Have you figured out where this is leading yet?
“The report came in from the lab,” announced Audrey. “Unless someone else was wearing Joe Morton’s shoes he was at the crime scene.”
“Let’s bring him in,” suggested Frank. “Oh, and call the D.A.,” he added. “I think we have enough to make a case.
When Joe Morton and his attorney entered the interrogation room, they immediately placed him under arrest, read him his rights and then began telling Joe and his attorney Jake Malloy what they had found.
“You have no proof that he was there. We can make a case that he found her there afterward, panicked and ran away,” retorted Jake.
“No!” interrupted Joe. “I killed her.” His attorney tried to quiet him, but Joe had had enough.
“Look, man,” he began. “I killed the only woman I will ever love. What do I have to live for?”
“We’re listening,” said Audrey. In spite of his attorney’s attempts to get Joe to be quiet, he went on to explain what happened.
“I lost my temper,” he began. “I truly didn’t mean to kill her; I let my own selfishness carry me away. She loved someone else and I couldn’t stand the thought of her being with someone else. I didn’t handle it well. Instead of telling her of my love, I called her a whore right there on the street. She slapped me and went around the corner. I was so angry I wasn’t even thinking. I followed her and when I grabbed her by the arm she pulled away. I wanted to beg her not to leave me. I wanted to tell her I could be better, but she said she had found someone who she could love and she was tired of me and my self-centered attitude. When she turned to walk away I grabbed her again. She slapped me again and I hit her. God help me I hit her,” Joe cried out as he put his head on the table.
“Can we get manslaughter?” asked Jake.
Jack shrugged. Audrey watched silently as Joe sat crying into his hands. Jack got up and walked over to the window.
“That’s up to the D.A.” he answered. “I’d say he probably would entertain a plea; I’m sure it would include life in prison.”
Joe was silent, although his attorney kept trying to negotiate. This was not a decision for the officers to make, but he hoped that a good word from them would help. After much discussion Jack announced that he would tell the D.A. that the man’s sorrow was genuine and he never meant to hurt Sarah, but that was as far as Jack could go with a clear conscience.
They took the suspect through the entire booking procedure and soon it was time to go home.
As they drove along, Jack suddenly asked Audrey to marry him. She was more than a little taken by surprise. The words just came bursting out of his mouth.
Jack went on to explain that they made a great team. He now knew she was a wonderful partner. He also had figured out that they were soul mates.
“Marry me!” He spoke again with a firmer sound. “Let’s not lose this. You’re too good for me and I can be good for you, too.”
It was a month later when the two said ‘I do,’ and the chief was Jack’s best man.
“Somehow, I knew that lady was just what you needed,” he bragged. Jack could only smile.
“So, where are you going on your honeymoon?” asked the chief.
“I’m going to take Audrey to the little town I grew up in,” answered Jack. “I can’t thank you enough. You’re a good man, Chief.”
“Call me Ed,” said the Chief.
“Sounds kinda unprofessional, doesn’t it?” asked Jack
“For Pete’s sake, Jack, said the Chief. “I was the best man at your wedding. Doesn’t that make us friends?” Jack shrugged.
“Yes, I guess it does,” he affirmed. “I thought Audrey would like to see where I lived my childhood. I’m not sure it will be the same as when I left it but I would like to stop by, lay some flowers on Mom and Dad’s grave and show her the Commons.
“The what?” asked the chief.
“That’s what my folks called it,” Jack went on. “I was raised in a little town in Western Maryland, about seventy miles away from D.C. The commons was a park where we spent many a summer day.”
“I wonder why they called it the commons?” Ed sighed.
“Don’t know,” answered Jack, “but, we spent many a happy hours there, though we called it the ball park. I was never good enough to make the little league teams, but a bunch of us got together and played ball just about every afternoon during the summer. We played high fence over,” he lamented.
“What’s high fence over?” asked Ed.
“We didn’t have enough players for two nine player teams so we ran the bases backwards. Third base became first base and since the fence down the left field line was a very short distance. The Independent league players didn’t want to make a homerun to easy to hit, so they put up a fourteen foot fence that ran almost to center field, where the fence was much further away from home plate. The fence gave us a place to narrow the field so we could play with four or five people on a team,” Jack explained.
“The town was founded in 1767,” Jack went on. “It was founded by a man name Funck––he named it Jerusalem, I think. The town became incorporated as Funkstown in 1840.”
“It sounds like an interesting place to grow up in,” said Ed. Jack smiled.
