Thoughts Can Be Murder: A Sammi Evans Mystery --First Chapter By Jeanne L. Drouillard
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Rated "G" by the Author.
Sammi Evan's unique way of solving crimes has many mystified. She doesn't talk about it, but she does share with her readers.
Samantha Evans Patterson stood in silent shock as she listened to the midday news on TV. This must be wrong, she thought; Oh my God. This has to be a mistake. She immediately went to the telephone and placed a call to her husband, Detective Dave Patterson.
“Scranton Police Station.”
“Is Dave Patterson around? This is his wife.”
“No,” answered the assistant, “all of the officers are presently in a meeting. Can I have him call you?”
“Yes, please,” she said half in a daze as she put down the receiver.
Again she listened as the TV reporters went over every detail that was presently known. A body had washed up near the Philadelphia shipping docks. The identification wasn’t positive yet, but speculation said that it was Terrence Gonzalez, a former policeman who had worked with her husband. He had been convicted of being a mole in the police department, helping in a fraud and money laundering ring. Terry, as he was called, had been sentenced to four years in prison, but served less than a year as he had given vital information to send known mobster Buzzie Sundrie to jail for murdering a fellow policeman. He had been released less than two months ago.
Remembering Dave saying that Terry had stopped at the police station recently to talk to his former superiors, it was noted that he wanted to go straight. He knew he couldn’t be a policeman any longer, and knew the department didn’t trust him, but he had been ashamed of what he had done. As a private citizen he hoped to be able to help out in some way.
Sammi, with her unique talent of being able to hear other people’s thoughts had spent time around Terry and assured Dave that when he said he was repentant and wanted to do something positive with his life, his thoughts did match his words. He hadn’t been given any assignment that she was aware of, so she was surprised that he had been found killed near the docks.
The phone rang, disturbing her thoughts.
“Hi, Sammi, what’s up?”
Dave’s voice could always calm her down.
“I heard the news about Terry. You already know, right?”
“That’s what our meeting was about. We were actually going to start giving him small assignments, after you found out he was sincere. He wasn’t on anything official yet, but had heard about something and I think he was trying to find out information. We figured that’s what got him killed.”
“God, I was so shocked. He just got out of jail.”
“And he was pretty lost as to what to do. After you confirmed that he really wanted to do good, we were gonna slowly start working with him. Now, he could have been a mole for us and with you around, we could keep a check on him. But somebody got to him fast.”
“Did he drown?”
“No, he was shot, execution style, through the back of the head.”
“How horrible. This one got to me. I know he was a mole, but … Are they absolutely sure it’s him? I mean, is it a positive I.D.?”
“Afraid so. Hang in there, I’ll be home in about an hour. Relax, okay? We’ll talk about it later. I’ve got to go.”
* * *
But she couldn’t relax. The past year or so had been a whirlwind of arrests and convictions and people were still showing up involved in one way or another. Dave and Sammi worked as a team. He was the detective, but she was the one who could hear people’s thoughts and therefore able to pull valuable information from suspects. Strange, but true nevertheless. She could do it since she was a little girl. It was natural to her. She’d simply stand next to someone, concentrate and their thoughts talked to her out loud, like in a real conversation. Her Grandpa Logan could do it, too, but he was the only other one she knew. And he had guided her along helping to keep her gift under control. After he died, she kept everything to herself. It was hard to find anyone she could trust with her secret.
Although she’d known Dave since college, he had dated and married her friend Kelly. The three of them maintained a close friendship and Sammi considered them both best friends. The marriage seemed happy enough at first, but less than five years later, they were both considering splitting up, although they’d hoped to remain friends. But Kelly was at the wrong place at the wrong time and was accidentally killed by a bullet meant for someone else. It took Dave a long time to get over it. After all, he was a policeman and he protected and saved people. But he hadn’t been able to save his own wife.
The telephone rang. She had to listen to the sales pitch as her answering machine picked up the call. Why don’t you give us a call if you could use new windows by Downing. We have the sturdiest and yet most flexible windows around. Our sale will be on until the end of this month. Call and save yourself money on new windows.
She resumed her memories. Throughout his period of mourning, Dave depended on her. They’d always been best friends, but shared a casual platonic-like relationship. For quite a while he dated a lot, mostly in an effort to forget and ease his pain by becoming involved with one after another. Then about two years ago, everything slowly began to change between them. They both took their time, but as their work relationship became more intense, so did their personal life. And six months ago, they’d gotten married. Sammi was happy that she’d married her best friend. And presently only six people in the entire world knew about her special talent, with Dave being the first one she’d told.
