Two weeks after Randall returned from New York, he received a call from Dick. “I don’t know how to tell you this, son, but Martina has taken her final curtain call.”
Almost unable to breathe, Randall asked what he meant. Dick said, “she was found in her dressing room after she failed to appear onstage. It looks like she overdosed, but not before someone damn near beat her to death. They haven’t yet released the official cause.”
“Are you sure it’s her? How did you find out?” Randall asked. Dick said, “I always make friends with local law enforcement, and as you know, information is for sale.”
“Are you still there?” asked Randall. “No,” Dick said. “I left last week, but I got the call a few minutes ago. Apparently, Martina was well known to ‘New York’s Finest’. They closed their eyes to the drugs, if she…well, if she…opened her mouth…or her legs. I know that’s an indelicate way to put it, but it is what it is…or it was what it was, rather.”
Randall was audibly crying as they continued to talk. “Do they know who did it? Do they have any leads?” Dick said, “no leads. The kind of work she did, and the lifestyle she was leading, doesn’t really lend itself to a list of ‘usual suspects’. It could have been anyone. A spurned cast member, a jealous cast member, or a complete stranger. They just don’t know.”
“What’s going to happen to her?” he asked. Then, panicked he asked, “has anyone gotten in touch with her mother and father?”
Dick said, “I don’t think they know who to get in touch with. That’s why I called you. Do you want me to tell them who she was, and how to get in touch with them…or will you?”
Randall dropped the phone and yelled, “JESUS!” When he picked it back up, he asked Dick if he was still there. Dick said, “I’m still here. He hesitated and said, “I haven’t been made privy to it, but the officers found a note.”
Randall was suddenly catapulted back to the day they found Callie. “What did the note say?” he asked.
Dick said, “I don’t know, but I can probably get my hands on a copy, for the right price, of course.” Randall said, “pay whatever they want. Just get a copy.”
Dick said, “consider it done, but what about her next of kin? Don’t you think they should know?”
Randall said, “yes. I think they should know, but I don’t want them to know everything…and I want to bring her home.” After a long pause, he said, “let me ask you a question.”
Dick said, “go on.”
“Do you think you could buy off the coroner? Maybe have him certify her death due to unknown or maybe even natural causes?” Dick sighed and said, “wow. That’s a pretty big ask. I don’t know how corrupt the coroners here are, and even if I found one who would be willing, I’d bet it wouldn’t come cheap. You’re talking about official, legal documents…and if I could get it done, it would mean that the person who brutalized her would get away with it. No evidence…no conviction. Do you understand?”
“I understand,” Randall said.
Two days and ten thousand dollars later, Dick called Randall. He had a copy of the death certificate, listing cause of death as “natural.” He also had a copy of the note Martina left. It was déjà vu for Randall. Dick said that Martina was clutching the note in her hand when she died.
Dick said, “she’s listed as Jane Doe, and they’re going to cremate her in a few days. Do you still want to bring her home, and don’t you think you should tell her parents?”
Randall said, “no. Leave her there and find out what they’re going to do with her remains. Can you send me the note?”
“Check your email,” Dick said.
As soon as Randall got the alert, he opened the email and openly sobbed as he began to read.
I went looking for love,
And all I found was shame.
I went looking for justice,
And all I found was blame.
I went looking for truth,
And all I found was lies.
I went looking for someone,
Who could hear my desperate cries.
I was playing a part,
And I let people stare.
I took off my clothes,
And colored my hair.
I went looking for reasons,
I had questions to ask.
All I found was deception,
From the ones in the mask.
I went looking for answers,
And all I found was silence.
I went looking for warmth,
And all I found was violence.
I went looking for trust,
And all I found was deceit.
I went looking for honor,
And all I found was a cheat.
I went looking for peace,
And all I found was regret.
I was looking for a pardon,
But they couldn’t forget.
I went looking for dreams,
And all I found was pain.
I went looking for comfort,
So I needled a vein.
I went looking for rescue,
But it came too late.
All I learned from living,
Was how how it feels to hate.
Randall called Dick but said nothing. Finally, Dick asked, “what are you thinking?” Randall said, “I think she hated what she was doing. I think she was looking for redemption, but couldn’t get past her defiance of everything she had ever known. I think someone betrayed her, and I think someone killed her.”
“Well,” Dick said. “When it comes to her, you wanted the slate wiped clean, and that’s what you got. As far as anyone knows, she just disappeared, and you have to let it go. I don’t want you to go all cowboy on me and start stirring up a can of worms. In other words, don’t start opening doors that you can’t close. She made her own choices. You tried to save her, but she didn’t want salvation. Tell me that you are going to let this go.”
After several seconds of silence, Dick asked, “are you there? Are you going to let this go?”
Randall said, “I appreciate everything you’ve done. Send me the bill.” Dick again asked, “are you going to let this go?”
Randall said, “no,” and hung up.