Homicide Report: DOCKET NO: A0018-1 (Chapter 42, Lou Grant)

26 09 2009

METROPOLITAN POLICE, HOMICIDE DIVISION

POLICE CHIEF 456-7654, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES 457-2374

HOMICIDE REPORT

DOCKET NO: A0018-1

OFFICER INVESTIGATING:   Det. A. Armstrong                   BADGE NO. 13A5

SUBJECT OF REPORT: Louis Grant

I’m a little over protective when it comes to Miss Richards. I love Mary like a daughter. We were in a bar, the Blue Lagoon. Me and Mary. Not that we were drinking buddies. You can’t be a drinking buddy with a woman. Too complicated. You fall into the bottle and your genitals take over. On this occasion Mary seemed distracted. Her eyes kept wandering around the bar. Maybe it’s the product of years of being the boss, but I demand someone’s full attention when I’m talking to them.

LOU GRANT: Who are you staring at?

I grumbled as I looked around the room. In a darkened corner of the bar, a stranger sat watching us. I couldn’t make out what he looked like. The room was dark and I didn’t have my glasses on. I hate wearing glasses. Makes me look like Benjamin Franklin. And there was a lot of smoke. Stupid law to ban cigarette smoking. The police should have something better to do than run around nabbing smokers. I was smoking a cigar.

LOU GRANT: You want to leave?

Mary glanced toward the stranger in the corner.

MARY: Don’t you think that gentleman has the loveliest eyes?

LOU GRANT: Eyes! How the hell can you see someone’s eyes in this place? I can hardly see his face.

MARY: He looks sweet.

LOU GRANT: Drugs. Drugs’ll do that to your eyes. Anyone can have lovely eyes, whatever the hell that means.

Mary laugher and playfully slapped my arm.

MARY: You’re awful, Mr. Grant!

LOU GRANT: I wasn’t being funny.

MARY: Do you think someone like that might have killed someone?

I looked back at the dark figure by the bar and then at Mary. That’s an odd question for a young woman to ask, don’t you think? Never would have occurred to my grandmother to ask a question like that. I thought it was damn peculiar and I asked Mary why she asked it.

Mary shrugged her shoulders.

MARY: Just a thought, Mr. Grant. I’ve never met anyone who actually killed someone.

LOU GRANT: You’re still young. Trust me, you’ll be just as well off if you never meet such a person. Meet someone who has killed? Is this some kind of perverted dating service?

MARY: Have you?

I nodded. No use in denying it.

LOU GRANT: In the service.

MARY: That’s different. I meant an honest to gosh killer.

LOU GRANT: Why are you asking this, Mary?

MARY: Curiosity, I guess. Tell me, Mr. Grant. You worked on a newspaper for decades…

LOU GRANT: Years…

LAUGH TRACK

MARY: You must have met your share of killers.

LOU GRANT: Yes… my share…

MARY: What were they like?

LOU GRANT: On the whole I would say – unpleasant.

MARY: Is there something different in their looks, in the way they conduct themselves?

LOU GRANT: They look pretty much like anyone else, except that they’ve usually got blood on their hands. You’re not on anything, are you Mary?

Mary shook her head and laughed.

MARY: You mean drugs, right? Mr. Grant?

I nodded.

Mary shook her head.

LOU GRANT: Is it that time of the…?

MARY: Mr. Grant!

LAUGH TRACK

LOU GRANT:  You’ve been acting strange lately.

MARY: What do you mean, strange?

LOU GRANT: Everyone’s noticed it.

MARY: You’re making this up, Mr. Grant!

LOU GRANT: Gordie thinks you’re taking hormones.

MARY: What does a weather man know about hormones?

LOU GRANT: Sue Ann says that you’ve been reading too much.

MARY: You know that Sue Ann doesn’t read anything unless it’s got recipes in it.

LOU GRANT: The other day Murray asked me if there was an illness in your family. Your parents…?

Mary shook her head.

