Thursday, 24 April 2014

Plagues of New York

Time to send all New York matchmakers  SHEBUG: DISSECTING THE GOLD DIGGER…

Monday, 17 March 2014

Shebug Origin: West Coast Chapter Ten

Victoire went on the record claiming her husband accidentally slipped and fell to his death. The press kept busy recapping Prentice’s stellar career, their lenses focused on the beautiful, grief-stricken widow.
    Willy Waites’ name was never mentioned. After he managed to calm Victoire the night of Peter’s suicide, he agreed to disappear before the police arrived on the scene. “God forbid they think you and I were in cahoots and pushed him overboard to get to his money,” she told him. “Stay away until it dies down. Please, I can’t risk losing you, too!”
 He kissed her goodbye and bolted back to his apartment shaking like a leaf. Willy understood how Victoire suffered from shock after seeing Peter commit suicide despite her attempts to dissuade him. Deep down he felt sorry for the man and realised the courage it took Prentice to spare his wife from an imminent scandal.
Willy tried to see Victoire but to no avail; his only contact with her was by phone. “Victoire, I need to see you even if it’s clear across the room. I’m miserable without you,” he said aching for his beloved’s touch.
    “Sweet, sweet Willy,” she cooed. “I barely sleep these days with everything I’ve lived through. I look like a wreck. My stepfather has arranged for me to spend two weeks in a clinic. It’s in Switzerland.”
    The last time Willy saw her was at Peter’s funeral two months earlier and at a considerable distance. “When are you leaving?”
    “Tomorrow.” She overheard his groan of pain.            
   “Promise me you’ll come to see me the minute I return? Please Willy?”
    Two weeks after her departure, Willy turned up with an engagement ring in his jacket pocket.  Instead of seeing her radiant face, he was greeted by movers. Later, he phoned the residence of Dr. and Mrs. Vestey, but he was told they were out of the country.
    That same week an article about Peter appeared in the local paper. It claimed his estimated worth was fifty million dollars, three of which went to an arthritic foundation in New York.
    Willy never heard from Victoire again, and he subsisted in a state of despondency. Family and friends rallied round to keep him from slipping away, but the broken-hearted man never revealed the name of his lover to another human being.
    Artemis eventually intervened and urged Willy’s partner to temporarily take over all administrative duties and allow Willy to immerse himself in the creative side of business.
    The arrangement paid off. The three-year retreat into his tormented mind unlocked keystone ideas that would revolutionize computer programming. A week before his thirtieth birthday, the shy, intelligent face of Willy Waites graced the covers of Newsweek and Time on the same week.
    Waites’ claim to fame was a software package called ViperSoft, used by banks worldwide used to keep track of individual financial transactions. His wealth ranked just behind the Sultan of Brunei.
    Willy and wife Julie, whom he met in the R & D department at Bassadai, became dedicated philanthropists. The couple had six children and was happily married. They shunned publicity, and their children attended local public schools in Atherton, California.
    Victoire’s career prospects later exceeded her expectations when she married the president of Bolivia. The pock marked dictator and his high society wife lived like king and queen of La Paz for ten years until a military coup resulted in the couple being gunned down as they tried to board an awaiting helicopter to flee the country.
A sizeable portion of country’s coffers was found in thirty-two pieces of designer luggage aboard the aircraft.
   Most recently, CNN reported an unexpected private donation of computers to Bolivia with the aim of facilitating the growth of democracy and getting the economy of the debt ravaged country back on its feet.

     The ten million dollar gift remained anonymous.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Shebug Origin: West Coast End of Chapter Nine

