Book Four: Part 8 - Rhyming Evil - Chapter 1
A writer returns to Montie to do more than autograph another book. Carter may be biting off more than he can chew.
Riddles are being left at the Twenty-Second. Riddles, that in the beginning aren’t difficult to figure out, but the more riddles left, the more dangerous things become. As it continues, Baker understands a human life is at stake. But whose? Will there be enough time to save this person’s life and put an end to the riddles; once and for all?
A commitment of love begins for two people. Two others feel they have found a beginning toward a lasting relationship. Still, there are two other people who decide to take commitment a step further. There will be other relationships that begin and end all too soon.
A fire happens off Highway 60 toward Stanhouse. A house burns down, or did it? Was there anything there to begin with?
Lee Austin (former military returns home), and twin-brother of Ricky Austin, who, along with his wife, were brutally murdered. Lee sets his sights on finding their killer.
Somewhere, as always, Freddy will be around.
Dianne looked up and saw a doctor standing at the edge of the waiting room. She got off her chair, slowly followed by everyone else who was with her.
“He is a very fortunate man. All three bullets went out the back. None of the major arteries were hit. He is a resilient individual. He did lose quite a lot of blood, but we’ve given him three pints of blood via a transfusion.
“He is still in serious, but stable condition. I advise he not have,” he looked around the waiting room, “too many visitors for at least three days. We are going to keep him at least thirty days to monitor his progress and to make certain all steps we took, do not change course. By then, or during that period, we can determine if and when he can go home.
“With exercise, a sensible diet, Officer Prescott should be up and walking around by the end of September and able to return to work by December.”
Dianne breathed a sigh of relief. The entourage behind her were smiling, clapping one another on the shoulder. A few even shed grateful tears.
Dianne walked up to Baker and said, “God, has the best hands, doesn’t he?”
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
jealousy is like cancer in the bones. Proverbs 14: 30
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused or disabused;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled, —
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
There are all types of cancer inside people. Some can be removed by surgeons;
others, if you really believe, removed from God.
Then there are those who need it removed by me.
And that’s no riddle. That’s a fact.
Friday - June 22nd
The Squad Room – 8:29 a.m.
“You all have your rotations for this quarter. That should keep you from being bored. The good things, we haven’t had any issues the last couple of months, and I’m sure we are all happy with that. Hopefully, we can keep this streak going.”
“Baker,” spoke up, Davis, “how much longer will it be before Ed shows his ugly mug back around here?”
“Can’t answer that one, Davis. Maybe another week or two, maybe longer. He’s been busy with therapy and his classes, but I’ll let him know you asked about him.
“Now, if there isn’t anything else; then get out there and be safe, and keep our streets safe.”
Once the team thinned out, Baker got herself a cup of mud-pie coffee from the machine, went into her office, sat at her desk, and began going through some paperwork. After ten minutes of staring at the words on paper, she sat back and mulled over the last several weeks.
After the harrowing DVD she watched, along with Ed and Satchell, a few days went by before she was ready to steel her nerves and get back into her cop-mom-wife mode again.
She remembered the call. 3:56 p.m. A reunion of sorts was to take place. A relative had been located.
It had been nice having Leon around for a few weeks, and Stevie was becoming used to having him around, but everyone knew it was temporary.
It was on a Monday, the twenty-eighth day of May, when Lynetta Odell Mason, a large, black woman with a robust laugh and toothy smile, she drove all the way up from Tomahawk, North Carolina, to get Leon. She was his aunt, his mother’s sister. Though they were never close over the last ten years, “Family is family,” was how Lynetta put it. She thanked Baker for watching over Leon.
As they drove away, Leon sat in the backseat waving goodbye as he cried quietly. What he saw in return were three arms waving goodbye; two people with tears in their eyes, the third, feeling both Baker’s and Stevie’s grief and instant loss.
But, as they say, life moved on.
Moving her mental camera forward, she saw Ed making his final preparations for surgery, a transplant that wouldn’t be done until June fourth, but on May thirtieth, saw the changing of the guard.
Sergeant Dewey McDaley was stepping down from duty. Not one man or woman who worked at the Twenty-Second, could hide their sadness at seeing him leave, but at the same time, there were smiles, and well-wishes made at seeing Dewey finally getting his turn to enjoy life.
A small gathering was held outside the Twenty-Second with local news coverage as Satchell spoke to the press.
