My new book is moving right along. I was surprised yesterday as I was writing that the book kind of took it's own course for a while. This happens when I can feel the story. In the case of The Look of Evil I wasn't sure of anything let alone thinking that I could actually feel the story. But, there it was writing itself. It was beautiful. I absolutely love it when the story takes a path that I had not foreseen or planned... and its better than what I had planned for it. Amazing.
Anyway, I thought that I would catch you up with how I tied off the story with Ben. Of course he will come up from time to time, but this is how Angela and Cali arranged it so that no-one could pin his death on either of them.
////////////////////////////////////////////A tale of two rings
As expected they were met by some very angry looking Agents’ right before they got through customs. They were whisked off to separate interview rooms. Both looked the same. They were white with a plain metal tablein the center of the room, and two chairs facing each other across the table.In the corner was a camera, and one wall had a large two way mirror. The tablehad a metal U-shaped bar bolted to one side. Both women were handcuffed in thefront and the chain was run under the U.
It angered Cali to think that Connie was being treated insuch a manner. But, she knew that they thought that they could rattle her by chaining up Connie. Otherwise, why would they have made sure that she knew? No,Cali knew that they were trying to manipulate her. They played child games compared to her Aunt and the Grandmother.
An average looking man in an off the rack linen gray suit came through the door. He was followed by a man with a square jaw that lookedtoo large for his head. He wore a similar suit, but his was dark blue. Both hadhundred dollar slip on shoes. They were the rage now because they felt like running shoes and actually were easier to run in, but they could be polished and become passable in the office. Both men were still wearing their guns. She had to shake her head at the arrogance.
Gray suit pulled the chair out and sat down while slicking his tie down. He dropped a manila envelope on the table and slid the chair up abit. He got comfortable.
Square jaw folded his arms and leaned against the wall bythe door. He was trying to look intimidating. When he crossed his foot over theother, Cali could see his pink and blue plaid socks. She smiled.
“Is something funny?” Gray suit snapped.
Cali cocked her head to one side and glared at him. She intertwined her fingers on the table in front of her. These weren’t normalcuffs. They were designed for this table. That meant that the chain in themiddle was longer than normal. To Cali this meant that it didn’t matter whichside the key holes were facing. A person could reach the key hole no matter where it was at. They were too flexible. If she wanted to escape, it wouldn’tbe difficult.
“Got nothing to say?” Gray suit snapped again.
Cali sniffed. She hated changing climates so abruptly. It always messed with her sinuses. “Got a Kleenex?”
“Oh sure, why don’t I just run out and get you a box.”Square jaw barked while he pushed off from the wall. Now he was looming andwaiting for a reply, or a response of any kind. He got none. He scuffed hisfoot on the floor like a child and returned to his spot after Gray suit gavehim a look.
Cali held her smile inside this time. Let’s not get this jackass going too soon.
Gray suit opened the envelope and pulled out a pile ofpictures. The one that Cali could see was black and white and had obviously been taken from very far away. It was grainy and the definition was poor. Satellite pictures, taken of moving objects. That was Cali’s guess.
He put them out one by one. It was like looking at a flattened flip book, one of those books that a picture has been drawn on each page on the same spot as the page before, but with small differences. When you flip the pages the image seems to move. But, these pictures had not been taken quickly. They were a few seconds apart from each other.
When he had laid out sixteen pictures he took the rest of the pile and turned it upside down. Then he looked up at Cali. “Would you like toexplain to me what I am seeing here?”
That was good.Cali now knew why square jaw was in the corner. Gray suit was the real interrogator. Let’s see how the woman canincriminate herself. Good tactic. “Well” Cali leaned forward to make a showof it. “I see pictures. Really bad ones.”
He nodded, while trying not to look impatient. He was good,but there seemed to be some pressure on him. He was nervous. “Do you recognizeanyone or anything in them?”
She reached out and grabbed one of the pictures. She moved so suddenly that square jaw jumped and started to draw his weapon. Gray suit jumped out of his seat and stumbled backwards. He grabbed the chair both for support and to keep it from toppling over. Cali smiled broadly. But, she did not look up. She pretended that nothing had happened. She shook the photo that she was holding. “You know, I do recognize this place.” She then looked back atGray suit, who was just readjusting his tie and settling back into his chair.“I’ve never seen it from above. Isn’t this the Vinccencio mansion in Italy?” The picture showed Cali on the ground under Ben, and Angela pointing a gun at aman that was pointing a gun at someone else.
