Motive, means, and opportunity – Opportunity

I’m working on a novella which may boringly be called “Motive, Means and Opportunity” where I will present a chunk of information from which you if you want to, can become the armchair detective.

Here’s the third part, the Opportunity


Where was I last night between 9pm and 3am?

Not with my wife, Wendy. She had gone out before 6 pm, about the time is got home from work. No, she didn’t really say where she was going, or if she did, given the list of the past, I didn’t believe her.

Where was I?

Home, alone.

Could anyone corroborate that?

Sadly no.  Isn’t that always the way, though?

But, the car I was driving was a company car. It had a GPS and tracking system, part of so-called security measures put in by the company I worked for, but in reality there to check after hours use.

The GPS would show I never left home.  Using the car, that is.

The only other car had been taken by Wendy so the reality was, I hadn’t left home. The other car, the off-road vehicle was in the workshop, still waiting to be repaired. It was the car out son had been killed in, and neither of us had the heart to do anything with it.


Apparently, I had a visitor.

James Burgman had been seen outside my house at 10:30 pm, his car had been found two blocks away in the car park, away from the street, and he was found dead, shot by a gun that used 9mm bullets, at 4:45 am the next morning.

No. I had not been seen leaving the house, but it had been ascertained that it was possible to leave and not be seen, if I tried hard enough.

I hadn’t and had no reason to, but that didn’t seem to matter.

Sitting in the interview room, purportedly to help the police in their enquiries, Detective John Sanderson had detailed quite succinctly how I had a motive, the means, and opportunity.

Little else mattered, and particularly the fact I didn’t do it. It was only a matter of time before the gun was found.

So, there I sat in the station, waiting for a series of test results to come back, mainly gunshot residue on me and on my clothes, not just those I was wearing, but everything I owned.

In the end, there was nothing. They couldn’t prove I left home, or that I shot him. Not then. I was advised not to leave the city, that I was a person of interest.

When I asked either my wife, Wendy, had been subjected to the same interrogation, the atmosphere changed, and Sanderson had rounded on me quite savagely.

“Her innocence is not in question. In fact, you would not be here if it wasn’t for her statement. She honestly believes you shot him out of pure jealousy, and, quite frankly Mr Winters, so do I, and it will only be a matter of time before I find the evidence to convict you.  Now, get out of my sight.”


© Charles Heath 2019

I’ve always wanted to go on a Treasure Hunt – Part 15

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 instalment of an old feature, and we’re back on the treasure hunt.


Five minutes past the appointed time, I sat on the end of the clean bed and waited.  The single chair didn’t look very comfortable.

It didn’t worry me she was late, she had not specifically stated how long she would be, but to be there in an hour.  If she had business with dark glasses, then she might be a while.  Giving me the key to her room suggested she was not bringing him back with her.

There was a light rapping on the door, hinting at a sense of urgency.  Without looking,. I opened the door, and she slid through and I closed it quickly and quietly.

“I thought you might not be coming?”

I went to switch on the light, but heard her say, “No lights.”

My eyes were already adjusted to the light, or lack of light, and I could see her standing by the door to the bathroom.  Everything about her manner suggested she was ill at ease, or perhaps frightened of something or someone.

Or waiting for Vince, and had to string me along until he arrived.


“No one knows I’m here.”

“Not even Vince?”

“No.  Especially him.”

“He was here about twenty minutes ago, went into the office and came out with a briefcase.”

“I suggest you forget you ever saw that.”

Drugs then, or protection money, or…  OK forgotten.  “Duly forgotten as requested.”

“Is this pace one of the Cossatino’s places?”

“If you saw Vince, then it is.  It never used to be.  The Benderby’s used to bring their clients here, back in the day.  Vince had some of the rooms wired, you know, blackmail, that kind of stuff.”

I could imagine.  I’m sure the ‘clients’ never brought their wives here to have a good time.

“Why are you staying here?”

“Can’t stay at home.  Things have changed.  I’m not interested in working with the family business.  It’s why I left in the first place.”

Imagination running wild, I think I began feeling sorry for her.  Beautiful girl, stupid men, caught in a seedy hotel.  My respect for old man Cossatino just took a dive.

“Why come back then?”

“Alex.  He’s a bastard, just like his father.  All those Benderby’s are the same.  You say you’ve got a plan that might help get him off my back?”

She took off her coat and threw it on the bed with the other clothes.  It wasn’t that dark I couldn’t see her outline and had to look away.

“A possible plan.  One that might kill two birds with one stone.  I have to look out for Boggs because he had got himself into a mess that he doesn’t realise the full potential of yet.”

“The treasure map?”

“I wish people would stop calling it that.  It’s just a piece of paper with a drawing on it.  I’m sure the whole myth was concocted by Boggs’ father as another one of his schemes.”

