So Much Going On
A Tracy Gayle mystery
By Trish Hubschman
Danny and I just returned to the States. We had spent the last three months on tour in Europe with the band. It was incredible, also exhausting. Going home at last was wonderful. But we weren’t going straight back to Danny’s place in Bel Aire. I was kind of relieved by that. His house, if you can call it that, was too grand for me. His plane had let us off at a small private air strip in Baltimore, Maryland and now Joe Flasher, Danhy’s bodyguard, was driving us up to Century End, Pennsylvania. It was an abandoned coal mining community that Danny was trying to restore to its once quaint appeal. Our new house on the outskirts of town was finished and Danny and I were going to finally see it.
“I have to check my email,” I said into he ai. Danny was upfront with Flasher and chatting with him. He didn’t turn his head. I shrugged and turned the light on my phone on in the dark car. I had three texts from Johnson. My former boyfriend/best friend, and retired Homicide detective with the County police, had taken over as acting head sleuth of Gayle Investigations. It was still my agency, though I was more a consultant now. “What’ sup?” I asked when he answered the phone.
”FBI thinks Vicki Crenshaw’s former boyfriend, Carl Gibbons, might have been the third shooter in the Raymond Henderson case,” Johnson said.
Vicki Crenshaw and her mother Judy had been my across-the-street neighbors on Long Island. Johnson and his second wife, Tiffany, bought my small house on the island and the Crenshaw’s were their neighbors now. Raymond Henderson had been a serial killer. The FBI was tracking him. In attempt to flee them, he broke into his old friend, Vicki’s garage apartment and took her hostage. We managed to get them both out of the apartment, but he was using her as a shield. I tackled them, pushing her clear and onto the ground, and throwing myself onto her. Broke her nose too. At the same time, three different people fired shots at Henderson, an FBI agent, Dannys bodyboard from across the street and an unknown assailant from another direction. It was the third shooter that killed Henderson.
“I thought Carl was in jail,” I said. I helped the police apprehend the man. “Has he finished his sentence and been released or is he on parole?” He had robbed his girlfriend’s mother’s house and also stolen from Vicki’s bank accounts.
“Probation,” Johnson replied. “Art of his plea bargain. He is not allowed to possess a firearm.”
I had a bunch of questions lined up to ask. Why did the Feds think the third shooter was Carl? Did anyone see him on the scene that night? How could he have gotten his hands on a firearm? But I knew Johnson didn’t have the answers. That’s why he was asking questions himself. I tried this one, “Have you spoken to Catherine Smith? She’s the Special Agent handling this case?”
“Not yet,” he replied. “I’m getting this info from other sources. Thought maybe you can step out here and talk to Smith. Your friends with her. You might be able to learn more.”
I wouldn’t go as far as to say Catherine and I were friends, but Johnson did have a good point. “I’m in Pennsylvania.” I gave Johnson the scoop on our whereabouts and why. “Right now, I don’t think I’ll be able to come to Long Island, but I can give her a call,” I said. Danny was looking at me over his shoulder. He nodded and gave me a thumb’s-up. I nodded ack and smiled, then I said into the phone, “I think Danny just gave me the all-clear. I’ll give you a buzz tomorrow, Johnson. We are pulling into our driveway now.”
The new house was spectacular, big, yes, but not a mansion. The bright porch light guided me up the three steps to the door. I had my hand on the handle when Danny stopped me. “The house is basically furnished, babe, but if there’s anything you don’t like, we can change it,” he said. “I thought you’d be more comfortable going into a home, rather than a hollow shell.”
I smiled. “I’m sure I’ll love everything. Let’s go see it together.” I held out my hand and we went inside. ?”My breath sucked in at the sight. It was beautiful. There was rich dark blue carpet on the floor. I felt I could lay down on it and roll around. I didn’t though. I peaked into the first room, the living room, the same rich blue carpet was in there and flowered-covered upholstery on the furniture. I glanced at Danny. This room was not Danny Tide, but it was certainly pretty. I went from room to room after that downstairs. Some were sparsely furnished. Then I bounced to the stairs going upward. “The bedrooms?” I asked, gesturing to the stairs. Danny nodded. I held out my hand and we climbed the steps together.
