Jun
0

The Sky-Horse Chapter-Two

The Sky-Horse Chapter-Two

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

A Pervert Father and a Spying One

As they were exiting the kitchen, Nate turned back to the refrigerator/ He looked at the outside of it, then opened it again.

“It’s empty you said,” Maggie said, confused.

“So it is,” Nate said. “So it is. It’s also very high tech. It looks like it can tell you when certain foods are going bad.”

“You can do that yourself,” Maggie said.

“I’m not endorsing a high-tech fridge. Go look at the stove, Maggie.”

H did and whistled.“This baby has gauges for dryness of meat and other kinds of crap.”

“Want one?”

“I’ll keep our cook.”

Nate thought. “The bathroom. Let’s find one.”

“Can’t you peer alone?”

“Margaret, quit joking. This place cost a lot, a hell of a lot, of dough. Say y He was an admiral and then a pretty good size, Looking at that ranch land, I’d say go could run two thousand head on it easy. Now, he had his Navy pension but I don’t see how you could build a lifestyle like that on a pension. Do you?”

“Maybe he had good stock broker.”

“I’ll give that one. For now. I still want to see the bathroom.”

“You’ve convinced me. Let’s go.”

They walked through the dining room. Nate glanced at the table. It was oak. The six matching chairs had finely carved basks, high priced, he figured. Maggie whistled again, causing him to look up.

She held two plates and stood besides the opened china closet. He poise resembled that of a fisherman holing two big bass.

“Pink plates. Abstract pattern. Imagine eating on them every day,” Nate said.

“Look at back, he who does not joke,” she retorted.

He did. They were signed and numbered.

“Andrew Hogarth. Why do I know that name” Nate asked Maggie.

“New York fashion designer. I wore him the night Petey was conceived.”

“I only remember what happened after you took him off. Seriously, he is top of the line.”

“You couldn’t buy these at Walt-Mzrt. I’m sorry; that just came out. Actually, this place creeps me out,It’s just too. What’s the word want?”

“You want two: feminine and perfect. As I understand it, all three girls were oven ten when they got here. They would be past the age of wanting to be that girlish. And he was a career sailor, salt or whatever.”

“But no sea paintings, just clown and kittens, very strange. We do need to see the bathroom.

So they went to find it.

It didn’t take long. The room was big and pink with a shower curtain with Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” on it. , Aggie crossed his mind. for a moment. But an instinct, hunch or something told him to look inside so he did.

Nate was not sure why he was looking for. He look at the floor, soap dish. He checked the walls. Nothing. Maggie was talking about how the toilet took blood pressure, temperature and other medical signs. He knew she thought he was wasting his time. But he decided to look up. Then he saw something. He took out the miniature flashlight. Bingo.

“Babe,” he said, come look at this.”

“What?” She asked, annoyed. She came anyway.

“Up there,” Nate said. “See it?”

“i see it, Nate. Looks like a small surveillance camera What is it?”

“A small surveillance camera.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You don’t want to but you do. Let’s find the den.”

“As they were looking for the den, Maggie shot Nate a quizzical look, “You know, you;re a much better detective now than you were as police chief in Orrin.”

“Margaret, my love and life, I wasn’t hired to be a detective. I was hired to ticket strangers and to keep people, most teens, from fornicating in public and to not enforce the ban on booze. Then people started to get shot and slashed. I had done minor investigating in Wichita but not much. If I have used skills I learned in college, since Orrin, that’s one reason. The other was that Peter Law was my brother.

“Pete was a cop’s cop. He ended up on the bomb squad because he hadn’t tried it. He had everything else. He talked to me about police craft all my life. Then he worked with me. That’s when I became a real dick, detective.” He blushed surprisingly but preventing Maggie’s making any cracks by finding a door and the den.

He opened the door to the den. It was wood-paneled. And had pictures of a naval officer, presumably Schipper, on ships and shaking hands with other officers and various VIPs, including two presidents, Carter and Bush 41. Meanwhile, Maggie and found one on the desk. She showed it to Nate.

It was of a man in a black beret and military fatigues. There was handwriting on it.

“Spanish?” Maggie asked/

“It says ‘To Comrade John Schipper for invaluable service to the Revolution, Fidel.” They both looked at the man in the photo again.

“Castro!” Maggie exclaimed. “A young Fidel Castro.”

Nate began looking through a bookcase while Maggie continued with the desk.

