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By Mary Jo Stanley
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Mary Jo Stanley
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Louise Pierce Perkins has blamed all of her misfortunes erroneously on her former friend, Vivian Black Williams, and has tried to either ruin or destroy her for several years. As the grand-niece, by marriage only, of the wealthiest woman on the eastern US coast, Belle Coleman, Louise has used her beauty, charm, lies, and money to manipulate people since high school. Her latest scheme involved the cruel mix-up of identification of Vivian's newborn daughter with a sick infant that died. Vivian and her husband, John, were informed that their daughter had died and Louise attempted to drive Vivian insane during her vulnerable state and almost succeeded until the truth about the switch was discovered. Louise was confronted by her husband with the ugly truth of Louise's past and it was also revealed to her younger brother, William.
Since the passing of her mother the previous year, Louise has gone unchecked in her devious plans including the self-abortion of her babies to avoid messing up her figure. After winning a lawsuit to see the contents of several of her mother's safety deposit boxes, she is unprepared for the revelation of the contents Louise had to undergo a hysterectomy due to her last botched abortion attempt and was later placed into a sanitarium for a nervous breakdown. She is persistent in her conquest of John Williams, devoted husband to Vivian. Louise has convinced herself that she is a much better choice as his wife despite his disinterest in her. She contacted a reporter of "The Inquisitor" about the real relationship between Emily Black and Belle Coleman as soon as she discovers the truth and Belle hints to disinherit her. Unfortunately for Louise, Belle admits to the reporter that she is the birth mother of Emily and he determines that Louise's antics are a much better story for his newspaper. Shortly after Louise's inside story appears in the paper, the reporter is almost beaten to death. Louise hired men who had attempted to burn down Emily's house where the family had gathered to celebrate Christmas 1946. She is a dangerous psychopath whose plans are getting more and more life threatening. Louise is faced now with the annulment of her marriage to an attorney, loss of her custom built home, and perhaps imprisonment for her latest actions. What Louise doesn't know is the casual acquaintance from her brief stint at Comfield College, Daniel Furgon, that she had hired for the reporter's assault as well as the arson of Emily's home, had gotten two of his associates to help him. Unbeknownst to her they just happened to be her maternal cousins, Jordan and Blake Townsend. Daniel had been picked up by the Bluestone police and told them about his two accomplices and gladly provided them with their names. He had no idea of their relationship to Louise. He had told the police that they were on their way back to New York.
"Well Cousin Louise, what a surprise!" her cousins had greeted her as her maid opened her suite door at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. "We didn't know it was you that hired us," one of them said with a sneer on his face. Blake and Jordan Townsend were the sons of Louise's mother's eldest sister, Lois, had who tried to get either money or goods from Louise's Aunt Belle for many years. Daniel Furgon, her contact for the jobs wasn't with them. "Where's Dan," she asked.
"Dan didn't show up at the train station but told us where we would get to meet our employer. Jordan, this is our lucky day. May I introduce you to our employer?" Blake smiled facetiously.
Louise looked at Jordan and said, "You fool, someone could be listening at the door. You know that maids in hotels gossip. Let me check! Help yourselves to some refreshments." Louise excused the maid and said she wouldn't need her for a few hours. She tried to compose herself as she recalled that it had been more than a dozen years since she had seen them last. Her mother had taken great care to keep both of her children away from her side of the family.
"What do you mean Daniel didn't show up? Did you call him?" she screamed.
"No, we didn't have time and we didn't have any change. So when do we get paid?" Blake demanded.
"Until I get confirmation from Daniel that the job was completed you don't get a dime," Louise smirked.
"Oh we're going to get paid regardless. You see "Cuz" we did our jobs and we demand to be paid. We also want our own room here for a few days at your expense of course. Hey Jordan, you know what? I believe that we have just hit the jackpot!" Blake smiled broadly.
"I don't understand Blake, how is this some sort of a jackpot?" Jordan's large face looked confused.
"Jordan, it's a good thing you are my brother. Louise is going to treat us like royalty, aren't you Louise? We can spill everything about what Louise has been up to, isn't that right Louise? Don't think about not paying us, because I would hate to mess up that pretty little face of yours, "Cuz". She'll pay all right, a lot for what we know. She doesn't want Aunt Belle to find out, now do you Louise?" Blake asked with scorn in his voice.
"I assure you that you will only be paid for the completed jobs and nothing more. Since I have gotten confirmation about Clark Jackson I will pay you the $500 promised. As to the other, I will wait until Daniel confirms. I will pay for your stay for two nights and don't think of charging anything to the room. That will be all you will be paid. Do you understand me, "Cuz"? I have no intention of giving you additional money," Louise's eyes glinted with malice.
