The Butler Didn't Do It

by Scott McKenzie

The light from the candlabras at Pennbroke Mansion glowed brightly in the windows illuminating the willowy darkness. Mr. Pennbroke was standing in the stairwell reading a letter with a dismayed look on his face. "Damn" he thought to himself. He was bothered by its contents. "My Last Will and Testament" he said aloud. "Damn" the realization of what that meant crept into his mind. He was sitting on a fortune of oil stocks that he wanted to bequeath to his son Richard.

The entire Pennbroke legacy would rest in the hands of his son. He was comforted by that. He strolled to the kitchen for a late night snack. He was completely unaware of the fact that his last meal would consist of Cheez its and soup. The bullet caught him squarely in the right temple he crumpled to the floor. Pieces of his face hung precariously from its host. blood was everywhere. He struggled to remain conscious.

In the stillness a dog brayed in the distance as if obviously perturbed by something. Meanwhile Mr. Pennbroke was still struggling like a valiant prize fighter who was trying to avoid the inevitable final bell. The bell finally tolled for him though as he slipped out of consciousness one last time. He was dead. A hooded figure stepped out into the shadows and walked through the back door. The dog let out a shrill bark as the figure strolled past the fence and got into a black BMW and sped away....silence.

Mr. Pennbroke was not immensely popular that much was known. What he had he hoarded. He was not one to be trifled with. It was obvious that somebody wanted him dead, but whom? Richard Pennbroke was nervous, why on earth wouldn't he be? He would be the prime suspect his fathers murder. Truth was he never liked his father. He felt abandoned and unloved as a child. Mr. Pennbroke was too busy to care about his son's petty endeavors. He was consumed by his work. When you are a top Wall Street investor, you have little time for your sons soccer games. Just thinking about that made Richards stomach turn. He froze paralyzed with fear. He never forgave his father for the way he treated him, now he felt pangs of guilt.

Richard was looking rather dapper. His suit and tie perfectly pressed, His shoes were neatly polished he looked very GQ. He was three weeks shy of his 33rd brithday. He had brown hair, blue eyes and stood 6'3". He had a quiet attractiveness about him. He did not have that someone special, there was Rachel his ex-wife. He had been paying to the hilt to keep her happy. It was something he despised. No kids, thank goodness. He had been married for two and a half years, it started out in storybook fashion. She was the blushing bride he the dashing prince. As time progressed he became more ensconsed in his Parkinson's disease. The disease had a strong foothold on his body. All those medications all the doctors. Richard became increasingly depressed and bitter. He began to resent everyone and everything. Even sex for him was not fun anymore. He took a puff on his Pal-Mal. The pangs of guilt continued to pervade his mind.

That was the power his father had over him. He was not able to let him know how much he loved him. There was no chance of that. Not now. Not ever. Richard had no idea that his father truly loved him and that he would be left with such a generous gift. The phone rings. "Oh boy here it comes." He had just started putting together the tattered remains of his life. That felt good. Now with one phone call it could all be unraveled. It was time to face the music, after all what did he have to hide?

The voice on the other side of the phone was not the one he had anticipated, and that was alright with him. "Hi mom. No I have no idea. The police haven't come by yet. I will. I don't know who's to blame but i will help the police get to the bottom of it. I might stop by Rachels just to pick up a few things." He was sincere about finding his father's assasain. He had lied about some things in his past, but not this.

Richard was alone in his studio apartment. The dull stucco walls made it feel dreary. He spent most of his time away. He made partner at one of the most prestigious law firms in the country. McMurtry, Wendell, and Clark. That took up a good amount of time. He was looking for a bigger place

but for now it was impossible he had larger fish to fry.

He started up his black BMW. It purred like a kitten. The car was a graduation present from his uncle. Richard named it "Black Beauty". he let the car idle in the parking lot for awhile. His instincts told him being spotted in this car would spell disaster. He was in no mood to play games. He would have to ditch the car at Rachels place and continue from there on foot. It was only after all a three mile walk which on another day would seem tedious but today felt like a welcome diversion.

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