You could have flattened me with a spoonful of puffed wheat that night when I opened the special-delivery letter and five hundreds fell out. I hadn’t piped that much lettuce in a month of Wednesdays, and the gorgeous green centuries made me drool like a pup with a pork chop. Then, when I took a slant at the message enclosed with the moolah, I nearly swallowed my bridgework in a gasp of flabbergasted stupefaction. The handwritten scrawl said:
Dear Dan Turner:
By the time you receive this I’ll be knocking myself off. I’m up to my throat in gambling debts that I can’t pay, the heat’s on me and I’m just about at the end of my string. My life-insurance policies are big enough to pay what I owe, but that wouldn’t leave anything for Lorette. She’d be a pauper. On the other hand, the policies all contain double-indemnity clauses. If I die accidentally they will be worth twice as much. . . .
When I’d read that far I felt my glimmers bulging like squeezed grapes. I turned the page over, scanned the rest of the screwy contents:
. . . Which would leave Lorette comfortably fixed. Therefore I plan to shoot myself, and I want you to come to my home as soon as you receive this letter. I want you to take away the gun I’ve killed myself with. That way, it will look as if I had been murdered, which constitutes accidental death, as far as insurance is concerned. Just remove the gun, that’s all. The five hundred I enclose herewith will pay you for your time and trouble. Be sure to destroy this note.
Death Ends the Scene
Publication date: 01/10/2014
That washed-up movie-director was going to knock himself off in order to give hi
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