Sunday, April 27, 2014

One September Night Chapter 14. Mystery solved! Almost.

 

This chapter was based off of REAL information I learned while working with the DNR.  We used to clean up various areas of public land where locals would dump garbage.  Trying to figure out what to do with the junk was usually one of the more “gray areas” of working with government officials.  Mostly, we put small things in our own  dumpster.  If it was too large to dispose of  with the regular garbage from the Post,  then we would find a place behind one of the many out buildings and burn it.  ( IF it was burnable!  Things like couches, fiberboard furniture, Etc.)  Still other things we had to take to the junk yard for possible recycling.  ( Yes!  We actually found a refrigerator and a gas  oven!)  It was then that I discovered the various environmental laws and procedures that are in place,  and this story was born.

I’m not sure if things have changed much in the last 15 years ( Has it been that long?!) But, I remember being surprised finding out the various details and procedures that I’m sure were  not main stream familiar to everyone at the time.  Regardless,  if the rules have changed since then,  these rules were in effect at the time.   Enjoy chapter 14!

 

 

Chapter 14

    David packed the truck with the tools he thought would come in handy for digging up a large refrigerator out of a four foot pit.  Several lengths of rope, some leather gloves, and all of the shovels.  He even packed the small one he bought for Tracy since it was just the perfect size for Daniel.   Everyone was going to help,  Including the kids.   It was they who got this ball rolling and they can help finish it.   Tracy busied herself with packing a lunch and lots of water.   It was like they were going on a picnic.  David informed the kids to wear some clothes that they didn’t mind getting dirty.   This was especially difficult for Samantha.  She came out wearing designer  low rise jeans and a skimpy T- shirt that was a bright hot pink.   David told her to change into something a little more rough and dirty.  The next time she came out with designer bootleg jeans with blaze orange polar fleece from Old Navy.  Top it off with flip-flops on her feet. currentelliott-the-flip-flop-jeans-product-5-6348816-833970761_large_flex
    “Sam! Are you Crazy?”  
    “This is the worst stuff I have.”   She wined. 
    “I said old and practical, not just the ‘out of style’.” David paused.   He could not believe the way teenage girls dress these days.   Scantly clad with the most inappropriate clothes on the planet.  You could not run, jump or do anything that required  hard work or heavy lifting.   He sighed,   Girls are just not boys he concluded.  “Can you at least lose the flip-flops and put something that will protect your feet from the dirt and brush.  A nice tennis shoe or high top will work.”  He knew better than to say boot.   She would most likely come out with a high heel boot. 
   38950-DEFAULT-l Tracy came out in her usual garden attire.  She looked like she were going to pick strawberries at some farm.  She carried the lunches and tote bag containing bottled water.   She was planning on making a day of it.
    “Lunches?   I doubt we will be out there that long.   Water I can understand but lunches?  I really would just like to dig this thing up then bury it again before anyone can see us.”  
    “What are you going to do when all that money falls out of it?”  She handed him the bag
    “There is no money in it!  The only reason we are going to dig it up is so I can prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
    Daniel jumped in the truck and flipped back the seat.   Whitney and Sam followed  Sam was wearing some pink tennis shoes.  David and Tracy climbed in the front.
    “I still think we should bring the Van”  Tracy reasoned. ” We wouldn’t have to scrunch up in there and have plenty of room to move around in. ”
    “The van will get stuck back there in the woods.   We buried it off the road a bit.  The last thing I want to do is get the van hung up  in the middle of nowhere.  And at this point,  I’m not really concerned with everyone’s comfort. ” David turned the ignition. 
    “Can we bring Eliot?”  Daniel asked
    “We can not bring any of your friends, Danny!   There is barely room for everyone as it is.”  David looked at him through the rearview mirror. 
    “Eliot is the cat, Dad. ” 
    David looked puzzled, then looked at Tracy. “The cat’s name is Eliot?”
    “Yeah!”  All four of the other passengers confirmed.
    “It’s a good thing I didn’t know about that or I would have vetoed it. ” He glanced at Daniel again.  “No!  We can’t bring the cat.”article-2491653-1942C7F600000578-301_634x351
    David shifted the truck in drive and pulled out of the driveway.   They were on their way.  They passed through town and down the road to the highway,  Retracing  his steps just three nights ago.  David could hardly believe he was about to repeat that nights events.  Only this time in daylight with his family.  The shear insanity of it made his head spin as he finally realized the motivation Pandora must have had when she opened that box.  Or Eve when she took that bite out of that apple. 
    They pulled onto the highway and soon were speeding down the interstate.    David turned on some music to pass the time.   It didn’t matter as he looked back and saw that the kids had their earphones on and were lip sinking to some inaudible tune on their players.  David flipped through the stations,  finding one he liked and looking at Tracy for approval.  She didn’t object.
    It was turning out to be a nice day.   The sun was out and the weather rather warm.   If everything turned out the way David had envisioned it,  They would find it, dig it up , rebury it, and be back on the road within a couple hours.   Maybe less,  since they probably wouldn’t have to completely unearth it to take the peek inside. 
    He looked over at his family and noted that there would be more shovels doing more digging.   That also should cut down on the time.  Even though he was not really sure on how much help the kids would give.   He was prepared to hear Samantha complain on how hard the dirt was or how chafed her hands were going to get.   Daniel and Whitney were still young  and probably would not complain.   They were real troopers and would dig as best they could,  even if they were not very proficient with a shovel. 
    The Saturday traffic thinned as they got out into the farm country.   With a little luck, they would not find anyone else in the woods,  but there was a high chance that there might be a hunter or two.    It was a Saturday after all and  small game season had just started.  IMG_0479 Hopefully, if there were any hunters in the area, they would leave them alone and not get curious as to what a family of five are doing digging a hole in the middle of some field.  The kids would most likely make enough noise so as to scare any potential game away.  
    Before long the Shelbyville exit came up and they pulled onto the two lane roads that crisscrossed the state game area.   Within a few minutes,  they had passed the sign that welcomed everyone to the Yankee Springs State Recreation Area.  David looked around noting that he had forgotten what it looks like in the light.   It was night time when he and Ethan came the first time.  It had possibly been years since he had been here before then.  He noted the various pull offs and wondered which one they had taken.
    “Are we close? ” Tracy asked  looking out the window. 
    “Yeah we are close,  I don’t remember this area though. ”  David looked on.   A few vehicles dotted the pull offs, confirming that there were hunters in the woods.   Hopefully there wouldn’t be where they were going. 
    David glanced up and noted an old apple tree twisted and gripping the side of the hill along the road.   There was something familiar about that tree.   Something Ethan has said.   David’s brain fired up struggling to remember where they had pulled off. 
    “Any idea where you guys buried it?”  Tracy pressed,  anxious to get the digging on.  
    “Ethan said something about where he got his first Deer.   I think is was in the apple orchard.   There should be a pull off around here coming up on your side.”  David slowed the truck.  The kids one by one, removed their headsets so they could hear what was going on. 
    “Are we there yet?”  Daniel asked, beating Samantha and Whitney to the punch.
    “Look for a pull off on your Mom’s side of the road.”   He looked in his rear view mirror to make sure no traffic was coming.   He continued to creep down the road  careful not to pass the turn.
    This was not right some how.   David looked for familiar signs and even thought he had been here many times when he was growing up,  it somehow looked different.   Tracy and the kids kept pointing out little off turns but they were not the right one.   The trees looked different and the turn off was a road not just a loop.   The frustration was spreading.
    “How about this one?”  Tracy pointed.   She had already pointed out several that David vetoed. 
    David looked up shaking his head.  He continued to creep down the road.  The tone in Tracy’s voice was sending the signal that she was ready to start digging and David’s inability to find the place was getting to her.  Even the kids were fidgeting in the back.  The activity was getting to him.
    “Stop jumping around back there! ” He commanded   “It’s distracting!”
IMG_7705     “David, Do you know where we are going?”  Tracy asked rhetorically,  It was obvious he was lost.
    “It was Dark!  And I have not been here in years!  Ethan was doing the driving”!  David was yelling now.   There were few things that could get David more angry than when he was lost.  Or at least uncertain of his location.   He knew it was around here somewhere but could not pinpoint the exact place.  The Family bothering him was not helping.  
