Episode 88 – Edwina goes to Sykes

Edwina called Sykes first, after finding his card where she had tossed it, in the top drawer of Josephs desk. And tried to arrange a meeting outside the precinct.

It was to no avail, Sykes was busy writing reports, and he was in a very bad moor simply because he hated writing reports.

In the end she agreed to meet him at the precinct, and was horrified at seeing some of the people being escorted in, some requiring three burly policeman.  One prisoner glared at her, another tried to spit on her and one of his handlers put him down on the floor with a misplaced elbow.  Thuggery, she thought.

Sykes had watcher her expression change as the suspect was restrained, and then came over.

“Come this way.  Busy day, must be something in the water.”

He escorted her to an interview room and asked her to sit.  “Would you like a glass of water?”

She shook her head.  If something was in their water, she wanted none of it.

“Coffee?”

“No thank you.”

“Mind if I get a cup?”

“Not at all.”

The door closed and she was alone.  It was quite warm.  There was a camera in the corner looking down on her.  The table was bare metal with a bar to attach handcuffs, yes, she had watched some of those police shows on TV.

She never thought she’d see the inside of one of those rooms.

Sykes came back, a polystyrene cup in one had, and a notebook n the other.

He sat down, took a sip of the coffee and shuddered, then opened his notebook at a blank page.  He looked up at Edwina.  “Now, what can I do for you?”

“It’s about Joseph?”

“What about Joseph.”

“I think I might know why he was attacked and killed in the street.”

Sykes stopped writing on the page and looked up.  “Why do you think he was killed?”

“He liked young girls.”

“A lot of men do.”

“I mean ‘young’ girls.”

“Oh, underage women?”

She nodded.

“How do you know this?”

“I had a private detective follow him for a few months about six months ago.  After what happened to Cathy.”

“Do you think he had something to do with that?”

“I don’t know.  I’d certainly hope not, but it was just something Angela said that set me to thinking that I should tell you about it, in case it has some bearing on his murder.”

Sykes went back to writing in his notepad.  Without looking up, he said, “It has everything to do with it.  Jealous husband, crazed father, and a possible motive for Al if he lasso thought that Joseph had anything to do with the death of his daughter.”

He stopped writing, closed his eyes, and tried to remember what he had read about the Cathy murder case.  He had the files brought out of storage so he could familiarize himself with the Jones brothers.

All it did was give him a headache.

“As I recall,” he said, finally remembering, and looking at her, “you said he was with you that night.”

“He asked me, no, forced me, to say that.  You have no idea what he was like.”

“So neither of you have alibis for this murder?”

“I do.  I was with Brightwater that night.  We were having a brief affair.  I have no idea where my husband was that night.  You should ask Angela.  She has a good idea of where he was.”

Sykes shook his head and groaned inwardly.  This case was getting more and more off track and complicated, but it seemed it did have its origins in that original murder.

“You lied to the police, Mrs Jones.  That’s a crime.”

“I know.  And I’m willing to accept the consequences if it will clear up Cathy’s murder case.”

“Fine.”  He passed her a legal pad and a pen.  Please write down the substance of what you just told me and sign it.  After that, you’re free to go, but don’t leave the city.  I may have further questions to ask you.”

 

© Charles Heath 2016

The story behind the story

To be honest I didn’t think I’d get this far.

Harry Walthenson was first thought of in the late 1990’s when I was starting to dabble in serious writing.

I was telling one of the receptionists at the place where I worked I could write, and she asked me for an example of my work.

I came up with the idea of a serial, writing several paragraphs and leaving it with a sort of cliff hanger.

Each were about 500 to 1000 words long.

After abolishing it anonymously on the office email system, a new episode each morning.  It was quite amusing that after a few weeks there was a betting pool about who it was writing it.

It came to an abrupt end 52 episodes later when it was inadvertently sent to the MD and he  ordered it stopped.

To this day no one knows it was me, but it received quite a few ‘accolades’.

The manuscript with a dozen more episodes found it’s way to the bottom of a drawer until about a year or so ago when I decided to resurrect it, with it’s own blog.

And this version gave me more scope and freedom to write longer episodes, and make some changes to the plot.  With the original version I had sort of written myself into a corner.

It is the way of things when you write without an end in mind.

Of course, this was no different this time either, with no idea how it was going to end till I’d written episode 86.

I will be bringing it to it’s conclusion soon, and then there will be a rewrite, and I’m thinking of writing it from different perspectives this time, not just from Harry’s.

