"Not at all, just reminding you of your good fortune."
"Excuse me, Ron." And with that Costello's fantasy girl for the evening walked away for good.
Ron Costello's posture now changed considerably. As the brunette briskly left the front porch and headed inside the house, his shoulders slumped and he grew agitated. For his stalker, this was good. The bastard would be preoccupied. Costello's night was ruined, and he was royally pissed off. "Goddamn bi---. She'll be sorry. Goddamn Clinton and his stupid family. What the f--- am I doing here?" With those black thoughts ricocheting around his brain, Costello drained his beer, said a few insincere goodbyes, and headed for his hotel. From a safe distance, the man watching Costello followed. He knew exactly where the correspondent was going. For years, the stalker had been coming to the Vineyard. He could thoroughly describe the island from the wilds of Chappaquiddick, where Edward Kennedy had abandoned a trapped and struggling Mary Jo Kopechne in a car filling with sea water, to the stately homes of Chilmark, the chic area where the self-destructive John Belushi was buried. The stalker knew that Ron Costello was heading back to his suite at the Whaler's Inn, where most of the network correspondents stayed while on assignment.
The streets of Edgartown were done up in the colonial style. White-shingled homes lined both sides of the main avenue, many adorned with lanterns and elaborate gables. Picket fences surrounded some of the larger homes, giving the small town the traditional New England look that tourists love. Although a chill was rolling in from the sea, it was an easy, comfortable stroll following Ron Costello as he wove his way toward the hotel.
All the rooms at "the Whaler," as it was known, could be reached from outside terraces overlooking Edgartown Harbor. As Costello climbed the stairs to his room, the man below slowly removed a pair of surgeon's gloves from the pocket of his denim jacket and put them on. He then took a long-stemmed spoon from his back pants pocket, checking it closely. The spoon was stainless steel, the kind used for stirring drinks in tall glasses. The stem of the spoon was exactly eight inches long. The man put it back in his pocket.
In the last moments of his life, Ron Costello did the following: flicked on the TV, stripped off his clothes, urinated, and donned a bathrobe with a blue crest on the chest pocket. Then he heard the knock.
"What the f---?" Costello thought. "It's almost midnight."
"Mr. Costello, this is the night manager. We have a hand-delivered message from a young woman for you. I thought it might be important." Ron Costello's eyes lit up. "Maybe the little b---- has come to her senses." Costello opened the door and immediately felt excruciating pain. Something hit him in the chest, taking his breath away. As he doubled over, he felt a blunt object smash into his nose, breaking it. Stunned by what turned out to be a blow from his assailant's knee, Costello hit the floor, bleeding profusely.
The assailant quietly closed the door and stood over the prone correspondent. As with most assault victims, Costello was completely disoriented and terribly afraid. Everything had happened so fast. The correspondent was having so much trouble breathing he couldn't have screamed if his life depended on it. And it did.