    The kids fell silent.   They knew what their Dad was like when he was lost.  The plan now was to seem very small and try not to draw any attention.   That way, when he did lose it, he couldn’t blame the kids.  Tracy looked out the window,  silently brooding.  David could feel their stares.
    “Look,  Ethan said it was where he got his Deer.   That should be around here someplace.” 
    “What did it look like? ” Tracy asked trying to get David’s memory to kick in.
    “There were fields just off from the road,  surrounded by trees.   It was Dark so I could not see very well.   I think we were in the swamp.  Or close by it.”   David was talking while searching the sides of the road for clues.   He remembered the Argument about the deer.  He was certain it was around here. 
    An hour had passed and David was now doing circles and backtracking.  The kids were doing little to conceal their boredom and Tracy kept probing David for answers.  Trying to jog his memory.   This was not going the way David had hoped.  He wanted to be done with it by now.   He was about to call it out of sheer frustration when Tracy spoke up.
    “Is there a place we have not checked yet?  We have been up and down this road several times and you still don’t recognize anything. ”
    “All right.   There is one road we have not checked out yet.  But I Don’t think it is there.   If we don’t find it by then,  I’m gong home and that will be the end of it.”  David said affirmatively.   He had planned on spending his weekend relaxing, not driving around aimlessly in some state forest. Dave pulled up to the now familiar stop sign and turned left down the road they had not yet followed.  
    The woods were sparse,   interwoven with fields and farm roads that ran the length of them.   Tracy pointed out the area fit his description.  David drove on till he passed a particular dirt road that caught his attention.
    “Wait!”  He stopped and backed up.  “This road looks familiar. “  He turned down the two track, careful to avoid the two trees that flanked each side.   The Family bounced around in the back as the truck fell into the various potholes and mud puddles. 
    “Do you remember this part? ” Sam asked.   She had finally taken off her headphones and started to pay attention once again.   She too must have felt they were getting close.
    David looked around, slowly driving down the road searching for the hidden field.   “Keep an eye out for any small trees that have been pushed over.   He advised.   “That is where Ethan drove the jeep off the road.”
    “You’re not pushing any trees over in this truck ” Tracy commanded.  “they will scratch the paint.” 
    They continued on until a certain field caught their attention.  It was in a ways off the road.   There was  path leading into it that looked like tractors had used.   David pulled off the road and onto the field entrance. 
  Path_through_the_woods_by_davy59   “This it? ” Tracy asked. 
    “I don’t know.  Ethan pulled through a stand of trees.   Let’s get out and take a look.”   David clicked off his seat belt and opened his door.  The rest of the family followed. 
    Tracy stretched her legs and arms after having been cramped in the cab of the truck all that time.   She still secretly wished they had brought the van instead.   At least then you can adjust the seat to create more room.    The Kids also piled out and groaned and complained that there was not enough room for them all in the back cab of the truck.
    “All right everyone, Spread out and start looking for some freshly overturned dirt.”  David picked out a shovel and threw it over his shoulder.  ” It should be around here someplace.  Look around for tire tracks in the weeds too.   It should be fairly obvious when you find it.” 
    The rest of the family fanned out and began looking.   David was the only one with a shovel.   The leaves were falling fast now.  The entire ground, even out here in the middle of the field was covered with leaf littler.  Old tire tracks crisscrossed the field.  Finding the hole might be more difficult than first imagined.  
    After going approximately half way down the field,   Whitney shouted that she had found something.  
    “Look!  I found a shovel!”  She announced  jumping up and down.   The rest of the family ran over.   Whitney held up the missing trench shovel David had lost several nights ago.  They had to be close. 
    “Ok,  That’s the shovel I used.  The hole has to be around here somewhere so circle around.”   David  noticed how different everything looked in the light.
    Tracy  shouted out that she had found some small pile of dirt that looked like it was fresh.   David walked over and took a random bit with the shovel her was carrying. Two bites in and he struck something hard and metal.  
    “This is it!”  He announced then signaled to the rest of the family that they would need the rest of the shovels.  He walked back to the truck and drove it out to the field,  being sure to engage the four wheel drive so they would not be stuck. 
shovel-in-the-ground    With the truck close by now and the rest of the family armed with shovels,   They began to unearth the behemoth that was buried below them. 
    “It’s not very deep but we will have to dig around it to expose the sides.”   David scrapped the top of it clean.
    “Where is the door?”  Tracy asked   “It will be  a lot quicker if we just expose the door and open it.  That way we don’t have to totally dig it up.” 
    “It’s on the bottom,  we buried it with the door facing down.” 
    “What?  Why did you do that?” 
     “So the smell would not permeate up.”  
    Sam was struggling with her shovel.  “why did you bring that little shovel out here?  That doesn’t look very big.   That must have taken you hours”. 
    “I’m just impressed we found this.”  Tracy conceded. “ I must admit.   I had my doubts that such an elaborate story was actually true.”
    David soaked in the comments but didn’t reply.   Sure now they all acknowledge that they didn’t even believe the story.  Now they admit that they thought it was just all made up.   Several hours ago they were interrogating him on the whole affair.  
    The larger shovel was much easier to use and worked faster.   David was able to expose his side rather quickly.  Tracy was trailing slightly while the kids, though working hard, had barely gotten a couple feet down.  David pulled up and decided to help Daniel on his side. 
    Daniel looked up with a smile.  He had covered in dirt and grime and happy for it.   “This is better than camping!”  He beamed.  He took another small scoop with the new shovel.  
    “I doubt camping is this bad. ”  Sam complained.   She had gotten some dirt on her jeans and was brushing it off vigorously.  “At least there are no bugs. ”
    “I think this is fun Daddy! This is the best vacation we have ever had! ” Whitney was having as much fun as Daniel.
    “Vacation? ” David looked up surprised.   “You think this is a vacation?”
    “This is hardly a vacation.”   Samantha corrected. “Vacations are where you have fun and stay clean.”
    “We are having fun!”  Whitney affirmed.  “This is the most fun I think we ever had.”
    “More fun that Disney World? ”  Tracy asked,   amused at the view of the situation.
    “Oh yeah!  Much better.”  
    “Yeah!”  Daniel agreed
    “What ?!?”  David and Sam both looked up with confusion.
     “Why do you say that?   Didn’t we have fun at Disney World?”   David asked.rainyday
    “Well, the rides were fun,  but waiting in line was bad.”  Whitney reasoned.
    “And Sam refused to go on the rides we wanted to go on.”   Daniel added.
    “That’s because you guys wanted to go on the baby rides!  No one wanted to go with me through space mountain.”
    “And there were too many people,”  Tracy chimed in.   “We didn’t do anything as a family.” 
    David looked around at the unforeseen consequences.  He had actually thought that every one would be complaining at this point.  Throwing down their shovels and strutting off the site eager to get home and take a shower.  The mystery would remain buried and no one would ever bring it up again.   The only one who seemed to be as miserable as he was was Sam!
    “Well,  I’m glad you are all having a really good time.”   He looked over at Samantha.   She was scowling as she pried back and forth on the shovel.  She had a smudge of dirt on her face.   And then he caught a faint glimpse of a smile. 
    Everyone else was beaming.   David understood why Samantha would have to hide that she was secretly having a good time.   That whole teenage idea that doing something with the family was not cool.   Even David began to feel like that was turning out to be a fun event. 
    Almost two hours later,  the refrigerator was exposed enough to flip up and flip over.   David wanted to ensure that they were not going to struggle unnecessarily with the monstrosity because they had not leveled off the areas around it.   The goal was to flip it over just enough to open it, then close it up and rebury it.   David tossed his shovel up and prepared to apply leverage. 
    “I’ll push while the rest of you  pry on it with the shovels.  Don’t break any! ” He located the hinges and prepared to flip it over on that side. 
    With a heave ho,  they all pushed and levered the refrigerator on it side.  David then inched out and slowly shimmied the refridge so they could flip it on its back.   The duct tape was still securing the door  firmly in place.   He grabbed a shovel and ran it along the seam of the door,  cutting the tape and releasing the door from its grip.  The family stood along the edge of the hole  in anticipation of this moment. 
    David gripped the edge of the door with his gloved hand,  and with a mighty pull,  flung the door open!


