Am I My Chef's Keeper?
Kitchen Family Affair
World famous Chef Rumsey sat slumped at the front table normally sectioned off for special guests. I arrived, pad and Mont Blanc pen in hand viewing the scenes with the police photographers snapping away, marking the evidence and looking for clues. As lead detective for Special Crimes, I was immediately put in charge of the scene, directing the investigation. Chef Rumsey was found face down in his serving of chocolate cake. His wife was sobbing in the corner being consoled by Rumsey’s brother.
“What do you have here?”I asked.
“Tom, we need to contain this quickly,” said Sergeant Quigley. “The press will be all over this, thinking murder. As you can see,” He directs me to the body pointing at Rumsey’s left hand. “He looks like he was clutching his chest.”
“Have you spoken to the wife?” I asked.
“She’s too distraught to really sit her down.” said the sergeant. “His brother seems to be a bit more at ease.”
I approached both brother and wife.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” I said. “My name is Thomas Holmes. I need to ask you some questions.” I directed the wife to the kitchen where there is more space. “Could you tell me when was the last time you saw or spoke with your husband?” I asked.
“I….I…spoke to him..(sniffle)…before he was about to close….who could have done this…?” she asked as she continued to sob.
“I understand that you are the brother. What is your name and when was the last time you spoke with Jordan?” I asked him.
“My name is Joseph. I was suppose to have met up with him later tonight for drinks. I came early and found him face first in the cake so I called the police immediately,” said Joseph.
"Good thinking," I said. I then faced Sergeant Quigley. “I don’t think we can get much from his wife. Please take her home and we'll reach out tomorrow. Ma’am please give your information to the Sergeant on your way out.” I said.
As they leave, I noticed his wife continuously dabbing her eyes with furtive glances near Jordan’s body. I looked at the body and noted the bare knuckles and lighter shaded tan line strip at the base of his pinky.
“Please take a picture of his hands and feet,” I told the photographer. “Make sure you get a close up of his face in this chocolate cake.”
I approached the Sergeant. “Let’s set up an interview with the wife and brother tomorrow. Also, let’s get a handle on Jacob’s Bakery. I understand that there was an intense rivalry between the two-a possible TV deal reality bake show?” I said.
I looked up and noticed the burgeoning crowd. “Let’s disperse the crowd. I don’t know how to get the papers out of all this,” I said.
“Tom, I’ll see what I can do.”, said the sergeant.
I looked one more time at Rumsey. I hope he like that cake. I thought to myself.
The next day I arrived at the precinct ready to speak to a grieving mother. Sergeant Quigley pointed at the waiting room where the wife, brother and Chef rival are all staring blankly, not speaking to each other. That’s interesting, I thought to myself.
“Mrs. Rumsey, I am so sorry for your loss. Do you know anyone who would want to hurt your son?”
“I can only think that it’s that bastard Jacob. He was always jealous of my boy,” she said, almost on the verge of screaming. “See here where he was shouting at Jordan.” She said as she shows my screen shots of old newspapers from her phone. “See, there’s that animal Jacob yelling at my baby.” She said.
The newspaper clipping did show Rumsey seemingly waving his hand at Jacob. “They say here ma’am that your son struck Jacob first.” I said.
“That’s not true,” she said. “How is that possible? Jacob’s face is clean. Jordan’s pinky ring would have destroyed Jordan’s face," she said as she gave a long pause breathing deeply. "On second thought, he should have smashed his face in,” she said, fuming in her seat.
“Thank you for those words. Please come to the waiting room. I’ll have someone bring you some coffee,” I told her. I grabbed my black portfolio off my desk as I read the report. Interesting.
“Jacob, please come with me”, I pointed to the interrogation room. When he got up, I noticed a deliberate attempt to avoid the wife’s gaze. His covert attempt was too overt.
“Please sit down.” I said. “I understand in the culinary world things could get cut throat and messy. The networks were deciding on you or Jordan on a possible new reality TV show.” I paused. “Tell me, where were you last night?”
