An Unexpected Ally (60)

As night fell over Huntsport, Frank and Laura Gardner sat in their living room reading. Frank sifted through sections ofThe Daily Report, while Laura thoughtlessly thumbed through a month-old magazine. The zeal both possessed had been fleeting since they had sought help for their daughter.

Laura, suddenly annoyed by the silence, said, “Frank, what’s going to happen to us? What’s happened to our family?”

Frank lowered his newspaper, revealing a face hidden behind thick glasses. “Laur, we’re all going to be fine. Things like this, well, they happen. We’re not the first family to have a tragic history, you know?”

“I know, Frank, I know, but all at once! First Teddy is killed right before our eyeson the day of his wedding, then Elaine, oh God, Elaine’s lost anything that she ever was, and now she’s in a mental hospital. And now, Red’s in the middle of a divorce, and Annette has our grandchild on the way as a single mother. Frank, everything was right with the world only a few weeks ago. I don’t know if I can take this!”

Frank begrudgingly rose from his easy chair and crossed the room to sit next to his wife. “Laura, listen, I’ll admit the Gardner family isn’t in great shape right now, hell, we’re practically in ruins. But God finds a way to make it all right Laura. He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again!”

Laura’s face was grim. She looked at her husband and said flatly, “Frank. Elaine has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I don’t know how to take care of that Frank! What am I supposed to do? I can’t take care of my little girl!”

She began to sob. The Gardner family’s outlook was grim.

***

“Thank you for meeting me,” said Steven Bains, shaking the plump little hand of Foley the Barkeep.

“Uh, it’s no problem…how did you know who I was, if I may ask?” The fat man was apprehensive to speak with a man who had called him on the phone and had threatened his mother.

“Before we start anything, I want to make it clear that I have no intention whatsoever of hurting your mother…I don’t even know who she is. I’m sure she’s a lovely woman,” said Steven, attempting to lighten the mood.

“Well then I don’t see what you want from me…I’ll just leave then you ass!” Foley would not be bothered if his mother was not involved.

“No, you’ll stay,” said Steven, grabbing Foley by the arm, “I know you know Samantha Flint, right?”

“Say, how do you–“

“Never mind that. A friend of mine has you and her on a hotel security camera tipping a vending machine…we saw you take the Fritos. I saw you help her, and I have a few questions I’d like to ask you.”

“I got nothing to do with her anymore, that bitch,” said Foley with an uncharacteristic venom.

“Hey now that’s pretty strong language for a guy that’s spent quite a few nights with a girl like that,” said Steven. He had always played the good cop back when he was on the force.

“No. She is. She’s a heartless bitch who…who doesn’t deserve to walk on God’s green Earth!”

“There you go again with that language. Let’s tone it down a bit. Now, what exactly has she done? Must’ve been pretty heavy stuff.”

“Well, for starters she killed the guy that’s all over the papers…Burke I think his name was. And even before I became an accomplice to murder, she drags me up here to get in some other guy’s pants.”

“Other guy? You mean, her trip wasn’t just to kill Burke?”

“No. She had the hots for some chump named Red…broke up his marriage, I’ll bet.”

This new development intrigued Steven Bains. He would have many more questions for the fat little barkeep.

END

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