 fumes    The first thing that hit everyone was the smell.   The over powering stench that David had faintly remembered from before.  The smell was like an invisible force that physically hit you in the face.   Ammonia!  As if someone smashed smelling salts on your face! You could feel it in your eyes and nose and lips.   David turned his face away,  instantly pulling up his arm to protect his eyes and nose from  the toxic fumes.  The rest of the family scattered as if David had just released a bomb.  
    David jumped out of the pit and trotted away, trying not to breath.   Moments passed as everyone tried to catch their breath and regain their composure. 
    “Did anyone see what was in it?”  David asked
    Everyone shook their heads.   It was impossible that the smell could be that strong.   So strong, that people standing only a few feet from the opening, would fail to see what was inside.  David walked over to the truck and grabbed some water.
    “Ok, let’s give it a second to air out.   Then we can all go see it together.   He opened the bottle poured it on his face, washing the invisible film from his eyes and lips. 
    The rest of the family gathered around him,   taking sips of their own bottles and discussing their theories on what could make such a horrific smell. 
    “Well,  I’d like to change my theory back to the dead body.”   Tracy volunteered.  “Something or someone must have died to create that smell.  It  can’t be the money.”
    The kids all nodded in agreement.   It was unanimous.   There was something dead inside that thing and now the only mystery was to find out what. 
    “I still don’t think it is a body”  David reasoned, “  It might be some old animal or something though.   Maybe  some spoiled food.” 
    “No way,  anything that created that smell has to be big!”  Sam offered. 
    “It smells like the sewer!”  Daniel announced with a nasal voice,  he was still holding his nose.
    A few minutes had passed and the smell had diffused to tolerable levels.   David signaled that they were ready to solve the mystery once and for all,  and they should all hold their noses.  They slowly crept to the edge of the hole. 
    David could see the top of the refrigerator and the door was still flipped open.   As they slowly approached he could see more and more of the inside.  Until, at last, he could see all the way to the bottom of the case. 

And there was nothing inside.
the-metropolitan-express

    “HA!  I told you all! ” David announced while dancing a little jig.  He was finally vindicated.
    “That’s impossible!”   Sam and Tracy both said in unison.   “What is causing the smell? ”  Tracy asked. 
    “I don’t know and I don’t care!  No money, no body,  NOTHING!   Now,  let’s hurry up and bury this thing before someone sees us.”   David jumped up and grabbed a shovel.  He as almost giddy!  
    “At least shut the lid.”   Tracy was still holding her nose.   The mystery was solved and the results were rather disappointing. 
    David flipped the door over with his shovel to contain the smell, yet some residual fumes still lingered.  He started the slow process of burying it once again. 
    “Hey Dad,  who is that?”  Whitney pointed out towards the road. 
    A man dressed in gray was approaching the family.   David looked up and could feel his heart suddenly pound uncontrollably.  The man was wearing a uniform.

thCALWWKHZ David was familiar with uniforms.   He was a fireman after all.  And he worked with Police and emergency personnel on a regular basis.  But this was a uniform he had only heard of or read about.  In all the years David had hunted,  he had never encountered a conservation officer.   He had expected them to look like the  DNR guys that wore the green uniforms with the large green arm patch.   This man looked more like a police officer.   Dressed in gray and sporting a badge on his shirt pocket and a sidearm on his belt.   Dave felt like all hope and reason was draining away from him as the man slowly walked toward them.  He was in an impossible situation.
    “Good afternoon!”   The man sounded cheery.
    “Hello there! ”  David squeaked out.   There was something unnerving about encountering an authority figure.   Even when you have not done anything wrong.  But now,   at this particular moment,  With a large, rusty stinky refrigerator, half exposed to the world, with your entire family holding shovels,  One could only describe the feeling as …euphoric?  David felt like the situation was so hopeless that it was almost  hilarious.  Like he was bound to be on candid camera or Americas funniest home videos. 
    “Can we help you ? ”  David asked   The very question was over the top.  He was trying everything he could to stop from laughing.
    “Yeah  I was just wondering what you folks are doing out here.”  The man asked,  still smiling. 
    “Nothing! ” Tracy blurted out.  Unlike David,  she was horrified.
    “What you guys burying? ”  He asked  looking at the rather large and conspicuous hole behind them. 
    “Oh?”  David glanced back over his shoulder looking surprised at the mound of earth. “Oh that!   Yeah,  We were digging up this refrigerator.” 
    “Digging it up?” The man looked at the scene with suspicion.   The kids were frozen as was Tracy.
1DNR11_FR_C_^_SUNDAY     “Yeah,   is that illegal?”  David asked. 
    “Burying old junk or disposing of garbage on state land or any public property is illegal.   It looked like you were burying it. ”
    “Well,  we were,   I mean ,   We had dug it up and now we are reburying it.” 
    “Well, you can’t rebury it.”  
    “Why not?”
    “Because burying it is illegal. ”
    “But we found it like this .  Is digging it up illegal?”
    “Nope, you can dig up and removed junk off of public property all day long.   Most people form little clean up groups and pick up trash during the non hunting season. ”
    “But you can’t put back something that was here originally?”  David inquired, searching for a loop hole.
    “As long as you don’t want to pay a fine.”
    “Just out of curiosity,  how much is the fine?”
    “One thousand dollars!   And possibly several hours of community service.”
    “Oh,”   David glanced over at Tracy.  She looked like she was about to faint.  The kids were amazingly quiet.
    “Ok, so here is what we can do,   Either you can dig this thing up and load it on your truck and dispose of  it properly… “  The man trailed off. “Or I can write you up with a ticket and you can pay the fine.”
    The thought of loading the horrific object with that smell into his clean truck  was a daunting task.   He had no idea what he would do with it when he got it home.  Suddenly a one thousand dollar fine did not seem so bad.
    “If I accept the ticket,   can I leave the refridge?”   David was hoping for some leeway. 
    “Nope,  you pay the fine and still have to remove the object.”
    Given the alternatives,   there was not much choice  “ I guess we will load it up!”   David smiled.   He reached into the back of the truck and grabbed the coil of rope.  

refrig18     After removing the rest of the dirt away and pulling the truck closer,   they flipped the giant refrigerator into the truck bed.   The family then filled in the hole left by the fridge and they all shook hands with the officer.   To his credit,  he did help out with the loading and digging.  
    So once again,  David drove down the two tracks of Yankee Springs with the large smelly refrigerator in the back of his truck.  The family was not in as fun a mood as they had been just several hours ago.   There was something about an officer making you do the right thing that could really dampen the atmosphere.   At least there was no body for the officer to discover.   Or any money.   Though the money would have been a better find.   It could have complicated things  trying to explain how they found it  and where it came from.   If there was a silver lining,  it was that they got off with  a refrigerator that apparently still works! … and no fine.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

On September Night Chapter 13. Breaking the 4th Wall…

Ah, Working.   How wonderful having a job must be to the huddled masses.  I’m quite happy to have our current gig,  however, it wreaks havoc on my brain after 8 or more hours.  So much so that I barely have the energy to shower and get ready for bed!  I’m amazed that I ever did this for 40 hours a week consistently for several years.  I’m amazed ANYONE can go to a factory and put in 40 hours doing the same thing day after day.  Don’t get me wrong, the money is good!  And I enjoy the people I work with. But the rhythm currently has not set in.

