Narrator: A tall, disagreeable sort of man towered over the table nestled parallel to the back of the couch. In one hand he held the base of a telephone and in the other the receiver.
It was easy to tell by just looking at him that he had been very skinny and lanky decades ago. The years had since taken their toll. His hair had a similar worn disheveled air. It was a bit course with out of place feathered ends. The color ranged from a medium gray to a light mousy brown. It was in the process of drastically straying from the latter.
Though he was physically large and intrusive, none of those qualities were what turned heads.
His voice was what attracted those who first approached him. It overwhelmingly loud and booming. It was the sort of voice you could hear clearly at a party from across the hall. Though the sound levels were not it's only draw. The obnoxious bass was framed with a very worn in British accent.
Each word he spoke into the phone, no matter how small, had power. He forged each word without thinking, a slurring of instinct and inhibition.
He stood impatiently listening to the voice on the other end. His restlessness was shown in the haphazard and random way in which he jostled the base.
The windows in front of him would've have been letting in a beautiful bright welcoming gesture symbolizing the entrance into the afternoon, but he kept the thick drapes unmoved, sealing in the dark dank colors that seemed to be decades old. The room itself was a decent size, and the walls were covered in a thick decadent paper. Its style gestured its age, not it's condition. In fact, the only flaws in it seemed to cluster near any door frame.
The hardware was a demure silver. Not real silver, but realistic looking enough. This encompassed everything from the lamp base to the desk drawer handles. The couch perched in the center on the room, was draped in a stiff fabric housing a leafy pattern that seemed to dance across it mechanically. The only out of place feature was the man himself. He very obviously broke the aesthetic. His brow furrowed, a subtle reaction to the news he was receiving. He was very obviously trying to hold back his ire. An easily tempted demon.
Thomas: I don't care. Fix…Fine…
Narrator: With one swift motion, he slammed the receiver onto the base that he was still holding in his left hand, then threw it against the wall. It shattered into hundreds of pieces. The flecks broke off in slow motion creating a starburst of freedom that lightly showered his face. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Another man peered in from the hall. He was significantly shorter and better looking.
Richard: What was that? (Pause) Thomas... We can't keep buying new telephones.
Thomas: The shareholders are not happy.
Richard: I'm sure it will be...it will work out... Have you heard from Genera?
Richard: Let's just wait it out, we are already here, might as well…
Narrator: Thomas clumsily walked over to the desk that sat diagonally from the couch. The desk was covered in dozens of loose papers. Some final designs and others not even worth mentioning. The only portion of that cluttered corner more distracting was the poster of the car they tacked to the wall above it, Their pride and joy The Copan 12. The newest and most sold automobile in England. A creation that manifested in Thomas's garage years before. Thomas wistfully shuffled through the papers. He picked one up, a sketch of a car similar to that on the poster. He looked at it, his demeanor was unmoving.
Thomas: I know we can make this work here.
Richard: Of course, even if Genera doesn't work out, there are other options... If the Copan can be sold back home it can be sold here.
Narrator: Thomas walked over to the bar cart and begin to pour himself a drink.
William: So…have you heard anything?
Thomas: Of course not.
William: Oh, I'm sure they will come through.
Narrator: Richard slowly walked behind the couch. William saw what he was approaching and began to laugh. Richard methodically picked up each piece. He laid them all on the table where the whole phone was typically kept. He tried forcing some of the larger pieces together very ungracefully, similar to how a child would have. Thomas leaned his head back to see what he was doing.
Thomas: Don't bother. I'll get another one.
William: Are you sure? I don't mind stepping out again.
Thomas: No, no I'll go.
Richard: … he was making me nervous, I hope he is feeling better by the time he returns. I mean, there is no reason to get upset yet.
William: Oh! Have you seen the Times article?
Richard: No! What did it say?
William: It's not bad, at least in my opinion. (Reading) The Copan 12, the front-runner in small car fortune finds opportunity in America. Copan, the Ford of Europe, invented the Copan 12 which sold thousands. Though, no deals have been made, the American people are in the market for a smaller car.
Richard: That’s not bad at all.
William: I'm not done. (Reading) Though the demand is there, the stockholders of Copan are angry with the idea of a potential deal with the current interested party, Genera.
