Even by Southern California standards, the press conference was unusual. Posted in the airy living room of Lillian McCord’s Malibu home was a fifty-inch monitor. Behind this was a sweeping view of the rolling Pacific with sea gulls and cormorants cawing and pirouetting through the air. Near the monitor was the dying billionaire Mace Gilmore, hooked up to various pieces of life-sustaining machinery and a intrathecal pump–a timed release device dispensing morphine, implanted in his spinal canal. A hospital bed had been delivered to the home at his insistence and he lay propped up in it staring out at the gathered members of the news media. This after Lacy Mills had shown up unexpectantly at McCord’s house, having kidnapped Gilmore. They’d had some words and she departed, the billionaire asking McCord to order the equipment on his dime.
Several attentive staffers and two practical nurses orbited Gilmore. Looking on beyond the throng were some hard-eyed members of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, out of the Malibu/Los Hills station. Behind them in a nook, their IT person, a woman with a physique rivaling Serena Williams’s, swore under her breath as she furiously worked the keys of a laptop linked to other electronic paraphernalia in a truck parked outside, while she attempted to trace the source of the bounced signal being broadcast.
“I am complicit in the death of Senator Grish Waller,” Lacy Mills said evenly, her composed features filling the monitor’s screen. “Please,” she said, holding up a hand as the reporters began to hammer at her. The monitor was equipped with a two-way camera and mic. “Let me say my piece, then you can ask your questions.
“Grish,” she continued, “had been in an introspective state of mind. Not depressed, you understand. He was in good health for a man of his years, but had recently begun regretting not having taken advantage of certain opportunities to leave his version of the history he’d lived. The history he helped make.” Mills paused, considering her words. “For instance, he’d turned down, more than once, the invitation by a noted filmmaker to be the subject of a documentary. So Grish, never much of a drinker, was having sleepless nights where he drank whiskey in his study reading over biographies of Lyndon Johnson, Rigoberta Menchú and the like”
She paused again, looking out on the other faces, her pores seemingly expanding and contracting on the high-def screen. “And yes, to address the speculation, I was his lover–certainly not Congresswoman Cynthia Kang.”
“Well, glad that’s cleared up,” Chet Kimbrough cracked to the representative. Kang sent an evil glare his way. The two were in his office at McGoohan’s, the watering hole he co-owned in the trendy Adams Morgan section of DC. She sipped a brandy while he had coffee. It was 7 pm on the East Coast.
“It used to be you planned your Twilight Zone press conferences for specific news cycles,” Kimbrough remarked absently, “but with 24/7 coverage, that’s out the window.”
“Shhh,” Kang chided, pointing at the screen. “She’s about to spill it.”