“It is my honor, and privilege, to give both this gold watch, and it really is gold,” the crowd laughed, “to a former police officer and good friend, Sergeant Dewey McDaley. Also, on behalf of the Mayor, and City Council, this check for $10,000.” Satchell looked at Dewey as he walked to the podium, stuck out his arms an unashamedly, wrapped them around Dewey, giving him a strong hug.
Dewey turned to the crowd, saying, “I’ve seen four mayors’ and five captains’ since I’ve been here. I have worked with some of the best men and women in blue that’s walked in and out of the Twenty-Second. I’m very proud to say I could have never found a better class of brother’s and sister’s on the face of the earth. And I’ve watched the best and brightest, buried, to keep our city safe, and respectable. Now, it’s time for me to stand down, let some new blood take over, and go out and enjoy the years ahead of me. But, if it weren’t for those who went on before me, and for those who stand around me now, I would probably have never had much of a future to enjoy.” Dewey turned to look at the building and said, “Thank you, Number 22, and thank you to all those you hold dear to me. I thank you all.”
If you had been there, and didn’t feel your heart tugged on, then you weren’t human.
Satchell made two more announcements. One, that Antony Spinelli would be reassigned from night desk duty clerk to day shift and promoted to Sergeant. He also named John Marchetti as the new property clerk, although he was a transplant from the Stanhouse PD.
And so, a month ended without a bang.
When the weekend passed, Baker, Stevie, Ellie, her parents, Satchell, and other officers, would pop in and out over the course of the day, and being vigilant in their desire to stay close by as Ed went through with the transplant. It was a surgery that was said to be four hours. It lasted, six.
There wouldn’t be any cause for concern. The bionics of the arm took longer than expected to react to human tissue and nerve endings. Besides, Ed was still a bit too groggy to hold a conversation. Baker and Stevie stayed by his bedside in the hospital room until he awoke with a much clearer head.
By that Friday, he was home. Though it was brief, the moment was a tender one, because for the first time since Freddy sliced his arm off with his Bowie knife, Ed could actually put two arms around Baker and hold her.
Things were on the upswing. Ed’s therapy started a week later. “Small steps lead to larger steps,” she heard Mrs. Peterson tell him. Ed was learning. By mid-month he was progressing to where he was almost two months ahead of schedule.
“He is so much like Stevie. Determined to conquer and rise above,” Mrs. Peterson said to her one afternoon.
Coming back to the present world, rummaging through more papers, she took another sip of her mud coffee. “That’s why I married him.”
The Weekend In Montie
Hot. It’s supposed to be hot. It’s almost July.
As people were either at Standing Room Lake swimming, boating, or sunning, other people were on vacation. Thee older folks who did none of the mentioned, stayed indoors and enjoyed their air-conditioner.
Other people were out and about doing something. Playing volleyball, tennis, jogging, having breakfast or a lunch depending on the time, shopping for that one item on sale or a present for an upcoming birthday or wedding anniversary. Yeppers, people were out just doing stuff.
Devon had the weekend off and took his wife, Vanessa, and his daughter, Jenny, to Vermont to see Vanessa’s mother.
J.W. went to the city park, parked his rig, leaving his badge and gun in the glove compartment and locked everything and took a walk until he found a park bench, and just be a people-watcher. Later, he laid out on the grass, and started reading a book titled, “The Doll Maker”. It was supposed to be a frightening story. His kind of read.
About an hour into his day, J.W. spotted a vendor selling hot pretzels, popcorn, and hot corn nuts, and cold drinks. It was the pretzels that informed his stomach he was hungry.
Closing the book, he walked over and with only one person in front of him, waited his turn to order.
Too late to react, the man in front of him turned around too sharply, and being surprised, lost control of both his drink and his pretzel covered with mustard. Both tipped forward where the pretzel pressed against J.W.’s blue polo pullover; the cold drink spilling over the lower part of his shirt and jeans.
“Oh, my God! I am terribly sorry! I feel like such an idiot!”
J.W. just stood there in shocked silence.
The man grabbed several napkins and began to pat down J.W.’s stomach and jeans. J.W. backed away.
“It’s fine. I’ll go home, and put these in the wash.”
“Nonsense. This is my fault. Look, I live a block from here. We look to be about the same height and weight; you can change at my place and wash your clothes there. That way, we can hopefully, get the mustard stain out faster.”
J.W. knew he should have declined the offer, but the guy was right about the stain. Wait too long, and the shirt would be ruined, if it weren’t already.
J.W. walked with the man to the Blake Manor Apartments. Just as they made their way to the front steps, “How rude of me, again. My name is Michael Collins.”
“I’m John Roberts, but everyone calls me, J.W.”