Blake looked her up and down and figured she was good for the rest of the money. They each took $250 and waited as she made arrangements for another room for two nights for her cousins. She turned to tell them that they could pick up their key at the concierge desk after speaking with the desk clerk. She restated that until she heard from Daniel that they wouldn't be getting any more money and her stone-cold glare and tone of voice told them she meant business.
Blake decided to leave it for now, because he recognized the look he had seen in Louise's eyes that he had seen in other family members. She had the killer look in her eyes and wouldn't stand for being crossed. He would bide his time. If he played it smart, he could get money from her by doing her dirty work. He had been careful about the setup at the Black house in Welfield so that they wouldn't be recognized. He had to hit that old man who had almost seen his face. Daniel knew better than to finger them. He knew how the Townsend brothers worked and what they did to anyone that double-crossed them.
Blake and Jordan went to the desk and got their room key. They were pleased with their current circumstances. They had a room in the fanciest hotel in America and money to blow!
"Hey brother, we will get some new clothes and then go to some clubs or something. Say, if we play the part of having a lot of money who knows what we can end up with. We could score big time in the elevator or alleys around the hotel. If we wait until we are on our way back to Bluestone we could walk out the front door with a fancy watch, wallets, who knows. Besides, what cops are going to suspect anyone staying at the Astoria as the ones who are robbing folks?" Blake schemed. "First, let's go shopping!"
The two bought a suit, a couple of shirts, and tie as well as new socks and shoes. They told the clerk to send the bill to Louise Perkins at the Waldorf Astoria and gave her suite number. They also each bought a hand gun and a box of ammunition. They returned to the hotel and changed clothes. They still had over $100 left and intended to play some poker that night. Blake wasn't the largest or strongest of the two brothers, but he could sure play some poker. When they returned to the concierge they looked like all of the other clients of the hotel and told the concierge that they were searching for a good game of poker. After slipping $20 to the clerk, they were told about a game held at the Havana-Madrid Club on 51st Street.
Jordan and Blake had a delicious dinner at the Club and Blake won $1500 from their $180 seed money. They left the club and returned to the hotel and split the money. In less than 24 hours they had tripled their original pay. Two more nights in this town and they could live well for the next few months in Bluestone. They slept well and repeated their trip to the Club and won over $2500. Since it was their last night at the Waldorf and had made a lot more money than they had thought possible, they would go to the club one more time and see if Blake could win another one or two thousand. They were welcomed into the club and Blake had a big run of luck and was up to $4000 when he signaled to Jordan and Jordan told him he was feeling sick. He told them he thought it might be that flu he had suffered from earlier. The two left the club and returned to the Waldorf for another night. They would catch the last train to Bluestone the following evening.
Meanwhile, the Bluestone police had notified NYPD about their interest in the Townsend boys in connection with the assault on Clark Jackson in NY City as well as the attempted arson of a home in Welfield, WV on the day after Christmas. They gave them the name and phone number of the Welfield detective in charge of the arson case and gave information given to them by Daniel. That detective told them about his suspicions and mentioned that they were persons of great interest. He also mentioned to them that Louise Pierce Perkins may be involved and was staying at the Waldorf-Astoria. He suggested that the Townsend brothers might contact her there.
NYPD didn't think that her involvement was likely and doubted that the Townsend brothers would even get past the desk there. They didn't say that to the Bluestone detective but all of the NYPD detectives had seen her picture in the NY Times on several occasions before. Her aunt was that rich woman who gave away two large endowments to her daughter and granddaughter. Mrs. Coleman was a powerful as well as wealthy woman who was famous for her ingenuity and prowess in the business arena and had a full-time lease on a suite in the Waldorf. Her photograph was on the front page of the NY Times several times a month. Louise Pierce Perkins was probably just staying in her aunt's suite and was tired after the holidays. She had probably come to NY for a New Year's Eve party.
The NYPD detectives talked about the reporter's assault over a cup of coffee and about Louise Perkins when they were finished with the morning report and eventually one of them remembered the story that had been in The Inquisitor. That man, Clark Jackson, had almost been beaten to death hadn't he written that story about the Perkins woman? They went by the hospital to talk with him about Louise Perkins. He was in traction with two broken legs and would be in the hospital for a while yet. Clark told them some of the details that he had left out of the story. He told them how she manipulated people around her that were either related to her or supposed to be her friend. She was a dangerous woman, he told them, who had asked him to do a story to discredit Belle Coleman, her rich aunt and had even offered him $500 to publish the story. He had refused her story idea after he had talked to Belle Coleman who spoke honestly about how she had been raped by Louise Perkins maternal grandfather who also had happened to be Mrs. Coleman's brother-in-law.
