Home Sweet Home Part Six
A Tracy Gayle mystery
By Trish Hubschman
“Shepherd isn’t on the premises, sir,” a uniformed police officer said to Johnson as he and I approached.
“That’s probably for the best,” Johnson replied. “What about Ms. Crenshaw?”
“Yes, sir, she is,” said a second cop. “But she’s alone. She must have dropped the children off somewhere.”
Johnson nodded, then turned to me. “Let’s go.” And he and I, with the two officers, headed up the front path and climbed the steps. before we reached the top one, the front door flung open. Vicky stood there, her face elated and bright.
“Did you find him?” she asked. We were all momentarily caught off guard. Johnson composed himself and went into his official spiel about having a search warrant for Carl Shepherd’s place of residence. Vicky’s face fell. “You didn’t find him then?”
“Vicky?” I said, “it’s Tracy. Can we come inside? We’ll try to get to the bottom of this.”
Her head pivoted to me. She looked confused, but then stepped back from the door. “Sure.”
“Sorry. Go ahead and search the house, Detective Johnson. Maybe you’ll find out where Carl is.”
The four of us went inside. Johnson handed Vicky the paperwork, looked at me, then moved away to conduct the search with the two uniformed cops. I led Vicky into the living room.
“Okay, what’s going on?” I asked after Vicky was settled on the couch.
“Carl is missing,” she said. “He didn’t come home the other night. He just went to fix Mrs. Tanner’s leaky faucet.” Her chin jut higher in the air. “It shouldn’t have taken long, but it got later and later and I got nervous. Around nine, I hopped in my car and drove the few blocks to her house. She said he had left a long time ago.”
“And you have no idea where he went from there?” I asked.
She shook her head. “I did check a few places he hangs out, but I couldn’t stay out all night looking. I had to get home to the kids,” she said.
I nodded. “Did you call the police?” I asked.
“Of course, I did,” she snapped. “They told me I had to wait forty-eight hours before Carl could be listed as a missing person.” She shrugged. “Well, it’s two days now and you and Detective Johnson showed up.” Tears began streaming down her face. Johnson came into the room. Vicky looked up. “Did you find him or any clues to where he is?”
Johnson shook his head. He took the chair across from Vicky. “I have some questions I want to ask you.” He reached into his jacket pocket and took out a clear plastic bag. In it was a sparkly bracelet. He held It up. Vicky made a face. “It’s not yours?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I don’t wear jewelry often. It gets caught in my computer keyboard. And mom doesn’t wear anything that fancy.”
“Vicky, do you know that Carl was arrested twice for petty theft?” Johnson asked.
She nodded. “Yes, he told me. Said he was framed.”
“Framed by who?” I fired.
She shrugged. “Friends, I guess,” she replied. “Now, are you going to find him? Please, find him.”
Johnson nodded. “That’s what I fully intend to do, Vicky.”
Two weeks later
Carl was picked up in Atlantic City. He was in Sands casino losing money at one of the tables. He was arrested and charged with house burglary. He wanted Vicky to post bail, but she refused. She broke off her relationship with him and she and her children moved back into Judy’s garage apartment. Judy’s stolen jewelry was never recovered, so the insurance company paid her the full amount of the policy, one hundred thousand dollars.
Danny got the role in the Broadway musical, Balancing Act, and was busy rehearsing for his part. The play was scheduled to open in August. Blair was planning a huge party for the event. The other four Tidalwave band members would be there, so would Danny’s first and third wives.
Doug Johnson and his girlfriend, Tiffany Jones, announced their engagement. Johnson wanted to legally adopt her eight-year-old son, Andrew. They had to find out the identity of the boy’s biological father to do this. Steps were being taken to accomplish this. Since I was going to be in New York for a while, I offered my private eye services.
Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery book series, Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game and uneasy Tides. Tracy is a Long Island private detective. Her sidekick, Danny Tide, is the leader of the rock band Tidalwave. Tracy is hired to find out who set fire to the band’s summer tour bus. This leads to deeper, darker things.
Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-Writing. She is deafblind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, author Kevin Hubschman, and their dog, henry.
Her website is www.dldbooks.com/Hubschman/