I had a better chance to look things over. Man, I guess I just don’t know how to use quotes. It’s probably a good thing I don’t teach kids English after all! So, After a quick clean up, I’m sure there are still some errors. Even Cheryl was quick to point out I spelled “bury” wrong in the last post. Thanks a lot, Spell Check! And I can’t seem to find the culprit now. Probably on the 4th or 5th read. For the time being though, I’m posting what I have. Enjoy!
David got up slowly and walked toward the door. The rest of the family stayed at the table and looked on wondering if this was the divine sign David had asked for. It was rare when people came over, especially during supper time, unless there was a party or some other social event planned.
David got to the door and peeked through the window to make sure the person was not a salesmen or Jehovah’s witness. David hated talking to strangers, especially ones at his door. He didn’t want to be rude but could barely hide the distain he felt while talking to them. He could never think of a good and tactful way of saying he was not interested or he was finished talking to them. Usually he would simply stop talking and walk away. Sometimes people took the hint, sometimes people thought they needed to pursue him to continue talking. Either way David hated the conversation.
Through the hole he saw a uniformed individual. David had seen many uniforms in his time. He was a fireman , after all, and he wore various uniforms all the time. Dress uniforms for special events and work uniforms for everyday use. But this particular uniform was different, yet familiar to him . It was the uniform that belonged to the police.
David’s Heart began to pound as he opened the door. It was not everyday the police knocked on his door. His mind raced as to what the reason could be. Something at work possibly. Or maybe a fundraiser or local event was coming up that he was not familiar with. David opened the door then breathed a sigh of relief. He recognized this particular officer.
“Hey Tom, What brings you around here at this time of day?”
“Hi Dave. I was just in the neighborhood.” He looked around casually. “Nice place you got here.”
Tom Jacobs was an acquaintance of David. He was well known throughout David’s firehouse. The police and firemen both have specific jobs that often overlap. Sometimes police call the fire department when they need a search and rescue or the jaws of life, special equipment that are used to pry apart cars. Other times the fire department require the police to clear traffic and people after a chemical or other hazardous material spill. Both departments help out the EMT’s on emergency medical calls.
Tom was one of the police that was stationed next to the firehouse. They parked their cars in the fire departments parking lot and sometimes the firemen would give them a free car wash when the police cars needed it. David was acquainted with him, but outside the firehouse, he really didn’t know much about him. David suspected that this was not really a social visit.
“I get you guys during supper?” Tom asked pointing to a glob of sour cream dripping on David’s shirt.
“Yeah kind of, We were pretty much done. Well, I was anyway.” He wiped the drip off with his sleeve.
“Maybe we should go for a walk so we won’t disturb the rest of your family. “ Tom motioned out toward the driveway.
David nodded. He stepped off the front step and followed Tom down the sidewalk. Tom leaned up against David’s truck careful to avoid the dust line and smudge up his clean uniform.
“So, What’s up?” David asked
Tom looked around the yard then looked at David directly. “I was wondering where you were last Tuesday.”
“At the station, Why?”
“Pretty much, you can ask the boys. Why?”
“Well, we got a lead on this kid that disappeared. Jeremy Miles Now it’s just a rumor, But until this kid shows up, we have to check out all possible leads, know what I mean?”
“Oh sure, sure, What does this rumor have to say about me?” David asked.
“Not much really, just that you might know of this kids whereabouts. I figured since I knew you a little bit better than most of the other guys, I would drop in and check on the stories validity. Plus I can shoot the breeze with you and say I was actually doing police work.” He grinned and winked.
“Ah, So where did you hear this rumor?”
“Well, as a matter of fact, My son, I guess it is all over the high school. I’m not sure if this is a prank that some kids started to cause your daughter a big headache or if some kids just made it up to sound important. Anyway, We still think this Jeremy kid is a run away and will show up eventually at some relatives house, if he doesn’t get himself into any more trouble.”
David nodded his head. “What do you mean by ‘more trouble’?”
“Oh, well this kid is kind of disturbed, I mean he dresses all in black and listens to punk music, you know the type, kind of scary looking. He has not really done anything illegal, but he hangs out with some bad apples. And he has run off before. Got the parents all upset. They blame each other for his behavior. If you asked me, It’s both of their fault. Parents aren’t really what they were when I was growing up.”
David nodded. He could relate. He kept his kids on a rather short leash.
“So that’s it? Just wanted to ask me what I know about him ?”
“Yeah, He lives just down the block, I was just wondering what else you might know. Anything might be helpful.”
“Well not much I’m afraid.” David looked down. “ I guess Samantha knew him at school. She says that he left because his girlfriend broke up with him.”
“Yeah, that’s the story I keep getting. Like I said, I’m sure he will turn up.”
After a long pause David searched for something else to say. He didn’t want to invite him in for coffee and he didn’t want to seem rude by not saying anything. “So they got you working on anything else?” He asked.