MARY: My parents are fine, Mr. Grant. I’m fine. Oh sure, I guess I have been acting odd. But doesn’t a person have the right to act odd now and then? Is there a law against it? Look at you, Mr. Grant! Aren’t there days when you’re not quite right?

LOU GRANT: Never!

MARY: Never?

LOU GRANT: Okay Mary, maybe none of these things add up individually, but look at all of them together! There are all these facts on the one side and what’s on the other side?

MARY: I saw the Maltese Falcon too! Oh, Mr. Grant! It’s this assignment. We’ve met such interesting characters during our interviews and I’ve…I have a lot on my mind.

I leaned back in my chair and began to tell the story of the time I had to cover the assassination of the Bolivian ambassador. I rambled on for several minutes before I noticed that Mary’s attention was elsewhere. Would you like to hear about it? No, I didn’t think so.

LOU GRANT: Why did you ask me here, Mary?

MARY: Excuse me?

I repeated my question.

LOU GRANT: It’s about Ted.

I grimaced. I do not approve of management involving themselves in the affairs of labor but, because the situation between Ted and Mary had the potential to affect the operation of the newsroom, I forced myself to listen. I’m not sure how any of this affects the present investigation but, if you wish, I shall continue.

MARY: I couldn’t talk to you in the office. Ted is so paranoid. He thinks that every time we talk, it’s about him.

I thought that the relationship between Ted and Mary had ended. I should have known better. Women can never let anything die of natural causes. They have to talk it to death.

MARY: Ted is under the impression that things are… that I still desire him.

I almost chocked. The thought of desire and Ted went down the wrong way.

MARY: I’ve seen a side of Ted that I never suspected. He’s so… sensitive.

LOU GRANT: Vulnerable?

I read about vulnerable men in Woman’s Day, a magazine my wife keeps by the can. Did you know that women are attracted by the feminine side of a man, to the dike in every guy. So women are attracted to men who are vulnerable, at least in the short term. After the divorce those same vulnerable men are described by their ex’s as wimps.

MARY: Yes, that’s it. Ted is vulnerable. He has an adolescent crush on me. He’s constantly phoning me. He wants to talk. About anything. So long as he can listen to my voice. At the office I see him and he has that sad puppy dog look as if I have abandoned him. I feel as if I can’t breath without Ted recording and filing it away to regurgitate it at some later date.

LOU GRANT: Isn’t regurgitate a little harsh?

LAUGH TRACK

MARY: Mr. Grant! That’s not the point.

LOU GRANT: Don’t you think you’re overreacting, Mary?

MARY: I read that this type of obsession can lead to abuse.

LOU GRANT: Where’d you read that? And why are there so many magazines for women?

MARY: Could we stay on track?

LOU GRANT: We’re talking about Ted, Mary! Ted may be a lot of things, I know that I’ve called him almost everything under the sun, but violent, Ted is not. A wet tissue is more dangerous than Ted.

MARY: Oh, Mr. Grant! If I tell Ted that there is no longer anything between us, I’m afraid of what he might do. To himself. I feel… responsible!

I laughed.

MARY: He might do something… crazy!

LOU GRANT: Please, Mary!

I gasped, holding my stomach.

MARY: It’s not funny, Mr. Grant! I still like Ted. And I value his friendship. I can’t just… abandon him.

LOU GRANT: Marry him!

MARY: You’re not being serious, Mr. Grant.

LOU GRANT: Screw responsibility, Mary! Too many people are flogging themselves with responsibility. Afraid to act, they claim to be inhibited by responsibility. Procrastinators. Liars. I’ve been responsible all my life. I got horny. Helen got pregnant. I felt responsible. I got married. I bought a home. More responsibility. I kept my job. I became ambitious. I pushed myself forward and everyone in my way I pushed aside. I wanted all these fine things for my family. I was being responsible. All the time I convinced myself that this was the way to do things, that this was how the responsible moral man operated. Lies, Mary. All the time I was avoiding the truth. I never wanted to be a journalist, a newspaper man, a television news director. Never wanted to get married. Never wanted kids, the house, the station wagon. Never wanted any of it. I wanted to be… a garbage man.

