Who will win $50 million?
“This is not your typical last will and testament,” Oliver Oldenbourg had been a ruthless billionaire who treated people as commodities. “Someone has killed me. A group of four people has been tasked with solving my murder. The one that does will inherit $50 million. The four know who they are, they received a postcard.”
Jack clutched his postcard. There was a Teddy Roosevelt quote on it, about taking pride in work. Finally, he had a glimmer of hope that he could leave behind the trailer park that he had called home since he was a boy. Even though there were three other people out there with the same postcard, he held on to hope.
His phone rang, and a robotic voice was on the other end. “Jack Jefferson, please report to La Guardia Airport within the next hour.” How was he supposed to get from Staten Island to Queens, and through airport security in less than an hour? Right on cue, there was a knock on the door.
“Hello, sir. I am your driver, and we must get going if we are to make it to the airport.”
Jack grabbed his jacket and followed the driver to the waiting stretch limo. Neighbors were starting to come out of their trailers and gawk. As Jack slid into the backseat.
Traffic was exceptionally light as they navigated the highway. The sound of screeching tires and metal crunching together, made Jack bound to the partition to see what happened. The Driver didn’t seem bothered until Jack said, “We need to make sure those people are OK. No money is worth it. We have to help if we can.”
The Driver pulled off to the shoulder of the road. A blonde woman was surveying the accident. “Thank God you stopped. Can you help me get to the airport, please?” Her voice was husky. “I know you’re a stranger, but you have this lovely car, and it’s just so big. Surely, you can fit one more in there.”
Jack shifted uncomfortably. He knew nothing of this woman. Yet, her green eyes seemed to penetrate him, daring him to refuse. “Yeah, ok.”
“Great! I have to solve the mystery of who killed Oliver Oldenbourg.”
After getting through security, Jack learned he was not the first to arrive. Two other men were on the plane, both dressed in clothes that cost more than his trailer did.
“I’m Glenn,” one of the guys said as he extended his hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Same. I’m Jack.”
“I guess we’re doing this,” The other guy grimaced. “I’m Joshua, my friends call me Josh. You can call me Joshua.”
“Well Hello, boys.” The woman from the car accident said joining them. Her jeans would have been too tight on a twig. “If I had known it was going to be a sausage fest in here….” Her words trailed off.
“I’m Joshua, and these schmucks are,” He pointed at them as he said their names, “Glenn and Jack. You are here to help me solve the murder.”
“That’s not what the postcard said,” Jack protested.
“Well Joshua, I’m Liza. And if you like what you see, I am sure that we can work out some kind of arrangement about how to best use me.” She purred.
“Please take your seats. The plane will be in the air in about five minutes,” The Announcer said. “The first challenge has already been passed. Jack Jefferson helped someone in need, and that was something that was important to Mr. Oldenbourg. At least in death,” The Announcer cleared his throat. “Mr. Jefferson will be given a clue that the rest of you will not have."
“That’s not fair," Glenn said. His eyes narrowed, jaw clenched. "How were we supposed to know there was a test?”
A member of the crew stepped into the body of the plane and found Jack. He handed him an envelope and went back into the cockpit. Jack ripped it open and a scream caught in his throat. Inside was a picture of the murder scene.
On the wall was a message written in blood:
The money isn’t the only reason for murder.
“I could seduce him,” Liza and Joshua were huddled together in the hotel. Jack stayed out of their sight, eavesdropping on them. “Whatever the bonus clue is, we will need it to solve the murder.”
“Why should I trust you?” Joshua asked. “You have nothing to offer me.”
“You sure about that?” Jack heard the sound of kissing. It wasn’t hard to imagine what Liza was going to offer Joshua to convince him to partner with her.
Jack stepped off the elevator, Glenn’s room was right next to it. He knocked on the door. He was going to propose partnering up.
“Come in,” Jack entered and was stunned to find Glenn lying naked on the bed. Ass in the air. “I’ve been expecting you.”
Jack tried to tear his eyes away from the other man’s bubble butt but found himself unable to, “Um, why?”
“You’re staring at my ass like it’s the last piece of chocolate cake. Come have a slice.” Jack didn’t need another invitation. He got naked and joined Glenn in bed.
After they finished, Glenn laid on his chest. “I have a confession. I stole the postcard from my ex...” Glenn stopped talking.
“Why did you guys break up?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.” Glenn went into the bathroom. Jack let the new information roll around in his head. He would deal with the questions about his sexuality later. Now he had a mystery to solve.
“I’m gonna head over to my room,” Jack said, as Glenn admired himself in the mirror. Temptation reared its head again, but this time Jack resisted it.
When he got back to his room, he found the door open. Joshua and Liza must have paid him a visit to steal the extra clue. It was a good thing he kept it on him.
The robber had left a bloody knife and a body behind.
