The next day, the cops were all over the parking lot after an early morning shopper found Stanley’s dead body. There was crime scene tape around the place and cops were busy talking to everyone they could find.
Unfortunately for them, this little section of the parking lot where the employees had parked was the darkest part of the lot. The camera range didn’t extend that far. There had been a lot of people at the Showcase but most of the businesses were closed at that time. At the moment Stanley died, Larry and Lady G were busy accepted rounds of applause from the audience. No one could be exactly certain about who was or was not there.
The detectives shook their heads and kept making notes in their little books. They promised to come back when most of the staff instructors were there to teach lessons.
It was probably mid-morning before Maude realized that Jane was not at work. Larry checked the answer machine; the studio still had an old fashioned one for backup. There was a wavy message from Jane saying she had a bad headache and would make it in the next day.
Larry told the detective who made a note of her address and phone.
“Ah, if she doesn’t come in soon, we’ll have to go to her place to talk to her. You understand.”
Larry nodded. He felt vaguely guilty and wasn’t exactly sure why.
When the cops finally left with promises to come back, he looked at Maude.
“Maude, you know Jane pretty well. She wouldn’t do something like this, would she?”
Maude shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, Larry. She hasn’t been herself lately. But, to do something like this? This bad? Wow, I don’t know. This new generation, you know?”
Larry sort of knew but was going to have to let it go for a bit. His head was spinning.
It was an anxious Larry Gee who reported in at the police station two days later. With his black clothing and pale skin, he looked a little out of place around the buff cops in their navy-blue uniforms and dark tans. Detective Martinez had asked that Mrs. Gee come too. Larry begged off and asked to be interviewed alone.
They were sitting in a private interview room now.
“She’s in Mexico,” Detective Martinez volunteered. “Miss Stanwell, your receptionist.”
“Oh,” Larry added.
“We got extradition laws with the State of Mexico. Lots of people don’t know that.”
“Oh,” Larry replied again. “So…”
“So, Mr. Gee, we wanted to know what you could tell us about this.” Martinez slid a slip of paper forward. It was contained in a clear plastic sleeve.
Larry read the note. His already pale skin blanched further and then started to turn pink.
“I, I don’t know,” he replied.
The detective pulled the note back, turned it around and read it. “I’ve gone forever. Tell Larry I’ll love him always. Jane.” There was a pregnant pause.
“Why would the young lady write such a note, Mr. Gee?”
Larry shook his head, numb.
“Was she, in fact, in love with you, Sir?”
Larry opened his mouth, and nothing came out.
The detective had a little black notebook and a short ink pen. “Why don’t you tell me about your relationship with the young lady. And, while we’re at it, why would she do such a thing as to stab a client like Mr. Stanley?”
“She, she was an employee. A good employee. She had only been with us a few months. I don’t…”
“Were you having an affair with her, Sir?”
Larry blanched again. “No, no…no affair.”
“Okay, no affair.” Martinez made notes in his book and tapped his pen on the paper as he considered the man sitting across from him.
“No affair,” Martinez said slowly. He drew some little circles on the paper. “Then what was it?”
“What?” Larry looked confused.
“What was it that was going on between you two?” Some more sharp taps of the pen as Martinez shifted in his chair.
“Jesus,” Larry sunk his head in his hands.
Now we’re getting somewhere, Detective Martinez thought to himself. He looked up at the two-way mirror and nodded at his partner who was standing on the other side, listening.
“It was nothing.” Larry finally pulled himself up and spoke.
“Nothing,” Martinez stopped tapping and looked at the man.
“Yes, it was nothing. A little flirting is all. Then, Jane, Miss Stanwell, asked for some private dance lessons. We arranged a discount price since she was an employee and I gave her some lessons.”
“How private were the lessons?” Martinez had to force himself not to smile.
“They were all at the studio. Period. Definitely no hanky-panky, Detective. Believe me.”
Martinez nodded. “Go on.”
“Then, at some point, Lady G,” Larry paused, “my wife,” he said pointedly, “felt there was too much interaction between myself and the young woman. She took steps to change the schedule to get Jane doing other things. The privates came to an end.”
“I see,” Martinez said. “So, Lady G, your wife, was the one put the skids on.”
