-1I've seen dead bodies before. Sad that a 17-year old girl can say that, but it's true.

I've never been front row watching a live body become a dead one, though.

The victim in question? One Aaron Echolls. The location? His Christmas party, actually held a week or so before the actual holiday.

Yeah, that Aaron Echolls. The actor. I'm sure you've read the breathless tabloid accounts of his sordid life and gory death by now -- and if you haven't, pass me the location of the deserted island you're staying on because I may need to go there myself at some point. Unless you flew there via Transoceanic. But I digress.

See, Dad had been trying to figure out who was stalking Aaron Echolls -- which could have been any one of several women. Unfortunately, he figured out just a bit too late who it was.

Wait a minute. That's not fair to my dad. He'd figured it out in plenty of time. But the anal security guards at the Christmas party hadn't let him in. They were trying to throw him off the property when they heard the screaming.

Of all people, Logan tackled the woman -- but not before she'd stabbed him twice, once around the kidneys and once straight through the heart. Lynn Echolls frantically called for an ambulance, but it was too late -- they said later he was probably dead before he hit the floor.

To add to the Twilight Zone-iness of the evening, a group of Christmas carolers hired by Lynn Echolls were in the middle of singing when all this happened, and no one actually got around to telling them to stop. So we all were dazedly hovering around a dead body while from outside came the dulcet tones of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.

But no one was going to be doing any resting in Neptune that night.


The funeral was held a couple of days later. They say it was a hell of a show -- half of Hollywood showed up along with their camera crews, it seems, as well as the Governor of California. Not surprising to me in the least that Trina Echolls had arranged the whole thing; I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd done it just so she could pass around business cards.

Dad showed up. I didn't; I was busy at that point digging up dirt on the parents of Neptune, and hitting an odd bump in the road when it came to my friend Mac. Turns out she and Madison Sinclair had actually been switched at birth.

The Echolls family didn't seem to blame him. Logan, apparently, wasn't really aware of what was going on, and Lynn seemed too numb to care about it. Dad was stunned when Lynn started writing a check there, on the spot; Dad had to accept it, not wanting to start a big scene, but quietly ripped it up later. He didn't feel he'd earned it.

In the meantime, Trina gave one of the most unbelievable eulogies. (Lynn passed.) I mean, Aaron Echolls was no psychotic -- just a guy, apparently, who had a hard time keeping it in his pants -- but from Trina's description you would have thought the man healed the sick and parted seas in his spare time. And of course, she was sad he was gone, but she would do her best to carry on the Echolls family acting tradition . . .

Then it was Logan's turn.

"Trina, as usual, you've outdone yourself," he started. She smiled. "Turning our father's funeral into a way to shill for your own career -- good move." Her smile vanished. "Now," he went on, "You've just heard about what a great father Aaron Echolls was. What a good man he was. What a --" he looked at his mother, who gazed blankly back -- "fine husband he was. And -- and every word was true."

Dad then noticed Lynn's expression waver for the first time.

Logan went on. "In the next few weeks you'll be reading stories about my Dad's affairs with hundreds of different women, or his loveless marriages, or how he beat me bloody with a belt on a regular basis whenever he was in the mood. Don't listen to any of it. That's not the Aaron Echolls you knew."

It seemed to satisfy Lynn Echolls. When Logan sat down again next to her, she squeezed his hand and smiled, briefly.

It didn't satisfy Dad, though it wasn't like there was anything he could or would do about it. His finely honed BS detector knew that there was more to the story than that.

So, for that matter, did I -- at least, I knew that Logan disliked his father intensely, and I wouldn't have thought "diplomacy" was even in his vocabulary.

But I guess I was wrong. It seems that death became Aaron Echolls.