Willy looked ill at ease at the far end of the dark wooden bar at the Silver Dollar and kept looking at his watch. Minutes ticked by as slow as molasses. His nerves made him jumpy. Four minutes to nine, the twenty-seven-year-old put down the rest of his lukewarm beer in one gulp and took off into the night.
    Heavy fog hung inches from the ground on the moonless night making it difficult to see more than a few feet ahead. “Shit!” he cried, barely missing a large raccoon crossing the road. He opened the window and shivered.
    I should have never left her alone, he thought, biting hard on his lip. I should have been more of a man and insisted on waiting outside in case things turned ugly.
    He imagined Peter screaming at her or worse yet, reacted violently at being exposed. His foot pressed harder on the gas pedal.
    “Damn it!” He pounded his fist on the steering wheel. He would confront Peter. After all, Victoire agreed to marry him as soon as the divorce came through. She even hinted about starting a family.
    He almost missed the turn off to the Prentice house. He hit the brakes, put the car in reverse and made a sharp left turn towards the jagged coast.  When their parked cars became visible, Willy swerved to one side and immediately switched off the lights. He put on his parka and stepped into the dark.
    The entire coast was socked in. Aside from the occasional distant foghorn, an eerie silence enveloped the night. Willy heard no voices, no screams. His eyes adjusted to the surrounding darkness, and he listened for a while longer before making his way around to the back.
    Shadows leapt up when the winds blew and startled him. Willy nearly lost his footing on a bush and fell against the side of the house with a thud. “Shit!” He hunkered down for a few minutes before continuing. Sweat trickled down his back.
Suddenly, the thought of facing Prentice unnerved him. Not only was Peter one of the top men in the industry he was still Victoire’s husband. He was wealthy, very well connected and powerful, very powerful. Willy groaned but carried onward, grinding his teeth.

# # # #

    A lonely hurricane lamp shone on the deck table like a warning beacon. Peter watched as Victoire suddenly got up and walked outside towards the light with the unearthly gait of a sleepwalker.
    But Victoire was anything but asleep. Time was running out. She knew Willy would turn up soon and didn’t want him to stumble into any unfinished business. She had to get Peter onto the deck while he was in shock and still malleable.
    “Victoire?” Peter’s voice grew closer. She hurried to the edge then turned around. She looked like a ghost against the moonless background. Waves slapped hard against the rocks below. Cypresses creaked and swayed like hunched giants heightening the surrealism.
    “Peter we’re ruined,” she cried. “There’s nothing left.” She turned away from him and gripped onto the railing.
    “Victoire, no, don’t say that,” he countered, taking her by the arm. She was shaking.
“If I’d been a better wife, if I’d paid more attention, you would have been happier,” she replied with sorrow. “I caused this, I must have-Oh God help us!”
    Her young face looked so stricken, her tone so bittersweet, so wrenchingly convincing. Peter instantly made his decision. He was ruined, and there was no possible way out for him.
    “Victoire, I caused this. Do you understand?” He grabbed her forcefully by the shoulders. Her eyes widened. “I’m to blame, no one else.”
    She placed her cold palms against chest. “Oh, Peter I want to get through this awful nightmare, but how?” she pleaded. “Help me!”
    The wild pounding of his heart became deafening, He gave her a quick last kiss, grabbed the railing and threw one leg over it. Victoire took a step back. Peter put the other leg over and said, “I didn’t kill the man, tell them. Do it for me!” The narrow edge was slippery. Peter looked down at the raging surf below frozen with terror. The cliff side glistened under the spotlights. He let go of one hand and was about to let go of the other when Willy came running towards them from the side of the house and screamed her name.
    She spun around, startled. “Willy?!”
    “Waites?” Peter cried out at the same time.
The face of the cliff appeared smoky under the glare of the lights.
    Victoire spun back around to face Peter and caught the penny drop in his red-rimmed eyes. Before Willy ruined her perfect plan, she hurled herself towards Peter screaming hysterically at the top of her lungs. Peter not only jumped out of skin, he accidentally let go of the railing and dropped from sight.
His wife watched in morbid fascination as Peter’s body ricocheted off the side of the cliff and became impaled on a sharp boulder below.
    Then she covered her eyes and shrieked, “Peter, no!!!”

Willy looked over the edge and saw waves wash over Prentice’s broken body. The tip of the sharp rock protruded from his bloody abdomen.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Shebug Origin: West Coast End of Chapter Eight

