Here’s the thing…
Every time I close my eyes, I see something different.
I’d like to think the cinema of my dreams is playing a double feature but it’s a bit like a comedy cartoon night on Fox.
But these dreams are nothing to laugh about.
Once again there’s a new installment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.
The aftermath and goodbye
No one in the room, of those who had been forced to remain, could quite comprehend what just happened.
You could read about it in a newspaper, or hear about it on television during the news hour, and think, well, I wasn’t there but it must have been traumatic for those who were, but traumatic didn’t even begin to describe what I just witnessed.
It took everyone more than a few minutes to process those last few seconds before they could move, let alone think about what they were going to do. With the threat incapacitated, there was no reason to, at least, not straight away.
I was surprised then, that after however long it had been since those events, I heard Charlene’s voice cutting through the fog.
“Are you alright?”
She was shaking me by the shoulder, sitting on the floor next to me, and she looked, and sounded, visibly upset. I was surprised she was still in town much less anywhere near here.
“I wasn’t the target,” I said, and then realized that was hardly relevant to anything; it was just the first response that popped into my head.
I could then suddenly hear everything as if someone had turned up the volume, and the first background sound was Benderby’s daughter crying.
“You were almost in the line of fire for one of the marksmen. I thought he’d misaimed. For a moment there, when I saw you fall…
She still cared, which was something I should appreciate. I took a moment before lifting myself off the floor to sit beside her.
“This was a disaster. Your father should have realized a woman with a gun would be hell-bent on revenge and wasn’t going to be talked down. She probably used the time it took to get me to mentally prepare so she could kill the pair of them. And I’m surprised you didn’t see it coming.”
“It might not have come to this if she hadn’t known Alex and Vince were suspected of killing her son. Did you tell her about Alex and Vince?”
It was a meaningful look, one that conveyed disapproval because she was right, it had to come from me because I was only one of a very few who knew the actual facts of the matter.”
Better then, to admit it. “No. But I told my mother, while I was in hospital before I had time to consider the ramifications. That was some deal Benderby pulled off, to have Vince strung up and a signing a confession to get Alex off the hook.”
“He didn’t exactly get away scot-free. He still has a string of minor charges to face, and there will be jail time, one way or another.”
I glanced over at Mrs. Boggs spread out on the floor where she had collapsed after being shot at least twice.
Almost before she hit the floor, two deputies were beside her, removing the gun, and checking if she was still alive. I imagine the sheriff, by the door, phone to his ear, had called for medical assistance, perhaps out of deference to a woman who was a friend, or because he had to show all care and respect for her so a good defense attorney didn’t find a reason to have the case dismissed for lack of respect. There had been problems handling perpetrators in the past, perpetrators who got off on technicalities.
But all that was moot if she was dead. She seemed to be alive when she hit the floor, and then hadn’t moved in the last few minutes. My first thought was that they had killed her, but I saw her hand move, which meant she was still alive, incredibly good shooting on the part of the marksmen considering the obstacles, and the inclination to stop the perpetrator permanently.
Around us, several other deputies were escorting the remainder of the patrons out of the room, now officially a crime scene designated by the ‘do not cross’ tape lines going up.
The sheriff had made it his job to escort Mrs. Benderby, and her daughter, out of the room, and, no doubt get a statement after being checked out by a paramedic.
I could hear sirens in the distance, so they would be arriving imminently.
A. Minute or so later, I was the last civilian in the room.
I turned to Charlene, “You do realize that both Boggs senior and Ormiston were in that cave, before Alex and Vince cleaned up.”
She smiled. “Actually, as a matter of fact, I do. I took a forensic team back to see if we could find either of Alex’s or Vince’s DNA, and not only did we fund it, but the skeletal remains of what appears to be four individuals.”
“Boggs, Ormiston, and two pirates. One had a sword through the rib cage so I suspect there was a little dissent when the treasure was being divvied up.”
“I’m sure that will be confirmed soon. I wanted to nail Alex’s ass to the wall, now it appears we might have enough evidence to put old man Cossatino away too. He was picked up at the airport trying to leave the country. An all-around good day for team justice.”
“Except for Mrs. Boggs”
“I’m sure she’ll plead temporary insanity, overcome by the grief of losing her son.”
Flippant, perhaps, or just cynical? It was a bit early in her career to be like that, so perhaps that might be a little of her father rubbing off.
“Perhaps she was hoping the police would kill her. After all, she has very little left to live for. I doubt pleading insanity was her first thought when she walked into this room. You might want to study up on the human condition a little before you start labeling people, and especially if you are thinking of continuing on this detective thing.”
That came out wrong, more a rebuke than an observation, and judging by her expression, she took it as the former.
“There will always be a lot of things we could do better. You might consider next time to dissuade your friends from doing stupid things, like Nadia kidnapping Alex and Vince in the first place.”
“If you had done your job…”
Neither of us had seen the sheriff come over, and he was there long enough to be privy to the last comments. “I’m sure at the end of the day, justice will prevail despite the convoluted route it took us to get there. But for argument’s sake, neither Alex nor Vince would press charges against Nadia, so it was not kidnapping, and since the mall belongs to the Benderbys, neither wanted to press for trespass, so, all in all, no harm done.”
He glared at his daughter. “I asked you to get his statement, not debate the legalities of the situation. Get it done and get back to the station.”
With that said, he left.
Charlene stood up, glared at me, then said, “no good deed goes unpunished. Do you want to give it here, or at the station?”
© Charles Heath 2020-2022