“Not really, We tend to live in a sleepy little town. Aside from routine traffic duty, I just volunteered my services on this one so I don’t have to sit in a car shooting everyone with radar for eight hours.” He smiled, “This is the most exciting thing we have on our list”.
“Heard anything about that armored car robbery?” David asked
“Not much, “ Tom looked him over with renewed interest, “Do you know something about that?”
“Only what I read in the paper. Tracy reads all this stuff, otherwise I would be clueless. She points out local stories that are interesting.”
“Ah, Well there is not much information on that one. I guess the feds have jurisdiction. Every now and then we get a clue over the wires on what they are looking for. A car, a man dressed in a blue shirt, a specific location. “
David looked interested. “Hmmm any thing like that come down lately?”
“Oh yeah!” Tom looked skyward as if trying to remember something. “We got this radio call a couple of nights ago. Wednesday night, I think. Really late. We heard to be on the look out for a truck around here with a blue tarp covering up something. “
David’s eyes widened. “Blue tarp?”
“Yeah,” Tom said chuckling, “That certainly narrows things down.” He said with a touch of sarcasm.
“Did they say what kind of vehicle? What kind of truck?”
“Nope. Just a blue tarp. These things come down all the time. And they usually mean nothing after 24 hours. The person that we were looking for might have taken the tarp off even before we got the call.”
David stroked his chin thinking. “That was Wednesday?”
“Yeah, around 2 A.M. Yesterday We heard something about Barry county. Till the feds get some solid leads. We really are grasping at anything that looks suspicious.”
“So I heard there was a reward offered for information concerning that heist.”
“Yeah, $10,000! That would sure help towards putting my kid through college.”
“How would one go about giving that information? I mean, If you had information, how would you go about getting the reward?”
“Hmm I’m not sure. That’s a little out of my department. I would imagine you have to have useful information. Not just “some guy doing something somewhere. You would have to show up with the money or have some information on the guy that took it. I think there is a number you can call. They will take down your information and see if it pans out. I think the F.B.I are the ones offering the reward so I’m not really sure on their requirements. Why? You know something?”
“Oh! No, I was just curious is all.” David looked at his watch.
“Yeah yeah, I guess I should get going. Not that I’m looking forward to traffic patrol tonight. Anyway. I better get going and coffee up before I settle in my favorite speed trap. See ya at the station.” Tom turned and opened the door to his car. He climbed in with one swift move then shut the door, waving at David as he backed out.
David waved back and looked out after him as he drove down the street. David then turned and headed back toward the house. He climbed the steps, still looking toward the road when he opened the door. Tracy and the kids fell out as they leaned against it.
“Who was that?” Tracy asked
“That was Tom Jacobs.”
“Who is Tom Jacobs? “ Tracy asked with her arms crossed
“He’s a policeman! “ Daniel interjected.
“We know he is a police man.” Whitney switched her eyes from Daniel to David, “What we want to know is …what did he want?
“Is he any relation to Brian?” Samantha asked
David ‘s head spun as he looked at his family sprawled out before him on the front step as each of them peppered him with questions. “Who? What? Who is that? WAIT! One question at a Time.” He looked at Samantha “Who is Brian Jacobs?”
Sam’s Eyes lit up “Dad! He’s the coolest, best looking, most popular boy in school and he….”
David raised his hand to stop her. “That’s enough! You can’t date him. “ David lowered his hand with a wave Whitney and Daniel laughed.
“Dad! You’re doing it again! “ Sam protested. “You haven’t even met him. “
“I don’t have to know that you are too young to date anyone. Keep clear of him.”
“Or what? You going to bury him?” She muttered under her breath.
Daniel and Whitney laughed, this time louder. “That’s enough out of you! Out of all of you! “ David looked at all the kids.
“You still have not answered the question. “ Tracy renewed the topic “Who was that man?”
David looked up “Oh, As I was saying, That was Tom Jacobs. A friend of mine.”
“You have a friend that is a cop?” Tracy crossed her arms signaling for a better explanation.
“I know him from the station. We run into each other on calls all the time.”
“Why don’t we know him? “ Sam asked
“I don’t know, I guess we are not really that close.”
“You said he was your friend.” Tracy observed
“I mean I know him and he knows me. We are not really friends.. Just sort of …acquaintances. “ David made a quotes sign with his fingers.
“So a cop who is not really your friend, drops in and wants to talk to you ?”
“Yes!” David never knew how explaining a trivial relationship with a police officer could be so frustrating.
“What did he want?” Whitney took her turn to forward the conversation.
David pointed to Whitney. “Good question! Yes! He just wanted to ask me some questions about stuff. “ He mumbled off.
“About what?” Tracy still had her hands folded across her chest.
“Oh David paused “ About that kid down the street that is missing …..” He trailed off.
Tracy’s eye’s widened “OH MY GOD! Are you a suspect?”
“What? NO!” David waved his hand trying to calm her fears.
“Why did he want to question you? Why you? Does he suspect anything?”
“No NO Now stop it,” He was questioning everyone in the neighborhood.