“Peter, you’re whoring around—with men! What do you expect me to think, let alone feel?”
    Oh my God, whom has she spoken with? Who else knows about the photographs? Why was I stupid enough to keep them?
“I know you’re in shock. I’ll, I’ll do all in my power to fix this somehow. Just, please, don’t do anything rash, Victoire. Please!” She’ll want a divorce.
    “But I’m afraid I have to, Peter. I’ve trusted you, gave you space, never questioned anything.” Her voice sounded frail.
    She’ll seek legal advice, and they’ll talk her into exposing me unless I agree to a huge settlement.
    His palms glistened with perspiration. He longed for air to think more clearly. “Have you spoken to anybody else?”
    “Do you mean have I told anybody about this or are you worried I might have seen a lawyer?” she asked accusingly. “No, Peter, how can you even think that?” She shook her head. “What do you take me for, a cold-blooded bitch?” Her hands tightened into fists. “I’m hurt, angry and scared beyond words but have been compassionate enough to keep my mouth shut!”
    Peter breathed an inner sigh of relief. “Victoire, if I told you it was a one off, crazy, regretful night, would you believe me?”
    She gasped. “Now you chose to insult me? Peter, please stop this, I can’t take any more of this. At least have the decency of telling me the truth!”
    He couldn’t argue the point. She was an intelligent woman whom he respected and whose company he enjoyed thoroughly. He took another sip of wine, but the bouquet turned sour in his mouth.
   He sat down and put his head between his hands. “Victoire, my lovely Victoire.” He sighed deeply. “I should have never married you. It wasn’t fair to you.” He looked at her with honest eyes. “At the beginning I tried to be a good husband. I swear to you, I tried.” He shook his weary head very slowly. “I have to accept all responsibility for my actions. I know I’ve let you down but I hope you’ll be forgiving, Victoire. It won’t mean much right now, but I do love you.” He did in his own way. “I’ll give you anything you want. All I ask is that we keep this secret, my secret, between ourselves.”
    She had no doubt he would take good care of her. She could have struck a very lucrative deal. But she was heady with power, consumed by greed and wasn’t about to settle for anything less than the entire pie.
    She walked over and knelt in front of him poised to unleash the final blow.
    “You know I would have never exposed your secrets, Peter.” A tear trickled down her cheek and landed on his knee. “But I’m afraid there’s so much more at stake here. You see,” she reached for his hands, “I’m afraid it’s no longer up to me now.”  Her colourless lips quivered.
    He looked at her quizzically. “What are you saying?”  She rose, walked back to a glass table and pulled out another envelope from her handbag.
“If this gets out, it’s going to kill your mother, Peter!” She handed it to him and burst into tears.
    Spooked, his shaky fingers opened it up. She watched his expression of quiet horror as he leafed through Willy’s stash. “Where did you get you get this? What is going on here?” She never heard a grown man’s voice tremble before.
    “Somebody is blackmailing us, Peter! They have the negatives and say they’re going to hang you publicly unless we pay them whatever they ask for, for as long as they ask.” She looked like a terrified doe.
“Was there a note?” he croaked. His heart had accelerated to a dangerous speed.
    Victoire put both hands over her rising chest. “No! I got a call this morning after you’d left for the office. I was told to see what they’d left me on the front steps.” She pointed to the envelope. “He said something about it being your comeuppance and how he was going to make us pay for the rest of our days!” The fright in her eyes echoed in her voice. She blew her nose, and took an extra beat for a more dramatic effect.. “I tried to trace the blackmailer’s call, but I couldn’t.”
     “Dear God,” Peter cried. He had lived long enough to know that in the game of blackmail victims never won. A surreal state took possession him. Time ceased to exist, and things seemed to move in slow motion. Wine laced with bile rose in his throat. He gagged and swallowed hard.
Victoire gasped. “Oh, Peter, what do we do? Tell me you didn’t kill anybody, please, tell me you didn’t!” She covered her face and leaned against his chest like a child. “Please make it all go away, I beg you!”
    “No, I didn’t kill anybody, as God is my witness.” His throat constricted uncomfortably. Victoire clung to him. Stupefied, he stroked her loose hair.
    The threat was no longer the exposure of his homosexuality but of being accused of murder. His brain flapped about like a fish out of water looking for solutions. No matter how this situation played out in court, he knew no lawyer in the country could save him from the humiliation.
    Bitter reality stared him in the face. Peter’s head sunk into his shoulders, like an old turtle: he would be permanently disgraced, on national television no less. His mother would collapse under the pressure of the news before the callous scrutiny of the press even knocked on her door.
    The damp night’s breeze brushed his stony face, and he looked up slowly. Victoire stood by the open window, her platinum hair blowing in the wind looking like a forlorn child, dejected and resigned. He hadn’t even felt her walk off. The logs in the fireplace cracked and spat angrily at the invading wind. A handful of glossies jumped up at floated about the room in a macabre dance.