“Who was Kim Philby?” Nate asked her. “He had several books by and about him and the Cambridge Three. Why does that ring a bell?”

“British spy ring,” Maggie said.

“Yeah, babe. It was formed by a Soviet handler at Cambridge during the thirties. Two were gay diplomats for the UK. The gays defected before Philby. Philby was a more successful mole in the British counter-intelligence branch working with the CIA. He defected right before the Brits could snatch him.”

“So Schipper was a spy?” Maggie asked.

“We couldn’t get a warrant based on this. But I’d say yes. Anything else on the desk?”

“Routine financial medical papers. A progress report on Sparrow.”

“And an ashtray of cigar butts,” Nate added.

“Two new to be Schippers,” Maggie said.

“Way too new. Come on. Let’s find the master bedroom.”

It was next door. The room had the same paneling as the den. The bed was big with pink sheets. A stack of old paperbacks lay on the nightstand. Nate picked one up and threw it to Maggie disgustedly.

“This is a porno novel about incest, Nate,” she said in horror.

“I know. Behind you are three security monitor. They’re on. One goes to the shower, the other two to bedrooms, girls’ room, Scarlet’s and Starlet’s., no doubt.”

“He was ogling his own daughters, Nate?”

“He was doing more than that, judging by the bed covers.”

“He was sleeping with them””

“It’s called rape. He was raping his children. You know, these ranchers are not great people but I can live with bigots. I just stay out of their way most of the time. But this guy was a bastard! I’d gladly cut off his gonads and stuffed them in his face. These girls were as much victims as our Agnes is. There is no difference, none whatsoever. I thought I wanted to find Schipper’s girls so they could get their land. But if one or more of them are living victims of the type of crime we think they are, t=hey need love and support more than that damn pasture. I’m going upstairs.”

“Want me to come?” Maggie asked.

“No. I smell cigar smoke. Someone’s up there. Go to the car and wait.”

Maggie reluctantly nodded.

Once on the second floor, Nate found a ladder leading to the attic. He climbed there. As he entered, Nate pulled out a gun he and Joel had taken the day before and looked around. A pink-hued sky light revealed a bearded man dressed like a priest,

In a thick German accent the man said “You will never believe this but I’m Father Pat O’Shea from Cork. I do have a fine Irish brogue but I am tired and if you caught me in a lie, you might shoot me.”

“You don’t want to be a martyr?”

“Actually, I cannot seek martyrdom now; my superior wants me to complete my work here. I think we can talk better in the admiral’s study. It is hot here, no?”

“Hands against the wall,” Nate said. He frisked the man and found a Vatican passport in his sock.

Nate read the name. “Bishop Hans Koch.”

“Koch is an alias but I am a bishop. May we now retire the study?’

“Lead the way, your fakery.”

He did.

When they they got to the den, Nate told the man to sit behind the desk. With his left hand, he phoned Maggie who soon joined the two men.

“Who’s he?” Maggie asked Nate of Koch/O’Shea.

“I don’t know, babe, but he has a Vatican passport. In town, he goes by Father Pat O’Shea.”

“You must be in charge of building the new church,” Maggie told him.

“Alas, me good o=woman,” O’Shea/Koch said in a passable brogue. “that is a wee bit of a lie. Young Father Blake is. He does all the work; the locals think I do. Auden only knows I am doing other services for people in Rome.”

“What people?” Nate asked.

“My department does not officially exists. We mainly gather intelligence for the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith; the missions department. I am telling what I’m telling you because the day your son was arrested, I feared my work would be compromised. I notified the Holy See and they tied your problem with the diocese of Salina I was to contact you and Gomez and get all of you out of here before the pasture goes up for sale.”

“The Pope wants to buy it?”

“This Pope? I doubt it. But my current assignment goes all the way back to Pope St John Paul II.

“I joined the Swiss Guard two years before John Paul’s election. I rose quickly in the ranks. The attempt on the Holy Father’s life in May, 1981 allowed me to liaison with the Vatican’s internal intel branch and a year alter, I joined it. Then I got my call to the priesthood. It was undeniable. I studied in Rome was the Holy Father personally ordained me. The rector of my seminary strongly recommended me as for a chaplain to a certain convent in Milan. It wasn’t meant to be.

“After my first Mass, The Holy Father and several cardinals met with me and assigned me to oversee intel in unfriendly lands.

