Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 517 - Phil Beloin Jr.


“My wife is a very sensual creature, Mr. Trimble,” Clark Gibbon said.

Sometimes clients tell you too much.

“I have a picture of her,” he added.

He slid a photograph across the desk. He was dead-on. His wife oozed sexuality with flowing blonde locks and a saturating sheen to her eyes.

“Well?” Gibbon said.

“Well, what?” I said. I wanted to smoke, but Gibbon looked uptight, needing a P.I. to get the dirt on his better half.

“Do you mind if I smoke?” he said.

“Heck, no,” I said. “I’ll light it for you.”

And we smoked for a while. After he left, I took out my digital camera.

I latched onto Mrs. Gibbon outside her estate of marble and glass. Her hubby was an attorney suing companies for copyright infringement and anti-trust violations. Apparently, it paid well enough for an eight hundred room villa and a roadster imported from Italy. Mrs. Gibbon drove that gazelle like she was late for a meeting in Europe, too.

I had a stitch of trouble following her in my crumbling sedan, running stop signs and red lights, missing a bevy of stray critters, and even an elderly fellow in a wheelchair, who’s middle finger worked just fine.

It seemed Mrs. Gibbon didn’t want to be tardy for lunch, rushing inside our local French eatery with seven floors of hotel rooms stacked above it. I followed her into the restaurant, strolling over to the barman, who was busy wiping the shine off the polished bar top.

I ordered a pricey American beer and swivelled towards Mrs. Gibbon. She was more than sexy, she was electric, she was fire, she was everything more than a photograph could portray.

She was also not alone for lunch. She was with a man.

A man who turned out to be Clark Gibbon. Clark had donned a jacket and tie since he had left my office and what good lawyer didn’t suit up before jurisprudence?

Clark didn’t look my way so I ignored the Gibbons by turning back to the barman. He continued his buff and polish.

“You missed a spot,” I said.

He wanted to know where.

After a multi-course meal of ritzy cholesterol and gobs of saturated fat, the Gibbons paraded into the hotel lobby, past the front desk clerk, and into an elevator, which shot them straight to the penthouse suite for a whopping two-hour matrimonial dessert.

Clark was right about his wife’s sensuality. But he had also underestimated his own.

The missus came down by herself and flew her hotrod back to the homestead. I didn’t expect her to go out again—not unless she was a nymphomaniac—and it turned out I hadn’t lost my deductive skills. She stayed put until Clark came home after dark.

With an extended lunch hour like his, no wonder the counselor had to work late.

Two more times that week, Wednesday and Friday, the Gibbons met for lunch and a post-meal romp. Other than that, his wife remained home. Clark would roll in a little after sunset and I would roll off.

That Friday, I went back to the office. There were ashtrays that needed cleaning and a wastebasket that was overflowing. Which to do first? How about a smoke, Matt?

The phone rang and if I hadn’t been poisoning my blood with all the goodies blended into a harmless looking slender tube, I might have reached it on the first ring.

“Matt Trimble,” I said.

“Who’s my wife sleeping with?” Clark Gibbon said.

Only you, I thought, but said, “No one.”

“And you followed her?”

“All week.”


“Look, Mr. Gibbon...”

“Stay on it,” he said and hung up.

I took the weekend off—Clark had mentioned in our initial interview that he and his wife spent those two days together. Before heading out to tail the luscious Mrs. Gibbon on Monday morning, I opened the paper and saw the headline: LOCAL LAWYER DIES IN HOUSEHOLD FALL

According to Mrs. Gibbon, her husband had slipped at the top of the staircase, careened down one flight, through a balustrade where the stairs turned at a right angle, and then dropped headfirst onto the marble floor another flight below.

The police were ruling it an accident.

I went to the wake. I wanted one more look at the man who had thought his wife was cuckolding him. I knelt before my former client, had my look-see, and then stepped to the left to pay my respects to Mrs. Gibbon.

She still looked gorgeous—even in black—even with tears smudging her makeup.

“Mrs. Gibbon,” I said, taking her offered hand, “you don’t know me, but I did some work for your husband, and I want to express how sorry I am for your loss.”

“Thank you,” she said. “Mister...?”

“Matt Trimble.”

“Mr. Trimble, I appreciate you coming, and let me introduce you to Clark’s brother, Roger.”

“Sir,” I said to the man sitting next to her.

But I could say no more.

Clark Gibbon sat beside his wife.

But Clark was in the casket.

Clark was dead.

“I see,” Mrs. Gibbon said, “my husband never mentioned he was an identical twin?”

“No...no,” I said. “He didn’t.”

Sometimes clients tell you too much.

But sometimes they don’t tell you enough.

BIO: Phil Beloin Jr. lives in New England with his wife and children. He hopes you check out his novel, The Big Bad, on Amazon.com.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kept me happily rummaging along, going whoop-de-doop-de-doo, wondering exactly where this all was going . . . and then the twist snapped my head around and woke me up in time to appreciate the finely tuned irony of the last line. Very cool stuff.