All that was to explain why I did not post the next chapter this last week.  Truth be told, I thought that I would fix this particular part of the story.  While writing it,  I ran into a wall and decided to write right through it.  I could not be stopped by some “detail” in the story when I had a deadline to meet!  I had to write 50000 words in one month after all!  So I decided to kick this small part of the story down the road to be handled later.  Unfortunately, even now, I do not want to deal with it.  I don’t even feel like fixing the punctuation ( again).  Fixing the quotes is my biggest head ache and I usually just do not have the patience to deal with it after work.  But I’ll take a stab at it now on this Saturday before I call it a night   There may still be problems, but ah well.   It can’t be helped.   Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far and if you are reading the story…Enjoy chapter 13!

 

Chapter 13

    Tracy looked around for approval.   David was still thinking where as the kids all had smiles on their faces.   She knew she had them but she ultimately needed David’s consent  for the plan. 
    “So what did you have in mind?  Call him up and ask him ‘Hey Eth,  Just wanted to call and ask what you had inside that refrige?”  David said sarcastically.
    “What’s wrong with that?”  Tracy argued,  “Sounds good to me.” 
    The rest of the brood nodded their heads and muttered support. 
    “Fine! ”  David raised his hands in mock surrender.   “Lets call him now while it is still early.  In fact,  lets keep calling him until we get a hold of him.   I’m not going to leave any messages, nor will I be put on hold. ”  
  Yellow-Pages-558x250   Whitney ran over to the phone, picking it up and bringing it over.  David looked, preparing his fingers to start the walking.  “Ok what’s his number?”   David asked
    “I thought you knew.”   Tracy Replied.  She reached for the phone book,   “Look I tried to find him in the phone book and could not find anything.”  
    “How should I know his number?  We have not seen each other for several years.  Not  to mention he has moved several times.”  
    “I looked online and couldn’t find his number either” .   Tracy looked defeated.
    “Have you tried the caller ID?”   Sam asked
    “Caller ID? We have that?  How can that help?”  
    “That’s right,”   Tracy pointed with her finger at the phone.  “You said he called you the other day.  He might still be on the list.   And then we can redial his number if it is offered.”   She pressed a small button on the phone and scrolled down the names of callers.   “Here it is!”   She rattled off the numbers. 
    David punched in the numbers as he heard them.   “You know he said he was on calling from his truck.   Either he has a cell phone or a phone in his car.  Either way, we might not be able to get in touch with him. “ The phone began to ring. 
    A voice picked up.  “I’m sorry, the number you are trying to call has been disconnected”  David hung up. Having heard the familiar voice before.
    “It’s been disconnected.”   He dropped the phone from his ear, “Any other ideas.”  
    “That makes sense,”   Tracy reasoned. “ I would imagine that he would use a disposable phone so he could not be traced.”  
    “Did you look up his phone number on line?”    Sam asked.   Samantha was the only one with any real computer literacy in the family.  David knew how to Email and Tracy knew how to shop.  Both Daniel and Whitney only used computers for games.  But Samantha was required to learn the very latest because of the techno craze at high school.  The Computer was used for reports and equations and research.   She looked over at her parents for their response
    “I tried a little.”    Tracy admitted.   “I got a little frustrated after an hour with no results.”
    Sam nodded knowing the real meaning of that statement.  What Her mother really meant was that after a few minutes of not finding anything on her favorite web sites,  She went internet shopping for the latest fashions or books.  Sam was actually impressed that her mother would even consider the internet as a resource for finding a persons address and phone number.  She ran over to the office and booted it up.
    The rest of the family followed.   Even Daniel and Whitney, who rarely took any family gathering to be very interesting or fun,  followed in.  Sam typed in a search for yellow pages and several web sites came up.  She clicked in on one and typed in the name of the person she was looking for.  Several names that matched the name came up with addresses and phone numbers. 
    “Any of these look familiar?”
    “Hmm   I’m pretty sure he does not live in California.  Nor Florida.  Can we narrow the search a little?”     David looked at Sam.   It was odd that he was looking to his daughter for information and she was barely in high school.
    Samantha typed some more to narrow the search.   “No one in Michigan named Ethan Allen.  Except the furniture store. “ She smiled.
    “How about Ohio?”   Tracy asked   “Maybe he lives close to where the robbery took place.” 
    David and Samantha rolled their eyes.  Sam clicked in a new search.  “Only one Ethan Allen in Ohio and I’m guessing that he is married to a someone named Maude?”    She scrunched her nose.
    “I don’t think that is him,   He married Cheryl”.”  David volunteered. ”   Maybe you should do a search for Ethan and Cheryl Allen.”
    Sam searched again.   This time finding nothing.   No one in the united states was listed under that name.   “Either they have no phone  or they don’t exist.  Sam reasoned. Whitney began to hum the twilight zone theme.
    “Of coarse he exists,  I talked to him a couple of days ago.   He probably has an unlisted number.”  
    “If that is the case  who else would know his number?”   Tracy looked at the computer  as if it had all the answers. 
    “Maybe his Dad?  Try Donald Allen.   Last I heard he lived up north somewhere.”  
    Samantha’s fingers once again worked their magic.   Several Donald Allen’s lit the screen.   “Ok Well,   we have several Donald Allens in Michigan.   All but one are located in Detroit.   The other one is in Manistee.   What do you think.”  
    ” That must be him,   Manistee! ”  David affirmed   “Give me the number! ”   He picked up the phone once again.
    Sam read off the number and David punched them in.  The phone began to ring.  “It’s ringing! ”  David announced  He gripped the phone with anticipation.   The ringing stopped.   A click then a message recording clicked on “You have reached the Allen residence….    unable to come to phone,  but if you leave your name  and number…Beep!” 
    The recording sounded like Mr. Allen was reading it.  And ran out of time.   David was just about to hang up when the phone clicked again.   “Hello?”   Came an aged voice.
    “Hello?  Mr. Allen? ”  David smiled at the thought of finally talking to someone.  The family hopped and jumped with celebration. 
    “Who the Hell is this?”     The voice spoke back. 
    “David,  David Noorman?”  
    “I don’t know any David.   I told you people to stop calling me.   I am satisfied enough with my health insurance.”  
    “No no no!  This is David Noorman Mr. Allen.  We used to be neighbors back when you lived in Grand Rapids.  I was friends with your sons.  Eric and Ethan. ”  David explained.
    “David?” 
    “Yeah!”
    “David Noorman?” 
    “Yeah Yeah!  That’s right” !
    “What the hell you calling me for at this hour?”
    David looked at his watch,  It was ten past seven.  “Sorry to call you so…late?   I just was wondering if you have the phone number of one of your Sons.”  
    “Eric? Yeah I got his number,  he is always trying to get me to take care of those kids of his.  I tell you,   I think they are spoiled rotten and they take so much out of me when I have to watch them.   I’m not long for this world and I don’t know if I want to spend the last few remaining days or hours watching those kids  even though they might be my grand kids.   I don’t know what all the hype is about grandparents and their grand kids.   All I see is the grandkids breaking all the grandparents stuff all the time and eating them out of house and home and not listening to anything they have to say…”
    “Wait!  No!   I mean Ethan!”    David interrupted. “ Not Eric! “  This was the most he had ever heard Mr. Allen talk.  Usually he was always silent  while Mrs. Allen did all the talking.   This was the first time David had talked to him since Mrs. Allen had passed on. 
    “Ethan?  You sure you don’t want Eric’s number?” 
    “Positive! ”  Tracy nodded in agreement and closed her eyes.  They knew first hand what Eric and his family was capable of.
    “Oh, Yeah I got Ethan’s number.  He has one of those unlisted numbers.   That you get on the internet or something.   They are not listed anywhere.   The hospital tried to call him the a while back when I was there and they couldn’t find him.  They are going to bury me in an unmarked grave one of these days if they can’t find my only living relatives.   Ethan probably won’t even know I’m dead ’till after I’m six feet under.” 
    David eyes rolled as he made a talking mouth with his hand,  signaling that Mr. Allen was  unloading all his troubles on an available ear.  David gleaned through the information. 
    “So you do have his number then?”   David pressed on,  finding a break in the ramblings. 
    “Yeah, What do you need it for? You planning on telling him to stop stealing?” 
    “Stealing?”   David asked before considering where the tangent would take him .   Tracy’s eyes widened as she tugged on David’s shirt.  “What do you mean Ethan is stealing? ” 
    “Ask him if he has been stealing from the bank or any armored trucks”   Tracy interjected  pulling on David’s sleeve more vigorously now. 
    David  waved Tracy away to get her to stop pulling on him and shush her up.  Mr. Allen was talking and he could not hear them both.  “Wait! Sorry, I didn’t catch that.   What makes you say Ethan has been stealing?”  
    “Oh!  He comes over here all alone  sometimes and when he leaves.   Things are missing!  It sometimes takes me a while to notice.   But  when I need things they are gone.   I’m sure he takes them.”
    “Like what?  Little nick knacks or money or jewelry?”  
    “No.   Though he might be taking that stuff too.   Since his mom died and he got that Ebay store.   He might be robbing the graves to sell that stuff to collectors.  That jewelry is probably worth a fortune to the right antique collector.”   untitled
    “So  what does he steal?”
