Monday, January 22, 2018

Two Sleuths and a Painting

Curiosity may kill the cat, but Ella and Rayanne were determined to find out what was happening at Cre Uisce Aer. Why was it such a secret? Certainly, someone knew something about it. They went to the courthouse and after some research, found that a corporation, McMillan, Shaw, Ebert, Wilson and Jones had bought the estate. However, there was nothing else they could find on MSEW&J in the courthouse - nothing, anywhere. When the ladies did a Google search they learned MSEW&J was an international corporation registered in the Falkland Isles. At that point in their research, the corporation disappeared into thin air.

Instead of being deterred, these women were tenacious. They were on a mission. Tuesday morning they decided it was time to take matters into their own hands. They needed to stake out the estate. Rayanne suggested they wear sunglasses and wide brim hats.

"What in the world is that going to do?" asked Ella.

"Well that way, no one will notice us in the car."

"And where did you get that idea?"

"On TV. All the good detectives do it. They just park their car across the street, wearing sunglasses and a hat, and no one thinks anything of it."

Ella laughed,"They may not notice who is in the car, but I fear your 1994  Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight sedan may stand out a bit. Remember it is only a 2 lane country road that runs through open fields - not some tree lined city street."

Rayanne thought for a minute. "But there is that large billboard across the street. You know the one Walter put up advertising the Starlight Cafe. And, there is a large hedge under the sign."

"OK," said Ella, clearly not sure where this was going.

"We can park my car behind the sign. No one can see it there. Then we can watch what is going on."

"And, just what do you think we are gonna see from there?"

Rayanne just looked perturbed as she shook her head. "Well, what else do you suggest we do?"

Ella agreed that Rayanne's plan might work. They discussed the final details. Rayanne said she would pick Ella up around 7 the next morning.

Bunny had been able to get Mike into the apartment Hugh McKissick had recently vacated. It was a furnished apartment, but McKissick left nothing personal. Mike looked around, then decided there was nothing there. He took Bunny back to her office.

Back at the Sheriff's station, Mike had gathered as many clues to the 'missing patients' as he could using the files they had. He had drawn a chart on the white board in his office, trying to put the pieces together. Mary Lou walked in, "Wow, you are making progress. But I need to know one thing - what are you going to do with the patients who do not exist when you find them?"

Mike picked up his dry eraser as if he was going to throw it at her. "If I needed help from the Peanut Gallery, I would have asked."

Mary walked up to the board and studied the chart with lines connecting various words and names. She stood there, and without turning around and said,"So you are trying to connect all the names with words in the files."

"Smart ass!" Mike said to her. "You know we are looking to see what names, places, etc found in the files 'randomly' match any faces, places, and things we find. Hopefully something will link them all together."

Mike pointed to the board, "For example one of our 'persons of interest', a Mr. Hugh McKissick, drives an Oldsmobile Aurora." He took his pencil and tapped the end of it on the board. "One of the patients is 'Aurora  Kinkade', so we have a possible connection to McKissick." Mike turned around and looked at Mary Lou,"He has hastily vacated his apartment. So I asked Bunny to let me in the apartment so I could see if anything was left."

"What'd you find?"

"Nothing, absolutely nothing."

"I'm sorry Mike, but you know these things take time." Mary Lou said as she walked to her desk to get the phone.

15 minutes or so later Mary Lou stuck her head in Mike's office. "I assume you didn't happen to see something by the painter of light in the apartment."

"What are you talking about? Painter of light."

"You know those prints of cottages, mountains, light houses. His pictures always look as if there is light glowing from the scene."

"No, I am not familiar with this 'painter of light'," Mike said and went back to the file on his desk.

In a few minutes the Sheriff walked in,"Anything new?"

Mike was totally frustrated. "I'm trying to connect the words and names on the board."

Mary Lou laughed, "And, my help was refused."

The Sheriff looked at Mike. Before he could say anything, Mike said, "Lot a help she is. She wants to know if there is a painter of light hanging around."

"Oh, Thomas Kinkade, that's who Mary Lou's talking about."

"How in the world did you know who she was talking about?"

The Sheriff shook his head, "Only because my wife wanted one of his pictures for Christmas a year or two ago. I found an original. However she got got a copy instead. An original was not in my budget as much as I love her." The Sheriff looked at Mike's board, taking time to read the names. "Makes sense to me, see Aurora 'Kincaide'?" 

Mike shook his head, "Boy, we are stretching pretty far these days." 

The Sheriff walked back into his office.

In 20 minutes or so, Mike just said, as if talking to himself, "Well I'll be damned. Mary Lou, I owe you an apology."

"For what?"

"I just Googled 'Thomas Kincaide'. The spelling is different, but sure enough, looking at his work, I can't say that I saw a 'Kinkade' in McKissick's place, but I think there was something like that."

The Sheriff yelled from his office. "I'm sure the Judge is going to be thrilled when I ask for warrant based on a list of people who do not exist, an old Oldsmobile, and the painter of light."

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