Gray suit had composed himself again. “Yes, it is in factthe Vinccencio mansion in Italy. Do you see what is happening in the picture?” Now it sounded like he was talking to a five year old.
Now it was time for the spin. “I think I do. Is this what was going on when I was dazed?” She put the picture down and shuffled through the others. Finally she picked up another picture. This one was taken just as Ben began to fall against her. The picture showed her arm flailing out from under the large pool umbrella. It was all that could be seen of her, Ben andAngela from above, nothing but her arm. More importantly it showed the glint of gun metal and the shape of a weapon in the bushes that she and Ben had beenfacing. Had the picture been taken a split second sooner it would have showedwhat appeared to be a muzzle flash. But, this would do. “I remember seeing something, and look here, your camera has caught it.” She put the picture down and pointed at the rifle barrel and sight that could just be identified in the poor quality picture.
Both Agents looked surprised and clamored for the picture.Within moments the door was opened and other Agents were looking at thepicture. Cali had been forgotten.
Next door, Connie sat in a similar situation. She was not nearly as cool as Cali, neither were the Agents afraid of her. She was just afashion designer. She got the impression that they felt sorry for her, as if Cali was somehow bewitching her. Well, that much is true. The damn woman bewitched me the day we met. She smiled.Cali had been such a pariah. She had been wearing a dress two sizes too big,long socks and old grandma style shoes. Shehad been pathetic and adorable at the same time, and I loved her at first sight.
The Agents that came in to question Connie were both average sized men. They were meant to make Connie feel more comfortable. Neither was wearing a gun. Connie couldn’t help but be amazed by that fact that she had noticed that detail. One man wore a suit off of the rack. It was a good brand and overall it fit him well. The other man had a tailored silk suit. His shoe shad cost a grand, on sale. Either this man was a rich boy playing at being acop or he wasn’t just a cop. Not even the C.I.A. paid their men enough to afford what this man was wearing. An Agent might be able to purchase one suchsuit with matching shirt, tie, socks and shoes in a lifetime, and they sure wouldn’t wear it to question a witness.
Fancy suit took a seat. He placed a manila envelope on the desk. His hands were soft. His fingernails had been manicured and maintained for years. His teeth gleamed and his hair was perfect. She got a whiff of his cologne. It had cost him several thousand dollars an ounce. Then she saw the ring on his finger. It was a pinky ring. Now she knew what he was, if not whohe was.
The other Agent stood in the corner by the door. He crossed his arms but, made no attempt to even look interested in her or the man in thefancy suit.
She locked her fingers together and waited.
Fancy suit smiled. “So, Miss Artiega, Connie, can I call you Connie?” She nodded slightly. “My name is Glen, Glen Devine.”
She didn’t recognize the name. But, that was not surprising.She would however love to have his clothing sales account. “I would shake your hand, but I seem to be a little tied up.” She lifted her hands.
Glen snapped his fingers and pointed at her cuffs. “Hey, can you get those off of her? I hardly think that she’s going anywhere.”
While the one Agent removed the cuffs, Glen spread out someblack and white photos. Connie could see what she had not seen in real life,only from an aerial view. Frankly, there wasn’t much to see. She saw Cali gounder the umbrella. Then she saw a series of pictures that appeared to show Ben falling sideways onto Cali and forcing them both out from under the umbrella. Ben died while on top of Cali. While he was dying she saw Angela emerge from under the umbrella and pick up a gun and start shooting. You can’t tell by these pictures how Ben died, or who killed him.Cali’s right, without an eye witness and a body, they’ve got nothing.
“Do you see something that you would like to share?” Glen had watched her reactions to the pictures very closely.
“I see Ben, a man that I had only ever seen in pictures,fall on top of my girlfriend and die.” She pushed a picture showing Cali pinnedunder Ben, under his nose.
Glen nodded and tapped the picture. “But, who killed him?”
