A Secret Grave 108: Through a Rarified Lens

 

Meanwhile there were some new and unexpected developments in my ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Victor Goodlove. I should clarify that statement by saying the new developments had more to do with the lives of several people included in the investigation than with forward motion of the investigation itself. But this is the story of an inquiry and how it unfolded, moving back and forth in time, scrutinizing some suspects more than others, screwing up a little here and there, so bear with me – I’m just a flaky artist who sees the world through an admittedly rarified lens.

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flaky artist

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Being an artist, I’m not always the most sociable or outgoing person, but I’d agreed to go to a springtime gala organized, among other people, by Betsy Shapiro, who’d pushed me into donating a portrait commission to the silent auction connected to the event. Embarrassing! I had to stand around outside the ballroom while patrons cruised the area, eyeing jewelry, rare wines, trips to the Caribbean, weekend getaways to Taos or Las Vegas, private dinners for two at Chef Garrido’s new restaurant, a whole day of beauty and relaxation at Milk and Honey, Austin’s most happening spa. For my donation, I used a self-portrait as an example and people kept looking from me to the portrait and back again, so that I’d have to explain over and over that the portrait was just a sample of my work and not for sale.

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Self Portrait

Self portrait, Work in Progress

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And then there was the ignominy of watching who bid on the thing – just a very small handful of people, I noticed. My husband, George, had to drag me away before I chewed off all my nails.

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fascinator hat

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We were seated at Betsy’s table along with her husband, Malcolm, Emil Shusterman and Alicia Rossi, Graydon Parrish and his partner, Scott, so we all knew each other and this would be a fun evening. There were two remaining seats at the table but none of us had any idea who they belonged to, though we kept guessing – Matthew McConaughey? Willie Nelson? Billy Bob Thornton? Sandra Bullock? Lance Armstrong? Robert Plant? If Betsy knew, she kept her mouth annoyingly closed, no good asking her. I surveyed the table. Emil, who looked splendid in a dinner jacket, must have recently returned from his three week stint at rehab for gambling. Beside him, Alicia, always the best dressed, most magnificent person in the room, winked at me. Graydon threw a spitball. Betsy kept jumping up and down to greet people and make sure things were running smoothly. The salad course had already been served and the emcee was introducing co-chairs and committee members when one of the late guests at our table arrived, Michael Barnes, arts and culture columnist for the Austin American-Statesman. He was quickly followed by the last remaining person, a small, very pretty black woman whose name, according to the label taped to the front of her navy blue silk gown, was Janet Fairchild. I looked at her closely. There was something familiar about her, but I wasn’t sure what. Then I looked at Betsy whose face had turned as white and waxy as a corpse.

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ http://picssr.com/photos/42540092@N03/interesting?nsid=42540092@N03

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