The real miracle is after all that, Detective Ramirez does not arrest me. When he gives me the news I’m free to go, I actually ask him, “Are you sure?” I was certain they were going to take me into custody, but he lets me go with the warning that I should not leave town. Given I have no money and no car, I’m not going anywhere any time soon.
After I get out of the station, I reach for my phone instinctively. Then I realize I have nobody to call. Ordinarily, I would have called Brock to let him know I’ve been released, but I get the feeling he doesn’t care.
Of course, there is one person who would care. Enzo.
Enzo would help me. If I called him, he would believe every word I said without question. But I don’t know if I want to go down that road again. And I made that whole speech about not needing his help, so I’m not about to crawl back to him a week later begging for him to save me.
I can save myself. I’m not even under arrest. Maybe this whole thing will work out.
After debating my options for a moment, I select Wendy’s phone number from my list of contacts. I don’t know if it’s kosher to be calling her right now, but I need answers. We had an agreement last night, and what the detective is claiming goes completely against what we decided. Then again, he might have just been making things up to scare me into confessing or implicating Wendy. I wouldn’t put anything past that detective.
Naturally, it goes straight to voicemail.
I may as well go home. After all, tomorrow they could arrest me and I won’t be able to go home ever again. It’s not like I could afford bail.
I take the train back out to my apartment in the Bronx. After everything that has happened today, I can barely put one foot in front of the other. I have to search inside my bag for a good five minutes, looking for my keys, until I’m certain I lost them. Just when I’m about to give up, I find them wedged in the bottom of the bag.
Almost the second I step into the building, my landlady Mrs. Randall is rushing out of her first-floor apartment, wearing one of her oversized dresses that doesn’t cinch at the waist. Her wrinkled face is all scrunched up, and her lower lip is jutting out.
“The police were here!” she cries. “They made me open your apartment and they did a search! They had a paper telling me I had to let them in!”
“I know,” I groan. “I’m sorry about that.”
Mrs. Randall narrows her eyes at me. “You hiding drugs up there?” “No! Definitely not!” I just murdered somebody, that’s all. Sheesh.
“I don’t want any more trouble in my building,” she says. “You are nothing but trouble. Two times the police are here because of you! I want you out. You got one week.”
“One week!” I cry. “But Mrs. Randall—”
“One week and I change the locks,” she hisses at me. “Don’t want you around and whatever you do in that apartment of yours.”
My heart sinks. How on earth am I ever going to find another apartment with everything going on with me? Maybe it would be better if I did get arrested. At least then, I’ll have a place to stay. And free food.
I trek up the two flights of steps to my apartment. I’m expecting the apartment to be ransacked, and I’m not disappointed. The police officers who searched the place didn’t even make an attempt to put everything back where it was supposed to go. It will take me the rest of the night to clean it all up.
I drop down to my sofa, exhausted. I can’t tackle this mess tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never. What’s the point if I’m going to jail anyway?
Instead, I grab the remote control and turn on my crappy television. I guess this is what I’m going to be doing on my last night of freedom.
Unfortunately, the television is tuned into a news station. The story of Douglas Garrick’s murder is all over the news right now. The newscaster on
the screen with that shiny blond hair reports that the police are talking to a “person of interest.”
Hey, I made the news. I’m a “person of interest.”
Then the program cuts to a video of Wendy. She’s talking to a reporter, and her eyes are bloodshot and puffy. The bruising on her face looks completely gone, which I assume is because of makeup. She turns to address the camera.
“My husband Douglas was an incredible man,” she says in a surprisingly strong voice that doesn’t sound like her at all. “He was kind, brilliant, and we had been planning to start a family together soon. He did not deserve to have his life cut short this way. It’s not fair that he…” She stops talking, choked up by emotion. “I… I’m sorry…”
What was that?
How could Wendy talk about Douglas that way after what he did to her? I understand not wanting to talk ill of the dead, but she’s making him sound like some kind of a saint. The man was seconds away from choking her to death when I ended his life. Why doesn’t she tell the reporter that?
The video cuts away to the blond newscaster. Her clear blue eyes lock with the screen. “If you’re just joining us now, our top story is the brutal murder of multimillionaire CEO of Coinstock, Douglas Garrick. He was found dead in his Upper West Side apartment last night, with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest.”
The screen flashes to a photograph of a man in his forties with the caption “Douglas Garrick, CEO of Coinstock.” I stare at the screen, at the man’s dark hair and soft brown eyes, at his double chin, and the creases around his eyes as he smiles for the camera. As I stare at the photo of Douglas Garrick, I realize something.
I have never seen this man before in my life.
The man whose photograph is on the screen is completely unfamiliar to me. He looks a bit like the man I have been interacting with in the penthouse, and from far away, you might not know the difference. But it’s not him. It’s definitely not him. This man is somebody completely different.
So if the man on the screen is Douglas Garrick… Who the hell did I kill last night?