After body parts of millionaire Robert Durst’s older neighbor were found floating in Galveston Bay, Robert Draper investigates Durst’s role (and eventual acquittal) in the 2001 murder.
Author’s Update: It seemed, thirteen years ago when I was following the murderous trail of New York real estate scion Robert Durst—who had possibly killed his wife Kathy in 1982, his friend Susan Berman in 2000 and then his Galveston, Texas neighbor Morris Black a year later, while Durst was in hiding dressed as a woman—that the story could not possibly get more bizarre.
Durst’s hot shot Houston-based attorney, Dick DeGuerin, had admitted in court that his client had in fact killed Black in a struggle and dismembered his corpse—claiming that Durst had done so out of fear for his life, then disposed of the evidence fearing the consequences. The jury bought it, and acquitted Durst of murder. With that new lease on life, it was believed that Robert Durst would go underground.
But he did not. Instead, he materialized one day on the lawn of his brother, who reported fearing for his life. Then Durst decided he would like to tell his story in full to a documentary filmmaker. That six-part series, The Jinx, landed with a splash on HBO. It concluded with a bombshell: Durst, apparently unaware that he was still miked up, mumbled to himself, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.” By the time that episode aired, Robert Durst had absconded to New Orleans, where the authorities drew a bead on him and locked him up on gun and marijuana possession charges. He now also faces a first-degree murder charge in Los Angeles—a charge that DeGuerin says Durst will contest.
···The bus driver was known locally as Big Daddy, and he had learned that in Galveston it pays to keep one eye on your rearview. For the past eight years, Big Daddy had ferried all manner of human flotsam around the island. Most of those who boarded the No. 6 seemed, like the town itself, sweet and serene. But Galveston was not like Houston, forty miles across the causeway; its inhabitants did not come here to lay their aces on the table. The wealthiest among them dressed like addled snowbirds, drove battered vehicles and lined up for the cheap lunch specials. Never mind the losers fresh from the pen whom Big Daddy conveyed on his hourlong loop—even the island’s patricians had shadow lives, be they the Maceo mob who controlled the Galveston nightclub scene in the ’40s and early ’50s or the all-powerful Moodys and their offspring Shearn junior, who threw wild gay romps at the family ranch while raiding the Moody charity trust on the side. More recently, in 1998, it became public knowledge that one of Galveston’s civic stalwarts, Tim Kingsbury, was in fact Patrick Welsh, an embezzler who had faked a suicide and ditched his family in Ohio for a clean slate on the island.
Welsh/Kingsbury arrived in Galveston on a bus. Big Daddy did not recall ever driving the man. But on his route, he came to know two others who would burst into infamy. When he saw their faces in the paper last fall and read what one was alleged to have done to the other, Big Daddy confessed a certain surprise—not so much that two of his passengers were actors in a crime but, rather, that they seemed to have come from entirely different worlds, joined only by the No. 6 and the sequestering embrace of the island.
The elder of the men—the one who had been murdered and dismembered—would not be mourned by Big Daddy. At least three days a week, the driver had suffered the approaching spectacle of the scrawny retiree in the Gilligan hat, his slightly misshapen left leg just off the ground, his arms flapping about and his cracked lips already forming the abrasive New England inflected salutation: “I’ve been waiting here for two hours!” Gilligan, as those on the route called him, was a man of a thousand complaints. Poor placement of bus stops, too many sick passengers spreading germs, the gross inefficiency of it all…He carried on in his seat, at times with such vehemence that Big Daddy would threaten to banish him from the No. 6. That someone had seen fit to lop off Gilligan’s ever ranting head did not strike Big Daddy as one of life’s more far-fetched possibilities.
That the second man would do the honors was quite a twist, however, given that the driver often saw him in a dress. In the early-evening hours, he would board the No. 6 in an auburn wig, makeup and earrings, and upon taking his seat he would slip out of his tennis shoes and replace them with a pair of heels he kept in a bag. Unlike Gilligan, he said very little, apart from asking questions about the bus route—except on one occasion, when he volunteered to Big Daddy that he performed at the gay clubs. As a woman, the passenger was not especially convincing, though through his rearview Big Daddy had eyeballed far skankier impersonators, as well as those of undetermined pedigree.