“I know what you are thinking. I was home watching the game. I found out what happened when it hit the news. I think I saw you walking out of that cheap shop of his” Jacob said. “Let me tell you something, he got what was coming to him.”
“You sound very angry.”I watch his hands as he switches his crossed legs. “You’re a Met or Yankee fan? I’m prone to the Yanks.” I said.
“Boone should have benched Judge. He has a cold bat and hurting the team.” He said. “As you can see, I’m a Yankee fan.”
“Ok Jacob. You can go now. Congratulations by the way. I spoke to your agent this morning. It looks like the networks have agreed to toss you that new reality cooking show deal.” I said watching his reaction. He stayed sitting there stoic and calm.
“That’s great. I was the better choice anyway.” He got up and left.
I asked Rumseys’ wife to come in. She entered, barely looking at Jacob.
“Tell me Mrs Rumsey, how are you feeling now? Can you answer my questions now?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m feeling much better. I was in total shock last night.” She said. “How can I shed any light here?”
“I just find it interesting that you were cheating on your husband with no one other than Jacob and your’e sitting on an insurance claim of 2 million dollars” I said, citing to the point.
“How dare you accuse me…me and Jacob…how could you say that… after last night…” she said. He continued to pause as I slapped pictures after picture of her and Jacob holding hands, kissing in the park and lastly silhouette at a hotel room.
“Where did you get that?” She asked.
“When I got here this morning, this envelope was here, waiting.” I said. “Tell me, how long after killing your husband were you going to bury your husband, tie the knot, and bear new children and oh, cash in on his life insurance?” I asked.
“What are you talking about?…ok so I started sleeping with Jacob…that does not mean I would kill Jordan.”
“You gave quite a performance last night.” I said.
“I want my lawyer.”, she said, crossing her arms.
“You can go. We’ll be in touch with your lawyer. Don’t leave town.” I said to her.
She stormed out of the room as I waved Rumsey’s brother into the room.
“I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you are handling this well” I said.
“As well as can be expected. Do you have any suspects as of yet?” He asked.
He shook my hand but before I let go, I held it a bit longer than usually noticing something. He paused looking at me with a raised eyebrow. I continue.
“What do you know about Jordan’s wife and Jacob?” I asked.
“Isn’t it obvious?” He asked. “Did you see how cozy they were trying not to show?”
“Not really.” I said. “What do you know?”
“I know that Jordan was very upset of their affair. I know that he knew. I also know that..." He suddenly stopped speaking as if he caught himself on the edge of saying something he might regret.
“Ok” I said. I looked at Jordan’s brother. “What was your relationship like with your brother?” I asked.
“We were fine.”, he said. “Like I told you, I was planning on seeing him that night. You don’t suspect me do you?”
I watched him and his hands. “We’ll be in touch.” I said.
The next day I met with the same crew, the usual suspects. We all sat at the District Attorney’s office sitting around the conference table. I served each of them a slice of Chocolate cake.
“Thank you for returning on such short notice.” I began. “As you can see I felt that this little piece of Jordan's cake was the appropriate share.” Only his brother dug into the piece.
“Like any investigation, we began with the obvious-Jordan’s wife.”, I said as I pointed to her. You have the biggest motive, since you have virtually moved in with Jacob.” I said.
They looked at each other about to proclaim their innocence when I stopped them with a wave of my hand. “But you see, you did not commit the crime.”
I turn now to the mother. “She clearly performs the greatest of objections, but I wave her to stop as well. “As absurd you make think, its not usual for a mother to want their son dead.” I said. “You are not that mother.”
“That leaves you.” His brother shakes his head vigorously. "You are so anxious to rid yourself of your brother that you dare want his ring so badly that you took it the first moment you had?” I said.
He looked at me. Angry at first, then slumped defeat. He sat there crying and asking his mother to forgive him. "He gets everything. He got that dumb shop of his. The new show. I hate him!!!" he screamed.
The officers took Rumsey's brother away, reading him his rights. I looked down at my piece of cake.
“Well, let’s have some chocolate everyone.”