Death Reports

*** On A Dancefloor, part 5

I didn’t feel like seeing Alex again. Like coming back to that sinful place. I had to. I reached for my lucky charm, forgetting that I had given it to Mr. Giovanni. The downtown was crowded. Bursting into life. That wave of positive energy passed me by. Was it expected? Nevermind.

I rang. Alex was smiling at me, holding a glass of champagne in his hand. His collar was covered in red marks. Lipstick. The smell or roses was so strong. Too strong. Sensational. Then I saw her. In a bathrobe. She was staring at me like a silly boy. Alex knew I was coming over. He wanted to provoke me, trying to make me feel awkward. That mom’s boy wanted to make me feel awkward. Cocky human being. I felt sick. Not because I almost caught them in flagrante. Because I knew the girl. Ashley. My wife’s friend. I started to tremble. I didn’t know what to do. How to act. I was aware of Ashley’s hunger for money but falling this low? So low?

I wanted out. Out of the place that was choking me. I was gasping. Struggling for breath. I thought I’d black out. After a few minutes of silence, I asked for a glass of water. They were both standing there confused. Staring at me. Witnessing my self destruction. Image of a man with the belt appeared again. Hit me like a stroke. Maybe it was a product of the sleepless nights, uncontrolled desire to solve my wife’s death. A product of my fear. I’ve become frantic.

Alex denied any connections with the office murder. As well as the fight with Sarah. He was looking straight into my eyes. And lying. Professionally. Finally, that walking self esteem booster cracked under pressure.

“Yes, God damn it, we had a quarrel. A quibble. Big deal!”

He shouted.

“We broke up months ago. Actually, we weren’t even together. It was one night stand, for God’s sake! What was she expecting anyway?!”

He continued.

And snapped. He blurted it all out. He started talking about her obsession, insanity, bizarre actions and tricks. Allegedly, Sarah came to him the day before she was strangled, begging him for a second chance. His “use and throw away” motto couldn’t have let it happen. Alex did like her. Not that much to let her spoil his macho reputation. Not that much.

“She ran out. I didn’t see her ever again. Never again.”

He looked distraught. Strung out. Lost. Ashley was staring at me. Like she wanted my forgiveness. I looked away. She knew both Sarah’s; going shopping with one, partying with the other. You know which description refers to my wife. My Sarah.

Suddenly, I was splashed by cruel reality. Just a thought of interrogating 30 people that were partying that night, struck me like a lightening. To the ground. I swallowed. 30 rich and famous people. 30 creatures made of expensive drinks and caviar. Oh, no. Like I signed a contract with the Devil himself.

Ashley saw Sarah the day she died. She saw her that night. At the club. Sarah was very determined to get Alex back. To have him only for herself. For her eyes only. She had a plan. But didn’t say it. She never revealed it. And never will.

“I have a plan,” she had whispered in Sarah’s ear.

Alex was clenching his teeth. Spinning around. Looking anguished. Bothered. Ashley didn’t stop talking. Her big mouth knew every single rumor. You name it – she elaborates it. Like a living tabloid. I ignored her monologue. It wasn’t relevant. Not at all. The last thing I heard from her was some European football player’s affair. Whatever. Nevermind. I focused my mind on Alex. I tried though. He was struggling with his inner self; to speak out or not?
This whole scenario really bothered me. It all seemed connected. Also, completely unrelated and irrelevant on some higher level. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the sound of it.
I sighed.

Alex didn’t mention anything new about Sarah. He stuck to his story. The story I didn’t want to buy. I wanted it to be over. To end this. He had a motive; she was a drag to him. He had an opportunity; did he use it?

When I first saw Sarah’s dead body at the office, her lips grabbed my attention. The detail. Her lips. I got closer to her face. Moved her brown hair aside. She was wearing a red lipstick. It looked smudged. Not like someone tried to remove it, to wipe it off. More like she kissed someone, pressed her lips onto something. Someone. Then moved her head away. The smudge was made at once. The product of a fast motion. Like she managed to bite someone. Quickly. Very quickly. And it wasn’t Alex. I’ve had enough of his freshly waxed muscular body. With no teeth marks.

I eliminated Ashley right away. She’s got a big mouth and bizarre habits. But she’s not a murderer. She doesn’t fit the profile.

30 people. 30 people. That fact was pounding on my brain. Killing me. Facing them, their pompous actions; harmony and glitter on the outside, emptiness and dullness on the inside. Empty hearted people. If that makes any sense.

Suddenly, Alex grabbed me by my hand. He started talking very fast. But quiet. Uncontrollable. He was grumbling. I got scared. He surprised me. Very. I couldn’t understand every word but one name, one familiar name made my heart beat faster. And faster. Irregular.

Bobby McNamara.

Bobby was a familiar name. He was my colleague. A police photographer. McNamara took photos of the both crime scenes. I was shaking. Gasping. Once again, it all seemed connected. I got 2 people, 2 well known names involved in this case. They both knew my wife. I started panicking.

I still didn’t know what McNamara had to do with Alex. I asked him politely to repeat that part for me. He did.

McNamara wanted to buy “The Glitter” 2 years ago. Alex turned him down. Obviously. “The Glitter” was his life. And trade it for money? I don’t think so. A few weeks ago McNamara decided to give it a shot. One more time. He failed. Again.

Bobby didn’t attack Alex physically. But verbally. His Scottish spirit and bad temper have caused him problems before. Nothing new. But murder? I wrote his name in my notebook marking it: Not that relevant. Can wait.

Leaving Alex’s residence, I received a phone call. It was Sergeant Todd. He only told me that Alex's leather belt didn’t match the strangulation marks on Sarah’s neck…