“So I’m going to tell Max it’s over. I mean, we can’t live like this anymore… him always running off with that stupid hussy…”
“I think we’ll need another ¼ of a load to fill it in properly. I just don’t know if we’ll be able to make deadline…”
“The meeting is at 12:30 and I need all the documents Xeroxed before then. And, Megan, don’t let anyone else see you…”
The smell of coffee was almost overpowering in the tiny Shoppe. Alice enjoyed listening to the conversations going on around her. She’d become an expert at eavesdropping. What did these people care, anyway? They would never know what their personal conversations were being used for. They wouldn’t even realize they were being used. Alice just sat there, drinking her coffee, writing down tidbits of conversation. She knew so much already about these people’s lives – enough to write a book about each. That was why she was here: her book. In only five minutes, she’d already picked her three characters. She had a desperate wife with a cheating husband, a landscaper with worries about budgets and deadlines, and a corrupt attorney making copies of classified information. Now to just find a way to connect them…
“This case has him completely frazzled. He’s working long hours and always having meetings really late at night with his attorney…”
“Bob, I don’t know how we’re going to pay for all of this. We’re already so far over budget. It is going to take a miracle to get us out of this one…”
“Jack, I’ll have those documents for you a.s.a.p. My assistant is copying them as we speak. Just make sure the money gets into the account by midnight…”
Oh, things were definitely getting sticky! Now Alice had her conflict. Max was the CEO of a huge corporation being sued for tax evasion. Unfortunately, he wasn’t smart enough to keep his… umm… member to himself. One should never sleep with their attorney; especially one working with the IRS. But, how to incorporate the landscaper?…
“Last night he came home smelling like that bitch’s nasty perfume. Apparently she has bad taste because the lipstick on his collar was some disgusting brown color…”
“You’d think for being a CEO this guy would pay a little better! And what is with this three week deadline!? I mean, it’s like the guy is trying to kill somebody…”
“Trust me; this guy will never know what hit him. I have him so wrapped up that he’s oblivious to the fact that his wife has drawn up divorce papers. And I’m the attorney!!…”
And so the plot thickens. Alice understood immediately how to incorporate her third character; there was going to be a murder. Let’s see. We have Max, the CEO, who’s cheating on his wife with his attorney. His wife figures out he’s cheating and files for divorce, unknowingly using the same attorney. To keep his wife preoccupied, Max hires a landscaper to redo his back yard. With the IRS getting closer and closer every day, the deadline had to be soon. Three weeks and $2000 should be plenty. It’s not like the guy had anything else better to do, right? Then there’s the cheating attorney who is working with the IRS to ruin Max. Damn, she was good. For a reasonable chunk of change, all she had to do was hand over copies of Max’s company’s confidential files, which was kept under lock and key. Alice had her general plotline, but now she listened for the gory details…
“Yes, I’d like to speak with Ms. Antonio, please. Yes, it’s important. What do you mean she’s in a meeting? It’s 11:30 at night?!…”
“Bob, listen. Did you get a hold of the bank? DECLINED?! What the hell are we supposed to do now? If we don’t get this finished, he’ll… What do you mean Kim Hodgins wants to talk to me?…”
“Megan, where are those copies? I don’t care if she’s on the other line, I need those papers NOW! YOU DID WHAT!?! What were you thinking telling her where I was?!!…”
Alice was almost squirming in her chair she was so excited. She has the basis for her murder. The attorney, Ms. Antonio, is headed to the meeting with Jack from the IRS, but Megan has misplaced the copies of the documents. Max’s wife, Kim, calls Antonio’s office to tell her attorney she found a phone number in Max’s pants and thinks it’s his lover’s, but doesn’t want to do call it alone. When she finds out Antonio is having a meeting late at night, she calls the number and gets Antonio’s voicemail. She cons Megan into telling her where the meeting is being held. Very eager, Alice turns back to the conversations…
“Yeah, patch me through to Steve, will you? I don’t care if he’s busy! Fine. Yes, I’ll leave a message. Just tell him I’ve got a little proposition for him…”
“Hello, Kim? I wanted to talk to you about that deadline. Oh? What kind of a deal?…”
“Not tonight, Max. I’ve got a meeting. Yes, I know it’s late, but… No. Why would I have the key to your safe?…”
Chills ran up Alice’s spine as her pen flew across the keyboard of her laptop. She had it. It was coming together. Oh no! Steve was leaving the Coffee Shoppe! Not wanting to lose her next big character, Alice followed him…
Alice watched as Steve turned into a nice neighborhood. Her breath caught as he stopped and walked toward one of the mansions. A blonde met him in the yard. Alice slumped in her seat and cracked her window so she could better hear the conversation.
“Hi Steve, it’s nice to see you again.”
“Is there a problem, Mrs. Hodgins?”
“No, not at all. Here, let’s go out back so we can sit in the shade. I have something to share with you.”
Alice slipped out of her little Chevy Nova and slunk up to the back of the house. The privacy fence gapped behind a large bush, so she climbed through.
“What is it you want, Mrs. Hodgins?”
“Please, call me Kim.”
“Ok, Kim. What do you want?”
“I want to make a deal. See, my husband is a bastard, as you already know. Not only that, he is a cheating bastard. I want him dead.”
Alice’s breath caught in her throat. Could this be happening?!
“What?! I’m sorry Mrs. Hodg… I mean Kim. I can’t help you. I’ve got to go…”
“Wait! I can pay you. $2 million. Half now, half when it’s done.”
“I don’t know Mrs…”
“Kim. I mean, sure, that’s a lot of money, but kill someone?”
Alice tried to move a little closer. A twig snapped beneath her. She froze.
“What was that?!… Quick, let’s go inside. The last thing we need is someone hearing this.”
Relieved, Alice let out a sigh. As she started to step through the hole in the fence, a car door slammed!
“Frank, we’re in trouble. Antonio stole the key to my safe! She knows everything! Yes, I took care of it, why do you think I’m going home to pack my things?! I looked everywhere… in her house, her office, her car. I found the key, but no papers!! I’ve got to get out of here. Tonight! Uh, Frank, someone’s here with my wife…”
Alice couldn’t believe this! I mean, it was just a story, right?!
“Kim? KIM?! Kim, we got to go! Something’s happened… KIM!! What are you doing?!!! Put the gun down!”
Alice covered her mouth to keep from screaming. What’s going on?! She tried to move, to get out of there, but she was frozen. A second later, the front door opened. Steve was walking out to his truck. Alice looked through the crack in the fence and saw him throw a bag into the compartment of his truck and grab a shovel out of the back. As he walked back into the house, Alice crawled to his truck. She opened the bag and saw the most cash she’d ever seen in her life! Not thinking, she took the bag and ran to her car. Her Nova groaned in protest as she raced out of the ritzy neighborhood. After a few miles, she’d calmed down enough to stop by a gas station. She picked up the phone and dialed a number.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“Um, yes… I think I just witnessed a murder. It’s at a house on Woodlawn. There’s a truck out front with a Bob’s Landscaping logo.”
“Your name? Ma’am?… Hello?”
Alice walked away as the phone dangled… She hopped into the Nova and drove as far as she could go. This was going to make one hell of a book…