The Simsville Inheritance
Copyright ©2006 Elizabeth G. Cox. All rights reserved.

Chapter 18 - How to Catch the Creep

"How do you propose to catch this guy?" I asked as Jones turned his car toward the saloon. "He's got a pretty good head start, seems to me."

"We've got a few pretty good forensic folks in town, they'll be glad to help out. If everybody keeps their comings and goings fairly quiet they can get a lot done. We'll see what the others think but I'm sure that will be the next step. They can have their gear together and be out at the old stable in an hour or so."

By the time we arrived in the saloon's back room, Green had sandwiches and coffee waiting. "Hey, Jones, Avery. Glad the girl's okay. We'll be ready to start as soon as the others get over here." She poured several mugs of coffee for us, then helped herself to a sandwich.

"Didn't take time for breakfast, trying to round up some of the guys we're going to need. They should be over in a few more minutes. I had to go ahead and explain what we were needing."

"Okay, that's good. Is Asa one of them, Green? He's the best we got in town, at least one of the most experienced."

"Yeah, and he's bringing Jeffrey, they worked together back in the late 80's, collected quite a bit of equipment between them."

Sitting down beside me, Green explained that Asa McCants and Jeffrey Cloninger had been retired from private investigative work for several years but before that had both worked in Atlanta for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. After retiring they had kept up on the latest technology, collecting a few new laboratory tools "as a hobby," and "just in case." They had gotten to be good friends with Myrtle and Dave over the years, which is how they both wound up in Simsville.

"Anybody else coming I don't know about?" Jones asked as he bit into a thick ham sandwich. You'd never know he had just put away a substantial breakfast back at the house.

"Not at this point," she replied, flipping open a yellow legal pad and making a few notes. "We'll need somebody to keep everything recorded, won't we?" Green peered up at me from under her eyebrows with a question in her eyes.

"Not me, guys, I'm not the secretary type. Give me some fishy bank accounts and I'll be good to go, but none of that shorthand stuff." I helped myself to a refill on my coffee, thinking I'd better nip this idea in the bud. Nip it, nip it, nip it!

"Oh, somebody will come to mind. We've got some exes in the neighborhood, you know. Ex-office managers, ex-laboratory managers, ex-administrators, plenty of exes to choose from."

The back door swung open and several men entered the room, talking among themselves as they pulled chairs around the table. Silver didn't seem quite so decrepit standing beside Johnson, he seemed more business-like and less studious. I guess looks are deceiving, I thought to myself, I sure know this town is.

Jones introduced Asa and Jeffrey. Both men were medium height and build. Asa's hair was still dark brown with generous streaks of gray, while Jeffrey's remaining fringe of hair was totally white. They shook my hand, expressing pleasure to meet me before taking seats next to each other. I was surprised one of them wasn't nicknamed "Red," but I kept that thought to myself.

I tugged my own notebook out of my purse and jotted a few notes as we talked. Silver took notes too; the others seemed satisfied to let him be the record keeper. As they discussed logistics, the equipment they already had and how adequate it would be, Asa and Jeffrey's ideas and plans seemed quite thorough. I had no doubt they could efficiently collect and preserve any evidence there was to find out at the old stable.

"Guys, do you ever intend to report this kidnapping to the authorities?" I asked after a half hour. Jones didn't glance over at me but I saw him exchange a look with Johnson. Green rose to put another pot of coffee on, her lips curling in a very slight smile.

"Sure, Avery, soon as the Dunstons give the go-ahead," Jones answered. "Right now they're just so relieved to get Charlotte back they haven't given that much thought yet."

Asa spoke up, matter of factly. "Besides, we can do anything the local sheriff can do, and a lot faster." "And more, and better," Jeffrey added.

Considering how much "more and better" they had been at finding Charlotte, I kept my voice level and just replied, "Okay, well is there anything I can do to help out?"

My own field of work was financial and there was a great deal of money to find, after all. Find the money, find the creep who took it. Johnson suggested that I walk over to his office at the bank when the meeting broke up. He would outline the steps he'd taken so far and maybe I could suggest something further. That's more like it, I thought.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 |