“I’m sorry…I’m so sorry…can’t seem to get myself together.” Olga put her hands to her face and started weeping uncontrollably. Osborne walked around the desk to where Olga was seated, bent over and overcome with grief. He helped her up and walked her toward the couch.
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry. My questions came off too blunt. You’re not ready for this yet.” He sat her down and grabbed a tissue from the box on the coffee table and handed it to her.
Olga spoke through her tears, hoarse as if she had spent hours crying. “I came in to return phone calls, so many calls, and see if I could help Howard at all, but he decided to stay home and I’m not good for anything.”
“That’s to be expected.” He sat on the couch a couple feet away from her. “He was your boss.”
“Oh, no, so much more than that. Like a son, really.” She snickered in spite of herself. “A naughty, outrageous, overgrown kid. No one was like him…I still keep hoping he’s going to walk through that door any minute. A part of me can’t accept that this isn’t all some horrible nightmare…I’m just a stupid, stupid, old lady.” The tears flowed down her face.
“No, not at all.” Osborne looked around the office. “Can I get you something to drink? Anything at all?”
“Thank you, but I’m okay. No, that’s wrong. I’ll never be okay again. I haven’t felt so alone and lost since my husband died. Then Stan hired me and my whole life changed for the better.”
Osborne took out his cell phone, clicked record and placed it on the table. “Do you mind if I record our conversation?”
Olga sniffled a “no” through her tissue.
“He sounds like a great guy,” Osbourne continued.
“The best.” She started sobbing again and Osborne waited patiently until she was spent.
“I guess you must have been friends with his wife.”
Olga stopped crying and blew her nose. “I hated that bitch.”
The change in her was so abrupt, it took Osborne by surprise.
“She went after Stan like there was no tomorrow, and he was too smitten blind to see what she really was.”
“What was that?”
“A user. A typical, selfish, self-centered, Hollywood user who would do anything to get ahead.”
“It must have been difficult for you to see that happen. Where did he meet her, do you know?”
“At a party. Lila was living with another actress at the time—nice girl, she worked on our show once. She was a real actress, not an empty vessel like Lila. She brought Lila with her to a wrap party at a restaurant in Beverly Hills. Lots of people from the studio, but Lila made a beeline for Stan. I know. I saw it happening and it was disgusting.”
“Do you remember the name of the other actress?”
“No, I’m sorry. Howard would know.”
“Mrs. Levy has disappeared. Do you think she could have had anything to do with…?”
“No…as much as I hate her, I know she could never kill him. He was her ticket to fame and that was the only reason she married him. She was going to appear in his feature, the break of a lifetime. No, she would not have killed him.”
“I hear they argued, sometimes violently. Not even during an argument?”
“Not a chance.”
“I suppose you know about his drug use?”
“It was never that bad! He had it under control!” Olga almost pleaded with him to believe her.
“I’m sure you’re right about that. It’s hard to avoid drugs when there’s so much going around your industry.”
“It was his friend’s fault—Moe, his transportation captain. He was a bad influence.”
“Anyone else you can think of?”
“Howard had an addiction problem five years ago. Went to rehab and became like a fanatic about drugs. He was on Stan like a mean nun with a ruler if he even thought he was anywhere near that stuff.”
Osborne put his cell phone back in his pocket. “I appreciate your talking to me, Ms. Mostad.”
“You need to talk to Howard. He might be able to help you.”
“I will do that.”
Olga leaned over and grabbed Osborne’s arm. “Please find out who did this. I won’t be able to think about anything else until you do.”
Osborne patted her arm. “We’ll do our best.”
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