Murder Most Grievous: Commitment

24 Oct


Murder Most Grievous


By L. Stewart Marsden



The fall weekend was crisp and cool. Autumn had finally befallen with its acrid odors of browned and gold leaves. Pleasant sneezes were plentiful.

Sedgwick and Klerique seemed bound at the hips, and continued to explore their possibilities at length, walking through neighborhoods near the library. A welcomed temporary break from her writing assignment.

“So, do you want to spend your life in the library?” she asked Sedgwick at one point, shuffling her feet through unraked leaves that covered the sidewalk.

“Oh, no! Hardly!” he quickly responded. “I have great things in mind to accomplish.”

“Like what?”

“Well – I don’t know how every part of my life will play out, of course – but writing, I think.”

“Okay. That makes sense.”

“And film. Those are my growing passions.”

“Can’t do that here – the film part, I mean.”

“Sure. But the writing part I can. Actually, I can do that anywhere I like. For film? Maybe New York.”

“New York! I’d love to go there someday.”

“Then you will.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because you aren’t just a dreamer. You are a doer.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“Example: you want to go to Duke, right?”

She nodded yes.

“I’ll bet you’ve got your application completed, and all of your faculty recommendations requested. AND, I’ll also bet you’ve applied to dozens of scholarships. Am I right?”

“Not dozens. But yeah, a lot. It’s expensive.”

“See, that’s where you have an edge.”


“You are the profile colleges are hoping will apply. Smart. Minority. Poor.”

“That’s racist!”

“Why do you say that? It’s true.”

“It sounds racist. But, yeah – it isn’t like I haven’t thought that before.”

“The wise person knows to use every advantage available. Survival of the fittest, so to speak. It’s the lean and mean that outdistance the fat and content.”

“Ooh, yeah! I like that! I am definitely lean and mean. Well, maybe not so mean. And the lean part I struggle with now and again.”

They laughed. He took her hand in his and they swung their arms in large arcs.

“So, if I go to Duke, what about you?” she asked.

It was unexpected – but at some level Sedgwick hoped she would bring up the future.

“Whadaya mean? If you go to Duke, you’re pursuing your dream.”

“One of them.”

They stopped and sat on a bench nearby a bus stop. He held onto her hand and thought as he looked at her brown face.

“Well?” she persisted.

“So, less than two days ago you and I didn’t know the other existed. Each of us had – and has – dreams that did not involve the other.”

“I know that. Does having a dream exclude new dreams? Is it an either/or kind of thing?”

“What new dream are you talking about? Us?”

“Why not?”

“Seems a bit soon, don’t you think?”

“Yeah. Like Tony and Maria.”

“Okay – that was fiction. They had to fall in love quickly in order for the play to have a plot and conflict.”

“So – what? Are you telling me love at first sight is fiction?”

“Well, fiction is my forte – so, no. I’m not saying that. But you’re not even out of high school. You haven’t been accepted anywhere, right? Much less Duke. There’s a whole lot of stuff that has to play out, you know.”

“I’m sorry – I thought we were heading for something,” and she pulled her hand away.

“Hey – I’m not saying we aren’t. I’m not saying there isn’t something there – a very real and strong something.”

She stood up and started to sing, spinning in the leaves with her head tilted back and her arms spread wide.

“Something’s coming, don’t know when, but it’s soon, catch the moon – one-handed catch!”[1]

“Okay,” he said laughing. “I feel it too. I guess I’m just a bit more protective at this point. For you – not for me. You’re just saying what I’m feeling – and I don’t want you to get hurt, Klerique. Not by me. Life’s tough enough.”

“What do they say about denial?” She reached for his hand and pulled him up on his feet, wrapped her arms around him and quickly kissed him.


“Yeah, I know,” she smiled. “I know.” Then she led him back towards the library, the late afternoon sun streaming in dusty rays through the trees.


* * * * *

From his parked position in a church parking lot a block away, Ditter focused the zoom lens of his Canon digital on the pair and snapped off several shots. He put the camera on the seat beside him, and raised a bottle of blue Gatorade® to his lips to sip slowly, then turned the ignition to his car, quietly revving the engine.

Miss the first installment of Murder Most Grievous? Click here.

For the next installment of Murder Most Grievous, click here.


[1] “Something’s Coming,” Leonard Bernstein Music Publishing Company / Boosey & Hawkes


Copyright © by Lawrence S. Marsden, 24 October, 2014


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