But, it ain’t over yet, and we shall see what happens!

 

 

 

Episode 87 – Angela comes out with a revelation

“How should I know?”

“I think the answer to that is rather obvious.  He was there, he called you, you came, you were there, we both saw what we saw, and it stands to reason you created a diversion, while I held what was supposed to be a murder weapon, worrying about the consequences of being caught with it, and in the time I took to hide the weapon, you and he made off.”

“I never said it was the murder weapon.”

“It was inferred, particularly when you were in such a hurry to offload it.”

“You’re imagination is running wild.  It must be the pain medication.”

Harry smiled.  “Of course it would be.  If I was taking it.”

“Where did you hide the gun, if that was what you did?”

It was an innocuous question, but there was no doubt in Harry’s mind she, too, was on a fishing expedition.  She needed that gun back.  The question is, how hard was she going to try before it became obvious.

“Good question.  It was dark, and I was unfamiliar territory.  I can’t remember.”

“But it is somewhere in the Outtel office?”

“No.  I was too disorientated, and the police were coming, I could hear the sirens in the background.  I went outside and threw it in the dumpster out the back.  I figured by the time anyone realized where it was the dumpster was gone.”

“I don’t believe you.  You didn’t have time.”

“So, you were still in the building monitoring my movements?”

“Hardly.  I wasn’t going to hand around and get caught.”

“I did.  Sykes and his mate got there before I could leave.”

“Inside or outside?”

Time, Harry thought, to take a punt she wasn’t there.

“Outside.  Coming up the alley towards the front of the building heading for my car.  Sykes got there first.”

So, she wasn’t there.

“Did anyone, like Al, also leave the building the same time you did?”

“I didn’t see.”

“But you do admit he might not be dead, and got up and left on his own?”

“It’s possible.”

There was clearly something else bothering her, whether it was about Harry, or about Al Harry was not sure, but she was holding something back.

“What is it?” he asked after waiting a minute or two.

She took a deep breath.

“I think Al has a twin brother.”

 

© Charles Heath 2016

Episode 86 – Angela visits Harry

If Harry’s father hadn’t been a large enough handful to contend with, it must have been his afternoon for problematical people.

Angela was next.

She sensibly knocked on the door and let herself in.  Harry had considered getting up but the knock on the door told him it was someone he knew.  If it was not, they would be crashing through the door at full tilt.

She put her head in the door, leaning against it.

After Harry’s father had left, he actually escorted him to the door to make sure he left, Harry had sat back down and put his feet on the desk.

“How’s the case coming along?”

“Sadly behind on the paperwork.”  He held up the thin file that Corinne had put together.  “Pages missing, details omitted, work to be done.”

“So soon?”

“The villains don’t take time off to be sick, and I’ve been missing so long, I’m not sure where I’m at.  To what do I owe the honour of his visit?”

“I thought you could give me an update.”

“You know I’m not in a position to yet, so what’s the real reason you’re here.”

A frown, as if she had been found out.  “I wanted to see if you were alright.  It seemed a bit silly to ask you over the phone so I called in.  I was on this side of town.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Were you on this side of town.  It’s hardly your stomping ground, is it?”

She gave him a peculiar look, this one bordering on annoyance.

“Did you go bonkers when you were in that coma?”

“No, it just heightened my curiosity factor.  You don’t have to tell me, I don’t really want to know, but it amuses me that you are so touchy on the subject.”

A knowing look.  “Always the investigator?”

“Something like that.”  And a point to remember, she could handle random questions being tossed at her unannounced.  “Come in and sit.”

She did.  “Are you going to interrogate me?”

“That would require instruments of torture.  No I’m just going to ask a few simple questions.”

She relaxed in the chair, leaning back, arms folded.  “Fire away.”

“Can dead bodies get up and walk away?”

“Not that I’m aware of.”

“Yet, Al and I were in that room, you were in that room, we both saw a body, and then minutes later, after you left, I went back to the room and it was gone.  No body, no blood, nothing.”

“There must have been someone else in the building.”

“Possibly.  But they had to drag the body past me to get it outside.  There was no one dragging a body, as eerie as that might sound.”  Which it did.

“And you didn’t see anyone when you were leaving?”

“No.”

“Which means the dead body got up and walked out of it’s own accord, or you are lying to me.”

Hooded eyes, and a flash of anger.  If she could blink and make herself disappear, Harry believed right then she would.

Crossed arms, uncrossed arms, crossed arms, the signs of nervousness brought on by a guilty conscience.

Now for the whammy.

