Catherine and Sara waited silently in the interview room. A bulky envelope sat on the table next to Sara. Catherine folded her hands on the table over of a folder.
They looked up when the door opened. A female police officer and female orderly led Guistina in and sat her in a chair across from them. She was dressed in an orange jumpsuit that still couldn’t hide how emaciated the woman was. Someone had re-braided her hair into a neat French braid, but it was still lifeless, just like she was. Her eyes stared at an infinite spot on the table.
“Mrs. Wright, we’d like to ask you about the night your husband was murdered,” Catherine told her.
Guistina’s eyes don’t move from the spot on the table.
“Guistina, did you murder your husband?” Catherine asked.
She remained mute.
Catherine pulled out a photo of the noose, placing it in the spot Guistina stared. “Do you recognize this? Did you murder him with this?”
She gave Guistina time to answer, but she could have waited until the end of time and never gotten a response from the catatonic woman.Catherine slid a photo of Guistina’s sewing basket in front of her.
She didn’t respond to it.
“Is this your sewing basket? Is this what you’ve been asking for? Why did you want it?”
Guistina didn’t answer.
Catherine was starting to get frustrated. “Guistina, please tell me what happened that night.”
“I know why you had to kill him, Guistina.” Sara leaned forward on the table, “And I am so sorry you had to do it. That never should have been a choice you had to make.”
What Sara said surprised Catherine, and she turned her head to stare staring at Sara, only to be surprised even more. Sara looked on Guistina with pity and empathy, she felt sorry for this killer. Sara never felt sorry for killers. Catherine certainly didn’t, no matter why Gustina didn’t.
Or she didn’t at first. Sara continued to explain her theory of why Gustina killed her abusive, overbearing, merciless husband, and Catherine began to understand the empathy Sara felt.
John Wright sat in the living room watching television. Guistina was in the kitchen making bread. Each time she passed the cage of her new pet, she sang a few lyrics of various songs. Her voice sounds like an angel without a single note off key. John became more annoyed by the singing as it continued.
John suddenly stood and stormed into the kitchen. She instantly sobered, watching the man glare at her.
“Get rid of it,” John ordered.
She stared at him. “What?”
“Get rid of the damned bird.”
The silence that follows was tense. She slowly shook her head.
“Get rid of it, or I will.”
“I’m keeping it, John. I like the bird.”
He grabbed for the cage and Guistina lunged to protect her new pet. The two fought, tearing up the kitchen. He slammed her head against the refrigerator door handle. The hit dazed her and she fell to the floor. He grabbed the cage from the hook, yanked the door open, and pulled the bird out. The bird squawked in his tight grip, struggling to be free.
“No. John, no. Please. I’ll give it away. Don’t hurt it.”
He snapped the yellow bird’s neck and tossed it to her. He dropped the cage on the floor, scattering the food and water across the floured floor.
“Now you don’t have any reason to sing. Clean up this mess.”
John went back to watching television. Guistina picked up the dead bird, staring at the helpless creature. She didn’t cry. Her face lost all emotion as she turned her head to stare at the back of her husband's head.Gustina walked to a drawer and pulled out a silk box. She dumped the contents of it into the drawer, and placed the little canary in the box. She walked over to her sewing basket and buried the canary under her sewing. Then she returned to the kitchen, going to the table and picking up a long section of white rope lying there. With her back to her husband, Gustina began crafting a noose.
The remaining minutes of John Wright’s life had begun to quickly count down...
Sara stood up, carrying the envelope with her. She opened it and slid out the box, treating it like a valuable possession. She sat it down in front of Guistina.
The catatonic woman responded to this. She reached out and opened the box. She lifted the dead canary out of the box and quietly sung ‘Stone Cold Dead in the Market’ to it.
Despite her warm, angelic voice, and the upbeat tempo of the song, the lyrics are chilling. In hindsight, John was the man in the song.
Steve Perinski and his lawyer, Penny Marshall, waited in an interview room. Grissom and Nick entered and sat down across from them. Grissom sat the folder in his hand on the table.
“Your evidence had better not be just the monkey’s testimony,” Marshall warned them.
Grissom opened his mouth to rebuttal, but Nick beat him to it.
