I was planning on taking a break from this story for a few days to recharge my batteries, but I find that the ideas are buzzing around my head, demanding to be let out. So here's the latest chapter in the life of Ted Stevens - hope you like it.
Update: In my haste, I mixed up Ben and Ted and Mondays and Fridays in a couple of places, but I've fixed things now.
Ted glanced at his watch as he shut his laptop - it was three in the morning. He'd grab a quick sleep and start on his plan when he woke up, hopefully refreshed. He awoke at eight, made love to Karen (at her insistence), and after a quick shower and a light breakfast, 'phoned Gloria at the studio.
"Good morning... it's Ben... Ben Stevens," he said when she picked up. "You said to call you if I needed any help. I'm going to need a loan of that briefcase."
"Get over here quick," she said urgently, "I've just had a call from that cop, Jaconelli. He wants me at the station to answer a few 'routine' questions. He's sending a car over to pick me up in an hour, and said he'd be wanting to talk to you later as well. I said you'd come in with me. Get your ass over here now!"
He didn't get the chance.
"Are you married, Captain?" Mary was asking. Now it was Joe's turn to look discomfited.
"Er, I'm divorced," he said. "The wife walked out on me." He immediately wished he hadn't said that.
"Then you know how easy it is for a marriage to go stale. You have to keep the romance going, not become complacent. Ted and me had a 'date' night every Friday, when we'd book into the Blue Oyster and f ck each other's brains out - 'scuse my French," she said. "It was our way of keeping the magic alive."
"If you want magic, why not take up conjuring?" snorted Jaconelli, who wasn't about to give up so easily. "So can you tell me why Ted signed in under Ben's name and not his own?" How would she get out of that, he wondered.
"Jeez, how'd you ever make captain? Ted was a celebrity, but I'm not - nobody knows me from Eve. It would've looked like he was screwing some floozy, not his wife. Who'd ever believe he'd be signing into a motel with his wife for a few hours? And even if they did, people would've thought it was weird... it wouldn't have done his wholesome image any good, so he used Ben's name, not his own. Use what brains you've got, Captain."
Despite himself Ted was impressed. Had she worked this all out in advance just in case, or was she flying by the seat of her magnificently shaped ass? Either way, she was doing well. He felt an odd mixture of disgust and admiration for her at the same time.
"I could always get a handwriting expert to compare their signatures," countered Jaconelli. "As you say, your husband was a celebrity... there's bound to be plenty of autographs around I could look at, not to mention his signature on insurance policies and the like."
"Exactly... which is why Ted had Ben's signature down pat. He couldn't take a chance that someone at the motel would do the same thing, and see that it was Ted Steven's handwriting in the register. Don't you get it? It would've been all over the tabloids that Ted and me enjoyed nights of kinky sex in a motel. Shit, there's nothing wrong with a man screwing his own wife, but you know what the papers are like - they'd have made it seem dirty. This way, if anyone at the motel asked if he was Ted Stevens, he could say no, he was his twin. There wouldn't have been any mileage in that story."
"Maybe not, but there would've been mileage in Ted Stevens' wife screwing his brother though," said Jaconelli.
"Like I said, no one even knows who I am, so it's unlikely that scenario would ever occur to anyone. And even if it did, I wasn't - I was screwing Ted, remember? He couldn't use any other surname - his face was too well known for that, and it would've attracted even more attention. It was less risky to stick with Stevens, but as Ben, not Ted. After all, it would've been easy for someone to check whether he had a twin or not, and once they learned he did, it would've allayed any suspicions they might have."
It sounded entirely plausible in an odd kind of way, but even if it was a crock of shit, he knew that he had no way of disproving her story - not with Ted being 'unavailable' for questioning. He sat quietly for a moment, considering his options.
"Okay," he said, "you can go. We have to ask these sort of questions you know. It's just routine - nothing personal. One of my men will run you home."
He watched them leave his office, and realised that he didn't have the slightest clue where this case was going after all. "Bronski, get in here," he commanded into his desk intercom. He'd feel better once he'd yelled out Bronski for making him look like a fool. He knew that it wasn't Bronski's fault, but what the hell, it was therapeutic and he needed to let off some steam.
Okay, Criv-ites, that's the latest instalment over, see you in the next one. Er, I will see you in the next one, won't I?