Carla, the Caregiver’s Story

“Carla, thanks for meeting with me this morning under these difficult circumstances. I’m Detective Sergeant William Westcott Woolery but you can call me ‘Wild Bill,” Woolery introduced himself, trying to suck in his gut. It was tougher to wedge himself into the size 36-waist suit, especially around the holiday season. He must have eaten 8,400 calories yesterday by the time he finished the last bite of apple pie and downed the bottle of Jameson.

Carla rubbed her eyes and cinched her robe, no use giving “Buffalo Bill” or what’s-his-name a peek at anything. She thought she smelled whiskey on him, maybe the fumes were trapped in his dense mustache.

“I’m only going to tell you this once,” Carla said. “I called 911 after finding Edna this morning. She wasn’t breathing. She seemed perfectly fine last night. I’m not going to answer any of your questions and I’m requesting to speak with my attorney.”  It was later determined that Carla never called 911.

“This is not the movies,” Woolery barked. “Not talking is just a sign of guilt in my book. Tell me where you were last night and this morning. Where was Ivan? What about the daughter and that kid? If you give me a full statement I will put in a good word for you with the DA. He’s an old golf buddy of mine.”

Before Carla could respond, Woolery snatched the cell phone from her left hand.

“You can’t do that, that’s against the law,” Carla snapped at him. “Give it back. Now! It’s password protected anyway so you will have to contract with the Israeli secret police or whoever to crack it.”

Woolery told her to calm down.  What would police find in her phone, maybe some texts with Ivan? If she would answer some questions she would get her phone back, Woolery said.

Against her better judgment, Carla began to explain to the detective that Denise and her daughter Daisy were bad seeds. “That Denise is a real piece of work, if you know what I mean. She avoided her mother for decades and now all of a sudden shows up to make nice? That lady and her kid don’t have two nickels to rub together. Have you checked Denise’s teeth? Talk about meth-mouth.” Carla went on to say that she was so concerned about Denise’s intent that she hired private investigator Spencer to follow her while she was in town. Spencer proved that Denise went to Edna’s attorney’s office and her medical doctor to get information about her mom’s health and wishes.

The detective took a deep breath. “How did your private dick find all of this?”

“Spencer put a GPS tracker on Denise’s car, hacked her cell phone, and put spyware on her laptop. He even put listening devices on the collars of Edna’s cat and dog. I let him in to do it.  I didn’t ask Spencer to do any of this, but he just did it on his own. Spencer thinks Denise is an addict of some kind, stole Edna’s credit cards, and doesn’t even separate the recyclables from ordinary trash. Who does that anymore? That alone should make her a suspect.”  Carla said.

“I went to bed right after dinner,” Carla told Woolery, who had one eyebrow cocked at her like he was pudgy Lt. Columbo. “Ivan left before Edna even told us she was naming us as beneficiaries. I could hardly sleep because Denise and Daisy were chattering away like tweakers. I didn’t hear anything other than those two yapping. I came in to get Edna some tea and she looked a tad stiff in bed. Had no idea she was dead as a doornail so that’s why I called 911.”

The detective tapped her cell phone and smiled.

“We will take this all into consideration and may need you to wear and utilize a wire at some point in telephonic and vocal communication forms with Daisy, Denise, and Ivan,” the detective said. “I’ve seen the owl and heard the elephant in my years on the force. Or is it pet the owl and feed the elephant? I can never remember those Bible verses. But anyway, what kind of skeletons will I find under your bonnet, missy?”

“I’ve had financial difficulties myself,” Carla replied. ”I think I’m the only Bay Area person who hasn’t gotten wealthy under DotCom 1, Dotcom 2 or Dotcom 3. I started Catwalks Dot Com a couple years ago before doing elder care ‘cause while everyone has an app for dog care and dog walking services, no one was doing cat walking. I kept letting go of the leashes during our launch and right out of the gate we had bad press and lawsuits from accidental cat hangings.”

Woolery yawned at her and gave her the pregnant pause. He scanned her for micro-expressions such as a raised shoulder, a flared nostril. He could never remember from his detective seminars whether those involuntary bodily reactions meant discomfort or guilt. What the heck. I’ll go with guilt and let a jury sort it out, he told himself.

“What about Ivan?” Woolery asked. “What’s his deal, what’s his alibi going to be? We know he’s a skirt-chasing degenerate, likes to bet on dog racing and hits the strip clubs. I bet you two have some good texting from recent days and the last 24 hours.”

Carla knew Ivan was bad news when they met online at that international dating site LonelyandMopey dot-com. She had fallen for a womanizing gambler. But he was her loser. Ivan knew all about Edna’s medications. Carla wondered if Ivan could have switched out or altered Edna’s medicine. He was more hard up for money and she was not going to stand by her man on this one. Or, maybe Denise or Daisy had something to do with it. Why were they both up all night long?

“Okay Barnacle Bill,” Carla said to the detective. “I’ll wear a wire against all of these three. I have nothing to hide. I know from my cop shows that the first one to cooperate gets the best treatment. I think you might also be interested a bit more in Edna’s background. When you search her room you might find a ball gag or two.”

“Like the stuff the gimp wore in Pulp Fiction,” Woolery blurted.

“Exactly,” Carla cooed, with a cocked eyebrow of her own.

Detective Woolery thanked her for her time and told her not to talk with anyone about the case. He had surreptitiously recorded the entire interview with a covert button camera on his suit jacket. He taunted Carla by holding up her phone at her as he drove off in a dark Ford sedan.