He had, for that matter, seen this man as a man, dressed in the daytime like the average middle-aged islander. What made him memorable was that he would routinely disembark at 53rd and P 1/2—in the company of a tall, sociable young African-American male who himself cut a fetching figure in a dress. Not once did Big Daddy ever see the white cross-dresser and Gilligan together, nor would he have expected to.
In fact, the two passengers had quite a few things in common. They shared an intense desire for privacy and for doing things on the cheap. Both were disconnected from their families and bounced from city to city without notice. More significant, they lived in the same fourplex, at 2213 Avenue K, across the hall from each other. As both men were short and slight of build, neighbors at times confused the two from a distance. The fact that the men bore a slight resemblance to each other proved to be quite convenient for the white cross-dresser, whose real name was Robert Durst, for it allowed him to flee the Galveston authorities this past October in a rental car he’d acquired using the expired driver’s license of Gilligan, whose real name was Morris Black, while the latter’s severed head presumably rested like a manganese nodule somewhere at the bottom of Galveston Bay.
That Durst, the son of New York real estate titan Seymour Durst, was a continuing subject of interest regarding both the disappearance of his ex-wife two decades ago and the murder of his best friend, Susan Berman, on December 24, 2000, became apparent to Galveston authorities too late. The saga of Durst’s arrest for Black’s murder; subsequent bail-jumping, cross-country flight from justice; and anticlimactic apprehension in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, this past November after shoplifting a hoagie and a Band-Aid has now been told numerous times. Much has been made of the 58-year-old Durst’s antisocial quirks and his callous indifference to Kathie Durst’s disappearance, while the 71-year-old drifter Black remains the subject of dark and fantastical speculation. But as Robert Durst awaits his summer trial date, the two most critical questions in this freakish melodrama remain unaddressed: What would compel a millionaire to viciously kill a featherweight senior citizen? And what brought both men to Galveston, Texas, to begin with?
The answers have begun to emerge. Astonishing as they are, they would not surprise the obscure legions who have sought on an island what the mainland could not provide. Nor would it surprise Big Daddy, whose real name is Claudis Edmond, to learn that a key to the riddles is the young black cross-dresser—who, the driver noted with puzzlement, no longer took the No. 6 after the events of September 30, 2001.
Even Morris Black’s only friends—small-town bureaucrats, grocery clerks, charity workers and, above all, librarians—regard his ugly demise with knowing winces. “When I saw his picture on TV, I wasn’t surprised, because he provoked people,” says one of the few landlords who had not attempted to evict him. Remembers a kindly city-hall worker, “He’d push you to where you’d want to kill him.” Yet another who had endured Black’s company propounds this theory: “What it was, was he was an asshole. And he probably treated his neighbor that way, and the neighbor got fed up.”
No one mistook Morris Black for a dunce, however. He lived by his wits, studied the stock market, knew his way around a municipal courthouse and understood, not long after he arrived on Galveston Island, in the summer of 1998, that he would not be alive much longer. His begrudging little heart had been performing poorly, compelling him to write one of his sisters and a former sister-in-law and inform them that in the event of his expiration they would be the beneficiaries of his life savings, which seemed at the time an inauspicious bequeathal.
The actual sum, discovered after Black’s death in various accounts at BankFirst in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, would total $139,597.52. Though conspiracy buffs and lazy reporters have imagined the money to represent the proceeds from some misdeed (Robert Durst’s hit man?!), in fact Black had bought a house in South Boston for $6,500 in 1980 and sold it seven years later for $137,800. Upon cashing in, the 58-year-old Bostonian declared himself retired and made his way south. There was nothing to detain Black in his birthplace. Certainly not family: His Russian-immigrant parents had given up their six children to foster homes, and at least one of his brothers would claim never to have known Morris, anyone. You should be on the billboard for Preparation H.’ And he screamed at me, ‘I’m gonna get you!'”
Such was the very recent history of the new occupant of apartment 1 at 2213 Avenue K in the spring of 2001. It may now be asked: How would the tenant in apartment 2, directly across the hall—a man in possession of life-altering secrets, not to mention a rather short fuse of his own—react to the sudden avalanche of Morris Black?
Like the cranky new tenant across the hall, the inhabitant of apartment 2 feared his world was coming to an end. The authorities in Westchester County, New York, were breathing down his neck, revisiting the matter of his missing ex-wife, who had dropped off the face of the earth on January 31, 1982. They could say, of course, that they were not hounding him, that he had not been charged, that he was not even officially a suspect. But like his new neighbor, Robert Durst was no fool.