“Is Al still alive?”

 

© Charles Heath 2016

Episode 85 – Walthenson the Elder

There were a lot of secrets Harry didn’t know about his father.  They were kept secret intentionally because of that age old excuse, ‘I was protecting you from …’ and fill in whatever you think will work at the time.

That he knew the Jones brothers, not heard of, or was acquainted with, came literally as no surprise to Harry.  That he knew they were also Harry’s clients came as a huge shock.

So much for client confidentiality.

His father had also revealed that he had told Jennifer Jones that if she needed a good investigator, Harry was the man for the job.  Harry’s mind immediately crossed to the wrong side of the tracks, because Jennifer was definitely his father’s type.

Perhaps now his father was regretting the wisdom of that action.

Harry didn’t tell him he had cases on the go for Al, Joseph, Jennifer, and Angela.

”How do you know the Jones brothers,” Harry asked.

“I’ve been dealing with Outtel for a number of years.  Aside from the brothers, it was well managed, and reliable.  Until a month or so ago.   Firstly the brothers, then the manager, a chap named Brightwater.”

“From what I learned asking around, it was a cowboy operation, starting out as a loan sharking business, Joseph managed the money, Al collected it, and he was very good at his job, and, at the same time, made a lot of enemies.  Ten years later they began Outtel, and instead of lending money to fools, they started lending it to bigger fools.  When you can’t get a load anywhere else, was something of a motto.  How far off the mark am I?”

“Not very.”  And a look of satisfaction on his father’s face.

A little respect, or too little too late?

“I’m not going to find your name mixed up somewhere in all of this am I?”

“I should think not.”  Almost peremptory, accompanied by a horrified look, as if Harry could think such a thing.

The problem was, Harry was not sure what the man was capable of.  Like many father’s whose business comes first, and family second, Harry had seen little of him, except for the handing out of punishment, or a wad of money when Harry was sent back to boarding school.

It was, his mother said once, a product of his father’s upbringing, and the lack of love and consideration that had existed within his family.

“Good.  Now, I have a question for you.  Does this deal you say you are brokering have anything to do with a certain vacant block of land down by the docks?”

Harry noticed his father turn a shade paler.  It was clear he was very aware of the address, and it’s significance.

“I cannot divulge details of any ‘deals’, Harry.  But, theoretically speaking, if it was, what is your interest in it?”

“The people who kidnapped me, tortured me, and left me for dead in a dump asked me the same question.  I have no interest in it.  It was something I overheard that I should not have, but it seemed like something bad was going to happen and I had to check, just to make sure.  Beyond that, to me it’s just a vacant block of land.  But now I know you have an interest in it …”

“I said theoretically speaking.  Do not infer anything in that.”

“You have a theoretical interest in it, that might, theoretically, make you an accessory to attempted murder.”

“Since I have no interest in it, I have nothing to worry about.”

He stood.

The meeting, interview, fishing expedition was over.

My mother always got the last word, he always got the parting shot across the bows.  “Try to keep your head down, and out of trouble.”

With that he was gone.

No doubt about it.  His father was mixed up in both the Jones business, and the vacant block of land.  All Harry had to do was find out what it was before the proverbial shit hit the fan.

If it hadn’t already.

 

© Charles Heath 2016

Episode 84, Harry’s father

Kids are always scared of their parents, no matter how nice they seem or act.  Harry was told once by his aunt it was a parent’s job to be mean and scary.

Harry would be the first to attest that his father took the job very seriously.

Another angry rap on the door and he took a deep breath and opened it.

“Where have you been?”  Not so much as a how are you, or how glad he was to see his son.

“Here, as always, unless I’m out on a case.  Except of course, if I have to spends some time in the hospital recovering.  I’m fine by the way, thanks for asking.”

Harry’s father gave him a long measured look.   “You don’t look like anything is wrong with you.”

“Appearances can be deceptive Dad, you taught me that.  Comr in.”

Harry stepped to one side, let him pass, then closed the door behind him.  His father stopped several steps in and looked at the room.

“What happened?”

“Not only did I get turned inside out, so did my office.”

“What were they looking for?”

Yep, that’s his Dad.  More interested in what was missing and not how Harry was feeling.

“I have no idea what they were after.  Do you?”

It was tossed in as a joke.  To him it was anything but.  “What?”

“I said …”

“I know what you said.  Why do you think I might know?”

“It was a joke, Dad.”

“It’s not something I would joke about.”

Harry sighed inwardly.  This was going to go from bad to worse.

