting to track down my ex-neighbour over the past few months. And money. Truth be told, my investigation into her disappearance was a big reason why my bank account was about to file for social assistance. As a detective—and Sereena’s friend—I felt a responsibility to find her and guilt when I continually failed to uncover even a sliver of a hint as to where she’d gone. In indomitable Sereena fashion, she’d pulled off the perfect disappearing act. All I or anyone else had to go on were bits and scraps that added up to…bubkes.

“I don’t believe you,” Anthony stated. “But I know you’re discouraged. We all are. And we miss her. And we’re worried about her.”

I nodded and was glad to see our wine arrive.

“But that’s not all, is it?”

Ah geez, here it comes.

“Someone is turning thirty-five in about ten days,” Anthony said after he’d tasted and approved of the wine. “And not embracing the idea I take it?”

“Y’know,” I said, leaning in towards Anthony, suddenly wanting to talk about this. “I wouldn’t mind the age thing so much if there weren’t so many reminders. I was paying for gas the other day and this young dude behind the counter complimented my wallet and asked where I got it. I thought, hey, a hip young guy thinks I have a hip young wallet. I told him it came from Birks. And do you know what he said to me?”

Anthony winced in anticipation.

“He said, ‘great, that’ll make a perfect gift for my dad’s birthday’! His dad! Anthony, I have a dad’s wallet!”

“Nonsense. I’ve seen your wallet and it is a stylish, sophisticated accoutrement. And it should be,” he sniffed. “I gave it to you.”

I kept on with my barrage of woes. “Sometimes the best I can do on the treadmill at the gym is a fast walk instead of a run, I found a white chest hair, and…aw shit, Anthony… the other night…my wonderpants felt tight around the waist.”

My wonderpants. Everyone has a pair. They’re black, never wrinkle, I’ve owned them forever yet they’re always in style, and, most importantly, I’ve been told they make my ass look great. The whole point of wonderpants is that they always look good and always fit—even if you did eat a bag of Doritos the night before. But now, I had to face the very real and undesirable possibility that my ass had outgrown their otherworldly powers.

Anthony sipped his wine contemplatively then said, “It’s much too soon for a mid-life crisis, puppy. You’re a six-foot-one, fresh-faced, sandy-haired Adonis for goodness sake, so don’t rush out for a barb-wire tat around your bicep or an age-inappropriate wardrobe from Abercrombie and Fitch. This isn’t about aching traps or greying hair.”

I gulped at my wine, hopeful for good news. “It isn’t?”

“You just need a really good date.”

Crap. Wrong answer. “I date.”

“I’m not talking about random crushes followed by randy sex, I’m talking about meeting a man who gets your heart and head and blood racing.”

“But—”

He shushed me. “Just wait, Russell, I’m not done. I’m not talking about marriage. I’m not talking about a move-in-set-up-house-get-a-crystal-pattern relationship. I respect your judgment on when and if that’s right for you. I’m talking about at least opening yourself up to meeting some guys who might…shall we say, befuddle you enough to at least momentarily sway your judgment…regardless of the final outcome.”

With sun reflecting off his shiny pate, the server delivered our food with quiet efficiency. For once I was hoping for a chatty waiter. I looked down at our plates. Somehow Anthony had ended up with a beautifully arranged but inconsequential salad of frilly greens whereas I sat before a pile of meat smothered in sauce. No wonder my pants were beginning to revolt.

“I don’t understand a word of what you just said,” I told my friend.

“No,” Anthony said with a wicked smile. “I wouldn’t imagine that you would. Therefore I’ve taken the liberty of arranging a birthday present for you that will explain everything.”

“Oh?” Suspicion.

“His name is Doug Poitras.”

Jiminy Cricket crack house cracker! And other curse-filled cusses raced through my head but not quite out of my mouth. “You got me a man?” I asked in astonishment. “You got me a real, live, breathing man for my birthday?”

Anthony gave me a look drier than crust. “He can be returned, Russell.”

“How about we cancel the order altogether?” I suggested with little humour left in my voice. I did not want this. “I’ll make the call. Where did you get him? The Hudson Gay Company? Boyfriends-R-Us?”

He ignored that. “Even Errall is getting back in the game. She’s bringing the new woman in her life to your surprise birthday party.”

Whoa. Too much new information at once. How did I—a detective, no less—not know about any of this? “Errall is dating? I’m having a surprise birthday party?”

“I know little else about Errall’s guest so don’t ask. And I tell you about the party only because no one should be surprised by a social gathering in their honour. Ever. Especially you. The chances of you showing up in…well, in something as disastrous as your current costume, are much too high to risk. I’ll send something over from the store of course.”

I slumped into my plate of meat. “Now I really am melancholy.”

“Ah, it never rains but it pours,” he responded, nibbling on his delightful wee salad.

“Spouting overused clichés, Anthony? So unlike you.” I had more wine. I usually don’t go for Rosés—a Chateau de Sours Bordeaux from France—but this one wasn’t bad and I needed the thirteen percent sustenance.

