Casualty of Court · cosy · interviews · mystery · The Fifth Wheel

Casualty of Court – Annie interviews Stefan

Annie’s work here is almost done.

Before she can submit her report to Detective Hugh Dunnitt she has one more candidate to interview.

Stefan Pereira is on his way to her office.

Was that perfume she dabbed on her wrists?

Really, Annie? I thought you were a professional.

She smirks.

Well, I wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction.

***

Aged 28, Stefan is the defendant in the upcoming trial.

After eight months on remand, he’s ready to tell his story. But I must warn you, he’s a ladies’ man. You’ve been warned.

A knock on the door. He’s here.

AS: Come in, Mr Pereira, please take a seat.

(Stefan enters, pulls out a chair and sits, a soft smile forms on his lips)

SP: Thank you, but please, call me Stefan. Mr Pereira is my father. (He tilts his head to one side)

AS: Of course. (Annie giggles. OMG she giggles! Then she coughs, and sits up, pushing her new glasses back in place with a well-manicured finger. What! Annie – new glasses and a manicure? This doesn’t bode well)

AS: Stefan, let’s get down to business (she glances down at her notebook as a red flush invades her cheeks)  You don’t seem to have a fixed career, do you? I see your longest employment has been as a car salesman, notwithstanding the short stint as a restaurant manager last summer? Was that the extent of your ambition?

Nice one, Annie. I take it all back – you are a professional. 

SP: I like cars, fast cars, expensive cars – selling them is not as dirty a job as fixing them. I don’t do dirty.

Annie squirms a little. Did he really say that? 

AS: You were a very successful salesman at one time, weren’t you? Enjoying many perks, yet you returned to living with your mother?

Annie, you’re on fire. 

(He is fidgety and unresponsive. Annie makes note.)

AS: I see you did some studying, too, yet you haven’t used those skills. Any reason for that?

SP: Not really. I’m biding my time.  (He brushes imaginary specks of dust from his lap)

AS: Any thoughts on joining your father’s business? He’s in commercial real estate, isn’t he? Quite the successful businessman too. Your selling skills could be most valuable.

(Stefan leans back, his lip curled as though repulsed by the idea)

SP: The idea has never entered my head.

Whoa! That told you, Annie.

AS: Okay then, where do you see yourself in five years, assuming you’re not jailed for the alleged assault?

(He blinks slowly, you might think he has fallen asleep the time it takes him to reopen his eyes)

SP:  I have plans. Big plans. But nothing I can – or want to – share with you.

AS: Does it involve art? As a child, I understand you were a talented artist? Do you still paint? Would you like to? There are workshops in prison. I could refer you …

Annie, you giveth and then you taketh away.

SP: That won’t be necessary. And, no, art is not part of my future. As I said, I have big plans that most definitely do not include being a penniless artist. That’s a fool’s game. I am no fool, Ms Skillsett.

AS: I see that. You’re a clever man, Stefan. If you are released, you have much to offer an employer, but I see you more as your own boss. Does that appeal?

(Stefan relaxes a little, nodding and smiling before leaning forward to answer)

SP: Indeed it does. But, no matter how many times you ask, or however you put the question, my plans are private. None of your business, Miss.

AS: Then there is very little point in us continuing, Mr Pereira.

(Stefan bristles at her renewed formality)

SP: I agree. (He stands and heads for the door)

AS: One more thing before you go.

(He turns, one hand on the door handle)

AS: It’s not about employment opportunities or anything like that, so feel free to ignore it. You’ve side-stepped most of my questions anyway. But, out of curiosity … did you try to kill Fern Mortimer?

Way to go, Annie, going for the jugular.

(He glares at Annie)

SP: I do not “try” to do anything, Ms Skillsett. Trying is for losers. Which I also do not do. (He pulls on the door and exits, leaving the door wide open as he struts down the hallway)

Back in her office, Annie suppresses a laugh and gets to work on her report.

***

Summary: Reluctant to talk about his relationship with his mother or father. No career plans – or at least, none he is willing to disclose. Clearly struggling to hide his emotions – he’s an angry, arrogant man. He doesn’t like it when his charm fails to hit the target. Or is he playing me too?  I don’t feel he is telling me anything about himself … Just in case I do what? Hugely mistrustful and paranoid – with an aversion to dust and dirt. (She laughs out loud, unable to contain her amusement any longer) Hopefully, the other interviewers will get more out of him. What a pillock!

Thank you, Annie. You’ve done a sterling job. You certainly had the better of him. Nice tactics, too, you had me fooled – for a while, anyway.

Next week, CeeCee Dedmann – psychic, clairvoyant and all-round hippy chick – gathers the characters around her crystal ball. Will they choose to revisit the past or take a glimpse at the future?

Thanks for reading 🙂

Casualty of Court is available to pre-order now as an ebook, releasing March 21st 2018. Click here to view on Amazon

In the meantime, you can read The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel now and find out what happened last summer.

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