“Cuba fell under my mandate. I began my work during the administration of George H. W. Bush. The unofficial alliance between the Vatican and Washington Reagan and John Paul had made was still in effect. Both Washington and we were interested in undermine Castro so the Propagation Congregation was allowed to use U.S. Marine Chaplains at Guantanamo Bay–”

“Gitmo,”Nate added.

The priest frowned. “Gitmo refers to that damnable prison camp for Islamic terror fighters. Mr. Law. Guantanamo is more than that. It is a foothold of liberty on a captive island. It has provided solid intelligence on the regime since 1959.”

“I don’t see how,” Maggie said.

“Intercepted communication mainly, the type of thing fools like that bastard Snowden shed tears about.”

“You sound like a hawk,” Maggie said.

“A hawk for the Gospel, yes,” the priest said. “After all, my life’s work was handed me by an official saint. Anyway, the Pentagon was looking the other ways while Catholic chaplains assisted clandestine missionaries to Cuba, mostly by channeling duns from Rome. I helped set it up, Operation Damascus Road,”

“That probably violated Separation of Church and State,” Maggie said.

“Perhaps but let me put it this way, rape your Constitution. Damascus worked. It was effective. People heard the Good News. Then Dada went to Guantanamo. He, like Schipper, as a mole. He heard about Damascus. But he couldn’t act on it. So he got Schipper transferred down there. Schipper was raised Catholic and passed himself off at one, A foolish chaplain confided in him.

“The result? Secret priests were arrested. Mules with cash were detained, several on the base,”

“Let me guess,” Nate said, “Dale and Schipper lined their pockets with it.”

“I know that. Washington knows that but by the time I had pieced my theory together Clinton was in office and the alliance fell apart.”

“But Dale and Schipper were traitors,” Maggie said.

“To whom?” The priest said. “Damascus did not benefit your government directly and, as your said, it was constitutionally dubious. I was hopeful when W. win but he was soon in evolved the War on Terror.

“A colleague in our D.C. Embassy caught the admirals’ retirement and traced them here. We could do nothing until the church project came up. I “Explain the Shy Horse.”

“The Sky Horse has got a small civil war going in the Vatican.”

“How so? Maggie asked.

“My superior has verified pictures I took of it with the Vatican Observatory in the states and off-the-record with NASA. But the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith argues animals do not appear by themselves in true apparitions, which is true. The Sky Horse, they conclude, is pagan and/or demonic.”

“But it’s just part of everyday life here,” Nate said. “Even you accept it.”

“I accept what my senses tell me.”

“But it isn’t normal.” Nate said. “And it must have something to do with the Schippers.”

Everyone kept silent. This was going nowhere. Then Sinatra began to sing on Nate’s phone.

To be continued.

May
0

Moving Post 1

Moving Post 1

The Cull of the Mild: A Moving Story of an Old Bachelor

May 22, 2016

“Men don’t live like human beings. Men live like bears with furniture.”–Rita Rudner

“What a dump!”–Bette Davis

 l have an ex-girlfriend. She and others misinterpret thenature of our relationship. I do buy her birthday roses and write the occasional platonic verse for her but since I don’t step up to the plate, let alone try to get to first base, our views differ. But since I no longer play in any ball park, why argue. I have a great deal of a Catholic guilt for how and why I dumped her, which accounts for the roses.

It’s complicated but not complicating.

This person moved to a remodeled apartment in our building and I saw it Friday. Then I came home.

I had known and other people must have known my home is run down. But I had never quite realized it has all the charm of a cave.

Something has to be done.

That afternoon I spoke to our property manager. She told me if I wanted a remodeled apartment, I had two9 options: I can either vacate this one or wait for another one to open pour vacate this forgone ten days.

This person I have whatever relationship with has three siblings but only one pis intimately involved with her affairs. I have six living relatives who have spouse and a partner. Most have children. One is a judge. These people all love me and I love them. Unlike the person I have the obscure relationship with, all my siblings and several of my niblings assist me or give me advice. That’s good. But we don’t always agree.

Let me explain. I have Catholic kin and Evangelical kin. I have strong Catholic kin and lukewarm Catholic kin and kin who are New Age-Catholic hybrids and ones with no fixed faith. God and/or the Force love hem all. I won’t even discuss the political differences within my tribe. You get the idea; we’re a diverse lot and I think that’s neat.

In most cases.