What was he instead? All efforts to simplify him—a genius and a sweetheart of a guy to his friends; a boorish, possessive narcissist to Kathie Durst’s supporters—would carry the distinct ring of ignorance. As with Morris Black, the very latticework of the man seemed to rest upon some ancient, increasingly yawning fault line. By the time he had reached Galveston in April 2001, the person his supporters and enemies thought they knew had collapsed into the breach.
His father had been a distinguished New Yorker, the son of an Austrian eÌ migreÌ who arrived in 1902 with $3 in his lapel and in thirteen years went from children’s-clothing manufacturer to banker to Manhattan real estate developer. Of Joseph Durst’s three sons, the eldest, Seymour, emerged as natural successor to the family business. He was a deliberate, conservative site assembler—”a difficult man,” recalls former mayor Ed Koch, whose 42nd Street redevelopment Durst fought “every inch of the way” while devoting inordinate energy to chasing porn shops out of Midtown, fighting the city’s zoning restrictions and denouncing the national debt. Yet Seymour was also distinctly old school: a handshake dealmaker, a man who walked and took subways rather than a chauffeur-driven limo, an avid cigar smoker and New York”history archivist. When the father declared himself semiretired in 1992 and considered his heir apparent, he could not bring himself to follow in his father’s footsteps and select his eldest son. Instead he offered Robert the titular designation of chairman while slotting the younger brother, Douglas, as the Durst Organization’s president.
Though the decision resulted in Robert’s permanent estrangement from the family business, it was a sensible choice. From childhood, Bobby had always had an amorphous quality. It is tempting to cite as a pivotal moment the evening of November 8, 1950, when the 7-year-old boy and his three younger siblings apparently sat inside while their 32-year-old mother jumped from the steep roof of their two-story Tudor home in Scarsdale to her death. (Though the death was ruled accidental, a policeman on the scene, Vinny Jural, told me unequivocally, “She told us to take off, that she was gonna jump. We asked her not to jump, and she did anyway.”) Yet the more salient question was this: Was the condition that caused Beatrice Durst to climb onto her roof a syndrome that her son inherited? Psychiatrists examined the boy; the husband buried his wife and did not remarry; nannies tended to the four children. To date the family has kept its own counsel.
The whole of Bobby Durst’s boyhood took place underneath the radar of his peer group. Classmates who attended twelve years of school with him would later recall nothing whatsoever about him. Durst matriculated at Lehigh University, then at UCLA—later lying that he had obtained a master’s in economics from the latter. Like many first sons, Bobby sought to impress his father while rejecting the elder man’s value system. Befitting the ’60s, he wore antiestablishment garb, smoked a multitude of reefers, dabbled in primal scream therapy and opened a health food store in Vermont until Seymour goaded him back into the family trade. It must be said that when a working-class girl from New Hyde Park, New York, named Kathie McCormack first came to know her building supervisor, Bobby Durst, in 1971, she had not previously dated any millionaires. “His virtue was that he was from a different stratum of society,” concedes her brother, Jim McCormack. Kathie’s close friend Gilberte Najamy agrees: “Part of Bobby’s attraction, to her, was what he offered her in the way of seeing the world.”
How well did she know the man who became her husband on April 12, 1973? Kathie seemed unable to understand why a fellow of his means would insist upon staying in low-end hotels, driving a used Mercedes and dabbling in ventures beyond the Durst Organization umbrella. Yes, he was Seymour Durst’s eldest son, and this meant not only dinners with the mayor and all-access passes to Manhattan nightclubs in Durst-owned buildings but also the endless suckfest with individuals—many of them Kathie’s friends—who could sure use a little investment capital, a catering gig, an all-access pass, a free meal…
After years of escalating marital tensions culminating in claims of spousal abuse, Kathie Durst exhorted at least five friends, “If anything happens to me, don’t let Bobby get away with it.” On January 31, 1982, she disappeared. Robert Durst reported her missing a few days later. The lake beside their South Salem house was dredged. Durst suggested that his wife had run off with drug dealers; he withdrew from the investigation and disposed of her belongings. During this time, Seymour Durst ran into one of his eldest son’s childhood friends and said, “It’s terrible what has happened to Bobby. You should call him.” The friend did but found that it was becoming increasingly difficult to make an appointment with Robert Durst.