    Victoire held onto the door and turned to look at the thundering surf. “It’s over, Peter. You won’t survive this scandal no matter how much we fight it. God knows who else out there knows! She looked away and cried out, “I’m scared, Peter, I’m so scared!” She fell to the floor in a heap and wept.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Shebug Origin: West Coast Continuation of Chapter Eight

Bradley, the overpaid chauffeur, sat 35,000 feet somewhere above America en route to an all expenses paid Caribbean holiday as Peter squirmed behind the polished wheel of his Mercedes heading for Tomales Bay to calm his frayed nerves for the weekend. Traffic ebbed and flowed, but he didn’t care. His emotions strained against the bog-like conditions precipitated by shock and a gnawing fear.
    Why he didn’t suffer a heart attack the night of the accidental death inflicted by Tarek’s garrote was beyond him. Peter was grateful the hysterical Turk screamed at them to get the hell out before the police descended upon the place.
    Victoire looked at her watch. She put on a jacket and walked outside the cliff house. Ribbons of fog skimmed over the salty waters scouting for terra firma. It was only a matter of time before the low hanging sun would be spirited away by the growing fog bank. Victoire’s footfall echoed on the newly enlarged deck, which extended dramatically over a two-story precipice. She flicked the light switch, pleased with the strategically placed spotlights illuminating the vertiginous drop.
    Victoire pulled out a lighter and carefully lit a large hurricane lamp on the deck table. Satisfied the stage was set, she headed back inside to wait for her husband.
    Peter walked through the door later that evening to find Victoire with her legs pulled up against her body in front of a raging fire, a glass of wine in hand. Without her neatly pulled back hair and customary deep vermillion lipstick, she appeared even younger.
    “Hello, Peter. I’ve been waiting for you.”
    Guilt knocked about in the pit of his stomach. He came over and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “You have no idea how happy I am you suggested we spend the weekend alone up here. It’s just what I needed.”
    His skin looks grey, like he has aged overnight. “Here,” she said, pouring him a glass of wine. “It’s your favourite year. I thought you might need it.”
     “Why don’t you get dinner organized while I take a shower and get changed?” He took a sip and savoured the full-bodied flavour. “I’ve had an exhausting day, and it’s been a very long drive.”
    “Peter, we need to talk.”
    His tight shoulders dropped. Peter simply couldn’t face a serious discussion. It would have to wait till the next day, depending upon his altered state of mind. “Not tonight, Victoire,” he declared as if dealing with a twelve year old. “Let’s have a quiet dinner and get to bed early. We’ve got the entire weekend.” He picked up his matching bag and briefcase.
    “Well I’m afraid this can’t wait, Peter. You might want to pull up a chair.”
     Branches scratched the windowpane and a low howl of wind travelled through the room.
    “Is everything okay? Is anybody sick?" he asked as if reciting by rota.
    She bit her tongue. “Nobody is sick, Peter. Please, just sit.”
    Annoyance flickered pointedly across his heavily hooded eyes. “Victoire, this better be important. I have enough on my plate as it is.”
    “I couldn’t agree with you more.” She produced the red manila from her large crocodile handbag and handed it to him.  “Open it up.” Her tone was riddled with hurt
    His mouth went suddenly dry, and he found it hard to swallow. “What is this?”
    “You know exactly what it is!” She crossed her arms over her chest and looked away.
    He knew what was coming. His quicksilver mind sought solutions, plausible excuses. 
    “For how long…”His arms flew up and his head fell back against his interlaced fingers.
    “For how long have I known, Peter?” she asked, looking at him with incredulity. “How could you, wasn’t I good enough for you?”
    Peter felt as if he’d been physically punched in the stomach and covered it with his hands. He had no excuses. “I didn’t mean to hurt you in any way,      Victoire, I swear to God! You have to believe me. I am so, so sorry.” His voice dropped to a muffled whisper.
    Victoire spun around and bent her head in mock despair.
He got up and tried to explain and comfort her. “Victoire, it’s me, it’s not you.”
She went deadly quiet, her blue eyes remained fixed on a point in the distance, unseeing.
    “For the love of God, I’ve given you everything you ever wanted, Victoire, haven’t I? Haven’t I been good to you?” he looked about the house, gesturing at the exquisite interior and the dramatic view. “You don’t lack anything.”
       “I thought we had the perfect marriage, that you loved me when all along, I was just a decoy.” Her voice cracked.

    Everybody has a price, he thought, and he needed to find out hers. “Victoire, maybe we can work it out somehow...”

