Chapter Ten; Part Three
Wait a minute. Julianna left me all her money. Uncle said it was around three-quarters of a million dollars. If I invest carefully, I should be able to quit my job right now. Well, once the will goes through probate. I quickly Google how long it takes to process a will and find out it can take anywhere from a few months to a year. If someone contests the will, which I’m sure Eric will if he’s able, then it can take longer. In other words, I can’t count on that money any time soon. Then again, I have a healthy bank account, and if I’m very careful—I suddenly realize that I’m focusing on the money left to me by my murdered best friend. I start gagging, but nothing comes up. How could I be such a callous bitch as to spend my murdered best friend’s money? I put my face in my hands and weep. Onyx and Jet meep in protest, but they don’t follow me as I get up. Instead, they move together as one and curl up into a ball. I grab my smokes and go outside. I try to light one, but my hand is shaking. I steady it and light my cigarette. I take a long pull off of it and hold the smoke in my lungs. I deserve the punishment for being so cavalier about Julianna’s death. What’s more, I haven’t Googled anything else about it in a day. I made a promise to Uncle that I’d find Julianna’s murder, and I’ve been lax.
I go back to the couch and pull my laptop onto my lap. I Google Julianna’s murder and read a dozen articles. I don’t learn much that I don’t already know. She was killed in the wee hours of the morning by having her throat sliced and her tongue cut out. I learn that she was probably killed by some kind of hunting knife which the perp brought with him. Or her. I shouldn’t be sexist, though that kind of ferocity is more a dude thing. There’s a new tidbit—she was tied to her bed with her own scarves. Four scarves, one for each limb. The article lists the kind of scarves, and I realize I gave one to her for Christmas. It was a cashmere scarf from Nordstrom, and now it’s ruined. I brush that aside because it’s not relevant. OK. The perp planned ahead by bringing a knife, but he didn’t bring restraints? I’ve watched enough Criminal Minds to know that’s weird. Says to me that this person was, what? Impulsive? The person wanted to commit the murder, but didn’t think it through. Also, how did he know Julianna would be alone? Coincidence? I highly doubt it as Ramona had just left. Wait a minute. I sit up straight. The perp was watching Julianna! That had to be how he got her just after Ramona left. I scribble several notes to myself, my mind reeling.
Who would hate Julianna so much that he would stalk her? Who would have the time? Her ex-husband would have the time, probably, but not the means, I don’t think. What was the name of that woman who had plagiarized Julianna’s style at the Minneapolis Slammin’? Paula…no, that’s not it. Pamela…no. She’s a Latina…oh, right. Paola! I plug in her name and Minneapolis Slammin’. I come back with hundreds of hits, most of them related to her slam poetry. Her last name is Escobar, and she’s from New Jersey originally. She came here because the slam poetry scene here is second to none. Her boyfriend, Joey Simmons, came with her. This was three years ago, and they live in Loring Park in a two-bedroom apartment. He’s some kind of businessman, though there’s nothing explicit there. I raise an eyebrow at the fact that they have a yacht. A fucking yacht? He must be making bank for that kind of shit. What does she do? Not much. She claims to be a freelance writer, but I can’t find anything current written by her, at least not with a cursory search. That means she had plenty of time to stalk Julianna. What about Ramona’s husband? She said he didn’t work as hard as she did, and she was definitely lying about him being home that night. Goddamn it. This isn’t narrowing down my search at all. What about Eric, Julianna’s brother? On impulse, I call him. To my surprise, he answers.