He related the whole story of the endowments, abortions, and mental torture of Vivian Williams making her think her baby was dead. He didn't know anything about an attempted arson of a home, but he told them that he wouldn't put it past her to try.
"She is hung up on the husband of the Williams gal. His folks are loaded and I mean loaded. They own several shipyards in Norfolk and made millions during the war. She set her cap for him at college and he snubbed her. I don't know which ticked her off more, the guy snubbing her or his choice of a wife," Clark added. "She is one cool customer. She will lie with the brightest smile on her face in a convincing manner. I can't tell you who the men were that did this to me, but if I heard about my beating, as a reporter, I would follow her as my lead. Watch out for her, she will lie, cheat, or steal to get what she wants and will pull anything to get out of trouble. Read my story and you will find out the kind of person she is. She will do anything, and I do mean anything, without any thought of how it would hurt someone. On the other hand, she could have had me beaten, but then again, why would she? The story had been already printed and the rest of the world knows about her little secrets. Who knows how her mind works except perhaps Louise Perkins herself!" Clark admitted.
NYPD went to the Waldorf and asked the desk clerk about whether they had seen Blake and Jordan Townsend. The clerk told them that they were on a list of persons allowed to call Louise Perkins and had taken a room there for two nights, courtesy of Mrs. Perkins. One of the maids let the NYPD into their room where they found the hand guns and ammunition. The two were expected to be checking out in another day or so and NYPD found a matchbox from the Havana-Madrid Club. When the police returned to the concierge they asked if the Townsends had gone to the club again and the concierge said, "I am very sure that they did. When they returned last night they gave $25 for a tip I had given about where they could play poker."
The two detectives went to the club and asked if they could get in on a poker game. They were led to a back room where they soon picked out the Townsend boys. The big, tall and tough-looking one was sitting in a chair along the wall and the thin, lanky one was playing poker. When the bigger one mentioned that he felt sick, the detectives felt that their cover had been blown. One of the detectives followed them while the other one, a rookie, took care to check the smaller fellow's seat. The one who followed the Townsend boys was found the next morning with his head bashed in with some type of board. The coroner estimated that he had died about fifteen minutes after he had left the club.
The other detective knew that it had to have been the Townsends and gave all of his information to the homicide detectives along with their description. The club had blurred photos of the two that had been taken by a girl selling cigarettes. When homicide detectives showed up at the Astoria to speak with the Townsends they were told that they had checked out and had said that they were returning home on a train. The detectives quickly left for Grand Central Station and had just missed the last train to Bluestone. What they didn't know was that the Townsends had decided to make themselves at home at Louise's house in Charleston, WV instead of going to Bluestone. She wouldn't be there and after they persuaded the maid of their relations to Louise, they could just enjoy that wonderful Perkins hospitality. Cops wouldn't come into her house and they could live high off the hog without having to pay a hotel charge. Of course, they helped themselves to the few good jewelry pieces she had left at her house. Most of her expensive jewelry was kept in bank vaults. Oh well, they would wait for her along with their newly purchased hand guns. Without her knowing it Louise had been responsible for a big haul of almost $8000.
The two brothers were as different as night is from day. Blake was short and thin while Jordan was taller and stockier in build. Jordan was known for his fists while Blake used his wits. They split the winnings and so Blake put his $4000 in a Charleston bank box while Jordan kept his in a money belt. Louise's maid had called and Louise confirmed that they were her cousins and to take good care of them. She would be coming back to Charleston before New Year's and wanted to spend New Year's with her cousins. Louise was furious to think that they had actually invited themselves into her own home. The maid told the rest of the staff what Louise had said and so the two were waited on hand and foot, cooked for and slept for two days living the way Louise did. By the time she had arrived they decided that they liked living there so much, Jordan told her, "We've decided to stay with you, my dear cousin," in front of one of the servants.
When the servant had left, Louise asked, "What are you doing here?"
Blake looked her straight in the eye and said, "Why we're just visiting our cousin and will be for some time see. Some jerk tried to rob us in New York and we had to bash his head in. It wasn't until we cleaned his pockets that we found his NYPD badge. We have to lay low and I don't think they will be looking in this great big fancy house of yours. We didn't give our real names at that club so don't worry. We'll probably be gone in a week or two, but don't get excited. It might be longer."
Excerpted from Family Secrets by Mary Jo Stanley. Copyright © 2013 Mary Jo Stanley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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