Gift of the Godfather
She never made a quiet entrance. All eyes were on Juliette as she greeted the hosts. Her svelte, backless black dress only hilights her curvaceous features. Her long, wavy hair and Dark brown, sultry eyes are beautiful. She smiles with those pouty lips as she approaches a handsome man that few knew at this party. "Ah, Juliette, I am glad you could make it," the man smiled slightly as he spoke. The man is quite handsome, though soft spoken and probably new to this area. His fine, tailored suit speaks volumes of his great taste and prosperity. What's this? His fingers are tapping nervously on his side, and he makes a nervous glance around the room. Juliette inserts her arm around his as she smiles and squeezes his arm lightly. "Let me introduce you to some of my friends, " Juliette says with breathy whisper.
The guests' attention went back to the party and most conversation continued. Many of the men seemed disappointed that this beauty was with a date at the party. I however, was interested in how this man knew Juliette and I continued to watch them. As they approached a small group of people, Juliette glanced my way and raised her eyebrows. Oh, those eyes, those beautiful eyes. I held my expression and attempted to appear disinterested. I nod a greeting and then divert my attention to the drink in my hand. The musician at the piano begins playing Beethoven's Vivaldi the conversations of the guests appear to blend together as I allow my mind to wander. This is, after all, a party, a time to relax. My work has yet to begin. A glance at the grandfather clock reminds me that the festivities draw short. The clock strikes 9pm. Yes, not much time.
I sip the last of my drink while watching the party attendees. They all look legit, but I know if they just talk enough, and perhaps consume a drink or two, they'll show their true colors. Patience. Patience. The clock strikes 10:00pm.
It is hard to appear disinterested to such a beautiful woman. Her voice makes even the most difficult guy look up and smile. I mean, old man Farley's favorite phrase is "Get out of my face you dirty rat," yet he tipped his hat and smiled at her. I hear her laughing and turn to see her eyes closed and her face slightly facing up as she is laughing. THAT man is still with her, the "unknown man." In the group that are entranced by her conversation are: Mr. Brown,an upright citizen in our community; our host, Mr. Metivier,retired detective for our city and now our top judge; Mr. Johnson, a fairly quiet citizen in our town that I do not know very well as he has not been around long, although he should watch his step as he appears to be flirting much too heavily with Juliette; Mr. Scant,supposedly in the business of investments, he keeps to himself quite a bit; and Mr. Gunither,been around a long time, has money because his father had money but about as sharp as butter knife. The clock strikes 11:00pm
Juliette and her "friend" excuse themselves as her "friend" puts his arm around her waist. They both accept a glass of Savignon Blanc from server and taste the wine as they whisper unintelligible to anyone else. The group they had just left is one person less.......who left just now? Damn, I need to pay attention. I know someone is up to no good tonight. A server brought another gin and tonic to me and I accept it as I survey the group and dismiss the server. Ah yes, it's Gunither who stepped away and now is not visible anywhere. 11:55 pm, it's getting late. When will they make their move.
The four piece band switches their music to a softer saxophone set as the night grows late. Juliette and her companion, partner.....friend........whatever he is turn to each other. He slips his left hand around her lower waist and his right hand holds her hand to lead. She presses her body close to his as they whisper ever so softly. This is the time. Something is not right. And WHERE is Gunither. He's nowhere to be seen. I stand up and find the first available woman to dance with so I can more easily survey the room. The lady I find is attractive enough, I guess, but her perfume reminds me of an old Barbie Doll.
I see Gunither standing in a corner to himself and basically not participating in the festivities at all. His arms are crossed and he appears distracted. Quite distracted. Mr. Metivier is still talking to Mr. Johnson. Mr. Brown is dancing with his wife of 20 years who still looks damn good. Lucky clod. The room is still crowded but a nice big room like this is perfect for a party. It's grand piano in the northwest corner sits beside the grand window with its plush velvet drapery. The view from there is the great garden that I'm sure takes three full time gardeners to care for. The room has definitely been used for many parties. Mr. Metivier steps onto the dance floor with his wife at the very moment the clock strikes 12. I watch them move around the floor as a very accomplished dance duo. The lights suddenly go dark and there is a woman's scream. A brief moment of pandamonium pursues and then the light are restored.
