Death Was in the Picture

Death Was in the Picture by Linda L. Richards Read Free Book Online

Book: Death Was in the Picture by Linda L. Richards Read Free Book Online
Authors: Linda L. Richards
sigh and took a hit of bourbon, like he was hoping the drink would add clarity. I’m guessing it did not. Finally he grunted. I took that to mean he wanted me to explain myself.
    “It’s just the way they talk about him. Here,” I said, “listento this: ‘When the news vaults are considered, very little is known about Laird Wyndham, beyond the most basic of studio-provided information.’ See? What does that mean, Dex? They’ve been writing about him constantly for as long as I’ve been old enough to read a newspaper. And now—suddenly—they don’t know anything about him. I don’t understand.”
    “Maybe they’re trying to distance themselves from all the nice things they said in the past.”
    “I get it,” I said grumpily. “Now that the chips are down, they’re not sure which way they’re going to land.”
    Dex cracked a smile. “Listen, Kitty: you’re the one who went to the big fancy school up in Frisco, not me. But I’m pretty sure you’ve mixed up those metaphors pretty good.”
    “Well, you know what I mean, Dex. Anyway, it says here the MacKenzie girl was a starlet,” I said, getting back to it. “And lookit: they even used the word ‘dewy.’ I don’t think I’ve ever seen that word in a sentence before.”
    Dex snorted. “Well, it don’t fit the girl I saw, that’s for sure. It might have once. It didn’t anymore. Last night she didn’t look dewy so much as soaked. Leastwise,” he added, “when she was alive, I mean.”
    “‘Dewy,’” I tried it out on my tongue. “It wouldn’t fit a lot of people, I’m guessing. Wouldn’t fit you, Dex,” I laughed.
    “I was dewy once,” Dex said. “Woke up one morning on someone’s lawn.” He looked at me closely. Squinted. “Guess it would kinda fit you, though.”
    “Huh,” I said, lobbing the sports section at his head before I settled back into my reading. He caught it deftly, nodded thanks and bent to it. I was glad to see his hand-eye coordination had recovered. Despite the fact that he was drinking again. Or maybe because of it.
    The rest of the article about the MacKenzie girl was more of the same. I moved on not knowing much more about Fleur MacKenzie than I had going in. Obviously the reporter hadn’teither, but had just shuffled the information available into various patterns in an effort to fill out his allotted space.
    I moved on to a piece about Wyndham’s background, and here things got a bit more interesting. From the looks of things, the reporter had been so busy digging up dirt on the actor he hadn’t bothered spending much time on the girl. Perhaps that would come tomorrow. Meanwhile there was enough material on Laird Wyndham to keep Hollywood tongues wagging for the next two weeks.
    For starters, I read, he hadn’t been born Laird Wyndham. “Oh dear.” I read: “‘Charles Richard Dickey.’”
    “What’s that?” Dex said, looking up.
    “Wyndham’s real name: Charles Richard Dickey.”
    “Chuck Dick Dickey?” Dex smirked. “That ain’t good. Sounds like a clown throwing up.”
    “And he’s not from Boston,” I went on.
    “Sure he is,” Dex said. “Old Boston family. Tea parties and stuff. I remember reading that much myself.”
    I shook my head. “Uh-uh. Orchard Street. Lower East Side. Manhattan.”
    “Means nothin’ to me,” Dex said.
    “Me neither. But the way they’re saying it here,” I tapped the paper in my lap, “not good.”
    “Well, I don’t care. And I figure you don’t care, am I right?”
    I nodded agreement. “I don’t care. And if changing your name meant you were a murderer, why … everyone in Hollywood would be in the hoosegow.”
    “It’s true. Lotta people in that business change perfectly good names. Let alone Chuck Dick Dickey. Naw, he’s no murderer. In fact, I’d put money on it. I was there. I know what I saw. And you can roll a baby in baking flour, but that don’t make him a polar bear.”
    I hesitated, derailed for the moment by the vision of

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