In this case, it is…shall I say… challenging? Agrement might be hard. Mk move might be hard. I mean, at least two want me to move out of Wichita so reaching a consensus on m might be? Hard. Might be?

What my first gambit is is culling my junk weekends. I have two many CDs, movies and books. I have clothes and papers to discard. I HAVE ONE DRAWER OF PERHAPS TWO HUNDRED OR MORE CASSETTES.. CASSETTES. I DON’T NEED THEM . NOBODY DOES. WHY DID I BUY THEM AND WHAT DO I DO WITH THJM NOW?

Excuse me. During junk weekends I hope kin come and help me cull my crap It’s a first step. Stay tuned.

Coming soon: Chapter Twenty-two of “the Sky Horse,” featuring Nate and Maggie Law.

May
0

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-Two

A Pervert Father and a Spying One

As they were exiting the kitchen, Nate turned back to the refrigerator/ He looked at the outside of it, then opened it again.

“It’s empty you said,” Maggie said, confused.

“So it is,” Nate said. “So it is. It’s also very high tech. It looks like it can tell you when certain foods are going bad.”

“You can do that yourself,” Maggie said.

“I’m not endorsing a high-tech fridge. Go look at the stove, Maggie.”

H did and whistled.“This baby has gauges for dryness of meat and other kinds of crap.”

“Want one?”

“I’ll keep our cook.”

Nate thought. “The bathroom. Let’s find one.”

“Can’t you peer alone?”

“Margaret, quit joking. This place cost a lot, a hell of a lot, of dough. Say y He was an admiral and then a pretty good size, Looking at that ranch land, I’d say go could run two thousand head on it easy. Now, he had his Navy pension but I don’t see how you could build a lifestyle like that on a pension. Do you?”

“Maybe he had good stock broker.”

“I’ll give that one. For now. I still want to see the bathroom.”

“You’ve convinced me. Let’s go.”

They walked through the dining room. Nate glanced at the table. It was oak. The six matching chairs had finely carved basks, high priced, he figured. Maggie whistled again, causing him to look up.

She held two plates and stood besides the opened china closet. He poise resembled that of a fisherman holing two big bass.

“Pink plates. Abstract pattern. Imagine eating on them every day,” Nate said.

“Look at back, he who does not joke,” she retorted.

He did. They were signed and numbered.

“Andrew Hogarth. Why do I know that name” Nate asked Maggie.

“New York fashion designer. I wore him the night Petey was conceived.”

“I only remember what happened after you took him off. Seriously, he is top of the line.”

“You couldn’t buy these at Walt-Mzrt. I’m sorry; that just came out. Actually, this place creeps me out,It’s just too. What’s the word want?”

“You want two: feminine and perfect. As I understand it, all three girls were oven ten when they got here. They would be past the age of wanting to be that girlish. And he was a career sailor, salt or whatever.”

“But no sea paintings, just clown and kittens, very strange. We do need to see the bathroom.

So they went to find it.

It didn’t take long. The room was big and pink with a shower curtain with Ariel from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” on it. , Aggie crossed his mind. for a moment. But an instinct, hunch or something told him to look inside so he did.

Nate was not sure why he was looking for. He look at the floor, soap dish. He checked the walls. Nothing. Maggie was talking about how the toilet took blood pressure, temperature and other medical signs. He knew she thought he was wasting his time. But he decided to look up. Then he saw something. He took out the miniature flashlight. Bingo.

“Babe,” he said, come look at this.”

“What?” She asked, annoyed. She came anyway.

“Up there,” Nate said. “See it?”

“i see it, Nate. Looks like a small surveillance camera What is it?”

“A small surveillance camera.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You don’t want to but you do. Let’s find the den.”

“As they were looking for the den, Maggie shot Nate a quizzical look, “You know, you;re a much better detective now than you were as police chief in Orrin.”

“Margaret, my love and life, I wasn’t hired to be a detective. I was hired to ticket strangers and to keep people, most teens, from fornicating in public and to not enforce the ban on booze. Then people started to get shot and slashed. I had done minor investigating in Wichita but not much. If I have used skills I learned in college, since Orrin, that’s one reason. The other was that Peter Law was my brother.

“Pete was a cop’s cop. He ended up on the bomb squad because he hadn’t tried it. He had everything else. He talked to me about police craft all my life. Then he worked with me. That’s when I became a real dick, detective.” He blushed surprisingly but preventing Maggie’s making any cracks by finding a door and the den.