For he spent the ’80s and ’90s much as Morris Black did, ping-ponging across America, albeit on a somewhat higher budget. The one person who knew his comings and goings was writer Susan Berman, a former UCLA classmate and the daughter of Davie Berman, a sidekick of Vegas mobster Bugsy Siegel. As New York magazine reported, Susan Berman became Durst’s unofficial press spokesperson following Kathie Durst’s disappearance, and among her West Coast friends it was widely assumed that Berman had come to know more about the matter than the New York investigators did. In the summer of 2000, Durst’s pal hit him up for a sizable loan. He sent her two $25,000 checks. On Christmas Eve, just days before Westchester County officials planned to discuss in person with Susan Berman her knowledge of the Kathie Durst saga, Los Angeles policemen found Berman dead in her house with a bullet lodged in the back of her skull.
By this time, Robert Durst had already leased a grubby $300 apartment at 2213 Avenue K.
There were, as it developed, four Robert Dursts in Galveston.
One would have been recognizable to all: the short, furtive middle-aged man seated at the bar of the casually upscale Saltwater Grill, dressed in a suede jacket and jeans and reading a stack of newspapers while chewing on a sandwich. The second Robert Durst, somewhat more animated, communing with the bums in the downtown alleys and on the street corners, would appear familiar only to the fellow East Coast hipsters who knew that he had once scored his pot from similar characters in Westport, Connecticut, and downtown Manhattan. This same casually attired Robert Durst was also seen at a particular bar on weekend nights after ten, perched on the barstool closest to the women’s bathroom, nursing a drink while eyeing the dancers onstage—one a dead ringer for Dionne Warwick, another a reasonable facsimile of Dolly Parton, others somewhat less bedazzling, but all of them male.
The third Robert Durst electrified the tabloids this past fall, when it was learned, in the wake of Morris Black’s death, that the landlord of 2213 Avenue K had leased apartment 2 not to Durst but to a mute woman named Dorothy Ciner. This, authorities soon discovered, was Durst in a wig and a dress, presumably under deep cover. Early in the year, a cabbie told me, he had driven Ms. Ciner—the name belonged to a former Scarsdale High School classmate who had not seen Durst in ages—to the Wal-Mart in accordance with the note she had handed him. He had studied her oversize wig and “plain-ass clothes” in his rearview mirror and figured she was a cancer patient. A more discerning librarian had spotted the same individual in the first-floor reading room and gasped, “That’s a man!”
Durst’s ex-wife’s case had been reopened, and the police may well have been curious as to his whereabouts at the time of Susan Berman’s murder. A man fearing pointed inquiries could be expected to retreat. Yet it was a very big world for the beneficiary of trusts emanating from a $650 million business. When considering the question “Why Galveston?” little in the way of explanation is revealed by the first two Robert Dursts, or even by the Durst disguised as Dorothy Ciner.
The answers, in all probability, lie with a fourth Robert Durst, who went by Roberta.
As the bus driver had guessed, the young black cross-dresser who rode the No. 6 and disembarked at 53rd and P 1/2 with Durst had indeed departed Galveston a few days after Morris Black’s headless trunk and dismembered limbs were discovered in the bay. When I tracked down Frankie in an apartment in another Texas city this past January and asked about the timing of her departure, her bulbous eyes narrowed and she shook her head emphatically. “I’m not even gonna comment,” she said quietly. “I didn’t have nothing to do with it; I ain’t gonna be nobody’s damn witness; I’m not gonna be subpoenaed to come to no court—mm-mm! He cut that man up! First the head, then…”
She clamped down on whatever words might have come next. Frankie wore a navy sweater, a sensible knee-length cotton dress, a gaudy silver necklace, perhaps a little too much eyeliner and a modified Dorothy Hamill haircut that she intended to have redone the next day. She was in the middle stage of her hormone treatments and was more than a little unsettled at having been tracked down. It was not her desire to dwell on her Galveston adventures, whatever their scope. “See, right now I don’t want that kind of life,” she told me. “I just want to be a regular woman. Y’know what I’m saying? Working nine to five. I don’t wanna do no more shows. I don’t wanna be around no thugs.” Even before I could explain that I would not publish her full name or whereabouts, one of her friends stepped in, refused to let me continue and threatened to alert the apartment complex’s security guard. Frankie called off the dogs, then just as quickly hedged: “I don’t know that I can be of any help to you, anyways. I only seen him that one time on the Seawall.” Upon my mentioning the No. 6 bus, however, her expression changed. She smiled, almost fondly, and I followed her through the apartment doorway.
