The Balcony

by Gabriel Urbina


Vincent is being sought after by the police, in connection with the death of his friend Marcia. He discusses the situation with his childhood friend Marcus, who is an attorney. Then, they decide together what action needs to be taken.

"I didn't killed her" said Vincent.

"I know for sure you didn't, Marcus replied, "but I have to tell you, the police is looking for you."

Vince and Marc had known each other since childhood. Vince was an accountant, and Marc was an attorney.

Marc knew all about the friendship between his best friend and Marcia, an adorable woman whose smile could light up a room. Vince and Marcia were 'just friends', as people say; that is to say, there was no sexual relationship. Not that Vince didn't try, but he was discouraged from it. Marcia had told him, "I only get involved with married men; single men are nothing but trouble." She seemed to be speaking from experience. Vince liked Marcia so much that he wanted to keep seeing her. She was very upfront with him, and he liked that. But, "a guy can only hope," he confided to Marc, on one occasion. Vince invited her to concerts, movies, dinner, lunch, coffee, and whatever could come to mind. She rarely did not accept an invitation from Vince. Probably for two reasons; one, that she couldn't be seen in public with a married man, and two, that she really enjoyed Vince's company.

Vince was shocked by Marcia's death; he was so overwhelmed by it that he asked for time off from work. It was no problem, because he had two weeks vacation coming. He needed to get away, to be alone for a while. He didn't want to be in his his studio apartment, he needed more space, with he found in a small town, near a lake, not 30 minutes from the big city.

A few days passed, and he finally called Marcus, who came to see him at the motel.

"Why is the police looking for me? I have done nothing wrong."

"I know. Well, I have contacts with the police. They have interviewed the three married men she had been dating lately, plus other former lovers. All those men have alibis, and some have moved away from this area. The police knows about you, and in their eyes you are a suspect, because it appears you are running away. You are the only one they have not found."

"Three married men. I didn't expect that. Now I see the real significance of what she said to me, a long time ago, when I told her "I'm a one-woman man." She said, "Well, maybe I'm not a one-man woman." I always thought my chances with her were slim and none, with one married man in the picture. With three of them, now I realize my chances were nil. Anyway, I assume they went to my place of employment, and were told I was on vacation. That is not running away."

"So what happened Vince? You were at her place, right?"

"Right. She was so happy and proud with her brand-new condominium, that she invited me to see it. That was a first, I had never been invited to her old place. We were having a glass of wine at the balcony. She leaned on the railing, the whole thing collapsed, and she fell to her death. There was nothing I could do. If I did something wrong was not calling the police myself; someone else did."

Marcus said, "the police know just about all that we know. But they don't know whether it was an accident or murder. They have a theory and a motive. You, the only single guy in their narrative, was jealous, you knew about the three guys, and in your anger pushed Marcia off the balcony."

"Me jealous? Are you kidding? So, it would have taken me four years to develop this murderous anger and jealousy, right?"

"Well, that's what their investigative minds are going to come up with. Do you really believe the cops are going to believe that you had a platonic relationship with such a gorgeous woman for four years? Their favorite line is that they have to explore all the possibilities, but they are going with the theory of the jealous boyfriend."

"OK, so what will you have me do?"

"Let's go together to the police station, and have them interview you. It was an accident, and you are only a witness. I will be there with you. Once all reasonable questions have been answered, I will break some news to them. You see, I went to visit Marcia's parents to offer my condolences. The police had been there only to notify them of their daughter's death, and stated they had an ongoing investigation about it."

"They had no questions for Marcia's parents?"

"Nope. But they, her parents, had different ideas about what happened. I learned they already had hired an injury lawyer to sue the building contractor. Their lawyer already has expert opinions about poor construction, and about the balcony and the railings not being structurally sound. I think this lawsuit will deflate any theories of your possible culpability."

"Okay, Marcus. Let's go to the police station. I will meet you there."

Vincent packed his carry-on bag and his backpack; then he went to the motel office, and checked out. Marcus and Vincent headed in their respective cars to the police station.

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