Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Cards and Confetti

Anna Belle was still getting over her run in with Reeza. She had never believed in voodoo or such. However, this woman played the part very well. If she didn't have the 3 cards in hand, she would have definitely written it off as a figment of her imagination. But the cards were there - 'The Five of Cups', 'The Justice Card', and 'The Chariot Card'.

Anna Belle tried to remember Reeza's exact words. But she could only remember Reeza saying something about Anna Belle not believing everything she heard. Also, something about 'enlightenment' and that she was strong. She wanted to learn more, but feared that one may think that she was delirious if she described the encounter. She knew she would figure it out - somehow. After all, it wasn't like she was going to forget the meeting.

Anna Belle continued on to Heddie's. When she walked in the door, Ada looked up. "You look like you have seen a ghost. You're as white as a sheet. Do you feel OK?"

Anna Belle smiled,"Oh, I'm fine. I just did not expect it to be as cold this morning as it is. I must be getting old and my blood is thinning."

Ada pulled Anna Belle's dresses off the rack. As she placed them on the counter, she laughed, "Join the club. I knew I was old when my knee started predicting upcoming rain."

Anna Belle paid and was walking out, when she met Millie Quinn at the door. "Good morning Millie, how are you doing this morning."

"I thought well until I learned that Stella's husband had died. actually found dead in his car. I feel for her and the boys."

"I did hear about that. It is never good when someone that young passes too soon."

They bid farewells and Anna Belle walked down the steps to the sidewalk. Just then she realized she had left her purse on the counter. She turned and went back into the shop. As soon as Anna Belle opened the door, she heard part of the conversation between Millie and Ada."

" . . . and she just found him there. They even think he had been dead for a day or 2," Millie was saying.

Ada replied,"It was tragic that no one saw him there."

Millie added,"Am I the only one who finds it curious that 2 men have been found dead in their cars in just a matter of a month or 2."

Millie turned to Anna Belle,"I was just telling Ada that I find it strange that 2 men in town have been found dead in their cars. Now, I'm not trying to stir up anything, but I do not believe in coincidences."

Anna Belle walked up to the counter. Ada had seen her by then and handed Anna Belle her purse that she had left on the counter. "I was going to call you, if you didn't return in a few minutes."

Ann Belle laughed, "You are so thoughtful, I am afraid that would have done no good."

Ada gave Anna Belle a puzzled look to which Anna Belle responded,"I didn't have my cell phone." She laughed and said as she pulled the phone from her purse and showed it to Ada. "It was in my purse".    

Ada chuckled, "Dear Lord."

Millie repeated her last thought,"I just think those 2 deaths had too much in common."

Trying to think of something to say, Anna Belle spoke up, "It is horrible that Madison died that way," she paused. "And, also Rev Barker, but Ada and I were just talking about all of us getting older."

"I still find it odd," Millie replied.

Anna Belle, with a smile said,"Millie, are you becoming our new Agatha Christie?"

Millie laughed, "Of course not. But one can wonder?"

Anna Belle bid them a good day once again, and left the shop. 'Certainly no one would connect the 2 deaths?', she asked herself. She tried to shake it off. But a little voice in her head told her that something was amiss. As she pondered this, she made her way home.

At the Sheriff's station Mike, Hugh, and Pearce were listening to the Sheriff's idea."Let's give them what they want. Do you think you can get in touch with them?"

"I can try," said Hugh.

"Contact them and tell them you have your files, work product, programs, and hard drive for them," he just paused. "Tell them you do not want to be in breach of contract."

"What if they just tell me they don't care?" Hugh asked.

"Then tell them that the Sheriff is looking for you and your work. You think he is close and you don't want to turn over what the LLC was supposed to get to him."

"And, what do I do when they just tell me to discard them?"

Mike spoke up, "Tell them, if they do not get the programs and files, you will have to give them to the Sheriff if he catches up with you. And, that you are not sure why the law was interested in this in the first place. Make it clear, you are not willing to go to jail."

The Sheriff added, "That should worry them enough to make an effort to get them."

The men discussed some other details. The Sheriff thanked Hugh and Pearce for coming in. The 3 men shook hands. Pearce and Hugh left.

As soon as the Sheriff walked out of his office, Mary Lou stopped him. "Clint from the funeral home wants to see you."

"About what?"

"I didn't ask but he said it was something you needed to see." With that the Sheriff got his coat and hat off the rack. "Tell Mike where I am going. I cannot imagine this taking very long."

At the funeral home, Clint was happy to see Sheriff Quitman. "Sir, I have found something I want you to see."

The Sheriff followed Clint into the back room of the funeral home. Madison Marlboro was lying on a large stainless steel table. Clint pulled the sheet off of the top portion of his nude body. "Look at this," he said pointing to two reddish, dot-like lesions on the left side of Madison's chest."

The Sheriff looked closer,"My God, that looks like a wound from a taser."

"I thought the same thing. I am not a medical doctor, but seeing where the wound is, close to the heart, this could have very easily brought about an 'acute myocardial infarction'.  Madison had all the issues that would make him vulnerable to such an event. He had heart disease, was an alcoholic, a smoker, and I would bet you money - high cholesterol."

"So you think he died of a heart attack brought about by a taser."

"That is my  guess."

"But a taser  releases dozens of confetti-sized identification tags."

"We found a few when we were undressing the body."

"Did you keep them? But, I'll check his clothes again."

"Didn't think of it. Knowing Madison, they were remnants of confetti filled celebration."

"Clint, this is great. I appreciate your letting me know. Who else knows about this?"

"Just the 2 of us."

"Well, for now let's keep it that way." He thanked Cliff again and left the building. As he got into his car, the Sheriff called Hollis. "Doc, did you see any confetti in or around Madison's car?"

"No, but I will pull up the photos and enlarge them." Hollis paused. "Confetti? The AFID from a taser? You think there was a taser involved?"

"Yep. Let's keep this under our hats until we know more. I'll be by to talk with you later. I'll explain then." The Sheriff rang off.

He called Mary Lou,"Can you find out if Madison was right or left handed? Maybe someone at the law firm would know. And, I'd rather not make this inquiry suspicious, if you can help it."

She said she would get right on it. They rang off. As the Sheriff drove back to the station, he thought, 'Death by suicide? Could be. But only if Madison was right handed. The wounds were on the left part of his chest. If Madison was left handed, then we have a whole 'nuther ballgame."

**AFID (anti-felon identification)

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