Once inside Michael’s apartment, he took to his bedroom as J.W. followed. and went through his clothes, and threw a pair of blue jeans, and a white button-down polo shirt on the bed.
“Change your clothes so we can get the messy ones in the washer. Do you drink coffee?”
“Yeah. I do.”
“Good.” Michael closed the bedroom door giving J.W. a bit of privacy.
As he was changing, he noticed a few photographs on Michael’s dresser. Michael and an older couple together, possibly his parents. Another of the three of them, but with another man, possibly his brother. They were all smiling. There was another one of Michael and a woman, too young to be his wife. Sister, maybe, or girlfriend.
Michael’s take-charge attitude impressed him. He never could stand a man who acted like a wimp. Whether he was in a relationship or not.
Suddenly, J.W. found himself drawn to Michael, but he paused that thought. Michael was probably spoken for. After all, he is a very good-looking man. The door flew open.
“Great, you’ve finished changing. Let me get your clothes in the washer. Coffee’s ready in the kitchen. Cream and sugar is on the counter. Help yourself. I’ll be with you shortly.”
After two more pots of coffee and endless conversation, J.W. found out the woman in the photo was his sister, who had died two years ago from breast cancer, and the man was a former boyfriend, who moved and taken on a new job in California. It was more important for him to further his career than it was his relationship, was how Michael put it. J.W. was right about the other picture. They were his parents.
J.W. went on to explain why he came to Montie. Between the loss of his parents (years ago), who had suffered heart attacks within seven months of each other, two other best friends, one to drugs, the other, a motorcycle accident, and then the loss of his best friend and lover. He felt he needed a change, a new climate, a new everything.
J.W. and Michael were fast becoming friends, and after J.W.’s closed were washed and dried, he thanked Michael for his kindness.
“At least allow me to repay you for today. Have dinner with me tonight.”
J.W. accepted. As he was headed back to his rig, he thought, “Amazing what mustard can do (the shirt was ruined, but the yellow part was gone) for a person’s day.”
Out at Standing Room Lake, another couple had finally come to terms with each other. A very happy, and excited Johnathan Prescott heard the words, I love you, and yes, I will marry you, from Dianne Andrews.
Dianne felt with all her heart this was the right things to do, to start a new chapter in her life with a good man.
Although not Montie; in New York City, at Seventy-Second and Polk, at the Squire-Inn Restaurant, Patrick was having dinner with Cliff Potter, who, of all people to run into in the Big Apple, also lived and worked in Montie. Cliff managed Baker’s Supermarket.
They met at one of the exclusive gay spas across town, and both instantly recognized one another. It would have been impossible not to, since it was Cliff’s Boxer, that Patrick and Terry managed to save, who happened to be one of many animals shot by Fred Creasy and Bertram Ballmate. Patrick would have never guessed that Cliff was gay. He had an oval-shaped face, tear-dropped shaped eyes. His hairline was receding, and he had a small scar to above his eye, just to the right side. But when he smiled, Patrick couldn’t help but warm to what he was finding out to be a considerate and passionate man. Funny, too. All those attributes that were in Daniel, now sat across a table from him. But could this go further? Time would tell.
Back in Montie, as the weekend would draw to a close, Stevie and Ellie actually said, “I love you”, out loud to each other for the first time. They began talking just not about dating, but college, their career’s, possible marriage, and family.
Baker and Ed, did their best to answer his questions on marriage, of being a father, and all the other things that create the ups and downs of life.
“Sometimes it’s all trial and error, and when it doesn’t compute, delete it and try something else until it does work. Just don’t run off half-cocked into believing you can do everything on your own, because the truth is, you can’t. Every marriage takes two bodies, two minds, two hearts to make it work. It takes honesty, truth, and respect. When any of those break down, then it’s time to reinvent your own life’s wheel.
“Your mother did that, and I’m damned glad of it.
“Just know everything that happens, everything we do, is done on purpose and for a reason. God secretly, I suspect, has our roadmap for life pre-planned, therefore, I don’t believe anything that happens, happens by accident. It’s just that sometimes, we don’t know the reason, or the outcome, until we act and react.”
“Bub, all Ed’s saying is just do the very best you can. It’s all anyone can ask of you; especially of yourself. So far, you have done better than good at being a good you.”
Ellie was at home pretty much hearing the same thing. “We learn from our mistakes and grow because of them.”
And somewhere in a charming and quaint city of Montie, a poet of sorts, was embarking on a journey, which at the moment wasn’t sure how it would end, but the poet would see this adventure through to its finish, no matter how it may end.