    “Big things!  Like furniture and dishes and lamps!  Remember my Buddha lamps?  We had those forever!  He came up one day and they were gone!  He denies it.  Says we put them in storage in the barn on the property.   But I can’t find them!  It took me a couple of days to see that they were missing.”
    David thought back to the lamps.  They were a prominent feature in the Allen household and fit in well to Mrs. Allen’s ’Opium Den’ D├ęcor.   The red velvet couch the blue velvet chair and the dark wooden paneling all gave the living room a creepy feel.   Like a lounge or an underground temple.   Eric and Ethan joked about the Buddhas often.  Making fun of them with mustaches and beards made out of modeling clay.   To the best of David’s knowledge,  Mrs. Allen had bought them from a garage sale.
5332385_5_l     “So have you seen him recently?”  David asked
    “He comes up every week I think.  Now that he doesn’t have a job he has lots of time off.   I don’t know what he does with that time.   Probably getting into trouble!  But  usually he comes up here and helps me chop wood.  Maybe mow the lawn.  I don’t mind as long as he leaves my stuff alone.  I hardly have any furniture anymore.”  
    David looked at his watch.   There was no telling how long this could take and he had better get the information when he could.  “Too bad.  Well Hey!  If I could get that number, I’ll be happy to talk to him about it.”  
    “Huh?  Oh!  Right, Right!”   David heard shuffling and the familiar sounds of drawers being opened and shut again.   Mr. Allen was talking to himself as he rustled papers.  “I’m sure I left it somewhere around here.   Wait!  Here it is!”  More rustling then a pause.
    Mr. Allen read the number while David repeated it to Tracy.  Tracy scribbled down the number with vigor
    “Thanks Mr. Allen  David was eager to get going and having achieved the information he was looking for, was ready to end the conversation.   “I’ll tell him ‘hi’ for you when I get a hold of him.” 
    “Yeah,  when you do, ask him if he had something to do with my refrigerator disappearing.  I think someone stole it!”
    David paused,  “refrigerator?”  Tracy once again began shaking his sleeve.  “What do you mean someone stole your refrigerator ?”  David probed deeper.
    “I mean it’s missing!  I told him some one would take it if we left it there.”   
    “They stole it out of your kitchen?”
    “No, It was sitting out next to the garage.  See,  It was in my living room for a long time but I wanted to defrost it.  And I didn’t want it to soak the carpet when it did, so I call Ethan to help me move the thing.  It was really too heavy for me alone.   So Ethan comes over and we take it out in the yard next to the garage.  I told him it would get stolen out there in the open where everyone could see it.  We should have taken it to the property and put it in the barn out there.”  .
    “So why didn’t you put it in the kitchen where the  refrige belongs?” 
    “Oh!  I already have a refrigerator in the kitchen.   This one was extra.  Ethan thought I should take it to the dump, but I couldn’t see any reason to throw it away.”
    “Why not?”
    “Because it still worked!  There is no reason to throw away a perfectly good appliance if it still works.  I could use it to hold extra stuff, or give it to church or something. Ethan just wants to throw all my stuff away.  Or sell it on Ebay.”  
    David visualized the big rusty hulk that he buried that night.  He could definitely see that the refrigerator had wore out it’s style long ago.  He thought it best to not mention that he had a pretty good idea as to the final resting place to the behemoth.    
    “Hmm, Ok then, well I better let you go and I’ll tell Ethan when I talk to him .”   David quickly took the phone from his ear “Bye! “ He shouted at the receiver as he hung it up.  He paused to breath a sigh of relief.  
    “So what was all that about a refrigerator?” Tracy asked eagerly. 
    “Oh Yeah I now have a pretty good idea who’s refrigerator is buried in Yankee Springs.” 
    “It was his? Does he know?” 
    “I don’t think he knows and I was not about to tell him I had anything to do with it.   I wasn’t  going to get in the middle of something I had no business in.”  
    “So what did he say?”   Tracy pressed further. 
    “Well, It appears that Ethan Steals stuff according to his father.” 
    “I knew it!”   Tracy made a fist, assuring she was right all along.  The kids and the cat were listening, also eager for more information.
    “Now wait,  I don’t think Mr. Allen has all his facts straight” .
    “Why do you think that?”   Sam asked
    “He thinks Ethan is taking his stuff and selling it on ebay or something.  He says he comes over and things go missing.  Now maybe he just thinks that because he misplaces stuff of forgets what he does with it.  I’m pretty sure Ethan didn’t take his refrigerator to sell it on ebay.” 
    “Did you ask him what was in the refrigerator, Dad?”    Sam inquired.
    “No,  but I don’t think he knew what was in it anyway.  I think it was empty. He said he moved it outside to defrost it.” 
    “Why would he move it outside?” 
    “So he wouldn’t get the carpet wet.”
    “He has carpet in the kitchen?”
    “No he has carpet in the living room.”
    “Why was his refrigerator in the living room?”
    I don’t know.  I guess it was his ‘back up’ or something. He has two,  er..HAD two.  I think he still has the one in his kitchen.”
    “He had two refrigerators?  Why didn’t he get rid of one of them? ”  Tracy looked confused. 
    “I don’t think he has to worry about that now. ”  David looked at the piece of paper Tracy was holding. “We didn’t call him to find out why he has ,  er HAD two refrigerators,  We called him to get Ethan’s number.” 
    Tracy held the paper out in front of her as she read the numbers.  Once again  David dialed them in as he heard them.  The phone began to ring.  The whole room fell silent. 
    “I won’t be surprised if he is not home.  Or he lets his machine or voice mail get it.”   David muttered to himself.
    “Hello? ”   Came a female voice.
    “Ah Hello,  Is this Cheryl?”   David asked
    “Yes.  Who is this?” 
    “Hello Cheryl,  this is David Noorman.”  
    “David Who?  The voice sounded skeptical. 
    “David Noorman. One of Ethan’s friends.  I was one of the groomsmen at your wedding, what was it?  Ten years ago now? ”
    “Oh,  Sorry,  I don’t really remember you much.  Ethan’s not here at the moment or else I would let you talk to him.”  
    Oh Ethan’s not there? ”   David repeated looking at Tracy and the kids.  Tracy grabbed the phone from David
    “Hi Cheryl.  This is Tracy, we met at your mother in laws funeral?  I was the one standing by the flowers telling you that it as ironic that funeral was going to be really quiet now that Mrs. Allen was the guest of honor.  Remember?”  
    David’s eyes widened.  “What are you telling her that for?  Good lord!  Tracy!”  He turned away at the social blunder.
    Tracy smiled as she heard laughing on the other end of the line.  She nodded her head at David  “Remember me now?”
    “Oh yes!  That was YOU?  I never thought I was going to lose it during the service thinking of that.  You were one of the only people I could relate too there” . 
    Tracy knew the feeling.   There was a common bond when it came to mother in laws.   Something that was written in nature.  She thought of what to ask next. 
    “So where is Ethan now?”  Tracy asked
    “ He went out on an errand,  I’m not sure when he will come back.  Usually he goes up to his Dads.  He goes up there quite a bit now that he has lots of free time.”  
    “Do you ever go with him?”  thCAPEYP8S
    “Ah  no.   I usually don’t go there.” 
    “Why not?  I hear Manistee is really nice this time of year.   You can relax and take a nice color tour.”
    “That’s all true,  but I still would have to hang out with Ethan’s Dad.”   Cheryl reasoned
    “Is that bad?”  Tracy inquired
    “I don’t know if you have even been at his house,  but everything is old and dirty.  I don’t dare sit on any of the chairs because I might get my clothes permanently stained.   The place is packed with a Hodge podge of old uncomfortable furniture.  I don’t know if he cleans up anymore since his wife died.  Come to think of it,  I don’t recall it ever being clean there even when she was alive. ”    Cheryl explained.
    “I know what you mean. ”   Tracy thought of her own in laws and thought how she never felt totally comfortable there.  “What does Ethan do up there with his Dad?”  She asked.
    “I think he helps him chop wood and tries to clean up.  He’s been trying to clear out some of that junk, but I guess his Dad fights him every step of the way.  Just the other day Ethan told me that he bagged up a bunch of old rotten food and clothes so they could be thrown away.  And after he left, his father went through the garbage and pulled stuff back out.   Saying that there was still some use in the old clothes.  It’s very frustrating.” 
    Tracy thought of the next line of questioning.  “Has Ethan ever brought a refrigerator home from there?” 
    “A refrigerator?  Goodness no! Where would we put such a thing?  Several months ago, he brought two of the most hideous blue lamps I have ever seen.   Thankfully he threw them away.  I thought that we should donate them but Ethan said he had to break them.  He said it should have been done years ago.” 
    “About how often does he go up there?”
    “At least once a week.  Sometimes more.  Especially with hunting season coming on now.  I imagine he will go up there for several days  with his brother.
    “Has he gone up there this week yet? “ Tracy asked.   David was looking nervous.
    “Not this week yet,  I think he might be going up later.   Maybe on Monday.   Why?  Did his Dad ask about him?” 
    “Oh no.  I was just curious.   So he didn’t go up there on Tuesday or Wednesday? ”  Tracy pried further.  Now David was the one shaking her sleeve, signaling that she might be asking questions that are too personal.
    “I don’t think so.  He has a online business that he runs while I’m at work.”  
    Tracy covered the phone with her hand,  “She doesn’t know! ”  She said excited.
    “You are going to get her to start asking questions about your questions if you don’t use a little more caution!”   David warned with a whisper.
    “Online business? What kind? ”  
    “Oh he picks up things from a supplier in Chicago, sometimes Detroit, and sells them online.   Kind of like a specialty distributor.    We are still working out the bugs. Money has been kind of tight  if you know what I mean. ” 
    “Try having three kids.”    Tracy empathized.