Richard: Thomas is going to hate this. Though, it's still not the worst outcome.
William: What should we do?
William; Yes, lots.
Richard: I don't think we should react yet.
Narrator: Both men sat side by side positioned straight towards the bay window.
As though they were synchronized they both aggressively hit their glasses to their lips. William took a breath and slowly began to relax.
William: It's nothing we didn't already know.
Richard: Now everyone knows.
Narrator: Thomas eventually returned and immediately hooked up the new phone.
Thomas: Hello? (pause) stop…you’ve made a large mistake, you ignorant…. (hangs up phone)
Richard: The deal is off isn't it?
Thomas: A bunch of wankers.
Richard: I'll check out the town tomorrow and see if we can find something else. Don't worry about it, this will work out.
Narrator: His words were meaningless to him and he stormed out of the room.
Richard could hear his heavy footsteps crush the floor tiles beneath him as he walked through the hallway and out the front door.
Narrator: Richard was sitting at the desk sketching, William was doing the same but from the couch. There was a distinct difference in their methods. Richard was very organized and practical, William, messy and chaotic.
William slumped over dozens of papers which caused several to make their way to the floor.
Richard: Do you know if he’s is awake yet?
William: Yeah, I saw him rummaging around the kitchen earlier.
Richard: Oh good, after we ditched him last night I was a little worried.
William: He would have done the same thing to us.
Richard: Obviously….I really like the solid disc wheels.
William: Do you think it is a problem that we are both using them?
Richard: Wheels don't make the car, but they do look nice on their own.
Narrator: The wind fluttered past the window. The old glass panes framed with weathered metal shook violently in its wake. Richard looked up, his eyes reflecting alarm.
It was very obvious that he was uncomfortable when any potential of a storm reared its head.
Richard: This trunk is giving me more trouble than it's worth.
William: Attaching it on the outside is the only option.
Richard: That is not true.
William: I'll figure it out.
Richard: (surprised yet amused) I really can't believe he made it back.
(Willman and Richard laugh)
Narrator: Thomas was wearing the same pants he had on the night before, but a different shirt. He was carrying a used bowl of food, that he almost let slip out of his hands. With his free hand he smacked the light switch turning off the ceiling light.
Thomas: You fuckers. (aggressively but with a hint of affection.) I had to walk two miles to get back here. (Disgruntled moan)
Richard: Well, at least you were well enough to change your shirt
Thomas: I only changed it because the one I wore last night was covered in vomit. Otherwise I wouldn't have even bothered.
Narrator: Will tried to calmly pull his papers out from under Thomas’ butt and legs. Thomas sat up to figure out what was moving beneath him. He pulled one of the drawings close to his face.
Thomas: (gruff throat noise). I can't believe you guys are still working on this after yesterday.
William: It's a good product. I'm not ready to give up on it yet.
Richard: I wonder if there are any events listed in this paper that would be worthwhile for us.
William: That is a good point, we really don't have any knowledge of what events are common around here.
Richard: It can't be much different from England, We are brothers.
William: Weird step brothers if anything.
Richard: What is that? (pointing to an advertisement in the newspaper)
William: I honestly have no idea...Wait, what about this?
Richard: Oh my goodness, that's genius! Thomas, take a look at this
Thomas: (Grabbing news paper) Holy shit, this might actually work. Get them on the phone now.
Narrator: Richard ran to the phone and dialed. Thomas grabbed the phone roughly from Richard s small hand and stood there attentively.
As he waited on the phone the two other men entered the hallway.
William: A World's Fair...
Richard: Have you been to one before?
William: A long time ago.
Richard: Do you think we will be ready for what they need from us?.
Thomas: It does not matter what it takes, we are doing this.
Richard: It's a good thing that we continued to work on our designs.
William: It doesn't matter how much more time we get. I have a lot more I want to try, readiness is not realistic.
Thomas: You can come back in.
William: Do you think we should have both prototypes?
Richard: I don't see why not, having more options makes everything more appealing to more people. Thomas: No. More options confuse people. We are sticking with one for now. Giving the public an opinion is not cost-effective.
William: So? What did they say?