“Follow me.  My office is slightly cleaner, is there is a chair you can sit on.  Then you can tell me why you came.”

He looked at the sofa, Harry have no idea why, but it seemed to capture the attention of everyone who came to the office, another glance around, then at the door, which worried him, then followed him in.

They sat.

His father didn’t take off his coat or hat.  It was not going to be a long visit.

His look of contempt, disapproval, or more likely, disdain, didn’t lessen when he walked into the office.  A cursory glance before his eyes returned to Harry.  As always, it made him uncomfortable.

“What have you got yourself mixed up in?”

“Nothing I can’t handle.”

“You almost got killed.”

“I’m surprised you had time in your schedule to find out what happened to me.”

“Some policeman by the name of Sykes called on your mother.  Said you’d been in an accident.”

Good for Sykes.  He’d have to thank him for not making the details of what happened available to anyone, including his parents.  Accident would do.

“In a manner of speaking.”

“Were you careless or at fault?”

Always considering how much trouble Harry could cause the family.  He’d once referred to him as a ‘black sheep’.  Harry doubted he was joking then.

“Nothing to worry about.  It won’t reflect on the family.”

An interesting change in expression.  Maybe his father thought it would.

“Where’s your sister?”

Harry looked around the room.  “Unless she’s hiding in the cupboard, she’s not here.”

“Don’t be flippant with me.”

“Then, she’s not here.”

“Is she working with you?”

“No.  She came to see me because she also heard from Sykes about my accident, and then visited here.  She seemed surprised I could have a life outside the house.”

“This isn’t having a life.  What do you investigate?  Missing cats and dogs.”

So he’d been keeping up with my work, and this after telling his son he didn’t care one jot what he did with his life.

“And a few other cases involving people.  I’m working on three currently, and, no, they were not the cause of the accident.”

“Are you sure.  Because my information is the Jones brothers are not the sort of people you want to be dealing with.  They are very dangerous.”

OK, try to keep the shock out of his tone.

“And you know this because?”

“Before one was murdered and the other disappeared, I was an intermediary between my client and them for a rather large loan.”

 

© Charles Heath 2016

Episode 83+ – Harry Returns to the Office

There was only one person who had cleaned up the Jones files and left it sitting on a clean part of the desk.

Corinne.

As for the others, she had left them piled roughly on the other side, some looking as though they’d been thrown there.  An indication she had left in a hurry?

Stop analysing, Harry told himself.

Of  course, being the neat and tidy person she was, she had rearraged the file in a different order than he had left it.  That, he guessed, had more to do with the fact it had probably been scattered amongst the other paper still on the floor, and she had assembled in much the same methodical way in which her mind worked.

She was far more organised, and more importantly intuitive, than he had ever been, one only had to look at the way she filed her schoolwork.

He could also see that she had attempted to put other files back together but clearly, for her, it was a lost cause.  Looking at the mess now, he agreed with her and simply shrugged.

It was a moot point whether he’d clean up before his father arrived.  Hr was the one person he knew who would look very disdainfully at the office, and more likely than not to blame him for the mess rather than the true culprits.

Somehow he always managed to turn an arguement around and dump the blame on his son.

Perhaps he should not have tried to strike out on his own, and, in his father’s eyes, fail.

And that in itself was an interesting question.  When the going got tough, did Harry get going, or stall?

Would he be any further with the Jones case if he had not been attacked?  It seemed from what Corinne said after her meeting with Sykes, that he was no further advanced.

Had Sykes interviewed Angela yet?

It was a mistake on her part to come and pick him up from the hospital, and worse to agree to be taken to her place.  Harry was not sure if she felt sorry for him, or it was a case of keeping an enemy close.

Corinne was right, and he should start talking to Sykes.  For one thing, Sykes needed to know that Angela was in the building the same time as he was, and she had seen the body.  Sykes had been skecptical at the time, but Al had not shown up, and was still listed officially as a missing person.

But, as a little voice in the back of the head kept telling him, Angela was not going to tell the truth unless it suited whatever game she was playing.

Harry went through the reconstructed file, and as he was reading it, he saw different possibilities and conclusions, including one noted at the bottom of the last page, left by Corinne.

“Al is still alive?????”

It was a reasonable assumption.

An impatient rapping on the outside door interrupted that thought.

Harry  put the file away, stacking several others on top of it, and went out.

No mistaking the figure outlines through the window.

His father.

© Charles Heath 2016

Episode 83 – Harry returns to the office

 

There was only one person who had cleaned up the Jones files and left it sitting on a clean part of the desk.