Anthony delivered his next line with an awry smile. “In addition to Mr. Poitras, you seem to have another admirer.” He nodded to somewhere over my shoulder.

I surveyed the street crowd but saw no such admirer. I gave Anthony an inquiring look.

“Over there,” he said. “She’s loitering near the Bulk Cheese Warehouse. Rather menacing looking really, a fetching Grace Jones meets the Terminator type. Staring daggers into you.”

How could I miss that? I moved my gaze to the two-storey, grey brick building across the street and just caught the tail feathers of a tall, black woman with wide shoulders and a storm trooper gait before she disappeared around a corner.

She must be one of the street performers I thought to myself. The Fringe brings out all kinds of characters into the streets. But something in the back of my mind warned me that I was horribly wrong.

 

The officious rapping on my front door came at the crack of dawn—not quite 9 a.m.—Thursday morning. I was just out of bed and barely dressed (a pair of loose, threadbare, grey cotton, U of S sweat pants) and a bit grumpy (no coffee yet).

My house is on a large lot at the dead end of a quiet, little-travelled street, a grove of towering aspen and thick spruce neatly hide it from view of the casual passerby. Inside, the house is a unique mix of open, airy rooms and tiny, cozy spaces, each that appeal to me depending upon my mood. A six-foot-high fence encircles the backyard and at the rear of the lot, accessible by way of a back alley, is a two-car garage with a handy second storey I use for storage. My home is my castle, a place where I re-energize and take refuge from the world and expect to have my morning coffee in peace. So enough with the knocking!

I pulled open the front door ready to berate the devil in a blue dress behind it. Darren Kirsch may not exactly be the devil, and as a Criminal Investigations Division detective he doesn’t wear a blue uniform anymore, but close enough.

“Ever hear of calling before making an early morning raid?” I greeted him with a scowl. “Do you have the phone number for the police complaints department? You must know it off by heart. I’m sure you must give it out often enough.” Low blow I know, but no coffee is no coffee.

Darren Kirsch is the archetype City of Saskatoon policeman—six feet plus with a top heavy, muscular body; short, dark hair; neat, dark moustache; deep-set, stern eyes and a snarly nose, but that particular combination on this particular big lug is actually pretty darn cute. Cute and as heterosexual as wearing socks with ugly sandals in the summer. He looked me over, from the freak show that was my morning hair, down my bare chest all the way to my unshod feet. He shoved the rolled up, plastic-wrapped copy of the morning paper that had been lying at my front gate into my abdomen and pushed past me barking the command, “Read it.”

I closed the door and watched the warm reception given this usurper of my morning by Barbra and Brutus. Turncoats. “Don’t you need a warrant to barge in here like this?”

He crouched down to schnauzer level to scruff up the erogenous zones behind their ears. “These two don’t seem to mind. Now read the paper, Quant. Page A5, the local news column.” He stood up and headed toward my kitchen. The dogs and I followed.

I figured out pretty early on that to make a go of being a private detective in this city I needed a contact in the police department. Kirsch is mine. We’re still working on figuring out where the line is that we shouldn’t cross, and we most definitely are still working on deciding whether we even like one another, but we help each other out when we can. Although I suspect him to be a closet homophobe and he suspects me of suspecting him, it works for us.

By the time I freed the StarPhoenix from its protective packaging, flopped onto a stool at my kitchen island, found the page Darren directed me to and read the news column, he’d managed to find the makings for coffee, set it to perk and let the dogs out the back to enjoy the start of what looked to be another bright, shiny day.

I felt Darren hovering over me and his thick arm brushed my bare shoulder as he pointed to one of the brief articles. “This one,” he said hoarsely.

I read the four or five lines again while he watched. It was about an apparent suicide during the early hours of Wednesday morning. A young woman, name not yet released, jumped from an eighth floor balcony of a building on the corner of University Drive and Broadway Avenue. I had walked right by that building on my way to meet Anthony for lunch at the Fringe. Even so, other than a sense of sadness at the loss of life, the story meant nothing to me. I looked up at Darren questioningly.

“Where are your mugs?”

I pointed to a cupboard and watched in idle fascination as super-hunk-cop served me up my morning java. What was going on? Why was he here?

“Do you know anything about this?” Darren asked, placing his butt on a stool opposite my own.

“No. Should I?”

He didn’t immediately answer, instead watching my face as if trying to decide something. “The woman who jumped, her name was Tanya Culinare.” Another pause. When I didn’t react one way or the other, he asked, “Does that name mean anything to you?”

“No, Kirsch, it doesn’t. But I’m getting the feeling you think it should. Why don’t you stop with the games and tell me what’s going on?” My near nakedness—even though I was in the kitchen of my own home—was making me feel inferior to Kirsch in his bland but serious looking suit and tie, and I wasn’t liking the sensation much.

“We searched Miss Culinare’s apartment, looking for a suicide note…”

Uh-huh.

“We found a note. Next to the phone.”

Okay, you got me. Morbid curiosity. “What did it say?”

“Only two things. Your name. And your phone number.”

Share This