When his car pulled into the driveway, she was at the door to meet him. He kissed her and gave her a caring hug upon entering. He always did that.
“Are you feeling better?” he asked.
“I can’t quite get over this. How about you?”
“It’s strange in a way. We were talking about how angry and disappointed we were with him when we first found out. But he was a talented guy. And we could have used him to get us information. We knew we’d have to watch him, but we’ve got you, Sammi. You could always tell us if he was playing straight with us.”
“I was hoping to get a chance to do that.”
“He had called Sergeant Brady last week about something and said he was going to check it out. I didn’t get that briefing yet.”
“I wonder what he was working on. Did he leave any clues? He did get a light sentence for testifying against Buzzie. Could be someone was angry about that.”
“Somehow I don’t think so. Our buddy Jim thought it might even be something left over from the kidnappings, but I didn’t think he was involved in that.”
“Jim thinks so? I never heard anything that suggested those dock crimes and the kidnappings were related, did you?”
“Jim says he’s beginning to think everything is related and he may have a point. Anyway, right now, this is another murder to be looked into.”
“Is the referee group going to investigate?”
She saw him look over and smile. Jim, Tom and himself referred to themselves as the referees, but would never tell their wives what that meant.
“I don’t know yet. Sergeant Brady hasn’t said anything. But I get the feeling he thinks we might be too close to this one. We’ll see.”
She noticed he was getting restless as she watched him shift his position on the couch for a second time. He plopped his feet onto the ottoman and rested his head on the back of the couch. Walking quietly into the kitchen she came back with two glasses of wine and handed one to Dave as she sat down next to him.
They sat there for a while both lost in their own thoughts sipping their glass of wine. What a complicated world. And what would their part be in the future? They had helped solve many complicated crimes in the past. They worked so well together. Sammi always needed a cover to be able to listen to the thoughts of others. And then she would pass her information on to Dave, who would take appropriate action. With him around, no one questioned how the information was obtained. They assumed it was reliable and moved with it.
Dave grabbed her hand. “What a waste with Terry. He was young and very ambitious, but he was smart. And he was so clever. He had fooled us for a long time until you came along. I imagine he could fool others, too. And we had plans for him.”
“How old was he?”
“About thirty-two, I think. And I heard that he’d been engaged. After he got out of prison he had talked about a girl he had known for a while and was thinking of settling down and making some sense out of his life.”
She didn’t say a word, but felt sad. Everyone deserved a second chance. Then the telephone rang.
Dave answered. “Serge, what’s up?”
“We need you back here right away. Is Sammi available?”
“She’s here with me right now. What’s the matter?”
“The mayor’s coming down with part of his staff. I’m not sure what it’s all about, but I’m suspicious. I want to pick up as much as I can. He’s having a fit about another murder at the dock and an ex-policeman at that. This publicity is bad for him, but he also wants to know what we’re doing about this. I think we need you and Sammi in on this.”
“Okay, we’re on our way.”
* * *
On the way down to the station, Dave shared his thoughts.
“I don’t think we’re gonna be involved in this, but the sarge wants to know the real reason for this visit. I can’t help but think this is a strange request.”
“How will you get me in there? The mayor might only want officials around.”
“I’m going to introduce you as an assistant to the department if I have to. I know the sarge will back me up. He’s the one who asked for you to be there.”
She nodded. He was glad that she’d be around and pick up what she could.
They beat the mayor and his team into Sergeant Brady’s office by about five minutes. But it did give them time to make sure of the reason that Sammi had to be there.
* * *
As soon as the mayor and his three bodyguards, along with two other staff members entered Sergeant Brady’s office, the dynamics of the room changed considerably. Jim Mucci, and Tom Harrington, Dave’s two usual partners were there, too.
The mayor began immediately in a loud and somewhat agitated voice. “This is beginning to look especially bad for the city,” he said as he paced the room. “What the hell’s going on here?”
As he looked around and noticed Sammi sitting in the corner, he immediately asked, “What’s she doing here?”
“I use her as my assistant. She’ll take notes and make sure I have all the points of this meeting correct,” said the sarge.
The mayor seemed to accept that fact without contradiction. Immediately he moved onto to his main topic.
“Something’s got to be done. We barely get one thing under control, sort of at least, and then another one crops up.”
