Lucy Allen Seabolt / Martin and /Rita
Jerome Morris the director of vocational education for the Cleveland school system
Bobbi James the radio personality
Amos Hardee deputy sheriff
Lori Moore deputy sheriff
Marcus hostage taker
Sara Thomas newspaper writer
Everett Martin the current leader of the Cleveland meetings of Freebird.
Mark and Happy Jones swingers.
Jethro Morris murder victim.
James Western the second murder victim.
I awoke feeling optimistic for a change. I showered while the camper was still warm from the over night heat. The heat had built up from the gas wall furnace which either ran or didn’t run in the trailer. Since my water supply ran from the house, not a storage tank, I could take a long showers.
Oh yes I had the small burnt out water heater replaced with an inline instant hot water system. Those two things made for an enjoyable shower, even so early in the morning. That and not having to worry about some psycho sticking a toothbrush handle shiv into my kidney. Let’s just say it was a good beginning to the day.
I dressed in a pair of khaki cargo slacks. I saved them for special occasions. Not that helping the cops was a special occasion, but it seemed like a good time to get some wear out of them. I still went with my signature knit toboggan. It was warm and hid my wild hair. Since she was a hair stylist, Lucy was always on me about my hair.
For breakfast I had the choice of a bran muffin or a bowl of bran cereal. I had fresh milk, so I went with the cereal. I had the bowl to be washed in the small sink. It was so small that the soup bowl, coffee cup, various smaller items made it appear to be running over. My next change to the trailer was going to be to replace the kitchen sink with one of those old style janitor sinks. Something so deep a mop bucket would fit inside it. It was not a necessary change, so it would have to wait until the spirit moved me.
Since Lucy had left an hour before Amos arrived, the drive was empty. He pulled up and I walked out to meet the two of them. Yes Lori the slightly overweight, but curvy, deputy was in the front passenger seat. I squeezed into the smaller rear seat with almost no leg room. The dehumanizing of the prisoner began in the back seat of the patrol car I decided. It had never occurred to me before.
“Before we head to the shelter we should check with the county offices in Rosedale. Some of the workers here might recognize the pictures. I assume you have the autopsy images?” I asked.
“We do but we sent it around in an email,” Lori said.
“Humor me,” I suggested. “There is only one office, and a couple of clerks.”
Stop at the bakery first,” I said.
When we arrived there I bought two half dozen boxes of cupcakes. Then when we arrived at the county office I said, “Good morning you bureaucrats, I come bringing bribes. You will have to eat the evidence, or I might wind up back in prison,” I said.
“Well John we certainly wouldn’t want that to happen. What’s it going to cost us. With you there is always a cost,” one of the older women said as she chose a chocolate cupcake.
“Just look at a picture and see if you can tell me who it is,” I suggested.
“No idea,” she suggested. “If anyone comes around who might know him, it would be a great help. Let me send you a copy of the image.” I had the office supervisor’s number in my cell phone call list.
“That was a waste of time,” Lori suggested.
“How long have you been a detective?” I asked.
“All dad today,” she said.
“It shows,” I suggested.
“We are just tasked with identifying the two victims. We are still patrol deputies,” Amos explained.
“Then explain to Lori, that the best friend she has is patience,” I said.
We had an early lunch in Cleveland. It was a roadside diner where the cheeseburgers tray was the most appealing thing. At least it was to me. While we waited, Lori chose to interrogate me. It was a friendly interrogation but bordering on sarcasm.
“So tell me why you ride around town on the tricycle with a motor on it?” she asked.
“I bought it because it was cheap, easy to park, and maneuver,” I replied. “Not to mention get good gas milage.”
“What do you do when it rains?” she ask.
“I delay whatever I had planned for that day. It seldom rains more than a couple of days straight,” I admitted.
“How about when it’s just too cold,” she asked.
“In Mississippi, I find that a ‘Puff Parka’, over a sweat shirt, over a thermal tee shirt is plenty warm. I also own a half dozen of these hats. I also own a face cover made from a bright orange one. Oh yeah and ski gloves, though I probably don’t need them. I could make up to a twenty mile trip without a problem.”
“Then you could ride to Cleveland?” Amos said.
“If you plan to stitch me up. I haven’t been to Cleveland since I went there to check on Jethro Morris. Oh by the way did you find out what relationship he is to you. Is it true that detectives look at family members first?” I asked.
Our food arrived sparing me any more verbal duels. The food was good. I couldn’t make a decent cheeseburger, even though I grilled hamburgers often enough. It had do with temperature control of the cheese or something like that.