“There’s a lot of history there,” said Jack. “During the civil war there was a battle fought on the near town as General Lee’s troops retreated after the big battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We used to drive down to the Antietam Battle fields quite a lot. We would visit Gettysburg a lot, too,” Jack reminisced.
Soon Jack and Audrey were on the road to his home town.
“So what’s this home town of yours like?” asked Audrey. As he drove, Jack explained that he wasn’t sure it would be the same.
“When I was a kid there were two grocery stores in town but the last time I went there they were closed and antique shops were everywhere,” he said. “They built a memorial on the old route 40. It was moved a bit so they could have wider road access, I guess. Any way, it used to sit along the right side of the road as you headed into town. Now it’s still there but on the left side. Who knows what other changes they may have made. The town might have grown into something big, but when they put the railroad through, they went through Hagerstown and the inns and mills in Funkstown were shut down. You know, my Dad took us to where there used to be an amusement park but it had been long since shut down.”
“Sounds fascinating,” said Audrey.
When they got there, Jack realized that the changes were still taking place all around Funkstown but the residents had somehow maintained the historic value of the town.
They found a Motor Inn in Hagerstown to stay since they found none in Funkstown, itself.
Audrey was curious about this quaint little town. She asked questions and listened as Jack tried as best he could to give answers.
“We learned in school that Funkstown or Jerusalem started out as a plot of eighty-eight acres of land that was sold to a German immigrant named Henry Funck in 1754. The town was laid out by Henry and his brother, Jacob, in 1767, I think,” Jack began. “The town is surrounded on three sides by the Antietam Creek. That’s why there were so many mills.”
“What kind of mills?” asked Audrey.
“Various kinds,” said Jack. “There was a powder mill that supplied Washington’s army during the Revolutionary war. The largest of them all was a flour mill that Funck himself built in 1762. That was near where the fire hall is now. I was told they never rebuilt after it was destroyed by a fire. The powder mill blew up in 1810.”
“That’s a lot of history,” sighed Audrey. “It’s such a beautiful little town. I hope they never lose the wonderful atmosphere.”
“My dad told me about an electric trolley in which he and his father rode. It ran from Hagerstown, through Funkstown, Boonsboro, and ended up in Frederick, about twenty-nine miles away. Some time in the middle of the century it went out of business. I don’t know but I imagine that’s what happened to the amusement park.” Jack smiled as he reached for Audrey.
“Maybe tomorrow, I’ll take you to Boonsboro. You know the old route 40 was once the only road that led to Boonsboro, Middletown and Frederick.”
“I’d love to see it,” Audrey said emphatically. Audrey had been raised in the city. The rural area was a wonderful treat. As a kid her dad would take the family on trips in the summer. They would usually find some mountain area in the upper part of New York State, but rarely did they ever get further south than New Jersey. This and the fact that she was with the man she loved was enough to keep her more than happy.
“Jack,” she asked as they sat eating at the restaurant in the motor inn, “when did you say the memorial was built?”
Jack took a bite of food and after wiping his mouth, he took a breath, trying to remember.
“I think some guy named Weisner started building it. I think he finished it in 1921. They said that was the main square but by the time I came along the square was considered to be a block north.”
“We used to visit the Antietam Battlefield which isn’t far out of town regularly,” Jack Lamented. “Of course, the trip of all trips was when we went on a long drive into Virginia. Dad would take us to Skyline Drive every fall. You have never seen anything so beautiful as the Virginia Mountains when the fall airs starts to turn the leaves so many beautiful colors.”
“I’d love to see it,” said Audrey. “Maybe we could come back down this way in the fall and make that part of our trip.”
“At this moment, I have something else in mind,” Jack said with a husky sound to his voice.
“Are you ready to go up to our room?” Audrey asked, although she already knew the answer.
The next morning they drove to Boonsboro and over the mountain past an Inn where Jack had eaten many times as a child. They eventually ended at Frederick where they simply road around before heading back.
On the way back to Hagerstown, they stopped at the Inn on top of the mountain and had dinner.
As they ate the two made conversation. Audrey was curious as to what else was in the town besides antique shops and grocery stores.
“We had one barber shop,” Jack answered. “And a lady moved into town and opened a home based business called The Doll Shop. She would take old antique dolls, repair and dress them up and sell them. Before long people were bringing their old dolls for her to fix. From what I could tell her business was flourishing. I think she’s still in business.”
“I’d really like to see that,” said Audrey. Jack offered to drop by before they went back to the motor inn. This was never to come to be.
Murder & Romance and Salvation
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