Sergeant Brady became vocal, too. He wasn’t going to be brow beaten for no reason. “We always have crime in our city. And it’s been way down lately, remember that.”
“I know that,” said the mayor waving his hands around, “but this one makes everything look bad. It’s connected with those other ones involving the governor.”
“We don’t know that for sure yet. That’s a guess. I’ll have to wait until we can get some proof one way or another before I decide what’s going on here.”
“Well, let’s concentrate on this one,” said the mayor. “I’m getting all kind of flack up the line.”
“I’m surprised the governor would make any noise about this right now. Remember, we took care of a big problem for him last year, and we’re still working overtime getting his computers protected.”
“It isn’t the governor; I can tell you that. But other state officials are beginning to call me every other day to find out what we’re doing on other things and then this comes up. What the hell am I supposed to tell them?”
“Tell them the truth. We’re working on it. And we are. Good grief, Ron, we found the body less than twenty-four hours ago. He was shot in the back of the head execution style. That could mean anything. Petty crooks do that. We have no clues that it was tied to anything political.”
“But it sure looks like it is.”
“I can’t help what it looks like cause I have to deal in facts.”
“Alright. But as soon as you can, get some information out there to calm down the public. If it’s connected to these other crimes, simmer it down so people don’t panic. And if it isn’t related, let’s get the word out fast. Okay?”
The mayor’s felt his face turn red in frustration and his physical form showed total exasperation and aggravation. He didn’t need bad publicity right now.
And then, as boorishly as he entered, he left without saying goodbye or exhibiting any other semblance of civilized behavior.
* * *
The atmosphere in the room didn’t settle down immediately. Even Sergeant Brady was caught up in the moment as the scene slowly began to change from one of chaos and disorder to a more tranquil and reasonable tone. Time seemed suspended during the changeover. But the sarge aggravated the mood as he offered a comment.
“Well, that was one hell fire when he entered and another when he left. What the hell was that all about? I can’t believe he blames us at this time. We must be the scapegoat for something else. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow him to make us look bad. We’ve all done a terrific job lately and the last year especially we’ve had phenomenal success. He said so himself at a dinner for us about two months ago. What the hell’s wrong with him?”
Most of the officers sat there looking disgusted. Some looked like they had been kicked in the gut. Why were they being made the fall guys? And the crime had been committed less than twenty-four hours ago. Something else was happening with this mayor, and it wasn’t anything positive. Whatever his motives, he was losing a big group of supporters and affiliates.
“He sure isn’t the mayor we used to know. He’s like a totally different guy and putting out blame ahead of time to make himself look above the fray,” said Tom, not too pleased with this latest behavior. “Why is he throwing us the crap? My God, give us time to do our jobs.”
The sarge saw Dave shake his head. “I don’t even understand what this little charade was all about anyway. He didn’t say that much. It was like … find out who did this? Doesn’t he think that’s what our job is? We investigate and solve murders. That’s what we do. Was he trying to throw his weight around for some other reason?”
“He’s obviously trying to protect himself, but why make us the bad guys?” asked Jim. “Hell, we’ve made him look damn good lately.”
Sergeant Brady didn’t have any answer for that comment.
Tom simply shook his head. He was extremely annoyed. “You know, a while back we would to stick together and watch each other’s backs when things happened. Now we have to watch for public opinion, cover for each other and fight the mayor at the same time. This is total crap.”
As everyone got up to leave, the sarge called back Dave and Sammi.
“Hopefully by tomorrow you can get me some insight into this charade. This is total bull and I need to know more of what’s underneath it all.”
As they walked out of the room, they could still hear the sarge grumbling and mumbling about this latest episode in the relationship with a mayor who had changed drastically in the last year or so. Gone was the working together attitude that had accomplished so much in the past. Gone was the philosophy that had helped the public by attacking a problem from the inside first and relaying events as they progressed. And gone was the trust that had almost completely evaporated.
* * *
On the ride home Dave had to ask, “Did you catch any interesting thoughts?”
“I did, at least from the mayor’s point of view. You know, we gave that party for Keith Jensen at the governor’s mansion a while back. Now remember, he was a guy who was wrongly convicted of a crime, spent over seven years in prison and when he’s proven innocent we give him a big party at the governor’s mansion and there’s lots of good publicity for the governor. He came out looking like a great guy about this thing.”
“Well, thanks to the secrecy of you wives,” he said, laughing. The wives had taken great pleasure in planning the party with a surprise location which created much needed positive publicity for an innocent guy who’d soon be looking for a job.