Monday, 17 February 2014

Shebug Origin: West Coast Chapter Eight

Seventy-two hours after the incident, a young man dressed in a suit and tie browsed through a high-end gadget shop in Ghirardelli Square to kill time.
    “Willy?” Victoire asked, sidling up to him.
    He spun around beaming with anticipation. Three weeks, five days and fourteen hours passed without losing himself in her arms. “I missed you so much, if I don’t kiss you right now, I’ll die!”
    Her eyes narrowed. “Willy, I told you: we can’t take any risks. I just can’t.”
    His fingertips caressed the side of her face. “Okay, okay. Don’t freak out.”
    “Are you making any progress, Willy?  It feels like ages, and I’m finding it increasingly more difficult to pretend all is well.”
    Peter had looked unusually forlorn and stuck close to home insisting she stay with him. She thought he might have a cold, but there were no physical symptoms. She left the house on a false pretext to meet Willy only because he persisted over the phone.
Willy took something out of a bag and handed it to her. “I brought you something.” Victoire’s mood lifted when she saw the packet.“It’s my gift to you, Victoire, negatives and all!” He grinned and watched her devour the contents.
    “Oh-my-God,” she uttered, carefully inspecting every single shot.” Her entire body tingled, the cold forgotten. “These police pictures and the ones with ambulance,” she inquired, sitting upright keeping the evidence held close to her chest. “Are they in any way related to the story on the news about the dead gay guy?”
    Willy leaned back on the hard bench, crossed his arms, smiled widely and nodded.
    Victoire looked at the pictures again, thinking them too good to be true. Her jaw remained wide open.      “Did Peter kill him?”
    Willy shook his head. “Apparently not. The police are looking for a Turk. He’s the one who got the hell out of the place first looking like the Italian mob was on his tail. Peter and the other two stormed out right afterwards. Check it out.”
    But Victoire heard all she needed to know and much more. Suddenly, her blackmail plan took a more twisted turn. An unearthly look took possession of her face. “Do you know what this means?” she whispered.
    “Are you telling me?” he chortled. “I saw them escape the scene of the crime. Victoire, your husband just might be an accessory to manslaughter!” He rubbed his cold hands with glee. “Wait till the press gets a hold of this.” He bounded up and gestured with his arms. “A story of this magnitude is going to rock more than just Silicon Valley. Victoire, all you need to do is drop off the pictures at any police station-anonymously-and you’ve got your freedom!”
    The hand Victoire hoped to play was much less public. “Wait!” she pleaded. “Just wait, okay?” She stood up clutching the package possessively. “I’ve got to think here.”
    A sense of dread assailed him. He expected an entirely different reaction from her. His shoulders slumped. 
    “I don’t get it, Victoire. You are now in a position to call every shot. Why on earth would you hesitate?” He looked pained, muddled.  “Please don’t tell me you have feelings for the guy!” A gust whipped his straight hair about his pale face.
    Victoire immediately nuzzled up against his ear and cooed, “No, darling, no. I never have.” She touched him briefly on the mouth. “But I just can’t see a man like Peter capable of hurting anybody, despite everything he is or is not. He’s kind and generous to a fault.” She stood back keeping her hands on his chest. “What kind of a person would I be if I threw him to the wolves, Willy? I couldn’t live with myself. I’ve got to talk to him. Alone.”
     “You do what you think is best, Victoire. Just know that I love you. I’ve loved you since the morning I first saw you. There isn’t a day, even an instant, that goes by that I don’t yearn for you. You told me yourself you’re unhappy because you don’t really love the guy. But now you know what he’s all about, and what really makes him tick. Victoire, it’s all there in black and white.” He shook his head and took her face in his hands. “You deserve much more, so much more. Don’t let pity blind you.”
    Victoire went in for the kill. “Willy, I’ve prayed so hard to hear you say those words, you have no idea…”
Willy gobbled up the intense, unrestrained hunger of her brief, deep kiss. Every nerve ending in his body sprung to life.
She pulled back and stared at him intently. “I love you.  I love you so much that if you don’t wait for me, Willy Waites, I’ll lose my mind!”  She grabbed him by the tie.  “Swear to me you’re mine, mine alone and that no matter what, you’ll never let me go!”