Thomas: We discussed what we were looking for- I have to run down to the courthouse to get the forms. I'll get the official information that we need there. I'm heading over right now.
Richard: I actually think this is going to work
William: Well let's hope so, it is our only option right now, though I won't mind if the project ends here.
Richard: You know, I would not mind that either, there are tons of jobs at home for us. Let me see your design.
This one is nice, the lines are very clean, though I don't know about this trunk.
William: That's exactly what I have been struggling with.
Richard: To solve that problem I came up with this concept.
William: What about storage? Am I missing something? Not seeing the storage container.
Richard: Behind the seats.
William: I tried that. I didn't like the confinement.
Richard: I understand, but my measurements are different than yours so it worked for the size I'm working with.
William: I'm still convinced I will be able to get my idea to work properly.
Richard: Four engines?
William: of course.
Richard: So we're really are just competing in physical appearance.
William: I wouldn't say that, physicality is my last concern, function is more important.
Richard: I don't agree. Creating something different and something better is important. We are trying to outdo the Model- T. That's why I made sure my car was obviously smaller,
William: Whether that will work or not, I do like your paint concept here.
Richard: I wanted something that inspired the imagination to envision the car moving fast down the road.
William: I'm not worried about speed.
Richard: Wow, what a shock. Though... I'm not necessarily promoting that it's fast I'm just implying it. The dream is more important, it makes the journey more fun.
William: I wonder how Thomas is going to react to these, he's very particular.
Richard: You act like I don't know him. He's gonna destroy us.
Richard: Actually, as long as he can get his big head in there we are fine.
William: Oh, I've been wanting to ask you, do you have an estimated consumption?
Richard: Should be the same as our 12, around 1600 km per 2 quarts of oil.
William: Mines a little bit heavier but around the same.
Narrator: After a long night out, they returned to the house. They were all deep in a drunken stupor. Thomas was singing his own praise, loudly and obnoxiously. That usually annoyed the other two but they were too happy to care.
In the sitting room, Richard poured everyone more drinks and the night continued.
The car spectacle was one of the most popular attractions that night at the fair. They were approached by dozens of people interested in buying one the spot, that they had to start a waiting list for the first American models once they were manufactured.
Thomas tried to stand, he was very heavy and had trouble pulling his body up to a standing position. When he made it to a reasonably stable standing position he started to sway. His uncoordinated movements turned into a sort of dance.
The action accompanied by chanting complete gibberish. William immediately recognized the dance as one they learned traveling in Africa years before. It was barely recognizable, yet very apparent by the tune of the gibberish.
After a few seconds, he bowed to the forces of nature and collapsed into the couch again.
If anyone had seen their state they would've called the police. They were rowdy, crude and very loud. After eating to try and suppress the alcohol they all eventually passed out.
William had found his way to the desk and was slumped over it wearing a newspaper hat. Richard made it to his bed and Thomas somehow ended up under the phone table.
Despite the bright sun shining outside signaling the afternoon, the room was dark and frozen. The drapes were thick velvet and were usually drawn by Thomas. The sun did not have a chance that day.
The phone rang in the still hours of the afternoon. It's metallic bell, buzzed echoing off the walls, yet it stirred no one. There was a break, as though they hung up, then the began to call again.
Richard was the only one responsible enough to be awake, he had just finished eating and staggered in the dark through the hallway. His shirt was still unbuttoned and was only wearing long johns on his legs.
Richard: Hello? (Raspy) What? Wait?
Narrator: He tried to shake off drunken stupor, though he was not successful.
Richard: Excuse me one moment.
Narrator: He looked down and saw a glass of water on the table among the garbage and while holding the receiver away from his face he tossed it covering his head with icy water. He let the cold liquid drip down his face and returned to the phone seconds later.
Richard: Sorry about that. How can I help you? Yes, very much so.We are very open to that. Thank you very much! We will be waiting to hear the rest of the details! Thank you! Goodbye!
Narrator: He could not fathom the news he heard. After snapping back into reality he began to yell excitedly. He ran over to the desk where William was slumped over.
Richard: We got an offer!
Narrator: He looked around to see if Thomas was around and jumped back when he saw his enormous gorilla-like arm hanging out from under the table.
