“I swear I didn’t do it, you’ve got to get me out of here”, Russ pleaded with his long time attorney friend. “Come on, man, do you really think I’d do this?” “It was MY car, why would I torch my own car?”
“ I’ve been your close friend and attorney for the last eight years, but I’ve got to tell you, this time, Buddy, you really screwed up”.
Curtis was a highly respected and well paid attorney in downtown Chicago. He had lived in the same brownstone for the past thirty two years with his wife, Adriane. The two of them were looking forward to retiring soon. They had plans of moving down to Florida, buying a nice condo.
“Curtis,after all we’ve been through, you’ve got to know I’d never kill anyone. Who was in the car?”
“No one knows, the body was completely charred and unrecognizable.” “I don’t think I can stay with you this time, Russ, I’ve got plans, and Adriane would be heart broken if I had to stay on longer because of this trial.”
“Plans?…you’re talking about plans with your old lady and meanwhile the only plans I’ve got to look forward to….. is rotting in this prison?.” “I’ve got a family too, what about Linda?”
Russ loved his wife, Linda, but they had been having some problems. Russ’s position as the Chief medical advisor for Hope Hospital kept him away more than she liked.
“Well. Like I said, I got plans and frankly, I don’t know if a miracle could get you out of this one.”
A loud buzzer went off, a guard came in and said “your twenty minutes are up”, and with that Curtis got up, put on his overcoat and turned to leave, looking back for just a moment, he saw the look of pure hatred on Russ’s flushed face, his eyes were as red as a demons. “You leave me in the middle of all of this, you Bastard, and I swear………..”. But the door slammed shut before Curtis could hear the rest. He kept walking, right out of the front doors and right out of Russ’s life.
FIVE YEARS LATER:
Russ had managed to get another attorney to take his case, but it was five years of hell. He lost his wife, his job, and his friends. After years of trials the final verdict was insufficient evidence. They could never identify the body in his car, and his alibi remained air tight. Curtis could have got him off in half the time, but chose to abandon him when he needed him the most.Russ was a free man, but now he felt he had nothing left to live for…..except revenge. He vowed to himself that he would find Curtis, and destroy his life just like he had destroyed his, after all, they had been the best of friends up until that point. He just couldn’t understand why he turned his back on him.
Russ knew of the old tavern where Curtis used to meet with his colleges, someone there would know where he was. Daryl Rhines was sitting up at the bar in the same place he had for the last ten years. Russ had never met him personally but recognized him immediately, so he sat down right next to him and ordered a beer.Russ motioned to the bartender, “hey, have you ever heard of a guy named Curtis Malone?” The bartender nodded his head no but before he could ask why, Daryl added “ Oh, I hear he ended up somewhere down in Tampa, Florida….shame about his wife.” “What happened to his wife?” “Well, I don’t know all the particulars, all I know is he’s got some young sweet thing now.” “Lucky son of a bitch, I’ll probably end up retiring right here in Chicago, freezing my ass off with Mabel”
Now Russ was more determined than ever. While he was fighting for his life in prison, Curtis was laid up with some sweetheart in Florida without a care in the world. Russ got on the 1st flight to Tampa he could find. As soon as he got off the plane, he dialed information. That one call led him directly to Curtis and Linda Malone. 209 42nd Street N., Suite #3….. it was that easy. Wait……..surely that couldn’t be his Linda?, Russ’s mind went on a rampage………….if that is my Linda……….I swear I’ll kill him.
He tucked a small pistol in his pants pocket, took a deep breath and walked up to Suite #3. He rang the door bell…… the door swung open “Russ, I’ve been expecting you, I knew you’d come”. With a big warm smile he flung his arms around Russ and held him like a long lost love. He grabbed his face and kissed him passionately. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he pushed him away, yeah, I’ll bet you were expecting me.” First you leave me to rot in prison, then steal my wife and run off to Florida. Where is she? Where is Linda?
Oh, Russ… please forgive me for not being able to represent you, but I just couldn’t be that close to the case. I knew they’d get you off, shouldn’t have taken five years, but I couldn’t take any chances. “Take any chances?,…..what are you talking about?” “ Where is Linda?, I have to see her”.
“Linda had an unfortunate spill down the stairs a few months back, her drinking had really gotten out of hand.”
“Her drinking?, Linda hated alcohol.” “You killed her didn’t you, and what about Adriane, did you kill her too?”
“Well, actually you did……or at least they thought it was you, good thing she fried up so well, could have been a problem for both of us.” “sorry about your car”.
“Sorry about my car?, what kind of freak are you!?” “Why did you do this?
“Think about it, Russ……….if I had divorced Adriane, she would have taken more than half of everything I worked my whole life for”. “ her life insurance was worth seventy five hundred thousand dollars.” “As for Linda, well she would have done the same to you, so I took care of that for you, she was worth twice as much.” “ now we have a few million dollars, we’re set for life.” Curtis went on……………“I know you love me as much as I love you, even though we’ve only been intimate those few times, it meant everything to me.” “I had to mastermind a plan for us, I knew you couldn’t get away with murder, you’re too good,” “ I’ve spent my life defending guilty people and helping them go free.” “We deserve this, Russ, our lives can be perfect now, we have plenty of money and best of all….we have each other.”
Russ was shocked, he had been with Curtis intimately, but he thought it was just a little fling, just some long overdue sexual experimenting. He had to get away from him now, he was starting to panic, this man was a monster….a cold blooded killer.
“Hey, man, I’ve got to go for a ride and clear my head.” “I’ll be back in a little while.”“I’ll go with you” Curtis insisted.“No, I just need some time alone right now, this is a lot to take in, I’ll be back…… “look, all my clothes are right here in this suitcase, take it in, go make me a drink, I’ll see you in a few, okay?
“Is that a gun in your pants pocket?”……Russ smiled,….yes, here, take that too, I won’t be needing that,” With tears in his eyes, Curtis took the suitcase and the gun and reluctantly walked back into the house.
Russ didn’t care about his clothes or the gun, and that rental car couldn’t go fast enough back to the airport. The next morning, he explained everything to the authorities in Chicago and hoped they would act quickly, before he became the next victim.
Two days later he awoke to the sounds of loud knocking on his door. An Officer flashed his badge and said he was under arrest for the murder of Curtis Malone. This time they had all the evidence they needed. The neighbors identified him as being there at his condo in Tampa on the day of the murder. His flight was confirmed, his clothes were found at the scene The gun used to kill him was registered to Russ and was covered in his fingerprints.
“I swear I didn’t do it” “I told you what happened, he’s the monster” But despite all of Russ’s pleading, the story that he had told about what Curtis had done was over shadowed by his recent murder. Now the disappearance of Adriane was going to be opened back up, due to the apparent attempt at a cover up.
Russ was sentenced to death for two counts of murder,….. no one came to his burial.