    He pulled her so close to him that she could barely breathe.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Shebug Origin: West Coast End of Chapter Seven

Time spent with Victoire consisted of passionate encounters at Ricky’s Hyatt in Palo Alto or his apartment, one more memorable than the next. Every time he ran his hand and mouth over her body he caught glimpses of heaven. She called him a twentieth century visionary, a legend in the making. She told him he was magnetic, irresistible and sexy in the throes of passion, and he believed her.
    The weekend could not come soon enough to join her in the cliff house. When Friday’s affairs came to an end, he pulled out Victoire’s directions and headed for their rendezvous in Tomales Bay. Peter was in Chicago with plans to return early Tuesday.
Victoire took advantage of his absence to instate phase two of her scheme. She was rehearsing her script when the knock came. “I’m so happy you’re here,” she cried, wrapping her arms around Willy like a frightened bird. He held her with equal force, and she felt his excitement. “Willy, I found something,” she pulled back, her blue eyes big and wild, “something so shocking, I’m beside myself!”
    “My love, what is it?” He placed his hands on her shoulders. “You look so spooked!”
    She took him by the hand to the living room and pulled out a manila envelope from a bag. “I found these.” She took out the sordid photographs and handed them to Willy. He went pale looking and shook his head in disbelief. He was speechless.
    Victoire let a tear trickle down her quivering lips. “It’s vile… it’s perverse- and Peter’s the man I’m married to!” She gasped. “ I had no idea!
    Willy put the photos down and went to console her. “You’ve got to divorce the son-of-a-bitch. I don’t believe this. God, I never imagined.” He pulled her up from the sofa. “You’ve got to divorce the son-of-a-bitch, Victoire!”
    “I want to Willy,” she said looking meaningfully at him, “now more than ever.” She walked slowly towards to enormous windows.
    She told him how from the onset, she wasn’t in love with Peter and how her mother pressured her into marrying him. Knowing how unhappy and lonely Victoire really felt allowed him to become her knight in shining armour. He jumped into his steed’s saddle fully charged and ready to do battle for her.
 “You must call an attorney, Victoire. Don’t delay. Make an appointment first thing Monday.”
    “I have.  I called one once I got my breath back.”
   “And? What did they say?” His eyes shone with hope. “It shouldn’t be too complicated, Victoire. You’ve got all the proof you need!”
    “They said I need more evidence.”
   “What? Did you show them that shit?” he asked, pointing toward the glossies.
   “Yes! According to the lawyers, Peter could argue that they were doctored, that they’re fakes and that somebody was trying to blackmail him.”
   Rumours about the CEO circulated down the corridors prior to his nuptials. “Are you kidding?  It’s him in those shots. Have them blow them up if they need a closer look.”
    “Another lawyer told me basically the same thing. What am I supposed to do? Do a stake out? He’d recognize my car in a flash.” A gust of wind hit a low-lying cypress. Its branches clung to the side of the house making scratching sounds on the glass. “Who can I possibly ask for help, Willy?”
    Willy called in sick to work Monday and spent the long weekend in the arms of his muse planning Prentice’s demise.

# # # #

    Tuesdays and Thursdays Peter went on the prowl. On those evenings, Willy checked into a motel on Van Ness Avenue under a false name and paid cash while he followed his target’s moves.
    The CEO frequented an establishment near Polk Street and another off Market. To Willy’s surprise, Bradley drove his boss to and fro his clandestine rendezvous. Peter tended to arrive alone, but usually exited with the same three men: two Caucasian, one Middle Eastern.
    The stakeouts took their toll on Willy after a month: his skin turned pasty, he gained eight pounds on a diet of submarine sandwiches, donuts and copious amounts of coffee. It wasn’t until the third week that he felt secure enough to park nearer the locations and shoot film. But that evening, instead of their usual exit time, the delicate looking Middle Easterner of the foursome burst out of a nameless establishment wearing nothing more then a look of panic. He hopped on his Harley and sped off to the sound of burning rubber.
In no time, Peter and the remaining entourage came out looking as if they had seen a ghost. Willy shot as many pictures as possible and held his breath. The two men were half-dressed; Peter wore a wife beater T-shirt and fringed chaps without the trousers. He gestured wildly with his arms. Bradley pulled up seconds later. The men pushed their way inside the awaiting car. Willy refocused and aimed the telephoto lens at the get away car until the Mercedes disappeared from view.
    Willy pulled off the baseball cap he wore during every night of his mission and slumped back onto the car seat. A feeling of intense relief flooded his cramped up body. Gotcha! It’s over, he thought. He turned on the engine and carefully dismantled the large lens from the camera while the car warmed up.
No sooner had he placed it back in its case, two police cars descended upon the Victorian house, their sirens at full blast. Willy hunkered down and turned off the ignition. He reached for the cap and placed it back on his head. His hands shook. Slowly, he lifted his head to peer out the window. Pandemonium ensued as a hoard of horror-struck men ran from the place like cockroaches under a fluorescent light.

Willy watched with astonishment as the cops stuffed two men in handcuffs into the back of a police cruiser.