Richard: Thomas! We just got a call!
Narrator: William stirred behind him, but Thomas did not move at all. Richard, whose voice was less than loud ran to the window and pulled open the thick curtains.
The bright light flooded the room uncomfortably. Every corner was revealed to the outside. Even Richard, who had been awake for a bit feeling the light cutting right through him. Thomas, who was very particular about the lighting he slept in, began to wake up.
Thomas: What the hell is going on?
Richard: Thom! Get up I have good news!
Thomas: Shut up unless we got an offer.
Richard: We did. That is what I've been trying to tell you!
Thomas: Damn it. You better be serious about this.
William : What's going on?
Thomas: Richard said we got an offer
Richard: We did. A company in Butler Pennsylvania called they want to manufacture the Copan 12. He said he would call back with more details later today.
Thomas: The fair really worked.
William: I'm glad, I feel like I've been through the ringer.
Thomas: That's how you know you did a good job. Alright alright, we can call it a day, let's all get some food and go back to bed.
Narrator: William was so relieved he did not say a word and slowly shuffled off, with one shoe missing, to the kitchen.
Thomas: Was he wearing only one shoe?
Richard: I did not notice (laughing)
Thomas: He was definitely only wearing one shoe.
Narrator: The men found themselves eating dinner together in the living room around nine o'clock, they were decently rested and less hungover. Their relaxation was interrupted by a phone call.
WIlliam: I got it. Hello? Yes he lives here. What? Would you lie to speak with him? Hold on.
Richard: Hello? Oh….I….what….?
Narrator: Richards pallor drained as he stood silently with the phone to his ear.
Thomas: What's wrong?
Richard: My father…. was murdered.
Narrator: Thomas and William did not accompany Richard to his hometown for the funeral. Richard was very private regarding his family and though they offered to accompany he declined.
Sarah: Oh my goodness Carl you will never guess who's here!
Sarah: It's Richard
Carl: Richard ol boy how are you?
Richard: Fine. Lovely to see you both.
Carl: Come on in.
Richard: wow this place hasn't changed much since I was here last.
Sarah: When were you here last?
Richard: I don't think I've been back since I moved away. I was eighteen years old so... A long time.
Sarah: we don't come up here much anymore either. Have a seat I'll get some food.
Richard: Actually I just ate...
Richard: is she okay?
Carl: what do you mean?
Richard: isn't she normally a lot... meaner.
Carl: (laughs) she's calmed a bit with age I suppose.
(Clara walls past door)
Richard: Who was that?
Carl: Clara...you know Your father's...
Richard: oh my she's much younger than I imagined
Carl: I hope she doesn't go into the kitchen Sarah isn’t going to handle her well.
Richard: wait, isn't this more her house....why are we staying here...
Carl: She doesn't care, in fact this is only her second appearance since we arrived.
Richard: Well considering everyone's opinions of her I can't blame her.
Narrator: The next morning they all stood around his grave. The body was lowered into the ground as it rained delicately as though nature knew the mood the scene needed.
Sarah was angry that Clara spoke at the ceremony and kept her arms crossed rigidly in protest of her existence.
Everyone slowly left the cemetery until only Clara was left sitting on a bench a few feet away from the stone.
Richard: They are going to be closing the gates soon
Clara: I know
Richard: Do you mind if I join you?
Richard: You are Clara correct? (Long pause) You must’ve
really loved him.
Clara: Thank you, but that's not why I'm crying.
Richard: How did you first meet?
Clara: Who are you?
Richard: Oh I'm sorry, I'm Richard one of Michaels sons. I'm guessing he never mentioned me, I left a long time ago.
Clara: He was an interesting man. He did mention you, he mentioned all of his children in fact. though he only reminisced of the time when you were in fact still children.
Richard: I’m not surprised he only discussed the early years, we all tried to forget the in between.
Clara: We met at The Shoken Ballet Company. I'm a dancer. He's a benefactor there. (Pause) Do you really want to hear?
Richard: oh no please go ahead I’d like to hear about what he’s been doing, I know very little about who his was presently.
Clara: One day he was going over the books at the studio, and called me into the office. That was the first time I spoke to him. I told him how I came to be a dancer and how my parents were long gone and I lived in the provided housing behind the studio.