That was direct, and from everything Cali had told her, notthe right way to go about this kind of questioning. Then again, this man was notan Agent, or at least he was not just an Agent. She glanced over at the otherman.
Glen followed her eyes. “Hey, why don’t you go get me some coffee?” The other man did not hesitate. He left the room, but before he shutthe door, Glen added; “Tell the other guys to get some coffee too.”
He and Connie sat in silence while they both listened to the men on the other side of the mirror leave the room.
“Now Connie, who killed Ben?” He steepled his fingers under his chin.
Connie sat back. She rubbed her red wrists absently and looked up at the camera. The green dot that had been on was now out. He noddedand smiled. “Okay Glen, here it is, I don’t think you give a damn about who killed Ben Vinccencio. I think you’re concerned about what his death may mean to his business here in America. I can tell you with full honesty that I have no idea what Angela is going to do. What I do know is that Cali doesn’t care about the Vinccencio family business. She cares about Angela, and Angela caresabout her. If the lines around that relationship don’t get crossed…” She shrugged. Connie was trying to sound cool, because she was sweating bullets. You never trust anyone in an interrogation room! That’s what Cali always told her. Just don’t say something stupid girl! Stick with the truth.
“If Angela Vinccencio is not endangered then, Calisto Casey will not feel the need to interfere.” Glen finished her sentence for her. Hiscompletion made it sound like Cali was a hired killer. Maybe that’s what the other families thought.
“Cali is a Police Officer. She’s good at her job, and she likes it. But, her job is to bring depraved child molesters, rapists and murderers to justice, not to chase organized crime. She loves few things Glen,and fewer people. Angela is one of those people. Angela returns that love…fiercely. They are… as sisters.” Connie was feeling pretty good about how she was playing the game. Keep it simple stupid… and tell the truth.
“And Angela Vinccencio is now the boss of the Vinccencio family.”
He nodded. “So, it might earn some good will points for the Devine family, if I were to see to it that you and Miss Casey were allowed togo home without fear of any further molestation.”
“Such a thing could be seen as a nice olive branch, orperhaps more.” Connie had to be careful, things could get dicey here. She could not make promises that she expected Angela to keep.
“Hmm, let me see what I can do.” He understood that her ability to make promises was limited. Still, it couldn’t hurt. Who cared who killed Ben Vinccencio? He was a jackass anyway.
“Whatever you do will certainly reach Cali’s ear.” Still just the truth. He’s revealed more than me… I hope.
“And hence her sister’s ear.”
“Of course” She could ask Cali to tell Angela and let the woman decide what to do with the information.
As they finished their short conversation, the hallway began to buzz with activity. Suddenly the door burst open. It startled Connie. Shethought for a moment that this entire conversation had been a set up. She hadbeen tricked with fancy clothing and a kind word. Damn it! Cali had warned her so many times about trusting this very type of set up. Good cop, bad cop… damnit!!! But, the people rushing in were ignoring her. In fact when they realized that she could move, they moved her. They wanted to look at thepictures.
Connie saw an opportunity so she walked out into the hall. Glen followed her. She went into the other interview room and found the samescene that she had just left, only Cali was still cuffed to the table, andbeing pushed around like an overgrown mole. Glen quickly removed the cuffs andled them both to an area where their belongings had been left.
After a few minutes another man came in. He showed Glen apicture. They talked for a few minutes. The conversation was clearly about Calias they both kept pointing in her direction. She and Connie had not spoken aword to each other except to ask if the other was alright.
Glen finally approached them. “Okay, I’m signing you both out. My man will take you out. Is your car here or do you need a cab?”
“We have a car waiting.” Cali answered. She had seen his ring, just as he had seen hers when he removed her cuffs. She didn’t know whatit meant, but she did know that he was low level, but trusted. Probably blood.
He nodded and motioned for them to precede him to another door. He opened it with a key and left them in the care of the Agent that had been standing on the other side. They followed this man down a side tunnel that went from the detention area all the way to the street. The Agent walked themto their car and he left.
Neither woman dared to breathe until they were seated in their own car and rolling down the highway towards home.
With that part of the story done, Cali can move on to another story.
Live well and be good to each other.