Corinne.

As for the others, she had left them piled roughly on the other side, some looking as though they’d been thrown there.  An indication she had left in a hurry?

Stop analysing, Harry told himself.

Of  course, being the neat and tidy person she was, she had rearraged the file in a different order than he had left it.  That, he guessed, had more to do with the fact it had probably been scattered amongst the other paper still on the floor, and she had assembled in much the same methodical way in which her mind worked.

She was far more organised, and more importantly intuitive, than he had ever been, one only had to look at the way she filed her schoolwork.

He could also see that she had attempted to put other files back together but clearly, for her, it was a lost cause.  Looking at the mess now, he agreed with her and simply shrugged.

It was a moot point whether he’d clean up before his father arrived.  Hr was the one person he knew who would look very disdainfully at the office, and more likely than not to blame him for the mess rather than the true culprits.

Somehow he always managed to turn an arguement around and dump the blame on his son.

Perhaps he should not have tried to strike out on his own, and, in his father’s eyes, fail.

And that in itself was an interesting question.  When the going got tough, did Harry get going, or stall?

Would he be any further with the Jones case if he had not been attacked?  It seemed from what Corinne said after her meeting with Sykes, that he was no further advanced.

Had Sykes interviewed Angela yet?

It was a mistake on her part to come and pick him up from the hospital, and worse to agree to be taken to her place.  Harry was not sure if she felt sorry for him, or it was a case of keeping an enemy close.

Corinne was right, and he should start talking to Sykes.  For one thing, Sykes needed to know that Angela was in the building the same time as he was, and she had seen the body.  Sykes had been skecptical at the time, but Al had not shown up, and was still listed officially as a missing person.

But, as a little voice in the back of the head kept telling him, Angela was not going to tell the truth unless it suited whatever game she was playing.

Harry went through the reconstructed file, and as he was reading it, he saw different possibilities and conclusions, including one noted at the bottom of the last page, left by Corinne.

“Al is still alive?????”

It was a reasonable assumption.

An impatient rapping on the outside door interrupted that thought.

Harry  put the file away, stacking several others on top of it, and went out.

No mistaking the figure outlines through the window.

His father.

 

© Charles Heath 2016

Episode 82 – Angela

Angela Morrison was slowly being caught up in her own web of lies.

Al had once told her that liars need to have good memories, and hers was terrible at best.  She had got to the point where she couldn’t remembered what she said to whom.

Al had told her to tell the truth wherever possible, so that it was less difficult to get tripped up later, but the truth was not as palatable as a version of it.  She had written the stroy down and memorised it, but with everthing that had happened, particulay to Harry Walthenson, and having lost that piece of paper, she was faced with having to go over all of it again, first with Harry’s sister, Corinne, and she was sure Harry would have more questions.

That Corinne was no fool, and she was already suspecting Angela of not telling the whole truth.  Angela could see it in her eyes.

And that thing about being Harry’s girlfriend almost made her laugh.

He was nothing like her type.

But, that didn’t explain why she went to get him from the hospital, and worse, bringing him home.  That was a mistake, a huge mistake.  Luckily she had managed to evade any questions that might cause a problem.

It was a question of how long it took for Walthenson to discover the truth.

She could hardly believe it herself.

Angela had always known that Cathy Jones was not Al’s daughter.  Cathy had known it herself, because she had learned at a very early age that Brightweater was her father, simply because he had told her.

Of course, her mother, Jennifer Jones, had known all along, and kept it to herself, in fact had kept her affair with Brightwater very secret for a long time.

Angela’s mother had only learned of its existence by chance, running into her sister in law near Brightwater’s apartment not realising then, the significance of the encounter.

Armed with this knowledge she intended to confront Brightwater, going around to his apartment, only to discover the front door bashed in, and Brightwater lying in a pool of his own blood, dying.

She called an ambulance, knowing it was too late.  He had lost too much blood.

She then sat with him and held his hande as she watched the life drain out of him.  In the few minutes it took for the ambulance to arrive he only said one sentence.  It was not necessarily directed at her, and sounded like a deathbed confession.

He told her who had killed Cathy and why.

 

© Charles Heath 2016

We have a title

The Cases of PI Walthenson’s first story has a title,

The Case of the Brother’s Revenge.

Given the style in which this story is being written, a new page or pages on the run, at the beginning there was no clear title or end in sight,

That’s changed.

The story is now heading for a conclusion, and the unmasking of the murderer.

Episode 82 will be published in the next few days.