“Reporter, dear, what was your name again?” Scarlett asked.
“Jill Cassidy. KOXO television. Channel Six news.” She nodded to the cameraman, then turned to Scarlett. “Are we ready to get started, Ms. Vaughan?”
“Not quite, Jill. I have more questions. Firstly, who gave you that atrocious haircut, and is it too late to sue her?“
Jill’s breath whooshed out as if she’d been sucker-punched.
“Secondly, do you think I’m a murderer? Of course you do. I can tell by the look in your eyes.” Scarlett flapped her hand toward the cameraman. “Action—or whatever it is you people say in the newsroom. I’m ready to set things straight. Soon the whole world will know I’m innocent, and will be rallying for my release.”
Jill: “Scarlett, tell us what it’s like to be an identical twin.”
Scarlett: “Dreadful. Nightmarish. Positively horrific. You have no identity of your own, and constantly find yourself searching for ways to express individuality.”
Jill: “In what ways have you learned to express yourself?”
Scarlett: “Assertiveness, for one. I can take care of myself—unlike my Screaming Mimi of a sister. And shrewdness. Nobody outsmarts me or gets one over on me.” Scarlett cut her eyes from Jill’s face, looking directly into the camera lens. “Nobody.”
Jill: “ I’ve seen photographs of your sister, Darcy. It seems to me the two of you bore more of a resemblance as children than you do today.”
Scarlett: “Yes, well, I had a little work done to enhance my features.”
Jill: “By work, I assume you mean plastic surgery.”
Scarlett: “Yes, of course I mean plastic surgery. Would you like a looksy?” She unfastened the first button of her jumpsuit.
Jill: “No!” Jill motioned at the cameraman to cut away. “Next question.” She cleared her throat. “Why are you here, behind bars, in McAlester’s Oklahoma State Penitentiary?”
Scarlett: “Because a jury of my peers—Ha! More like a jury of underdeveloped chimpanzees—didn’t have the scruples to recognize the gaping holes in the prosecutor’s case. I mean, the fact one of my acrylic nails was imbedded into Bessie Robert’s velveteen throw pillow doesn’t mean I suffocated her. I was simply fluffing the musty thing, readying the old lady for a nap. This is the thanks I get for sacrificing a perfectly good manicure for that withered prune’s comfort.”
Jill: “And what about the allegations that you murdered your ex-boyfriend, Malcolm?”
Scarlett: “That retched doll murdered Malcolm.” Her eyes took on a faraway look.
Jill: “Doll?” Jill scooted to the edge of her chair, licked her lips. “What doll?”
Scarlett: “That unholy, cursed scrimshaw doll that was chained to my soul like an anchor, causing harm to whoever betrayed its owner. Our ignorant crow of a great-grandmother acquired it from a gypsy woman and gave it to my sister for protection. Protection from me, no less.”
A slow grin stretched Scarlett’s lips. “Little did the old hag know Darcy and I shared a special bond which made it impossible for the doll to tell us apart. Since my twin-sister and I co-owned the doll, anyone who brought harm to either of us… Well, let’s just say our enemies ended up in a very bad way.”
Jill: “So, the doll was a type of supernatural guardian over you and Darcy?” Jill quirked an eyebrow.
Scarlett: “It would do you good to wipe that skeptical expression from your face, dear. I’d hate to have to do it for you. That would significantly lower my chances for parole.”
Jill: “Thank you for your time, Ms. Vaughan.” Jill slashed a finger across her neck, cuing the cameraman to stop rolling.
“Wait. What are you doing? I’m not finished. There’s more,” Scarlett said.
“We have all we need.”
“You think I’m crazy. Tell me, would a crazy person be able to invent a story of that magnitude? Divulge those kinds of details?”
“Open the door please,” Jill said to the guard. “Let’s go, Bruce.” She motioned to the cameraman, who followed her to the door.
“Come back here. God as my witness, I’m going to get that scrimshaw doll back, and when I do, you’re finished. Do you hear me? Finished!”
“Why don’t you save the drama for your book?” Jill said over her shoulder.
“Book? Hmmm… Not a bad idea.” Scarlett tapped a finger to her chin. “Guard, escort me back to my cell. And bring me some paper—lots and lots of paper.”
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