What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?
— Henry James
For this interview, Bast tackles Clara’s father William Everett Clarke in “For the Love of Wills.” “For the Love of Wills” is one of 13 stories in my mystery collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012).Clara’s father has dumped her mother for a much younger secretary nicknamed behind his back as “The Bimbo.” Hopefully his wife, Heidi Anastasia Clarke will stay out of the picture today, but she is a loose cannon so you never know.
Bast (seated at a table): Please sit down Mr. Clarke. I don’t bite.
Clarke: You are a reporter.
Bast: Not any more, I’m now a private investigator and with my sister, Dana, I run the Attic Investigative Agency. But right now I’m more concerned with you and your situation.
Clarke (looking around the room): What do you mean my “situation?” Hey, you don’t have any hidden cameras or bugs anywhere here.
Bast: Nope, just my trusty digital recorder.
Clarke (jumping back): Shut that thing off.
Bast: Why, you got something to hide? Okay, sorry. I just use the recorder for accuracy. Now, let’s get down to some basics. And please sit down. Now, Mr. Clarke, you were married for how many years?
Clarke (now seated across the table from Bast): Forty.
Bast: Tell me something about your wife, Heidi.
Clarke: What do you mean?
Bast: Where did you meet? Your children, that sort of thing.
Clarke (sighing audibly): Heidi was a secretary where I worked as a clerk. We went out on a few dates and seemed to hit it off. We were married a year and a half later. William Jr. came along four years later and then Clara was born a few years after that. William is a lawyer and Clara, well she is Clara. She likes climbing up walls, did you know that?
Bast: Yes, and it seems that she got your wife involved in that in the beginning of “For the Love of Wills.”
Clarke: More likely the other way round. (Clarke chuckles).
Bast: In what way?
Clarke: Heidi is well, what they call her own person with a mind of her own. She’s spontaneous and doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone.
Bast: Is that why she and Clara snuck into the matrimonial home via the walls because you threw her out for your secretary? Do I see a pattern here with secretaries?
Clarke (jumping up and leaning over the table). Now see here young man. I still love Heidi but well, when you’ve been married as long as Heidi and I, you get too familiar with each other and you want something different.
Bast: I can see that, but you did more than have an affair. You moved your secretary in with you and Heidi had to leave.
Clarke: Yes, I suppose so, but I was having second thoughts when the m…”
Bast: Sh. We don’t want to give anything away to the readers.
Clarke (now sitting down): Right.
Bast: Did you trust your wife?
Heidi storming into the room: What kind of question is that? Of course he trusted me. My poor William.
Bast: Heidi, you had your turn last week. And William did throw you out of your home?
Clarke: Now wait a minute…
Heidi: But it was only temporary. I was…
Bast: Stop. Heidi, you have to leave. My interview is with your husband.
Clarke: No, this interview is over. Come Heidi, we have things to talk about.
The two leave the room. Bast stares after them and then at his tape recorder, muttering, “I’ll get at the truth next week when I talk to William Jr.”
You can read more about the Clarke family in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point, (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/search/?keywords=Beyond%20the%20Tripping%20Point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy.
Sharon A. Crawford