Grounds for Murder

“Forever Marilyn” at Grounds for Sculpture

Marilyn was oblivious to the dead man lying beneath her billowing white dress. Jimmy St. Clair stared, sightless, up the skirt of the twenty-six-foot tall sculpture of the Hollywood icon.

Standing stock-still, I watched as a blur of dark blue uniforms surrounded Marilyn. One of them trained a big flashlight on Jimmy’s lifeless face, and I averted my eyes. The others searched the surrounding grass in ever-widening circles, crazy silver flashes of light crisscrossing in front of them.

Transfixed by the eerie scene, I gasped when a figure stepped out from the shadows on my left. “Riley?”

“Kate! What are you doing here?”

“We took a walk.” She wore Vince’s jacket, which she pulled tighter around her body as she spoke.

Vince materialized out of nowhere and put an arm around her. “We came around the bend and found him there,” he said, waving an arm in the direction of the body. “Gotta give it to ‘em, those cops got here in a heartbeat.”

Sirens still wailed in the distance, singing of reputations to be made and promotions to be earned.

The mist had intensified, laying down a glaze of moisture on my exposed skin. I picked my way over the damp grass and collapsed onto a long wooden bench under the canopy of trees.

“I know him,” I said to no one in particular.

Kate stared down at me, wide-eyed. “You know him? What do you mean, you know him?”

“He’s a client. His name is Jimmy St. Clair.”

I watched as two other uniforms — one a 40ish ex-military type, the other fresh out of the academy — conferred behind Marilyn’s left calf, doing their best to avoid the persistent drizzle that was already starting to wash away clues to Jimmy the Saint’s demise.


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