Larry Gee crossed his arms across his chest. “Yes, she did.” He managed to look a little offended.
“So, if your wife had not done this, then…”
“Nothing, Detective. Nothing at all. I am married the last ten years with three young children. There was nothing going on between me and Miss Stanwell and there wasn’t going to be either.” Larry nodded up and down with some force.
“Okay, Mr. Gee. I get the picture. A little light flirting with the girl. Wife gets wind and changes the girl’s duties around. Is that when she began to partner with Mr. Stanley?”
“I believe so,” Larry added. “Miss Stanwell was being coached by one of our oldest teachers, Maude Adams. It was Maude who assigned her partners.”
“That would explain, I guess,” Martinez added, “how it was she even knew the deceased.”
Larry nodded. “Yes, yes it is.”
“What possible motive would the young lady have in stabbing Mr. Stanley, Sir? That you can think of?”
“I have no idea, Detective Martinez. I have absolutely no idea.”
A shaken Larry Gee left the station. Detective Martinez met with his partner back at their desks.
“So, what’s you think?”
“I think he’s a pretty boy dork, who almost had an affair. The wife found out and put a stop to it. Don’t think he’s involved. Scared of his own shadow that one.”
Martinez nodded his agreement.
“You looked at her picture? Stanwell?”
His partner nodded. “Yeah, she’s a looker for sure. Won’t do well in prison.”
“She might get manslaughter. Un-premeditated thing.”
“My guess too.” O’Reilly picked up his coffee cup and stared at the contents. He got up to get a fresh cup.
“So, Reilly, what’s you thinking ‘bout what happened here?” Martinez asked casually.
“Me?” O’Reilly tapped his cup. “Ah, if I was to hazard a guess, I’d say probably a case of unrequited love.” He started to walk away.
“Unre…. what?” Martinez spluttered.
“Ah, look it up partner. You got a dictionary in that computer of yours. Unrequited.”
“Hey, pal. I been to college too, you know.”
“I do know, Martinez. And let me say the department is eternally grateful to online learning courses. But, a word a day, Marti, a word a day.”
“You’re a pompous ass.”
“True, but I really do need another cup of coffee. Be back.” O’Reilly slouched out of the room.
A few minutes later, coffee refreshed, he came back. He scooted his chair up to his partner’s desk.
“Okay, we got one very hot chick.” He pointed to Jane’s picture.
His partner nodded.
“Then, we got one older, fairly ugly dude,” he pointed to a picture of Stanley. “For whatever twisted reasons, Lady Gee, in a fit of pique…”
“What….” His partner started to say.
“Aggravation call it. Puts the two of them together in this dancing thing.”
“The hot chick here,” O’Reilly points, “falls for the handsome married guy,” he pointed to the printout labeled, Larry Gee. He reciprocates just enough to get her cranked up and then pulls out. To use a phrase.” He grins at his partner.
“Ugly dude here,” he taps the picture of Stanley, “falls head over heels with beauty,” tapping the pix of Jane, “and tries real hard to make it work. Ugly follows beauty to her car and tries something. God knows what. She sticks him and flees.”
Martinez held his chin with one hand. “Makes sense.”
“Plus, I think she was on something when this happened.”
“They didn’t serve liquor at that Showcase thing of theirs.”
“Yeah, I know they didn’t. But if you examine the record of your girl Jane, you’ll see she has two priors for drunk driving and one domestic assault charge. Maybe they weren’t serving liquor at the party, but I still think she was on something. We won’t know what it was ‘til we get her back here State side.”
So, all fer love, huh? What an idiot.” Martinez shook his head.
“Yeah, well. ‘The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart,’” O’Reilly quoted.
“Who said that? Don’t tell me it was you,” Martinez frowned.
“St. Jerome,” his partner said. “We’ll know more when we see her.”
“Still think she’s an idiot.”
“Ah, Martinez, you’re just not a true romantic.”
“Not a romantic at all. Thank God.”
“Well, there’s that. Lunch?”
“Yeah, I need some food after all this creepy romance stuff. Yuk.”
“Sounds like a Tommy’s burger then.”
“You on, pal.”
They both grabbed jackets and left the office.