The Craiglist Murders 2
The Craigslist Murders
Now where the hell was Philip? People were being corralled towards the tables at the back of the atrium. Ah! Finally. Standing on tiptoes, she watched as a sleek, silver-haired man slithered his way through the museum crowd towards her. How I pity your wife, Charlotte thought to herself. Philip, known to all but his wife, Vicky, as ‘Phil Phil’ (The Philandering Philanthropist) was heir to one of the city’s biggest real estate fortunes. Charlotte had managed to keep him at arm’s length for years and come tonight only as a favor to his wife.
Vicky, her oldest friend, was off in Aspen dealing with last-minute changes for the third condo. This was the other thing about the really rich: Money was as meaningless to them as death, or physical death, anyway, was to terrorists. Most of her clients, for instance, didn’t even bother to pay for health insurance. (Who needed health insurance with billions in the bank?) But she’d never met a single one who didn’t need just a tiny bit more.
“Un poquito mas! Un poquito mas!” she heard the hedge fund guy shouting over and over again to a befuddled waiter, attempting to nudge his way past with a trayful of empty glasses. The kid wasn’t even Hispanic. “Hielo! Hielo!” he repeated, rattling the ice cubes in his glass. But yeah… Whether it was ice cubes, condos, cows, (beg your pardon, cattle), shoes, or money….They always needed just a little bit more.
“God! Gorgeous bracelet, Charlotte. Where did you get it?” She flinched. Philip had somehow drifted in from behind her. With one hand snaked around her waist, he lifted her wrist for a closer look. “Vicky’s been begging for one. I should have known you were the woman to ask. So where did you get it?”
“Craigslist,” she said, giving her wrist a shake.
“You’re kidding,” he replied, utterly dumbfounded. “It’s 18 karat,” he spluttered. “And it’s solid. I can hear the clunk.”
“Don’t look so shocked,” Charlotte replied, slipping her arm through his. “It comes with quite a story, too.”
As Philip guided her, oh-so adroitly, toward their table, she fumed. So typical! Dismissing yet another world he knows nothing about. Craigslist wasn’t just some second hand, on-line shopping bazaar. It was a compulsion: a vital, visceral connection to the city; a connection that was changing people’s lives. But what did Philip know of change? Like most men, he probably loathed change.
He was beaming as he pulled out her chair. “Close enough to the dais for you, Charlotte?” Unfolding her napkin, she prepared to endure another profoundly shallow, short conversation with her host. There was grit in the arugula.
“You have no idea,” Philip said as she rootled through the arugula in search of a sun-dried tomato or a pignolia nut. “But new money is ruining, just ruining, my Anguilla. We may have to go to Lyford after Christmas!”
Appearing suitably aghast, Charlotte buttered a roll. Poor Philip. Forced to book a $40,000 week at one of the most luxurious clubs in the Caribbean. But it amused her, how he used the possessive pronoun when referring to Anguilla. As if he owned the whole island. When he turned to his left to chat up some magnificent young Russian, she smirked. A titaness of downtown real estate, Charlotte had recently heard that the girl had bought the biggest piece of beachfront real estate left on his Anguilla.
She was admiring the pale pink fat and flesh of her tuna–it was so silky, so light, it seemed to evaporate in her mouth–when the man on her left burped into his napkin. Eyes nailed to his plate, he flushed with embarrassment.
“Not exactly Bumble Bee, is it?” she said, rescuing him with her most ravishing smile. He couldn’t be a day over 23, she thought.
“No, I guess not.” He shifted his gaze from his plate to somewhere near her neck. “I’ve never tasted anything like it.”
“Forgive me. I haven’t introduced myself,” she said, sticking out her hand. “I”m Charlotte Wolfe.” They shook.
“And I’m Peter Winthrop. Assistant curator in Islamic art.”
Passing him a generous spoonful of her own tuna, she asked herself how an assistant curator had landed so close to the dais. “It’s tuna belly,” she added as the boy forked up another mouthful. “I have a friend who buys it online from the Philippines. Sixty bucks a can, if you can imagine. ”
His eyes bulged. She didn’t mention that Vicky used to have her cook pack it up in sandwiches for her kid’s preschool lunches.
He grinned. “Nothing’s too good for our Trustees.” Pausing for a moment, he picked up a corner of the tablecloth as Charlotte looked at him, curiously.