“You can’t forget this is an election year for the governor, and although he’s an honest guy and true to his beliefs, he did play that up to get the best and most positive angle possible.”
“Okay, but what does that have to do with Mayor Stillman?”
“A lot. His publicity people are looking for the same type of connection for him. That kid in the blue sweater taking notes, who never said anything is the one who’ll get this meeting in the papers tomorrow. It’ll be something about the fact that ‘Mayor puts pressure on police department to solve crimes,’ or something like that.”
“Gees, that should go over big with the sarge.”
“I think he almost expects it and he can expect a lot more this year. The mayor is already playing it up for his reelection next year.”
“What’s your opinion of the mayor?”
“He seems straight enough, but he’s so concerned about his reelection that I hope he doesn’t go too far and neglect other important things. He’s got a few around him that I’m questioning right now.”
Dave perked up immediately. “Anyone that was here?”
“Namely, that one bodyguard.”
“The shorter one who sat across from Jim. Something about him isn’t right?”
“Did you pick up any thoughts?”
“No, actually, his mind was rather blank, but he had dark colors and a dire mood around him. Whenever I see that it usually means that he has his hands in too many things.”
Dave kept quiet as she continued.
“Now someone on his staff is not loyal to him. But I don’t know these people by name.”
“Which one was that?”
“Well, it was a crowded room, but the taller guy who always seemed to be right behind the mayor, kind of like a shadow.”
“Oh, that’s Peter Armors,” he said almost laughing. “He’s always right behind the mayor. People call him “the tracker.”
“Well, I’m not sure how much he knows and how much the mayor depends on him, but he’s trouble. He’s not loyal to the mayor. There’s someone else out there he gives information to. He’s playing both sides of something. I didn’t get any names.”
“Some of this we’ll have to keep to ourselves right now. But I’ll have to find out about that bodyguard.”
“What do you want to tell the sarge?”
“Mainly about the reelection aspect and what the papers are going to say. I should get him prepared first thing in the morning.”
“Shouldn’t you call him tonight? What if the morning papers carry this story?”
“Good point, I’ll call him as soon as soon as we get home.”
* * *
As he pulled into the driveway, Dave shut off the ignition, but didn’t make any move to get out of the car. He saw her look over with a questioning gaze.
“I was thinking about when I used to drive you home. These were some of my favorite moments when we’d sit here and talk.”
Sammi smiled remembering, and said, “I liked it, too. It seemed we’d always try to prolong the evening.”
“We did. But I’m still glad we took it slow. I’m glad we got to know each other.”
With that Dave opened his car door and they walked toward the house. Suddenly he kissed her and gave her a hug. Then he said teasingly, “I’m remembering old times. This was when I really hated to leave, and now, I don’t have to.”
She laughed. “That’s right, now you don’t have to leave.”
* * *
Dave placed a call to the sarge immediately telling him what to expect tomorrow. He was on the phone more than five minutes.
He told Sammi what they’d talked about. “The sarge isn’t too happy that the mayor wants to get publicity at his expense. He’s not going to let that continue. He said that if this story appears in the paper like we said, then he’ll have an immediate meeting with him. There are other ways for him to get good publicity and he won’t let him do it at the expense of the department, especially since it wasn’t called for.”
“I’m glad. It doesn’t seem like a fair thing to do.”
“No, and he said that if the mayor continues, then he’ll generate his own media releases which the mayor probably won’t like.”
“A few of those episodes should do it. But I hope it doesn’t get to that. The mayor’s office and the police department should be working together.”
“And with this new information you’ve picked up about the mayor’s group, I’d like to stay in good rapport so that sometime in the future we can clue him in on his own office.”
She agreed. Getting drowsy and close to falling asleep, she headed for the bedroom. Dave still had some notes to transcribe and his mind was in full force.
Who killed Terry Gonzalez? What had he gotten himself involved in? He’d recently been let out of prison, a few months at best, so he likely had made some contacts while still in jail. His personality helped him to weave in and out of any group he needed. People liked him and wanted him around. Dave had been particularly hurt when he found out that Terry was the mole. He’d treated him like a younger brother, and although he ended up in jail, he felt that he might be on his way back to the better side of the law. With Sammi around he wanted to work with him again. He could never hate him, although he found it hard to trust him unless his wife was near. He was more affected by his death than he thought he would be, and he wanted to trap his killer. Suddenly he had a strong urge to learn everything he could about his young life and its tragic ending.