Everyone knew Boggs father was a touch crazy and had come up with a number of schemes, some even calling the ‘get rich quick’ schemes, and one had landed him in jail.  He never quite understood the nature of the schemes he’d bought off other people in the hope of getting rich himself.  The treasure map, that was a new one for him, but one of his previous customers had caught up with him, and he’d not lived long enough to play this one out.

Boggs unfortunately, was doing it for him.

“You don’t think it’s real?”

“What I think is irrelevant.”

She moved closer and sat on the side of the bed, not far from me.

“So what is this plan?”

“I get you a copy of the map, you give it to Alex, see what he says.  You know you can’t trust him, or anything he says.”

She was too close, so I moved, trying to look like I was not moving.  But at the same moment, I had no idea what it was about her that scared me.  It was apparent she hadn’t told Vince about this meeting.

“It’s a chance I have to take, and you are right, I don’t want to cosy up to Rico.  I have had previous dealings with him, and he is not nice.  But, if you are willing to do this for me, what do you want in return?”

The inevitable question and I think I could guess what she thought I might want.  And that thought did cross my mind.


“That is not possible.  All men want something.”

“I’m not all men.  I owe Alex a little payback and this will be a small cog in a big wheel.  If it helps you, good, but I know the Benderby’s and nothing is easy with them.”

“This plan…”

“The less you know the better.”  I stood, and then moved to the door.  “I’m only going to be able to see you in the early hours of the morning.  I’m working an afternoon shift till midnight, and I don’t want to come here in the daylight.”

She stood and came over to join me.

“You are going to have to do something about Rico because Alex will ask him.”

It was something that also occurred to me just before she raised it.  I knew there was going to be a problem, I just hadn’t realised it at the time.  Now, it seemed like another of those insurmountable things.

“I’ll think of something.”

“Then soon.”  She put a piece of paper in my hand.  “My cell number.  Send me a text before you come.”  

Our hands touched briefly and it sent a shiver down my spine.

“I will.”

There was a moment, looking into her eyes where I didn’t want to leave, but fortunately, common sense kicked in, I opened the door and slipped out in the cold night air.  As it shut behind me I shivered.

It had nothing to do with the cold.


© Charles Heath 2019

Earth to …

You know how it is, you’re sitting at the lights waiting for the green, and everything is calm around you.

It’s a warm day, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and because they’re taking so long to change, you’re almost drifting off, somewhere else than in traffic.


That awful sound of two metal cars crashing, short, sharp, incisive, intruding.

Lights changed, driver next to me, in a lane that ends on the other side of the intersection, pushes his foot to the floor, trying to get in front.  Another driver running a red light hits him.

I sit in stunned silence before moments after the scene bursts into life, people getting out of cars to help.

My eyes are on the car than ran the red light.  The door slowly opens, and a person is getting out.  I look closer, it’s a woman, bright red hair, and blood running down her face.

She is standing, stunned, looking around, then sees a man coming towards her.

Is that panic.  She looks in my direction, our eyes meeting for a brief second, then she’s running.

Towards my car.

Seconds later the door opens, she gets in, and the door slams shut.

Two men are now running towards my car.

“Drive,” she yells.

“You’re injured, you should wait for …”

“Drive, now, or I’ll shoot you.”

I see the gun, now pointing at me.

“You’re joking.”

One of the men is pounding on her door, which I noticed she’d locked.


I did, pushing the accelerator pedal to the floor.

The two men were now running towards another car, reaching it before I’d got more than 50 yards.  My car was tired, old, and not very quick in a standing 100.

I didn’t tell her she’d picked the wrong car and driver if she hoped to make a getaway.

Before I made a 100 yards, there was a large black 4×4 hurtling towards us.

“Turn left here,” she commanded, pushing the barrel of the gun into my side for emphasis.

I did, nearly losing the rear end of the car in a slide towards the curb, just touching it before moving forward.

My heart was now in my mouth and pounding.

Death by a bullet or an accident, both were high probabilities.

Who was this woman, now indistinguishable because her face was covered in blood.  She should be bleeding out.  Perhaps she might, and that would save me from an ignominious death.

I could see the 4×4 closing the distance between us quickly.

Perhaps there was another way to die.


Another swerving turn.

“Left,” she yelled almost instantly after the last order.

A few seconds later, “Right”.  Then another “left, then floor it.”

The wrong car, I muttered under my breath.

No sign of the 4×4.  Had we lost it?

At intersection coming up, one I recognized.  The railway station.

“Don’t slow down, straight across.”

“Are you mad?”


Apparently so, and with a death wish.

The front of the car crunched on the driveway, as I hit it at speed, the slammed my foot on the brake.  A train was waiting at the platform.