I find Juliette's "friend" standing alone, appearing surprised. She is missing. He said they had started to walk off of the dance floor when the music had ended and when the lights went out she had screamed. Damn, why didn't I continue watching their activities? I allowed myself to be distracted by Metivier and his wife, who are longtime friends. I stood up and joined Mr. Metivier in the middle of the room and stated that no one should leave the room until the police arrive. I tell Mr. Metivier that unfortunately I was not observing Juliette at the time of her disappearance, that I was distracted. Metivier scowls at me, "How could you do this. You've been on the force for 36 years and know better. You KNOW I have my bulletproof vest on and am safe. Now I have a guest gone." Mrs. Metivier hangs up from her call with the police and said they ask that all people remain in the room as well.
I survey the room and notice Gunither is still standing with his arms crossed and appearing disinterested in the disappearance. Metivier and I walk over to him and ask him a few questions. Metivier and I then walk a few paces from him and turn around to discuss the situation. This guy has been aloof all night. He gets angry with us when we question him and then refuses to talk. I say he has to be the one. Metivier considers for a moment and as the police arrive he asks them to take Gunither away. Gunither laughs as he says, "game over." What is this? Game over? Metivier's wife approaches and is quite angry. "Why did you men have Gunither arrested? He's a fool is all. A plain fool. He didn't do anything. Now guests have left and the killer is probably far away," she scolds us the way my ex wife would scold. Oh man I'm glad I'm away from all of that. Metivier and I just stare at each other and think. Then i remember. Johnson, where is he. I need to talk to him. He's nowhere in the room, he left when many of the guests did. Well, it's out of my hands.I look out the window to the front of the estate. They're out there, the killer.
Outside in the street in front of the estate, Juliette's friend is driving away with another person. Probably giving them a ride home, I'm sure. Juliette's friend begins to laugh and slaps his passenger in the back. Turning the corner, "Johnson" grunts with the slap to the back. "That hurt you, take it easy." Juliette's friend laughs again and says, "Quite being such a girl." With that they both laugh as Juliette removes her disguise that made her look like Johnson. This was a good one, huh? The pair pull the car over and survey their stolen goods. Jewelry and wallets from the party guests. Well over a million dollars in jewelry and money. This is incredible. Too bad Johnson had to confront them. Poor slob. Juliette and her companion drive to the airport to take a flight to anywhere. It was a job well done.
Back in the house, Metivier and consoles his wife as Metivier's parents and another man arrive to be with the couple during this difficult time. I knew Metivier's parents. The other man, a stately gentleman and quite learned I recognize. "Phil, my name is Phil. I'm Metivier's Godfather. It's nice to meet you, he has spoken often about you," he continues as he shakes my hand, "I will stay on while this case is being investigated, but meanwhile I wish to grant some gifts to those who were at the party as a means of apology for the party's bad turn. Do you have any suggestions?" I thought for a moment and asked if I could give him an answer another day. "Of course, good man, and please be our guest here at the estate tonight, it is late. I'm sure I can speak for Metivier and his wife." I nod my head in acknowledgement.
As I'm led to my room, I begin to feel quite weary. Laying on the plush silken covers, I stare up at the ceiling with my arms behind my head, wondering. This case was strange, something happened that I missed. Then I'm led to the Godfather's question, what should he give the party goers? Ahhhhhhh, I know. They all worked hard on telling stories to each other. Perhaps each one should get 10 tokens just for telling stories? We'll award 20 and 30 tokens to stories that shine above the best. That's it, I'll tell him tomorrow.
I get under the blankets and fall asleep quickly. This was quite a night. Yes........I'll tell the Godfather tomorrow. 10 tokens for everyone that attended. They'll enjoy that. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