* * *
When Dave walked into the station the next day he was met with an outpouring of anger about a newspaper story that wasn’t exactly flattering about the department, yet wasn’t as detrimental as originally believed. Still Sergeant Brady called a meeting with his people, mainly because of all the grumbling that was coming to his attention, and also because he couldn’t let the mayor think that dumping on him would be all that easy in the future.
“I wanted to let you know that I’ve already put in a call to the mayor’s office and I will squelch today any plan of this mayor using us to get bad publicity off his back. If he doesn’t agree, we’ll be sending out our own press releases and I need him to be aware of that. We’ve done a fine job here in the last few years and we need to be congratulated and not used as a scapegoat. And we’ll be holding a news conference later today or tomorrow with our own spin on this story. That’s all for now.”
Everyone broke up, and amidst some of the grumbling still being heard were comments of agreement with the sergeant’s remarks.
“Gees, he sure got miffed about that one, didn’t he?” said Tom.
“I haven’t seen him that hot in a while. But I don’t blame him. My God, after all we’ve done lately, this was bullshit,” replied Jim.
At that moment Dave got called back into the sarge’s office and he closed the door.
“I wanted to thank you for calling me last night. I’m glad I knew about this before I came in and faced these early morning papers. That damn mayor’s got his nerve,” he said.
“It’s all about publicity for him. He wants to get reelected,” offered Dave.
“I know. But we could even work with him on that. But not if he takes this hard line against us. My God, I thought we were supposed to work together. We did in the past. What’s happened to him?” he said.
“He could be getting some bad advice.” He remembered what Sammi had said about someone on his staff not being loyal. This could be part of the way they would be trying to undermine him.
“What do you mean? He’s got his people around him. They’re always with him and he’s never acted like this before. I liked the fact in the past he’d call me ahead of time to discuss any problems that were surfacing. I thought we had a good working relationship. But if he starts acting like this …”
He decided to throw out some hints to the sarge.
“He does have a few new people on staff. Possibly they have different ideas on what he should do.”
“Who’s new? Oh that “tracker” fellow. He’s always around him now. How long’s he been with him?”
“A little over a year, I think, could be a little longer,” he said.
“That’s interesting because you know that appreciation dinner that he had given for all of us after we cracked that money laundering case, well, he almost cancelled it and I heard the “tracker” was behind that. I wonder what his problem is.”
“I sure don’t know, but he does seem different, doesn’t he?”
“He’s a strange guy. We’ll, I’ll see how my talk goes with the mayor later today. I’m sure gonna press him for a change of attitude. And I want to know what the hell to expect in the future.”
After hearing the latest information, Dave thought that as usual Sammi was right on target. The tracker wasn’t loyal to the mayor and part of the plan might be to cause trouble between the mayor and the police department.
* * *
When Dave got back to his desk, Jim and Tom were already there.
“Report says that Terry had been dead at least a couple of days, but his body was dumped in the water only about eighteen hours before he was found,” said Tom.
“Then there’s no clues at all.”
“No, not yet. But those few brief statements came the examiner’s office, and the complete report should tell us more. I’m curious what kind of bullet.”
“Can’t believe that would be much help though,” said Jim shaking his head in confusion, “unless of course it’s an unusual weapon.”
Dave’s phone rang and it was more business to take care of. He was almost happy these days when routine matters came to his attention. He’d had enough of the high priority excitement for a while. Most of his cases in the recent past had been successful, if not totally closed yet. He and Sammi had been involved in child abduction cases in Philadelphia a while back and some of the children were found, but not all. Many state agencies were still working with the information they had found. He knew that not everything would have a completely happy ending, and he was happy with the information that they had provided, but he still held out hope for the ones not yet found.
His phone rang again. It was Sammi.
“Hi. What’s up?”
“Do we have anything planned for Friday? Jill called and she’d like to meet with me about something.”
“No, not from my side. What’s going on?”
“Not sure, but I don’t think she’s talked to Tom about it yet. So sit on this, okay? I’m sure she’ll tell him, but I got the feeling she’s now making a decision to discuss some worries about someone.”
“I understand. Okay, I’d like to relax tonight. You’re gonna be home, right?”
“Yep, I am. After dinner we can have some quiet time. We haven’t had that much lately.”
“I know. That’s what I was thinking. See ya later.”