He opened the door to the den. It was wood-paneled. And had pictures of a naval officer, presumably Schipper, on ships and shaking hands with other officers and various VIPs, including two presidents, Carter and Bush 41. Meanwhile, Maggie and found one on the desk. She showed it to Nate.

It was of a man in a black beret and military fatigues. There was handwriting on it.

“Spanish?” Maggie asked/

“It says ‘To Comrade John Schipper for invaluable service to the Revolution, Fidel.” They both looked at the man in the photo again.

“Castro!” Maggie exclaimed. “A young Fidel Castro.”

Nate began looking through a bookcase while Maggie continued with the desk.

“Who was Kim Philby?” Nate asked her. “He had several books by and about him and the Cambridge Three. Why does that ring a bell?”

“British spy ring,” Maggie said.

“Yeah, babe. It was formed by a Soviet handler at Cambridge during the thirties. Two were gay diplomats for the UK. The gays defected before Philby. Philby was a more successful mole in the British counter-intelligence branch working with the CIA. He defected right before the Brits could snatch him.”

“So Schipper was a spy?” Maggie asked.

“We couldn’t get a warrant based on this. But I’d say yes. Anything else on the desk?”

“Routine financial medical papers. A progress report on Sparrow.”

“And an ashtray of cigar butts,” Nate added.

“Two new to be Schippers,” Maggie said.

“Way too new. Come on. Let’s find the master bedroom.”

It was next door. The room had the same paneling as the den. The bed was big with pink sheets. A stack of old paperbacks lay on the nightstand. Nate picked one up and threw it to Maggie disgustedly.

“This is a porno novel about incest, Nate,” she said in horror.

“I know. Behind you are three security monitor. They’re on. One goes to the shower, the other two to bedrooms, girls’ room, Scarlet’s and Starlet’s., no doubt.”

“He was ogling his own daughters, Nate?”

“He was doing more than that, judging by the bed covers.”

“He was sleeping with them””

“It’s called rape. He was raping his children. You know, these ranchers are not great people but I can live with bigots. I just stay out of their way most of the time. But this guy was a bastard! I’d gladly cut off his gonads and stuffed them in his face. These girls were as much victims as our Agnes is. There is no difference, none whatsoever. I thought I wanted to find Schipper’s girls so they could get their land. But if one or more of them are living victims of the type of crime we think they are, t=hey need love and support more than that damn pasture. I’m going upstairs.”

“Want me to come?” Maggie asked.

“No. I smell cigar smoke. Someone’s up there. Go to the car and wait.”

Maggie reluctantly nodded.

Once on the second floor, Nate found a ladder leading to the attic. He climbed there. As he entered, Nate pulled out a gun he and Joel had taken the day before and looked around. A pink-hued sky light revealed a bearded man dressed like a priest,

In a thick German accent the man said “You will never believe this but I’m Father Pat O’Shea from Cork. I do have a fine Irish brogue but I am tired and if you caught me in a lie, you might shoot me.”

“You don’t want to be a martyr?”

“Actually, I cannot seek martyrdom now; my superior wants me to complete my work here. I think we can talk better in the admiral’s study. It is hot here, no?”

“Hands against the wall,” Nate said. He frisked the man and found a Vatican passport in his sock.

Nate read the name. “Bishop Hans Koch.”

“Koch is an alias but I am a bishop. May we now retire the study?’

“Lead the way, your fakery.”

He did.

When they they got to the den, Nate told the man to sit behind the desk. With his left hand, he phoned Maggie who soon joined the two men.

“Who’s he?” Maggie asked Nate of Koch/O’Shea.

“I don’t know, babe, but he has a Vatican passport. In town, he goes by Father Pat O’Shea.”

“You must be in charge of building the new church,” Maggie told him.

“Alas, me good o=woman,” O’Shea/Koch said in a passable brogue. “that is a wee bit of a lie. Young Father Blake is. He does all the work; the locals think I do. Auden only knows I am doing other services for people in Rome.”

“What people?” Nate asked.

“My department does not officially exists. We mainly gather intelligence for the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith; the missions department. I am telling what I’m telling you because the day your son was arrested, I feared my work would be compromised. I notified the Holy See and they tied your problem with the diocese of Salina I was to contact you and Gomez and get all of you out of here before the pasture goes up for sale.”

“The Pope wants to buy it?”