13541a5f8837698150c84c90746c2b86-d57uvou Ok Ok  I have had it   this chapter is not really going the way I want it  to so I’m’ going to end it ..  Bottom line is that Dave and Tracy get no answers from Either Cheryl or Ethan’s Dad  and they have no idea where Ethan is .    By the end of this chapter you as well as David and Tracy are going to come to the Realization that the only ay they are going to find out what is inside that refrigerator is to dig it up themselves.   They throw the shovels in the back of the pick up and are going to go out and find it tomorrow. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chapter 12 One September Night. And Now the Police are involved?

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! 

 

 

Chapter 12
    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. DSC05730-filtered
    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 thCAZ4PUCW 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?”
    “All day?”
    “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.”  PunkHero
    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?”
  8489  “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?”
   cops-are-our-friends_o_235595 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.”
    “Like what?”
    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.” 61LJfV9oRtL
    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?”
  58_d_89535_0_TheFBIStory   “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.
    “David? “
    “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. “

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chapter 11 One September Night, A Peace Offering, Ruined Life, Broken Taco, And Inquisition!

 

Ok, It’s getting more difficult to polish these things up lately.   Possibly because of the time constraints and the brain shut down that occurs after work.  Anyway, I tried a little to make it more readable.   Hope you enjoy Chapter 11

 

Chapter 11

    David looked over the selection of shovels on the rack of the local hardware store.  He glanced over all the shapes and sizes that the shovels came in.   And he was painfully aware of the absence of one specific type. $_35   There were no square tipped, short handled, fence pole shovels.   David thought that this would be a long shot  so he looked over for a substitute.   Maybe Tracy would be happy with any small shovel he bought her  just so she could have one to call her own.
    “Can I help you young man?”  Came a voice from behind.  An old man in a red vest stood by smiling.
    “Well as a matter of fact, yeah!  I am looking for a fence post shovel with a short handle.”  
    “Right there beside you. “  The old man pointed to a tweezer looking pair of shovels, connected at the base.  “A fence post shovel.”
    David looked over at it.  “Oh  no,  nothing like that  it is used to dig fence posts  but it doesn’t look like that.  It’s smaller.  Easier to use.”
 POST%20HOLE%20DIGGER%20TWO%20MAN__2012-05-20_01_40_20_24-011[1]    “Smaller eh?  Well, if you want easier to use  we have the motorized auger over there.  They are a little pricey but you will be thankful if the end if you have a lot of holes to dig.   They save you a ton of time and sweat. “  He tapped a medium box on the top with a picture similar to an motorized Ice auger.
    “Oh,  no I don’t plan to dig holes.  I mean fence posts.   I don’t have a fence or anything.  I mean it’s for my wife.   See, she had this one and I lost it.  She uses it for everything.”    David fumbled around for the right words.  The old man was making him nervous. “ I wanted to see if I could replace it.  I don’t even know if it called a fence post shovel.”
    The old man stroked his chin “ Why don’t you describe what it looks like.” He suggested.
    “Well, it’s about this long.”  David motioned with his hand suggesting a handle of approximately 3 feet. “And it had a long narrow blade.  Like this:”  David again held up his hands showing the length, and width.   “And the end of the shovel looked like one of these” He pointed to a small coal shovel that had a handle  perpendicular at the end.   “And it had a square tip.”
    “Ah you mean a trench hole shovel.”  The old man raised a knowing eyebrow.
    “You know it!  Do you have one? “
    “Nope, “
    David’s eyes lowered, “ Where can I get one?”
    “They don’t make shovels like that, much anymore.   I would have to special order it from the United Kingdom or Canada.  It could take several weeks to get here and the shipping cost might be as much or more than the cost of the shovel itself.   You still want it?”
    David scratched his head imagining the hundreds of dollars the misfit shovel was going to end up costing him. Maybe Tracy did not need such a shovel after all.   He had already taken the hit for losing it.  Perhaps she would not miss it if she could not see it everyday.
    The old man could almost see David’s thoughts.  “Maybe you can buy something similar that is available.”   He offered.   “What did she  use it for?”
    “Well,  I dug a hole with it and it was not very good for that.  My wife uses it for around the garden.  I don’t think she digs trenches with it.  I think she uses it for planting plants, and flowers and stuff.   She likes the short handle  and narrow blade.”
    The old man paused thinking of a substitute.  “I may have just the thing for her. “