“I met him at Kon Tiki,” Frankie said, referring to the downtown Galveston gay bar where Durst had been spotted eyeing the drag queens. Frankie had been one of them, earning $65 plus tips to supplement what she was making turning tricks on Seawall Boulevard. On this occasion, Durst had worn women’s attire. “Came to me. Because, you see, I was a newbie.…He was trying to be twenty-four”seven like me. But he was a vampire. You know what I mean by vampire? Only dressed at night, and when daylight hit, he come in…[He was wearing an] ol’ ugly-ass blond wig—tried to dress nine-to-five, and real girls don’t dress like that.…I could tell—he had inappropriate exaggerations. And his voice was a little too deep, and when a person tries to change the octave of his voice—see, I know I sound like a southern belle.”
It was the end of May 2001, and Robert Durst had ditched the dour, uncommunicative guise of Dorothy Ciner in favor of Roberta Klein. Others besides Frankie and Big Daddy would see this more flamboyant version of Durst in drag—among them a taxi driver who picked him up on Avenue K in the evening and dropped him off at gay nightclubs on three occasions (“He wasn’t wearing no ghetto dress,” the cabbie told me) and a 62-year-old carpenter who worked next door to 2213 Avenue K and had twice observed Durst walking home, once in a red dress, another time decked out in yellow. Galveston’s gay community has hardly diminished since the cavortings of Shearn Moody Jr., and at any given time, three or four island venues feature performers in drag. Less publicized is the city’s Rosenberg Clinic, which, along with the University of Texas Medical Branch’s gender-treatment program, treats upwards of 350 transgender clients a year. Frankie was one such patient. Durst already had plenty of experience with makeup and heels, she said. But if his decision to go “twenty-four-seven” was a late one, this would not be exceptional, says UTMB gender-treatment specialist Walter Meyer. “The common history is that they struggle with these issues as adolescents, decide to stick it out and then in their forties or fifties try the other way,” Meyer says. “That’s not a rarity at all.”
“He was getting old,” Frankie said, “and even though he had money, he couldn’t get no hormones. I almost sold him some, but I was getting into a situation where I was hoarding ’em because I didn’t want to run out, because you go through menopause.…He tried to get ’em from a doctor.” To do so, however, would have required disclosing his true name at a time when Durst had crafted an elaborate alter ego. By day Robert Durst rode the No. 6 with Frankie to the latter’s apartment near 53rd and P 1/2—offering her money, she told me, if she would buy crack for him and help him lure young men. At night Roberta and Frankie would troll the Seawall. The svelte young African-American would approach a car window while the elder cross-dresser lingered nearby. The crack, she said, was Durst’s bait—along with cash, if that proved necessary—to lure young men back to his “trick house” at 2213 Avenue K.
“He was buying dick,” she said. “Because that man got money. He could pull people. He didn’t get it on his merits, his attitude or his attributes.…He was a square, you know? And when the Lord was givin’ out butt…” She shrugged, shook her head somberly. “Bottom line: He would try to find someone who was cute enough to help pull a guy. That’s all I was good for.”
It was almost comical for her to recall the frumpy fiftysomething man—”old as dirt”—in a black tube top and a blond wig, trolling for male suitors along Seawall Boulevard. She remembered a more violent side as well: “He just talked about people who did him bad. He talked about blowing away folks” with a gun Durst possessed. It was also true that the man who went by Robert during the day and Roberta at night could be free with his resources. Still, said Frankie, “when people are really generous, I’ve found in life that people can be so nice, and when you get on their bad side it gets to extremes. There ain’t no medium. I’m kind of that way as well. That’s why I can relate to him. He just got fed up,” and by this she was referring to Morris Black, whom she had seen on the Seawall and well recalled as a man who “just talked stink out of shit.” Because of that, said Frankie, “I don’t really think it’s bad what [Durst] done. Sometimes you can get to the point where you just can’t take no more.…A lot of us are loose cannons waiting to be fired. Just the wrong situation will bring it out.”