“This Pope? I doubt it. But my current assignment goes all the way back to Pope St John Paul II.

“I joined the Swiss Guard two years before John Paul’s election. I rose quickly in the ranks. The attempt on the Holy Father’s life in May, 1981 allowed me to liaison with the Vatican’s internal intel branch and a year alter, I joined it. Then I got my call to the priesthood. It was undeniable. I studied in Rome was the Holy Father personally ordained me. The rector of my seminary strongly recommended me as for a chaplain to a certain convent in Milan. It wasn’t meant to be.

“After my first Mass, The Holy Father and several cardinals met with me and assigned me to oversee intel in unfriendly lands.

“Cuba fell under my mandate. I began my work during the administration of George H. W. Bush. The unofficial alliance between the Vatican and Washington Reagan and John Paul had made was still in effect. Both Washington and we were interested in undermine Castro so the Propagation Congregation was allowed to use U.S. Marine Chaplains at Guantanamo Bay–”

“Gitmo,”Nate added.

The priest frowned. “Gitmo refers to that damnable prison camp for Islamic terror fighters. Mr. Law. Guantanamo is more than that. It is a foothold of liberty on a captive island. It has provided solid intelligence on the regime since 1959.”

“I don’t see how,” Maggie said.

“Intercepted communication mainly, the type of thing fools like that bastard Snowden shed tears about.”

“You sound like a hawk,” Maggie said.

“A hawk for the Gospel, yes,” the priest said. “After all, my life’s work was handed me by an official saint. Anyway, the Pentagon was looking the other ways while Catholic chaplains assisted clandestine missionaries to Cuba, mostly by channeling duns from Rome. I helped set it up, Operation Damascus Road,”

“That probably violated Separation of Church and State,” Maggie said.

“Perhaps but let me put it this way, rape your Constitution. Damascus worked. It was effective. People heard the Good News. Then Dada went to Guantanamo. He, like Schipper, as a mole. He heard about Damascus. But he couldn’t act on it. So he got Schipper transferred down there. Schipper was raised Catholic and passed himself off at one, A foolish chaplain confided in him.

“The result? Secret priests were arrested. Mules with cash were detained, several on the base,”

“Let me guess,” Nate said, “Dale and Schipper lined their pockets with it.”

“I know that. Washington knows that but by the time I had pieced my theory together Clinton was in office and the alliance fell apart.”

“But Dale and Schipper were traitors,” Maggie said.

“To whom?” The priest said. “Damascus did not benefit your government directly and, as your said, it was constitutionally dubious. I was hopeful when W. win but he was soon in evolved the War on Terror.

“A colleague in our D.C. Embassy caught the admirals’ retirement and traced them here. We could do nothing until the church project came up. I got myself here and eventually learned if we got the land, we could flip it and recoup our lost funds.”

“Why were you in the attic?”

“Because for months I have broken in here looking for solid proof of the theory I’ve laid out to you. I know it’s true but I cannot prove it. It rankles.”

“In broad daylight?” Nate asked.

“No one wants to see me so they don’t/ And I’ve bribed the cops by telling them I wand to find the Schipper girls.”

“But you don’t,” Nate said.

“I think they’re dead.”

“Explain the Shy Horse.”

“The Sky Horse has got a small civil war going in the Vatican.”

“How so? Maggie asked.

“My superior has verified pictures I took of it with the Vatican Observatory in the states and off-the-record with NASA. But the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith argues animals do not appear by themselves in true apparitions, which is true. The Sky Horse, they conclude, is pagan and/or demonic.”

“But it’s just part of everyday life here,” Nate said. “Even you accept it.”

“I accept what my senses tell me.”

“But it isn’t normal.” Nate said. “And it must have something to do with the Schippers.”

Everyone kept silent. This was going nowhere. Then Sinatra began to sing on Nate’s phone.

To be continued.

May
0

Tech SOS

Tech SOS

If you read this, please email; my brother, Leland Rundle at rocrnr@ruraltel.net. I can’t. I am locked out of Yahoo and now Facebook/ But I can reached here by commenting on this post.

Thank you.

May
0

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-One

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-One

The Sky Horse Chapter Twenty-One

Entering the Pretty Palace

Nate knew early that Big Foot was as dirty as Orrin had been. But Orrin was just that, corrupt. Sure, the town priest had turned out to be a serial sex killer but he, Nate, had enough training to handle that. And the Lamb and her friends and foes had fitted in with his New York experience and education as a law enforcement office had prepared him for that part of Orrin.