   thCA9H67DX David pulled into the driveway.  He reached in the back and pulled out the new shovel, hoping that the peace offering would help Tracy forget the loss of the last one.   He walked up the steps of the porch and opened the door.  
    “Hey! Hon,  I’m home.”  He announced to everyone in the house.
    “Hi Daddy!”  Whitney gave him a big hug.
    Daniel waved then dashed into the living room. 
    Tracy was beginning to work on dinner,   It smelled like tacos tonight.
    “Hey hon,  I’ve got a surprise for you. “
     Tracy turned around with a smile,  “Oh?   Honey you shouldn’t have. “
    David  pulled the shovel from behind his back.  A small garden shovel. 
    “What’s this?”  Tracy looked at it with a confused stare. 
    “It’s a shovel!”
    “I can see that.  What’s it for?”
    “For you !”
    “What’s the occasion?”
    “No occasion. Just thought you might need it is all. “  David was not getting the reaction he wished for but she looked like she was warming up to it.
    “Are you going to dig another hole and bury someone tonight?”  Daniel stood by the corner of the living room partially hid from view.
    “What?” David looked at Daniel.  Daniel ran back around the corner. The cat followed him.
    “What did he mean by that?”  David asked turning to Tracy. 
    Tracy was still looking at the shovel.  “What am I suppose to do with that?”
    “I don’t know,  work in the garden,  That is what this shovel is for,  it’s specifically designed for work in the garden and planting small trees, shrubs and flowers.   It’s what it’s made for!”
    “It has a pointy tip.”tacos
    “So you can dig in to the ground better.”
    “I liked the flat tip better.”
    “Why don’t you give this one a try.   You might find that you like it better in the end.   It’s still small and very easy to use.”
    “Have you used it? “
    “No,  But that is what I was told.”   He waved it around,  “I’ll go put it back on the rack with the rest of the tools.  It’ll be there waiting for you to break it in. 
    David walked outside taking the shovel with him.  Whitney stared at Tracy.  “Why does Dad need all those shovels?
    Tracy turned back around  stirring the hamburger, :I don’t know Whit.  ‘Cause he likes them.”
    “Is he going to buy everyone a shovel?”
    “I doubt it.”  She paused, “ Why do you ask? “
     Whitney turned around and ran to the living room. Tracy turned to watch her leave with a questioned look.   The kids have been acting strange lately.  Then again, they always were strange right before supper.   Tracy turned around again to continue stirring the hamburger before setting it to simmer.  She covered it and then began to work on the vegetables.   She selected the large chef knife and began to slice the lettuce,  onions, and tomatoes.   David came back inside.
    “There!   All done!  It will be like you never lost it.”  He patted his hand  to wipe off the dust. 
    “You’re the one who lost it.”  She corrected.  “ Besides I wanted to tell you something about that.” 
    David sighed.  “I guess this doesn’t fix the problem after all.”   He conceded. 
    “Well,  I appreciate the gesture,  But  there was something I wanted to show you. “ She reached in her pocked and handed David the newspaper clipping concerning the reward.
    “What’s this?”  David took the slip of paper.
    “Read it!”   she commanded.   She finished slicing the last of the veggie toppings and separated them out into individual compartments in a divided serving tray. 
    David scanned the article,  “So?  What does this have to do with us?”
    “What if that money is in that fridge?  We can dig it up and collect the reward.   I know we can use $10,000.”  money-reward
    “There is no money in that fridge!”   David insisted.  “Look honey,  That thing was just a piece of garbage.” 
    “But you ‘re not 100 percent sure!  You don’t know what’s in there.  Aren’t you even a little curious?”
    “No!  Not at all.   And  we have been over this before.   What if we dig it up and the money is in there?  They will think I stole it!” 
    “Oh!  I have that all planned out.   Want to hear?”
    David sat back and folded his arms.  “I can’t wait to hear this.”
    “Hunting season starts  soon  right?   We can say that you found it  while hunting.  No one will know otherwise.  And then we can claim the reward and Ethan won’t get caught.  No one will go to jail.  It’s practically fool proof!”    Her eyes wide with excitement.
    “Ethan will know,  not that he will want to bring that out to anyone.” 
    “You’ll be doing him a favor!   He doesn’t want that money being traced back to him.  I’m sure he would be happy to be rid of it.  And if he says anything  we’ll split the reward with him.  $5000 is not as nice as ten,  but it will sure shore up some bills around here.”
    “Maybe he won’t want $5000.   Maybe he already has a plan for the money.   Maybe he doesn’t want us doing him any favors. “   David paused.  “What am I saying,   We don’t even know if there is any money in there!”
    “Have you ever thought that the money might be marked?  Traceable? If he spends so much as one dollar of that stolen money,  he will lead the authorities right back to him,  or worse, YOU!” 
    “We don’t know that it was stolen.   Even the authorities don’t know what went down.”
    “Ok,  even if he found it,  The FBI probably won’t like the fact that he gathered up as much as he could and buried it in the ground someplace.  That might make them a little unfriendly to the ‘finders keepers’ defense.”
    “Well, it’s all well and good,  but I still think the best plan of action is to leave the rusty fridge buried in it’s final resting place.”   David nodded to affirm his point.
    “Well,  I just wanted to make you aware that there is a golden opportunity to turn this into a positive and help out your family in the long run, just by doing the right thing.”  She looked at him with a worried glance then turned around to finish the condiment tray.
    David stared at her incredulously,  He knew this tactic well:  The guilt treatment.   He is now suppose to feel guilty that he would let his poor family suffer by holding out for a friend.   Keeping a secret that is probably illegal.   It wasn’t going to work.  David made up his mind that only an act of God would make him even consider digging that heavy piece of crap up again.
    The roar of the bus announced that Samantha was home.  Both David and Tracy set aside their feud for a moment to observe Samantha getting off the bus.  The timing was perfect, for Tracy had just lifted the pan of seasoned taco meat off the oven and was preparing to set it and the rest of the taco feast on the table.   Supper would be ready as soon as she came inside.   David and Tracy watched as Sam stormed off the bus and walked up the sidewalk with deliberate steps to the door.  David and Tracy looked over at each other.
    “She looks…mad”  David observed.  
    Samantha swung open the door with a violent pull.  She stepped in and glared at both her parents as if blaming them for bringing her into this world.  She tossed her backpack down on the chair faced David.
    sl“You have Ruined my LIFE!”  She exclaimed.   Thrusting her fists onto her hips in a disgusted pose.
    David looked at her unaffected. “We have?  How, Pray tell, have we ruined your life?  Aside from actually having you and raising you in a typical Midwestern American home.”
    “You have ruined my reputation and any chance I might have at popularity or a boyfriend!”
    “And that’s a bad thing?”  David asked rhetorically.
    “YES!”
    Tracy shrugged, grabbing the pop and stack of tacos  along with the vegetable platter.  ‘Um hmm, That’s nice dear.  Can you grab some plates and forks for the table.”  She motioned toward the cupboard as she moved to the dining area.
    David reached into the cupboard and grabbed some glasses for the pop and handed Samantha some plates.  She took them grudgingly.  She then opened the utensil drawer and grabbed a fist full or forks.  Both David and Sam then walked into the dining area.  buildyourowntaco
    Tracy placed the taco shells along side the meat and vegetables.   She set the pop in the middle while David set up the glasses.   Sam placed a plate by each chair and dropped a fork next to it.
    “We need the sour cream and salsa.”  Tracy turned to go back into the kitchen. “Danny and Whit,  Supper! “ She called as she left.
    The other two kids came in and sat down in a flash.   David sat down and began to pour the pop for everyone.   Sam sat down also, still fuming.   Whitney and Daniel looked at Sam as if they were afraid she was going to eat one of them.   They carefully slid their chairs inching away from her. 