Throughout our visit, she had sat in a plastic chair, hands in her lap—coiled and defensive, but polite and even congenial. Now, though, all warmth was expunged from her southern-belle voice. I told her that Durst had been the subject of speculation regarding the matter of his friend Susan Berman’s murder. At that, Frankie leaned forward and declared, “Folks betray you. You see what I’m saying? Sometimes people become too trusting. And when they betray that trust, and you ain’t really playing with a full deck anyway, it goes with the territory. And I betcha,” she blurted out, “that woman knew what kind of person he was! Why shouldn’t she? I knew! And then she started asking for more money!”
We stared at each other for a meaningful moment. Frankie dropped her gaze first, smiling despite herself as she stared at her bejeweled fingers knotted in her lap.
“I better quit giving TMI,” she murmured. Then she added helpfully, “That’s Too Much Information.”
Did the man with life-altering secrets kill the prying, abrasive neighbor? Though Robert Durst had pleaded not guilty to murder, when the trial begins this summer his defense team will argue that Durst killed Black in self-defense. But this theory of the case may prove problematic in light of the events leading up to September 30, 2001.
It has not been previously reported that Durst, while continuing to live in apartment 2 of 2213 Avenue K, checked in to an ocean-view room at Galveston’s posh San Luis Resort under his own name on September 23. He had just returned from a wedding in Houston, and there was nothing to prevent him from rejoining his island residence. In recent weeks, however, a neighbor had heard Durst and Morris Black arguing heatedly. Perhaps Durst needed a break from Black’s suffocating obnoxiousness. Or perhaps he had something to think through.
The following morning, a Monday, Durst called a computer specialist in New York to discuss a problem he was having with his laptop. Later that evening, he chatted on the phone with a friend, the actress Kim Lankford, before belting down a couple of Crown Royals and calling it a night. He was a frequent sight at the hotel throughout the week, dressed like most beach-faring tourists, ordering Caesar salads and Guinness beers from the privacy of room 1515. And he stayed in touch with a New York real estate agent named Debrah Lee Charatan, whom he had secretly married at the beginning of the year after discreetly obtaining a divorce from his long-missing wife, Kathie. But according to the police, Durst also purchased a $6.99 bow saw from a local hardware store during this period—and on Friday, September 28, he returned to the store and bought a drop cloth and trash bags similar to those that, two days later, would be seen floating in Galveston Bay, containing the arms and legs of Morris Black.
It can be assumed that the job of killing and carving up a man, mopping up the mess, packaging the body parts and lugging the parcels to the pier at 81st and Channelview, where a 13-year-old fisherman discovered them on the afternoon of Sunday, September 30, would be a multihour task, and one not completed in broad daylight. After having his hair cut and ordering a roomservice dinner on Friday night, Durst placed a single late-night call to a bar. He did not check out of the San Luis on Saturday; nor, however, did he use his telephone or order any meals until the early morning of Monday, October 1. At that time, he called a New York optometrist to obtain his prescription, then a pulmonologist and finally his wife’s office, before closing out his hotel bill at 7:47 a.m.
Between that moment and the time of his arrest on October 9, Robert Durst is known to have done three rather unusual things. He drove more than 300 miles to New Orleans, where he handed over a bloodstained comforter to a dry cleaner. He checked in to Galveston’s Holiday Inn Express under the name Jim Turss. And one evening, he visited an RV parked on the western end of Seawall Boulevard—an area known for prostitution and drug dealing—where Frankie laid eyes on the former Roberta Klein for the last time.
Roberta, like Kathie Durst, would utterly vanish. She was one secret Durst had trained himself to keep. For when the Galveston police swarmed apartment 2 at 2213 Avenue K, they found blood on the front door, blood on the carpet, blood on the kitchen floor, a drop cloth, a bloody knife and bloody boots; in the garbage cans behind the apartment, an empty box of trash bags, a .22-caliber pistol, clips of ammunition, a spent shell casing…
But not a wig, not a dress, not a single tube of lipstick. It would be four months before blond and auburn wigs, clothing and makeup were recovered in the waters underneath the causeway. The killer had dumped the woman, twenty-four-seven or bust. If he couldn’t have her, no one else would.