Big Foot was a town where people told you the color of a horse flying across the night sky as if they were giving you the direction to the VFW post, It was also a place where you could hear talk like this.

Del Pratt: “Abby, your dad’s dead.”

Abby Davis: “Yeah. What was it? Alcohol poisoning?”

Del: “He was shot in the heart.”

Abby: “Then it was lead poisoning.”

“Who are you, lady?” Nate broke in. “Your dad gets whacked and you recite bad movie lines?”

“My dad was a drunk most of the time and a fool when he wasn’t. I’m not sorry he’s dead. I just don’t know who hid it. I’d thank him if I did.”

“Maybe you or Ab did,” Nate shot back.

“You need yo read me my rights, Law.”

“No, I don’t. I’m not a cop here or anywhere else. What I am is an educated observer and what I see is a cold-hearted daughter. Did you whack Kent?”

“No.”

“Know who did? Ab maybe?”

“This is my job, Law,” Pratt said.

“You gonna ask her?”

“Not now,” Del said. “I’ll give her a day or two.”

“She doesn’t need a day or two,” Nate said. “Show her the list.”

Del glared but showed her the picture.

“Look, honey,” Abby said to Ab. “Did you find it at Dad’s?” She asked Nate.

“Pratt did. Talk to him. I have to go file my nails.”

Nate went to his Caddy and filed his nails, Hg never joked about his appearance.

Del came out ten minutes late. That was too sew.

“What did you get?” Nate asked.

“Not much. She was too upset.”

“Yes, I knew that. He wasn’t. Did you ask him anything?”

“Who? Ab? He’s to busy comforting Abby.”

“Did it ever occur to you that finding her dad’s liker might comfort her very much?”

“Look, Law, I can do my job.”

“How many murders have you had as sheriff.?”

“Two,” Del said.

“i count two confirmed and two probable, Starlet and Sparrow. If you shoot free throw the way you handle people being whacked, I’d bench you.” He got back out of the Cadillac.

“Where toy going?’

“To find out a=if hey eat es cargo.”

“You’re back,” Ab said when he opened the door. “Pratt he’d be back tomorrow. My wife’s upset.”

“Yes, I know,” Nate seed. “/I wonted a quick word with you.”

“You working this?’

“By default. Got an office or a den?”

“That room. Let me tell Abby I won’t be long.”

“Sure.”

Nate found the den. It had a love seat by the desk and he sat on it. He took out his cell and found an email from Del with a picture of the grocery list attached to it and had the photo on the phone’s screen when Ab came in. Nate showed him the list.

“what the hell?” Ab asked.

“I take it you don’t eat a lot of lobster and he didn’t shop for you in Amarillo?’

“No, we can’t afford it,”

“Well;, if you couldn’t. He couldn’t and isn’t eat it by what Dickerson found in his refrigerator. I understand he had a cardiologist in Amarillo. Was his heart bad?”

“No, he had too see Dr. Markup once a year but he started going to Amarillo every month..”

“A woman?”

“i doubt that.” Ab gave a mirthless laugh. “Kent loved Abby’s mom, my dad (in different way, of course) and Abby. I was disappointment to both him and Dad. Hell, that ain’t important now.”

“only if you shoot him.”

“Not funny. My point was he never wanted a woman after Claire, Abby’s mom, died. I did know he bought stuff in Amarillo, a lot of stuff, and I wanted to ask him what and how but Abby did”t want to know.”

“Was she in denial about his drinking?”

“Completely.”

“That’s all I needed. Thanks.” Nate started to leave.

“Wait, Law,” Ab said.

“What?”

“You investigating the Schipper girl’s deaths.”

“Del thinks Starlet and Sparrow are alive.”

“Is that why he mows the lawn in of he pink palace and hires Guadalupe Mendoza to dust it every month?”

“He does what?”

“Ask him.” Ab smirked.

“The sky horse, they say, was blood red last night,” Nate said as thee smirk vanished and Ab’s face turned white.

Nate went back to tackle the strangest sheriff he had ever met yet again.

He got in the car. He looked at Pratt a long time.

“Tell me, Pratt,” he finally said, the Schipper house,, did you search it?”

“When?”

“At any time after Scarlet was whacked. Did you search it after the girls went missing?”