    Tracy returned with the sour cream, shredded cheese and salsa.   She placed the open containers next to the rest of the buffet.   “Build your own taco.”  She smiled.  “Don’t overfill it or you will make a mess. 
    David was first to dig in, spooning on a layer of hamburger and cheese.   Danny followed next as  David moved from the meat and moved on to the veggies.  
    “Hey! Save some for us!”  Tracy commanded as she picked up a shell.  
    Whitney looked around bewildered, not knowing where to begin.  She picked up a taco shell timidly then looked for clues from Tracy and Daniel for the next step.  Sam sat in her chair still brooding.
    “You better get some while there is still some cheese left.”  David advised scooping a generous portion of sour cream on his creation.   Daniel’s shell cracked spilling its contents on his plate before he took his first bite.
    “I’m not very hungry now that I’m doomed to a life of an outcast at school.” 
    “Why do you say that, Dear?”  Tracy asked,  taking a small bite carefully to avoid breaking  the shell of her taco.
    “Cause everyone thinks Dad is psycho!”  She exclaimed
    “Me?  Why?”  David munched down his taco in two bites, grabbing the mass of lettuce and hamburger and shoving it all hastily in his mouth.  Sour cream dripped down his hand.
    “Cause everyone thinks you killed Jeremy and buried him in some old refrigerator.”
    The whole family stopped as if paused in time.  Daniel had his drink glass  half raised.  Tracy had her taco in her mouth in mid bite.  Whitney, still building her first taco, had her spoon buried in the tomatoes.  And David stopped licking his hand.  Everyone stopped…and looked at Sam.
    David spoke first.  Clearing his throat, he asked in a steady deliberate tone. “Where did you hear that?” He picked up his napkin and began to wipe off his hands.
    “School!”  Sam was now painfully aware that she had just tossed a hand grenade onto the supper table and was careful to avoid doing more damage.  Whitney had pulled her spoon out of the tomatoes and slowly recessed back into her chair.  Her eyes barely visible over the table edge.  Danny set down his drink and mimicked Whitney. 
    “Who in school told you that?”  David was now the grand master inquisitor.  And Samantha was on the rack. Tracy lowered her taco, chewing quietly. 
    “Everyone!  I mean.. everyone in school is saying it.  I heard it from Lisa.”rumor
    “Where do you think Lisa heard it?”
    Samantha looked down as if searching for an escape.  “She might have heard it from   well not every word,  I mean,  I might have said something that she took  a little too far.”   Sam paused,  But I heard it from Whit!”  She pointed an accusatory finger at Whitney.
    All eyes now shot at Whitney as she tried , in vain, to slide lower in her chair.
    “I heard it from Danny!”  She snapped her head and eyes at him as if he were on fire.
    All eyes now focused on Daniel.  Daniel froze like a deer in the headlights as Whitney breathed a sigh of relief, having successfully shifted the blame onto another victim.
    “Danny?”  David asked.   This was tough.  Daniel was still in those sensitive years.  If questioned to severely, he might wilt under the pressure and start crying. David shifted tactics.  “How did you come about a story like that Danny? Cause that is really kind of …funny.”  David gave out a deliberate chuckle. Whitney and Tracy followed with a nervous giggle.
    “Well,  I …I overheard you and Mom talking.  Mom said you buried a body in the refrigerator.  And Sam said that that guy down the street was missing.   So Whitney said that he was probably the one because he was one of Sam’s boyfriends. And you always say you are going to bury them if they mess around with Sam so Whitney and I only told Sam,  We didn’t tell anyone else.  Honest!”  Daniel looked like a little puppy dog that confessed to chewing on David’s favorite slippers. 
    David looked at Tracy,  “Well,  there it is!” He picked up another taco shell and began to assemble another masterpiece.  “You’re wild speculation has gotten a little out of hand wouldn’t you say?” Looking at Tracy.
    Tracy looked defensive. “I never said your Dad killed the neighbor boy,  what was his name?”
    “Jeremy.  And he’s Not my boyfriend!”  Sam corrected.
   thCAZ1VND2 “I said your Dad buried some stolen money from an armored car.” 
    Everyone stopped again.   This time looking at David.   David looked around with his hand still scooping sour cream onto his taco.
    Samantha was first.  “How much Daddy?”
    “Where did you burry it Daddy? “
    “Are you going to go to jail?” Daniel asked
    David raised his hands up to quell the uprising.  “Waaait!   Wait a minute!”  he glanced at Tracy,  “I did not bury any stolen money! I didn’t bury any of Sam’s boyfriends! “   David slowly put his hands down.
    Whitney looked up, her eyes wide.  “So what did you bury Daddy?”
    “Hmmm?  What? “  David was just about to take a bite of his taco.
    ‘What did you bury?”
    “Oh,  A refrigerator.”  He took a bite with a loud crunch.
    “So you DID bury a refrigerator.”  Sam confirmed.
    “Yeah,  So? “  David mumbled with his mouth full. Sour cream was dribbling on his chin. 
    “So what was in it?”   Whitney asked
    “I don’t know.”
    “Why did you bury a refrigerator, Daddy?”   Daniel asked.
    “I don’t know.”  David took a drink from his glass.
    “So you don’t know why you buried a refrigerator and you don’t know what was in it.”   Sam clarified.
    “That’s right.”  He glared at Sam. 
    “So how do you know you didn’t bury a bunch of money or a body?”   Sam asked.
    David looked up at Tracy then back to Sam,  “Are you on her side now? Why does this all matter anyway?” 
    “It may not matter to you,  But it matters to me!   My social life is over thanks to you!”   Sam picked up a taco and began cramming it with meat and veggies.
    “Hey! That’s your problem!  I’m not the one who spilled the beans to my ‘best friend’ only to have her blab it all over school.   You dug your own grave there.”   David paused,  “Pardon the pun.”
    Tracy and Whitney laughed. Tracy, for the first time since having kids, was finding their inquisitive nature amusing.   They were grilling David better than any police investigator.
    “So where did you get the refrigerator?”  Daniel asked
    “It wasn’t mine.”
    “Did you steal it?”
    “NO!”
    “Who’s was it Daddy?”  Whitney followed next.
    “It was a friend.”
    “What kind of friend?” 
    “An old one.”
    “Who was he?”
    “You don’t know him.   I don’t even think you’ve met him.”
    “Who Daddy?”
    “Yeah who?”
    “Who Daddy”?
    “Alright, alright!   Ethan Allen!”  David conceded.
    “The Great Ethan Allen?”  Sam confirmed.
    “The guy you always tell us stories about?”   Daniel asked.
    “That’s the one.”
    “The guy who introduced you and Mom?”   Whitney asked
    “Yes, the very same.”   David took another bite of his taco.   All these questions were slowing him down and the hamburger was getting cold.
    “So why did he ask you to bury his refrigerator and not tell you what was in it?”  Sam asked still trying to find meaning in her banishment from high school society.
    “I’m not sure.”   David paused to take a sip. “He did most of the work,  I just helped him push it in the hole.”
    “You’re leaving out the fact that he did it in the middle of the night.”   Tracy offered,  filling in the blanks and hoping the kids would pick up from there. David glanced at her with a glare.
    “Why in the middle of the night?”   Sam asked
    “I don’t know,  cause I was awake I guess.”
    “Do you think he knows what is inside the refrigerator?”  Whitney asked.
    “I suppose so.  It was his refrigerator.  I’m sure he should know.”
    “So why don’t you call him and ask him what is inside”
    “Hey Hey!  That’s a great idea!”   Tracy smiled casting her vote in favor of the proposal.
    David turned to face Tracy but spoke to the room. “Because I don’t care what is inside the thing.”
    “Even if it is money?”  Sam asked
    “Even if it is money!”
    “Even if it is a body?”  Whitney asked
    “Especially if it is a body!”  David confirmed  “You guys are going to have cold tacos if you don’t start eating some.” 
    “I’m full! “ Sam declared
    “Me too! “ Whitney said  taking a last bite
    “I hate tacos!”  Daniel said as his second taco crumbled after his first bite.
    “Fine,  use your fork and have taco salad then!”  Tracy said indignantly. 
    “We could dig up the fridge and take a look for ourselves.”  Sam offered
    David wiped off his mouth. “No way!  I buried the thing and only a sign from the God will make me consider digging that heavy rusty stinky thing back up just to take a peak at what is inside.”
    Just then, the front doorbell rang.

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