“No he wasn’t “ Sam observed, “ He drove past the rest of the houses and didn’t ask them.”
David looked at Sam, “Well maybe he talked to them yesterday. Or maybe he heard some rumor from some friend of a friend of a friend of my daughter that I kill all her boyfriends!”
“Did you tell him anything?” Tracy was almost hysterical now.
“No! He just wanted to know where I was last Tuesday. I was at the station. I have an alibi with witnesses.”
“What do you need an al…i…bi for?” Whitney struggled to ask.
“Yeah! Why do you need an alibi?” Sam asked
“Especially if you didn’t commit a crime.” Tracy finished
“What IS an alibi?” Daniel asked, “Are you going to jail Daddy?”
David looked confused searching for the right words to say without throwing more fuel on the fire. It would appear that the family had placed him in a mine field and he was stepping his way out of it and not doing very well. He motioned that they should go back inside before the neighbors began to wonder what was going on. Everyone filed back through the door and David closed it, locked it, then closed the drapes over the windows. David began to tell his side of the story.
“Look, Tom was in the neighborhood and is asking around for any information of this kids whereabouts. He knew me and just wanted to shoot the breeze with me before heading out on his traffic patrol. He thinks the kid is a runaway and this kid has run away before. I really and truly believe that this was all just routine. I am not a suspect. He did not read me my rights. He did not threaten to take me down town. That is it! The end! Finite!” David motioned with his hands to signal that the conversation was over.
“That was all you talked about? “Tracy pried for more information.
“Well, Yeah! Mostly.” David nodded his head
“Mostly? Anything else? You were out there a while.”
“Well, I asked about the armored car robbery.” David mumbled.
“Really? What did he say about that?” Tracy’s eyes brightened once again.
“Not much, it was funny though, he mentioned something that sort of got me thinking.”
David looked in the air as if trying to pull the memory file out of his brain. “Something about a blue tarp he thought aloud, “It’s probably nothing.”
“Why does that ring a bell?” Sam was paying attention once more.
“That night, The refrigerator was covered by a blue tarp.”
Tracy rose with illumination. “I knew it! Another clue that links Ethan to the money!”
David raised his hand to wave away the similarities. “Now wait, I was at the hardware store today and they had nothing BUT blue tarps. They are very common and have dozens of uses.”
“Like wrapping up a body?” Sam suggested.
“Or waterproofing money!” Tracy offered.
“OR! Keeping the rain off an old rusty refrigerator.” David filled in. “Tom says these leads are usually nothing. The FBI just issues them when they got nothing to allow police to randomly pull over suspicious vehicles. After a few hours, the lead is cold and they move on to other things. It’s totally routine.” David felt an ease at explaining that one away, He should have been a lawyer.
“The FBI is involved?” Sam confirmed
“Well, Yeah, I mean, when ever something big like a armored car gets robbed, I believe the FBI gets involved. Makes sense to me.”
“Are you going to be in the movies, Dad?” Daniel asked
“What? NO! What gives you that idea?”
“The FBI is always in the movies.” He reasoned.
“Does the FBI know what is in the refrigerator?” Whitney asked
David looked around for the next land mine that the family had placed before him to step on. He hadn’t noticed it, but since he began, his voice was steadily raising. He was almost shouting now…over nothing. There was nothing in the refrigerator. And the family was crazy…CRAZY! They were all positive that there was something in it but they didn’t know what. And kept asking him the same questions over and over again. They were breaking him down, destroying his will, making him willing to do almost anything to make the inquisition stop! Even the kids were against him! He was beginning to feel isolated, alone, forsaken. Any answer he put forward, no matter how articulate or accurate, was not enough. Or was batted away altogether as not the answer they were looking for. David momentarily wondered how long he would last against any real interrogation. If he could not withstand the questions from his family, What would happen if he were questioned for real! With torture! HE shuddered at the thought.
“They don’t know what is in the refrigerator! I don’t know what is in the refrigerator! No one knows what is in the refrigerator! And short of digging it back up, which, we are NOT going to do, We will never know for sure what was or is in the refrigerator!” David was shouting now. His voice hoarse. His will shattered. He was on the brink of losing his sanity.
Silence reigned after the melt down. The kids sat quietly in a dazed state waiting for David’s head to spin around. Even the cat had entered the room to see what all the noise was about. David was sweating even though it was cool outside and the furnace had not yet been turned on. Everyone waited. Waited for someone or something to break the silence. The kids, for the first time, had finally realized they had pushed their father over the edge and feared the consequences of disturbing anything at this point. They all looked to Tracy.
“Actually, that is not entirely true.” Tracy spoke up.
The kids braced for the reaction, and looked to David to monitor his response.
“Hmm? What do you mean?” David looked exhausted.
“You said that no one knows what is in the refrigerator. I believe that is not entirely true.” Tracy reasoned. “There is at lest one person who had a pretty good idea what is in that refrigerator. “ She paused. “Ethan. “