The Simsville Inheritance
Copyright ©2009 Elizabeth G. Cox. All rights reserved.

Chapter 27 - Safe, Sound and Disgusted

I kept my own thoughts to myself while listening to everyone else's comments, questions and suggestions. Alice Gold and Jack McKenzie had finally arrived, a little tired and more than a little hungry. Greeted with relief and slaps on the back, both gratefully accepted sandwiches and mugs of coffee.

All of the town council was present including Green, having left the saloon in someone else's care for the rest of the day. As she helped Smith assemble trays of food and drinks, the rest of us gravitated into the living room, dragging dining room chairs in for extra seating.

The coffee table was soon transformed into a make-shift buffet and people who had finished a substantial lunch a few hours ago suddenly found appetites rekindled. Seated in a straight-back chair against the wall, Silver pulled out his pocket notebook and ballpoint pen. He carefully placed them on the end table beside him before sipping from his glass of iced tea, the base of the glass neatly wrapped in a paper napkin.

Jones began walking Alice and Jack through the kidnapping starting with the hour before the bank opened for business. Between bites and sips, Alice recounted the events at the bank from her point of view. Nothing had seemed unusual in the least, not even when the nondescript kid walked in.

"He looked to be nineteen, twenty maybe, medium brown short hair, medium fair complexion, no moles or obvious scars or anything. Can't say for sure about his eyes, dark blue or green I think. No glasses. Medium height and weight. Had on faded blue jeans and a plain white tee shirt, no logo, ordinary lace-up sneakers. No hat or cap. Nothing out of the way at all, except for his voice sounding sort of scratchy, like he had a cold."

"That's what made it so dumbfounding, guys. He looked like anybody's kid or grandkid around here. For all we know that's who he is. He looked familiar but we've both wracked our brains. There's just nothing specific that stands out. He didn't say much, just pointed the gun at me, said something like ‘out back' and believe me, I headed out back."

Alice described seeing the car, being directed into the front seat and then feeling the stick of a needle in her arm. After that, her memory was blank until she woke up in the dark warehouse and found Jack on the floor beside her, still out cold.

Huh. Medium everything, I thought, how convenient. No distinguishing marks, no tics, no anything remarkable. How... deliberate. I had a feeling I wasn't the only one with that opinion. There was that one thing, his hoarse speech. Did that mean he might have been recognized by his voice? I filed that as a potential clue in the back of my mind.

"How about the gun, Jack? What kind was it?" Jack rubbed the back of his head at that question, looking a bit sheepish.

"I never saw him or the gun, I'm afraid. He gave me a good whack on the back of the skull and that was all she wrote for me." He looked over at Alice to answer the gun question.

"It was run-of-the-mill, short barrel semi-auto, not sure of the caliber. Probably what they call a ladies gun. You can pick them up for peanuts at most pawn shops. Just as deadly at short range as the big ones, though. I sure wasn't expecting to see it in a kid's hand." She shook her head slightly as she said the last few words, her mouth twisted a bit.

I watched Alice a little more carefully. She knew her guns, apparently... did they teach that in banking school? But then, I reminded myself that nobody in this place was what they seemed to be.

"One thing about it, guys, he acted like the gun was comfortable in his hand. Confident. Not cocky, just sure of himself like it was a normal thing to him. Jack and I talked about that a little. We don't think he was a kid, actually, he just looked like one at a glance." Jack nodded in agreement.

"Okay, not really a kid, but was he made up to look like one or was he just mature for his age, do you think?" Jones was trying to get a handle on the perpetrator, some sort of uniqueness or personality trait to add to the description. Medium just wouldn't cut it, if they were going to put out any kind of bulletin.

Alice got up, stood in place and stretched her back before stepping across the room toward the coffee table. "Well, he seemed naturally youthful in the way he looked but I only had a couple of minutes to evaluate him, really." She picked up another sandwich and continued standing while she took a bite, before adding another thought. "I'd say he had his moves planned out down to the last second. That says experience more than kid to me."

The conversation around the room quieted down a little, some people finishing up their snacks, others taking a bathroom break. Smith handed around the half-empty platter of sandwiches saying, "I'm going to put on some more coffee." As she headed toward the kitchen I took the occasion to corner Jones for a question.

"Don't you think it's time to call Sumter, Jones? I had a talk with Smith earlier... she filled me in a little." He didn't say anything for a moment or two, just seemed to stare at the wall behind my head as he mulled over his answer. He finally re-focused on my face.

"We made that call a while back, Avery." Looking down at his wrist watch, he added, "They'll be here in another hour or so. Some of the folks already know about that and some don't, so if you'll hold off we'll bring everybody up to speed at the same time. Okay?" His eyes caught mine, his eyebrows lifted slightly as he spoke.

"Okay," I replied. He turned toward the kitchen with a sigh and I had a notion he wanted to speak with Smith in private, find out how much she'd told me about the inner workings of "my" little town. Picking over the left-over slices of swiss cheese and roast beef, I built myself another half sandwich. I was wishing I'd spent a lot more time with Aunt Myrtle in my youth.

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 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Chapter 25 | Chapter 26 |