or How I Gained a Cousin
A novel by Karen Lockhart
Copyright© 2016 Karen Lockhart
As we unloaded the Explorer, the driver's door of the strange car opened, and an athletic looking man with a military haircut approached us.
We continued up the stairs, and unlocked the door; Ginny went in, and I waited at the doorway.
“Ellen Hanson? I'm Sargent Moore with the State Police, may I ask you and your cousin a few questions about Vincent Morales?”
“Of course, won't you come inside Sargent?”
“Ginny, make a pot of coffee please. I think the officer would like one, I know I would.”
Somewhat nervously the Sargent said, “Thanks, I'm freezing, oh and it's trooper, not officer ma'am.”
“Of course, won't you please have a seat? What can we do to help you?” I asked.
“We're looking for any information that might give us a clue where Morales might go to hide from the mob or the police.”
At this point, Ginny joined us with a full pot of coffee and three mugs. ”Sargent how do you like your coffee?”
“Black, just like my soul, please,” he chuckled.
“Trooper, we've only met him four or five times, once when he broke my door down in the middle of the night and I had to hold a gun on him,” I said.
Moore almost spat a mouthful of coffee across the room, “Held him at gunpoint? Vinny Morales? You held Vinny at gunpoint and lived?”
Ginny spoke up at this point, “You should have seen her, Dirty Harriet had a .45 on him and cocked the hammer as he walked towards her, thinking she was bluffing. She was about to shoot him when the Swampscott cops came in and diffused the situation.”
“He and his daughter Tina had a fight, she knew me from riding lessons and came here; she had nowhere else to go. I had met her father at the barn, but only to nod to, nothing more,” I continued.
“So Swampscott PD responded and arrested Morales?” The trooper asked.
“No”, Ginny responded. ”They sent him on his way and stayed until Ellen was sure her door still locked.”
I laughed. “I guess that locksmith did a good job after the break-in.”
By now we had that man's head spinning. “Break-in? Did this have anything to do with Morales? Was he after you two back then?”
“No, just his daughter. Tina stayed with us for a couple of days until she found an apartment. She was lucky and found one across the street from here, over the store,” Ginny continued. “The next time we saw Morales was at the barn when he apologized for his behavior, and tried to pick me up, ugh.”
The sargent looked up from his notes and asked,”Did you ever see anyone else with Morales?”
I spoke up. “I did back in April, when he came into my construction office demanding if Ginny or I had seen the driver of a gravel truck left on my jobsite. The truck belonged to MacDonald in Newburyport.”
“That's the outfit we busted for hauling drugs. Did that driver have anything to do with drugs?”
“I don't know, neither Ginny nor I saw anyone walking around, she was inside typing, and I was doing survey work until time to go home.”
“Okay, thanks for the information and especially the coffee.“
“Sargent, any word on Morales and the boat? Tina is beside herself not knowing anything,” Ginny asked. “No good guesses even?”
“I'm not supposed to comment on an active case, but, we think Vinny fell over the side, he and his friend were probably washed away by a huge wave. There were waves of over twenty-five feet high reported to the Coast Guard that night. Well, goodnight, ladies, Merry Christmas.”
We watched him walk to his unmarked cruiser and drive off.
“What do you think of that Ellen? They mustn't have found any bodies yet if the cops are talking to us about Morales.”
“I don't know Ginny, he seemed to be more interested in his associates, at least until you started that Dirty Harry stuff.”
Ginny smirked at that. “Well aren't you a 'pistol packing mama'?”
“I shoot paper, not people, you jerk! Now, I'm hungry, when do we eat?”
“I don't know, let me call Captain's Pizza and see what they say.” Two minutes later she said “They say twenty minutes Ellen.”
I just laughed and continued to my room to change into sweats and a sweat shirt.
“Hey Ginny look, I'm coordinated, a blue sweatshirt and gray sweatpants. What shoes do you recommend I wear?”
“Where you ask? Try wearing them where the sun rarely shines.” With that she stomped off to her room to change, I couldn't wait to see what she came out wearing.
The pizza beat her to the door and I paid. I opened the box to see what kind we were having.
“A supreme pizza.” I heard over my shoulder. “Very healthy, lots of veggies, covered with cheese and a tomato sauce high in minerals and vitamins.”
“I'm sold, I'll get the plates and silverware.”
I know, eating pizza with a knife and fork is frowned on, but you come here on laundry day and scrub out tomato and grease spots.
Ginny got two cold beers from the 'fridge and removed the caps, placing one in front of me.
“I hope you can drink two by yourself Ginny, I'm having diet coke.” I said as I filled a glass with icecubes.
“Just watch me.”
For a few minutes all you heard was chewing and an occasional burp from me.
After half the pizza had disappeared, Ginny broke the silence. “I wonder if Tina is feeling better? I'll call her after we eat.”
“Good idea, make sure she's coming for dinner on Christmas, offer her the couch on Christmas Eve. It's hers if she doesn't want to be alone.”
Little did we know the gears of law enforcement were turning slowly, but getting information. A harbour pilot aboard a container ship saw a small boat with outboard motors heading out to sea near Green Island. He only saw one man on-board steering, but the cabin lights were on, someone else could be below.
A maintenance man at the treatment plant doing a security walk, heard a small outboard go by. He felt it turned west towards Nahant, rather than straight out toward Graves Lighthouse.
This information, along with where the boat was found, gave the Coast Guard a good idea the boat's motors ran out of fuel near Marblehead Neck. The strong winds blew the boat south-west
towards Quincy where it was found.
It's amazing, a floating boat without power makes it by all those rocks and ledges, but a ferry boat can't make it down a marked channel without running aground on one of the best marked ledges in Boston harbour.
Sunday announced itself with bright sunshine and balmy winds.
We woke at about 8.30, fought over the shower, and ended up in the kitchen at around nine.
A lumberjack's breakfast was decided on, eggs, toast, bacon, pancakes and sausage. I used the Kurig for a Starbucks coffee; if that wouldn't wake me up, nothing would. Ginny was sipping on a New England Nantucket blend. Isn't having so many choices great?
I retrieved the Sunday paper and went straight to the Sports section. I was mildly interested in the Celtics last game and the roster changes. Next, I went to the Bruins; the coach had jumbled around the lines, putting the number one center with the third line wings, and broken up the safety parings, putting a shooter on each pair. It would be interesting to see how this worked out in the next game.
Now I turned the page to the football section,(not soccer), I devoured the articles, very unladylike, but who cares. I read the pluses and minuses of the Patriots and compared them to the hated New York Jets. Three writers picked the Patriots to win 31 to 17. I hoped they were correct.
Ginny was reading the Arts section and made notes on a couple of plays coming to Boston.
“Hey Ellen, Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is opening on January 12, do you think we can get tickets before our trip to Thailand?”
“Only one way to find out, call them. Only you do it, your luck is amazing.”
With that I went into the kitchen to get a large glass of ginger ale and watch the pre-game shows on television.
I could hear Ginny in the background wheeling and dealing for tickets.
“I got them, I got them,” she shouted. “I can't believe the seats!”
To be continued.
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