At the door of the master suite, I felt a tinge of nervousness. “What’s the problem, my lady? ‘He teased.
My hand was Over my mouth. I giggled. “This is our bedroom. I suddenly feel like they blushing bride.”
“I think that’s my cue,” Danny said, scooping me up in his arms. I squealed. He carried me into the bedroom and laid me down on the bed. The rest is private, very personal and we made history.
The next morning, while Danny was in the shower, I decided to make some business-related phone calls. It was eight eastern time. Mayve a bit early, maybe not, but I had work to do. The first person I wanted to call was in Dublin, Eiland anyway. Karen Rosen was a new client of mine. She was a young attorney from Georgia. She had hired me to find an uncle that she hadn’t known existed until recently. Her mother hadn’t connected with her brother in more than four decades. Since the band was in Dublin, it was he last stop on the tour, we were there anyway and finding Douglas Connor was easy enough. I reunited the whole family. I wasn’t going to charge Karen. Now, I wanted to ask her about possessing a firearm while on probation.
“Hey Tacy, so glad to hear from you,” twenty-nine-year-old Karen Rosen said. “I love Dublin. We are having so much fun.” Her voice flattened. “Unfortunately, I must get back to work, so Mom and I are returning jo the States the day after TOMORROW. Dad’s hanging around a little longer. He seems to have something going with cousin Constance.”
I smiled. “I noticed,” I replied. “That okay with you?”
“Sure,” she replied. “Dad and Constance aren’t related by blood, just by divorce. “She said. We both laughed. “What’s up?”
I TOLD HER ABOUT THE THREE-WAY SHOOTING OF Raymond Henderson, THAT THE THIRD UNKNOWN SHOOTER’S BULLET WAS THE ONE THAT KILLED him. “If it was Carl who fired the fatal shot, it was a good deed,” I said.
“But why was he armed in the first place?” she asked. “And why was he going to his former girlfriend’s house with that loaded weapon at all?”
I sighed. “Both good questions, but that I don’t have the answers to,’ I replied. “I haven’t spoken to the FBI agent on this case yet. I’ll do that next,” I told her. “I want to know, from a lawyer’s Perspective, if Carl is the one who did this, will he have the book thrown at him by a judge?”
She was quiet for a moment, thinking about it. “In any state, he broke the law and violating his probation by possessing a firearm. If he had good reason to be on the scene, like he knew what was coming down, a judge might not frown on him as much,” she explained. I nodded and sighed. “Keep me posted,” she said. “This one sounds interesting.”
I agreed, thanked her, and disconnected. Next, I punched in Catherine smith’s number. Danny came out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist. He leaned back against the wall, his arms crossed Over his chest. I smiled at him. “Hi Catherine, it’s Tracy Tide.”
“Can’t talk right now, Tracy,’ she said. “I’m on the way pout the door.”
don’t slow down,’ I teased. “I’ll make this fast.” I told her I was coming to Long Island later that day regarding the case she was working on and could I stay with her.
“I’d love it,’ she replied. “Let me know when you’re at my front door.”
The line on both ends disconnected. I put the phone on the nightstand beside the bed. I pulled back the sheet and jumped out. Danny dropped his arms. “Hey, what do you think you’re doing, lady,” he teased as I came toward him.
“I have to take a shower,’ I replied.
He grabbed my arm. “Not so fast. You don’t have any clothes on.”
I looked down at myself as if that was news to me. “
That’s usually the way people take showers,’ I teased.
He pulled me into his arms. “Not alone and not yet,’ he said, kissing me.
All I could say was, history was made again.
. . .
Trish Hubschman is the author of the Tracy Gayle mystery series: Tidalwave, Stiff Competition, Ratings Game, Uneasy Tides, and Gayle’s tales.
Trish is a graduate of Long Island University’s Southampton Campus and has a Bachelor’s degree in English-writing. She is deaf-blind and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Kevin and their dog, Henry.
Visit her website.
Email Trish at: firstname.lastname@example.org