I was billing Pine for gas money but I didn’t even own a car. I rode the bus to the treehouse. The temperature was up in the high 90s and I was sweating like a pig when I arrived at three in the afternoon.
I craned my head up at the bay window where Marlona Pine usually sat. She was lying on the faux polar bear rug and it didn’t look like she could get back up. My first thought? Heat stroke.
I rode the elevator up.
In the living room, I looked around for evidence of Tanqueray or piña colada abuse. There was a dusty ice bucket on the dining table but that was it.
I said, “I’ll call the ambulance.”
I figured that would wake her up.
“I’ve got it all on camera,” I went on. “You and Murphy’s bodyguard.”
It was a lie, but it was plausible.
“I love you,” I said.
That happened to be the truth, and it had absolutely no effect on Marlona Pine.
I noticed then that Mrs. Pine’s left ankle was unusually sweaty today. I noticed, too, that half of her left foot had melted off. Her lips were lying in a puddle of cheek on the hardwood floor and her nose had slid off onto her tongue.
I got hold of the wig and pulled.
Good God. Pine, the sad sack, had fallen for a wax dummy.
I knew I had a choice to make, and looking back, I’m not proud of it. But if I couldn’t have Marlona Pine, nobody would.
I filled the ice bucket with Porfidio Anejo and drank straight tequila as Marlona Pine melted away in the worst of the LA heat. When she was malleable enough, I rolled her into a ball. I called DiCaprio. He owed me a favor or two.