* * *
Sammi called Jill back to confirm dinner for Friday night. At this point, she couldn’t imagine what was on her mind. Jill was a logical and together person. In fact, the only time she’d even heard of her being the least bit uptight was when her husband got shot in the leg a while back, and that would unnerve anyone. And to want to talk to Sammi before she talked to her husband made her realize that Jill was carrying something quite heavy. Anyway, Friday night would answer her questions.
Leaving the bank on Thursday gave Sammi a feeling of accomplishment. The president had been pleased with her work as of late and called her into the office to tell her. And Ben Collier, an FBI agent that she’d dealt with in the last year, had called her to keep in touch. He worked at the same bank, but in the Philadelphia office.
So she was feeling quite pleased with herself and her life, but when Dave got home from work she felt so much tension from him. The cop’s death had affected him quite a bit.
“What’s so heavy on your mind?”
“I can’t get Terry’s killing off my mind. I know he had his problems, but I feel like I lost a younger brother. I honestly thought he was on his way back and now we’ll never know. That’s so irritating.”
“What do you plan to do about it?”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Dave, I know you. Your mind is twisting and turning around all over the place. And no, I’m not listening to your thoughts, but I know how you work. Have you got a plan in place yet?”
Dave took a deep breath and sat down on the couch next to her. She knew she was right, but let it go. He’d tell her when he had his thoughts sorted out. But then, he offered some ideas which showed where he was going.
“I don’t know yet. This whole thing is pushing me to something, but I don’t know what. It’s like something inside of me won’t let it go. It’s affected everyone in the department, but I’m the one that keeps hashing it out in my mind. I want to take some action, but I don’t know what. And I don’t even know if the sarge will give me the case.”
That’s what she thought. He was working on a plan and sooner or later it would come to the surface. But she couldn’t imagine what he wanted to accomplish.
“Where do you want to go with this? Do you know?”
“I don’t know what I want to do yet, but I’m determined in time to find out what got him killed. We need to know that. But also, I think he was a good guy that went the wrong way for money, you know? He admitted that later and I’d like to learn more about him. Hell, I don’t even know anything about his family, nothing at all. He was such a charmer and eased his way in and out of a lot of groups, but no one knew what he was about. That’s what we’re all finding out. I’d like to learn something about his background.”
“That could take you in a lot of directions. Have you talked to the arge about this?”
“No, not yet. I’m waiting to see what he wants to do first. If I’m not first string on the murder side, maybe he’ll let me look into his background. Could find out some interesting stuff there. It’s simply a feeling I’ve got, but now it seems that his life was so mysterious.”
She was glad that Dave had learned to trust his feelings. He had good instincts that could be relied upon.
“It’s still pretty early yet. I was wondering … when was the last time you saw Terry?”
“He had stopped in to see the sarge last Thursday. He wasn’t there, but we talked for a while. He was so damn likeable, at least I thought so and easy to trust which is why he did so good as a mole. And I’m sure he had the same success on the other side. I sometimes wonder how he got so good at what he did.”
“That might be interesting to find out.”
“It would and I remember the last thing he said to me. I don’t think I could ever forget it. He must have known he was taking a big chance because as he was leaving he said, “If I don’t talk to you again, I want you to know that I did care about you, Dave.”
“That seems like a strange thing to say,” she said.
“I thought so and I answered, "What? Are you planning on going somewhere? And he winked and said, “You never know, Dave, life can be strange.”
Sammi joined Dave’s intuitive thoughts.
“I remembered I laughed and said, "Well, you take care of yourself, Terry. And he said, "And I hope you have a wonderful life. Now that was the last thing he said to me and I thought it was a bit strange at the time, but I figured he was in a nostalgic mood and left it at that. We all go there sometime or other.”
“And now you wonder if he had a premonition.”
“Well, I guess I do.”
“If he was doing something dangerous he always knew the possibility was there.”
“You know he called me after I’d been shot and apologized to me. He said he never meant anything bad like that to happen and didn’t want anyone hurt. And he was especially specific to apologize for his part in it.”
“No kidding. I didn’t know that.”
“Yep, he called me from jail and his voice cracked a little. He was quite emotional about my getting hurt.”
“It seems like he must have cared for you a lot.”
“I think he did. And I think he cared for the other guys, too. And that’s what makes me wonder what his life was all about.”
That ended the conversation. They both relaxed for the rest of the evening, but Terry was never far from their minds. Sammi realized the complicated process that was affecting them both.