“Gorilla. Learn your primates,” Nick snapped.
Grissom was a little surprised by the venom in Nick’s tone. He hadn’t been aware that Nick cared what happened to Ralph.
“Mister Perinski, we noticed that you have swine on your property and you slaughter them yourself,” Grissom told him.
“That’s not illegal,” Perinski argued.
“No, however…” Grissom pulled out enlarged photos of Ralph’s cage in the state it was first found. He lined them up in front of Steve. “…all this blood is swine.”
“That could have come from anywhere,” Marshall disputed.
“DNA markers in swine are just as unique as they are in humans.” Grissom retrieved the DNA test and sat the printouts in front of Perinski. “The blood from Ralph’s cage matches blood found on slaughter implements in your barn.” Grissom pulled out another two more DNA tests and photos of the bloody rope, pickup bumper and tailgate, and radiator of the dump truck. He sat them down one at a time. “And the blood on these items matched Takoda Red Deer’s DNA.”
Grissom stopped talking to let both the lawyer and her client realize that Steve was finally pinned for the murder.
“Let’s talk plea bargain,” Marshall told them.
Grissom started to reply. Steve suddenly shoved the pictures away.
“I can’t believe you’d clear a damn monkey,” Perinski growled.
“Gorilla,” Nick corrected with a clenched jaw.
“Why would you try to pin this on him? What did Ralph ever do to you?” Grissom questioned.
“Steve, don’t answer that,” Marshall advised.
Steve tried to obey, but his rage was greater than his sense of preservation. “She would rather have spent time with that stupid monkey! I asked her out and asked and asked. She kept turning me down. Yet that stupid, idiotic monkey asked her to stay and she’d stay for hours. How sick is that? To choose a monkey over humans?”
“Gorilla!” Nick practically yelled as he slammed a hand on the table.
Grissom motioned Nick to back off.
Steve laughed at Nick. “You prefer a monkey to humans, too? Maybe you should be killed too.”
Nick started to react, then stopped and smiled. “So you killed Takoda because you were jealous of a gorilla?”
“What are you going to do about it?” Perinski asked.
Nick laughed. He looked at Grissom, motioning to Perinski. Grissom played along and returned the smile.
“He wants to know what we’re going to do about that, Grissom.” Nick laughed a little more, making Perinski smile, but not Marshall. She had a bad feeling about this. Nick stopped smiling and laughing suddenly. Perinski slowly stopped too. He realized something was about to go horribly wrong for him.
Nick leaned on the table. “Mister Perinski that was the worst thing you could have said in a room that records every conversation. You just confessed to murder.”
Grissom smiled when Steve looked at him, gathering the photographs and printouts in the folder. He and Nick got up, and left the room. Down the hall, Sara and Catherine were still watching Guistina. Nick didn’t notice them, but Grissom did.
“Good work, Nick,” Grissom told him.
“Getting him to say that. He won’t be getting out of this easily.”
“I didn’t plan it, you know.”
Nick nodded as he walked away. Today he, Greg, and Grissom had saved an animal’s life, something that was no small feat in a world of humans. It left him with a satisfied feeling.
Terri opened the cage door for Grissom and Sara. Ralph sat in the middle of the cage with a hearty meal of fruits and vegetables. He stopped eating when the two walked in. Grissom walked up and held out a split coconut. Ralph reached for Sara’s hand instead. She timidly held her hand out and he took it, kissing it and then showing his teeth to them both.
Grissom signed while he spoke to Ralph. “Are you trying to take my mate?”
Ralph made a noise the equivalent of gorilla laughter. He slapped playfully at Grissom’s arm and then took the coconut. Grissom sat down. Sara sat beside him, the couple’s legs touching. Ralph noticed and he signed. Grissom chuckled.
“Gil!” Sara cried, batting his arm.
Grissom looked at her with open surprise. “He said—”
“He asked if I’m the troop leader because you sat first and then I joined you. I’ve been practicing.”
Grissom smiled. He told Ralph, “She is my mate and neither of us are the troop leader.” With that, the two began a conversation.
Sara rested her head on Grissom’s shoulder. She watched man and primate talk in a silent but vibrant conversation.