A Secret Grave 82: I Need You To Be Discreet

 

I couldn’t reach Emil, who seemed to have disappeared from sight, just like Victor’s portrait. But right around the same time I heard from his wife, Alicia, who said she had some news. “I’ll come visit you in your studio.”

I hadn’t seen her in awhile. As usual she looked beautiful and stylish, but there were dark smudges under her eyes as if she hadn’t slept in weeks.

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She sat down on my studio couch, pulling my little dog, Vincent, into her lap and hugging him tightly for a moment. “Okay, here’s the deal,” she said, releasing the dog. “I’m not going to pussyfoot around, I’m going to tell you straight out. I had to put Emil in rehab.”

I looked at her as if I hadn’t heard right.

“Yes, you heard me,” she said, nodding with a sigh. “For gambling. His addiction got so bad, I had no choice.”

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“I haven’t told very many people about this, so I need you to be discreet.”

“Of course,” I said. “But what happened?”

What happened was Emil couldn’t stop betting on anything, anything, even the smallest wager. The more distraught he grew over difficulties writing his third book, the deeper and faster his impulse to gamble took hold. Alicia was so busy with her galleries and traveling for work that she had no idea. “He’d win really big in a poker game one night, and then he’d lose it all the next night at roulette.”

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“The worst was when he started dabbling in day trading. He bought a newsfeed and all this software to access raw data. We could’ve lost our shirt over that.” I’d made her a strong cup of coffee and she took a big swallow, wincing slightly.

“How’d you find out?” I asked.

She took another swallow and put the cup down so it rattled in its saucer. “Things were getting weird. I had my accountant look over some stuff, and then I did a little snooping around on my own. I’d had that warning from Gharith, remember, so I kind of had a feeling about it.”

We were silent a moment, glancing at one another commiseratively – two women who’d been round the block once or twice and survived. “And speaking of Gharith,” she continued, “I’ve made one or two decisions I should tell you about.”

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ collage55-3, alfa55om NUMERISTITANUS, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

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