“My cousin Flo searched it after Scarlet died. She was the only woman who would. Everyone said I shouldn’t be rummaging around hare underwear and things.”

“Everyone?’

“Pretty much.”

“A girl gets killed and raped and you don’t search her home?”

“No, I made a mistake.”

“No, you followed orders. The Schippers weren’t locals. The Schippers talked funny. The Viewership owned land Triplet wanted. And if you investigated properly,, you might uncover something he and the town won’t like so you don’t. Then I show up. You say you’ll help Joel if I hole you. How are you helping Joel? You can’t.”

“OK. I can’t; I played you,” Pratt said. “i know I’ve handled the Schipper case all wrong. I didn’t even get DNA from Scarlet’s crime scene. I didn’t think about it till she was buried.”

“No DNA? Then how do you kn whose body it was. Dental records?”

“She lost five teeth in the attack so I didn’t think I could get any and I had her ID. Granted, the face was cut bad and Starlet was only seventy-five percent sure it was her but I did check the surrounding area for other missing girls, Weren’t any, Law,”

“First murder case you worked?”

“First and only till now. But I’ve taken a few classes and developed a working relationship with the Rangers.”

Nate thought and said seemingly to himself “First homicide. Knew the victim, cared for her. Under pressure not to to push too hard. OK. OK.” Then he sat still again before pounding the steering hard once. :I still don;t like having no DNA proof it was her. You are obviously not a cop by education; you’re political and provably all sheriffs here have had no criminology training. I get that. I get that. I just don’t like having no DNA. You think you could get the body exhumed and get the DNA?”

‘Now? In the middle of an active case you want me to officially reopen a cold one and go before Hayden Perry’s son for a courthouse in the Schipper case, the Schipper case?”

“Can you at least get me a crime scene case while I get Maggie?”

Pratt nodded and left to the car. Nate drove to the cafe.

When they got to the Schipper house, Maggie asked how they would get into it. In reply,Nate reached in his inside suit pocket, took out a small kit and opened it up.

“That looks like tools to pick locks,”

“Very good, Margaret, very good,” Nate smirked. “One thing every Law has carried probably since the English invaded Ireland. I used my in Wichita, got the address of a big pot deal and got promoted.”

“But that was illegal. Didn’t it come out at trial?”

“I forgot it in my written report. You know how bad my memory is. But, babe, Pratt told me to check this place out.”

“That’s not you initially told me. You browbeat Pratt.”

“Guilty as charged, counselor, but we’re investigating a cold case. Pratt can’t get me any legal cover for that. Do you have a better way to get in here?:

“I smell cigar smoke. Try the back dewy. I got a hunch.:

“OK.”

They went around the house and found the kitchen door.

“It’s unlocked. How did you know that?” Nate asked. “And how did you smell cigar smoke?”

“Let’s just say I felt it.”

“That doesn’t deserve a reply. Let’s go in.”

When they did, they both smelled cigar smoke.”

“Imported,” Maggie said. “I’d say Dominican.”

“You’re an aficionado?”

“I had a boyfriends in college, Nate. He came from money and loved cigars. I picked up a lot till the Thanksgiving and he dumped me the next Monday. You’re a wjiskey snob by sort of decent.”

“My character may or may not be that great. What’s bothers me is we may be in the house with a person or persons unknown and you’re unarmed. I got that gun I confiscated yesterday. “ I hope I cane protect you. We could retreat but we may never have another chance, understand?”

“Yes, Nate. Now, should I get the kit Pratt gave you?”

He nodded. When she got back, they both put on latex gloves from the kit. Nate tried the light switch. The kitchen lights came on.

“Who pays the bill?” Maggie asked.

“Pratt is my guess. He’s too weal to buck his betters and investigate the Schipper case but not detached enough to, let the girls’ home go to pot.”

“And you can tell grls lived here. Everything is pink.”

That was true. The cabinet,. toasters and most everything else was pink. Nate went over to the fancy pink refrigerator and opened it. It looked in it for a long time,

Maggie finally asked “Es cargo?”

“More like Es car gone. It’s empty. I waz just rethinking my theory about Pratt paying for the power. I can see the grass being mowed and the house’s exteriors being kept up. It benefits the others who own homes here by keeping the lights on makes no sense.”

“And a giant red horse flew across the house last night and nobody here seems an iota fazed by that.”

“Point taken. Let’s go look at the rest of the house. Get the kit/”

To be continued.