Mary laughed.

MARY: Mr. Grant, be serious!

LOU GRANT: I wasn’t trying to be funny! Every summer during college I worked on the back of a garbage truck. Met so many interesting people on the back of that truck. I

was never so happy as I was standing on the back of that truck, the sun in my face, wind in my hair. I had hair then. Felt like Errol the fucking Flynn. The world was at my feet. I was a god, blessed with divine purpose. I was cleaning up the planet. And this was before ecology became a fad. You may not believe this Mary, but I was living every young man’s fantasy. It was a job I was born for. And the girls loved me. Garbage men have their own breed of groupies and Mary, they’re all dolls. But I was a loser. I didn’t have the guts to admit that I had found my niche in life. It wasn’t prestigious enough. My family were all professionals: lawyers, accountants, dentists. Waste disposal was not deemed worthy of my talents. That’s why I chose another form of garbage collection -journalism.

MARY: What are you telling me, Mr. Grant? Dump Ted!

LOU GRANT: Dump him or marry the poor bastard! Those are your options.

MARY: That’s so cruel!

LOU GRANT: Ted’s a big boy. He’ll survive.

Mary did not take my advice. I was forced to take action on my own. I talked to Ted. Ted did not become suicidal. He was much too vain. It was a revelation to me to see Ted respond so maturely to disappointment. He curled up on my couch and wept like a baby. Mary and Rhoda continued to do spade work for the series we were doing on the city’s criminal night life. Small time thieves, pimps, hookers, drug dealers, gamblers. All the pillars of society. One of the women they interviewed I found intriguing. She was a whore named Sheila. Beautiful looking girl on the tape. She didn’t look too pretty after the beating she took… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Sheila smoked like a factory. When she wasn’t smoking, she was chewing gum. Ironic how women like that always have to have something stuck in their mouth. Couldn’t sit still in her chair. Difficult for the camera. She was born in Truro, Ontario. Two sisters. The runt of the family. Father a minister. Presbyterian. Went to John F. Kennedy High School. They were naming everything after the dead President. Canadians loved Kennedy. Sheila dropped out. Worked in a music store for a while. Aspirations as a band singer. Teenage drunk. Thrown out of her parents’ home when she was fifteen. Some indication that she might have been molested by her grandfather but she was reluctant to talk about it. Hitchhiked to Toronto. Got involved with a motorcycle gang in Cabbagetown. Next door to the old CBC studios on Parliament Street. Claims that she was rescued from the bikers by this fellow Michael. We didn’t believe that. These girls are always finding white knights to save them. If they don’t find them, they make them up.





A Conversation In An Elevator (Chapter 41, Lou Grant)

26 09 2009

A Conversation In An Elevator

Chapter 41

MURRAY: Lou, I’m finding all of this very disturbing

LOU GRANT: No kidding, Murray.

MURRAY: Lou, I just left Mary no more than five minutes ago.

LOU GRANT: Ya.

MURRAY: She’s fine.

LOU GRANT: Of course she is.

MURRAY: You just described the most horrendous story to me. About Mary. Our Mary. She shouldn’t be fine.

LOU GRANT: She’s a strong girl, Murray. Stronger than either of us imagined.

MURRAY: What are you talking about, Lou?

LOU GRANT: What do you mean, Murray, what am I talking about?

LAUGH TRACK

MURRAY: You’ve lost me, Lou.

LOU GRANT: How can I lose you. You were there.

MURRAY: Where?

LOU GRANT: At the apartment.

MURRAY: What apartment?

LOU GRANT: Mary’s. After the killings.

MURRAY: What killings.

Lou takes a series of papers out of a folder he is carrying.

LOU GRANT: These.

He hands them to Murray.

LOU GRANT: Don’t read them at night. They might give you nightmares.

LAUGH TRACK