Oliver's murder scene had been replicated using a dummy. A USB by the body caught Jack’s eye; he pocketed it.
“Hey, Lover.” Glenn hung on the door frame. “It looks like they duplicated the murder scene in your room too. Joshua was screaming about it.”
“Why did they recreate the scene twice?” Jack asked as Glenn moved closer to him. “That doesn’t make sense.”
Liza sauntered into the room and looked around. “Well, what do we have here? It’s a good thing Joshie, and I decided to pair up. I would never have taken you for... Well, I thought you liked tacos, not taquitos.” As she walked out of the room, her shadow caught Jack’s attention.
“What is it with you and bad food metaphors?” Glenn shouted after her.
Jack pulled the picture out of his pocket and found what he was looking for; The shadow! Liza had been in the room with Oliver Oldenbourg the night he was murdered. She jumped to the top of the suspect list.
“I think we should put your bed to good use.” Glenn dropped his shorts and climbed into bed. Jack knew the lust dripped off of him like grease from cheap pizza.
After Glenn left, Jack fired up the laptop that had been provided by Oliver. He plugged in the USB. Randomly he clicked on a file, but it was a bunch of numbers. He decided to look at one of the videos.
It opened with, Oliver sitting behind his desk. Then, A man walked in.
Jack’s jaw dropped when he realized that it was Joshua.
“Oliver, I don’t know what you think you’re doing, my family’s company is not for sale,” Joshua said.
“It is if you don’t want people to know about your affair.” Oliver threatened before the video cut off.
Jack leaned back in his chair. Who was Joshua having an affair with and why was Liza at the murder scene?
Half the people trying to solve the murder were suspects.
On a hunch, Jack typed in Glenn’s name in the search bar. One file came up, and Jack opened it. There was a picture of Glenn with a man’s arm around him.
Jack tried to zoom in on the picture, but it blurred. Jack closed the file.
He typed in his own name. A result came up, but it was locked. What would Oliver have on him? It made no sense. There was no connection between them.
“You work for me, so hand over the evidence,” Joshua said. "And stay off your little boyfriend. I want this thing solved already."
“No. We’re all competing for the money. As for Glenn, he’s not my boyfriend.” Jack said. Joshua pulled out a gun. “Do you think that you’re going to intimidate me with that?”
“No. I think I’m taking the evidence.”
“Over my dead body,” Jack challenged. “Who were you cheating with?”
“That’s none of your concern,” Joshua continued, “What’s the look on your face?”
The realization washed over Jack, and he tried to articulate his theory, “You were cheating on your wife with Glenn.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” Liza entered. “I was the other woman. Joshua didn’t tell me he was married. Or that he is gay.”
“For F—… Once again, I am not gay. I'm bisexual.”
“Now people think I’m a home wrecking slut.” Liza pouted.
“You are,” Glenn sneered as he walked into the room. “What are you doing?”
“Playing cops and robbers,” Joshua rolled his eyes.
A new theory occurred to Jack, “Oliver hired Liza to seduce Joshua to break up his marriage to Glenn. She killed him when it didn't work out."
Glenn looked at him with contempt. “She’s too dumb to murder anyone. I called her to the crime scene to offer up another suspect after I killed Oliver. He and I had been lovers. Then I learned he was about to leave me. There was no way I could stand for that. When I learned about this little game, I stole the invitation and came here with the intention of framing the whore and my bastard of a husband.”
“What? Why?” Joshua asked.
“Because you chose her over me.” Glenn grabbed Joshua’s gun and aimed it at her. He fired off three shots, each one landed in her chest. “Now it’s time for you to go.” He aimed the gun at Joshua. Jack hurled himself at Glenn, knocking him to the floor.
The FBI swarmed in and arrested Glenn. After getting statements from Jack and Joshua, they left.
“So, you’re bi?” Jack asked, bringing his last forkful of mashed potatoes to his mouth. They had discussed Joshua pulling a gun on him already.
“Yes, I am,” Joshua took a sip of wine. “I never cheated on Glenn. Liza wasn’t even my type.”
“You were ogling her when she was on the plane with us. And you guys were pretty intimate when we got here.”
“Don’t get me wrong. I tried. But I could never get the bread to rise properly,” Joshua said. “I was a little jealous that Glenn wanted to sleep with you.”
“Why? I didn't think you even liked me.”
"I didn't because you reminded me of your father,” Joshua answered, "But I do now."
“You know my dad?”
Joshua sucked in a deep breath. “You don’t know? Oliver Oldenbourg is your father. When he started coming after my company, I did the intel. That locked file on the laptop will confirm I’m right.”
They got into the file by typing in “inheritance.” Joshua was right, Oliver was his father and had kept track of him. A tear slipped from Jack's eye, his friend wiped it away and kissed him. “Are you trying to start something with me?”
“Maybe. Maybe not. In either case, you can call me Josh.” They kissed again.
* * *