She was out and gone before the car had stopped, and the doors of the carriage had closed, all just before the 4×4 pulled into the station carpark.


Tap, tap, tap.

I looked over at the passenger side and saw my granddaughter looking in.

“Have you been daydreaming again, Poppy?”


© Charles Heath 2018


In a word: Land

And, yes, the simple description for this word is that area of the earth that isn’t covered by water.

It could also describe that little patch that my house is built on, and is generally covered by the expression, house and land as a package.

After all, a piece of land is not much used to you unless there’s a dwelling on it, or, on rare occasions, under it.  Does that mean then that land in this instance only as what you can see?

OK, now it’s getting confusing.

What if I wanted to live off the land.  A small patch will not do, in this case, is need a large area, perhaps thousands if hectares.

It is said that the Australian aborigines have lived off the land for thousands of years, with a nomadic lifestyle.

No small patch of land for them.

Now, what if I come down out of the sky. Oddly enough this means I have to land, even if I come back to earth over later.  It’s still a landing.

Now it’s getting interesting.

So what if you wanted to refer to where you live?  That would be your homeland or motherland, and it describes a country.

So it’s my patch, my country, any area where there isn’t water.  What about describing a country, say the land of the long white cloud, or the land of the rising sun?

And just to add to the confusion

I can land a fish

Make land, after being all at sea, and,

Best of all, land that much desired job.


I’m beginning to think it’s another one of those ‘four-letter words’

“Sunday in New York”, it’s a bumpy road to love

“Sunday in New York” is ultimately a story about trust, and what happens when a marriage is stretched to its limits.

When Harry Steele attends a lunch with his manager, Barclay, to discuss a promotion that any junior executive would accept in a heartbeat, it is the fact his wife, Alison, who previously professed her reservations about Barclay, also agreed to attend, that casts a small element of doubt in his mind.

From that moment, his life, in the company, in deciding what to do, his marriage, his very life, spirals out of control.

There is no one big factor that can prove Harry’s worst fears, that his marriage is over, just a number of small, interconnecting events, when piled on top of each other, points to a cataclysmic end to everything he had believed in.

Trust is lost firstly in his best friend and mentor, Andy, who only hints of impending disaster, Sasha, a woman whom he saved, and who appears to have motives of her own, and then in his wife, Alison, as he discovered piece by piece damning evidence she is about to leave him for another man.

Can we trust what we see with our eyes or trust what we hear?

Haven’t we all jumped to conclusions at least once in our lives?

Can Alison, a woman whose self-belief and confidence is about to be put to the ultimate test, find a way of proving their relationship is as strong as it has ever been?

As they say in the classics, read on!


Sunday In New York

Motive, means, and opportunity – Means

I’m working on a novella which may boringly be called “Motive, Means and Opportunity” where I will present a chunk of information from which you if you want to, can become the armchair detective.

Here’s the second part, the so-called Means


Everyone knew I had a gun.  It was locked away in a safe that was not in an obvious position in the dressing room at home.

Several years ago our neighbourhood had been subjected to several breaking and several people had been injured, prompting the rest of us to seriously consider getting protection.

I got a Glock 19, 9 mm along with several of my neighbours and then both Wendy and I got lessons so we knew how to use it properly, and avoid shooting either each other or in our feet.

The thing is, there had only been that one round of breaking, and since the gun was put away on the safe about eighteen months ago, it had not seen the light of day since.

Or so I thought.

When asked to check if it was still there, it wasn’t, much to my surprise.

Equally, to my surprise, the bullet that killed James Burgman was a nine millimetre.  Was that a coincidence, I didn’t think so.


© Charles Heath 2019

In a word: Holiday

Some call time off from work whether it is for a day, a few days, and a couple of weeks, or maybe longer,  a holiday.

Or leave, leave of absence, annual leave, or long service leave.

Others may call it a vacation.

It depends on what part of the world you live in.

But the end result is the same, you do not go to work, so you stay home and do all those things that have mounted up, you drive up, and for some reason it is always up, to the cabin, for a little hunting shooting a fishing, or you get on a plane or a ship and try to get as far away from home and work as possible.

That’s called going overseas.  It seems if there is an ocean between w there you go and where you live, no one will be able to disturb you.

Sorry, I bet you didn’t leave that mobile phone or iPad home did you?

But, of course, there are a few other obscure references to the word holiday.

For instance,

It can be a day set aside to commemorate an event or a person, a day when you are not expected to work, e.g. Memorial Day, Christmas Day, Good Friday.   In Britain, they used to be called Bank Holidays.

It can be a specified period that you may be excused from completing a task or doing something such as getting a one-year tax exemption, which might also be called a one year tax holiday.

Yes, now that is an obscure reference, particularly when no tax department would ever grant anyone an exemption of any sort.