Most of the dancers had family to fall back on but dancing was all I had. So, he made me an offer.
Richard: Oh, I'm so sorry.
Clara: it's not what you think. It's not what anyone thinks. Who knows, maybe if he were younger but he was in his sixties when we met. He promised that he would take care of me financially in exchange of keeping him company and helping him as he got older.
Richard: so you weren't his....
Clara: No. Honestly, you're the first to ask.
Richard: he could've offered the same thing and gotten marriage out of it, there must have been a reason he picked you.
Clara: I was suspicious at first too, I eventually found out he felt guilty be sure he was the one who killed my mother.
Richard: Oh my....I....that's just so horrible
Clara: I had already been living with him for three years so I figured I was safe. Otherwise I would've left immediately. Honestly he was so nice to me I couldn't believe it at first.
Richard: I can understand his reasoning for helping you out, that's what a normal person would feel, regret, obligation, but not my father.
Clara: sometimes people realize what's important too late in life.
Richard: it's getting cold, let's go back home and we can finish talking there if you would like.
Narrator: Sarah could be heard screaming from the study.
Richard and John, his eldest brother, looked at each other like they did as children when things became uncomfortable because of her. They then laughed.
Richard: Carl said she had mellowed with age
John: Oh poor Carl, I pity anyone married to someone like that.
Richard: we should've never let her read the will.
John: She would've found out eventually.
Clara: I'm so sorry I had no idea, I didn't expect this, really.
John: please, it's not your fault. Sarah will get over it.
Narrator: the will that was read minutes before revealed that Clara was in fact his only biological child, leaving Sarah, John, Richard and Linus with the truth that their mother had cheated on him constantly. Though despite this he left the mansion to them. All of his monetary fortune there for was Clara's.
Sara: That was my money! How dare that whore.
Clara: I better start packing.
John: please don't leave on her account.
Clara: well this isn't home any longer, I need to find my own place.
Richard: At least stay until you do.
John: Yes please we can't have you wandering the streets defense less.
Narrator: Clara found herself sitting in her room silently. Her thoughts were painful and scattered.
Clara: Why didn't you tell me!
Narrator: She wasn't speaking to anyone but the bare walls. She felt betrayed. She didn't understand why he didn't tell her he was her father. She liked him before she knew, but still always felt out of place.
It was in these thoughts that she realized that not one person had mentioned how he was killed. When she first found out the police did their rounds but she had yet to hear anything.
Clara: Who's there?
Cecilia: It's me
Clara: Come in.
Cecilia:Are you alright?
Clara: I was feeling bad but I just thought of something.
Clara: Who killed Michael?
Cecilia: You don't know yet?
Clara: That's just it, not one person has mentioned it.
Cecilia: Maybe you should ask, they could be trying to spare your feelings.
Clara: It's possible. Though everyone is just acting so casual about it.
Cecilia: Packing I see, need help?
Clara: Sure the sooner I leave the better, Sarah keeps giving me these murderous glances.
Cecilia: Oh she sounds fun
Clara: While you're kneeling there, check of there is anything under my bed.
Cecilia: Let's see, a book, a pen, oh and a box.
Clara: A box?
Cecilia: It's just a puzzle box
Clara: A puzzle box? That's even more odd. Let me see.
Cecilia: I never considered you the puzzle enthusiast.
Clara: I'm not, in fact I haven't seen this before.
Cecilia: Are you sure you didn't use it to store something?
Clara: These papers are definitely not mine. Wait this is Michaels handwriting.
Cecilia: Lovely Clara, I'm sorry I didn't tell you the truth but I'm sure by now I'm long dead and I need your help. I know I'm going to be murdered. I have been following a trail of clues and under covered something.
I need you to gather all the proof of who killed me.
Clara: Give me that. It really says that, oh my goodness...What am I supposed to do with this...
Cecilia: looks like we have a mission.
Clara: he can’t seriously want me to hunt down his killer… can he?
Cecilia: well let’s start off slowly, we don’t have to jump into this completely let’s look all of this over and see what happens.
Clara: we should just turn it over to the police…
Cecilia: That’s not any fun.
Clara: I don’t think this is supposed to be fun….it’s a murder investigation…
Cecilia: You're right, but it’s also your father's last wish to help him, he must’ve picked you for a reason…
Clara: Alright, fine, we will check it out but at the first sign of danger we are going to the police.
(Light tap on the door)
Richard: Its Richard.
Cecelia: Come on in.
RIchard: I'm sorry to bother you, I didn't realize someone was staying in this room.
Clara: I won't be for long.
Richard: To be honest this is my favorite room.
Clara: Was this your bedroom as a child.
Richard: No, it was Sarah's. She only lived here because she knew i loved it. Otherwise she wouldn't have tolerated such a small boring space.
Cecilia: Then why do you like it?
Richard: The view, the windows are perfectly centered above the garden.
Clara: That's why I picked it, let me show you something.
Cecilia: I'll be right back.
Narrator: Clara pulled an ornate cord which opened the heavy drapes revealing a section of large windows that were converted into door panels.
Richard: A balcony! I always thought that having a balcony here would be lovely.
Clara: I'm glad you like it
richard : You did this?
Clara: Yes. I made some changed to the garden to.
Richard: On a warmer day would you mind showing me?
Clara: Not at all.
Narrator: Once richard left she returned to the box and continued to read it it’s contents.
Michael: Clara, I'm sorry I never told you who I was but it was important no one knew before I was killed. Something didn't seem right, and I decided to investigate. Each page in this folder is numbered follow my instructions carefully and don't tell anyone about this. Now, grab page number one.
Narrator: The pages were in order so the task was not difficult. It was double sided, again Michael's handwriting. She read it very intently. It was almost like a diary entry for one day. It was marked October third. He wrote every detail of a meeting he had with a woman named Elizabeth. There wasn't a description of her but there was a detailed account of their conversation written out like a script.
Michael: I was surprised to hear from you.
Elizabeth: I know, I was nervous about it but thought you should know.
Michael: Let me guess you want money?
Elizabeth: No, wait you came here thinking I wanted money?
Michael: Well, what else could it be?
Elizabeth: That's not at all why I am meeting you, but in theory how much would you give me?
Michael: Everything connects to money, what going on?
Elizabeth: I'm being extorted.
Michael: You? But you don't have any money or assets.
Elizabeth: Well, that's what I thought, but the company knows you and I are acquainted.
Michael: So I'm the one being extorted.
Elizabeth: I'm sorry, I wasn't even going to bother telling you and was going to just ignore it but they are very persistent and aggressive.
Michael: What do they want?
Elizabeth: They want me to burn down your office building in Grandiose and if that doesn't happen they are gonna kill you.
Michael: Like no one's tried that before, do you know why?
Elizabeth: I have no idea.
Michael: Did they give you an envelope?
Elizabeth: Yea. How did you know?
Michael: I have done this before.
Narrator: She stopped reading for a moment and just sat on the floor silently. She did not know what to think, she couldn't even pinpoint how she felt. She decided she would continue reading and maybe she could figure everything out by the end.
He wrote at the very bottom that the envelope and its contents was item number three. It was sent by the firm wanting the actions taken by Elizabeth the letter didn't contain any new info in fact but the header was circled. "Greta Snaol" Clara thought it was an odd name but the logo was even more attention drawing. A gold hand and beneath it said. "Helping those in need." She couldn't help but feel very terrified and also a bit proud at Michaels confidence in the face of so much constant danger. She looked at the company's name again. Greta Snaol. She mouthed it, barely making a noise. She read the next page.
Michael: I need you to visit the place where I was killed. I know it is odd that i'm writing this before anything happens but obviously I wouldn't leave you anything if it hadn't. I need you to find evidence that leads to the person who killed me. It’s one of my "Children" I know this because of, well various things you don't need to worry about. Figure it out.
Narrator: She stared at the papers. She couldn't even imagine what horrors she would find, she now knew that she was, in fact, living with the murderer. She really hated what she stumbled onto but she knew she had to continue or a killer would walk free, walk free in the house she was still living in. Soft slow tears began to trickle down her cheeks. Gently caressing her white skin and leaving streaks across her face. Everything hurt. Her head, her heart …