16Sunsets – Secrets

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Detective Frank Massey peered at a yacht through binoculars and grunted to himself. It was a pristine white three-mast schooner with a fresh white paint job. All three masts were naked and both the yacht and the pier were vacant. He set the binoculars on the seat beside him and leaned back in the chair of his patrol car.

A heavy sigh escaped his lips. Be careful what you wish for, he thought. You just may end up staring at drug runners through binoculars.

“Alleged drug runners,” he corrected himself out loud. His phone chimed indicating a text message, so he flipped his phone open.

Hey, Daddy! I’ve got to stay at work late today, so I’ll miss our dinner date. I luv U!

Massey smiled at the text. He had to inform his adult daughter that his ancient flip phone couldn’t do those little smiley faces. She called them emoticons, he thought. She had pressured him into adding text to his phone. He supposed it didn’t really matter; he paid his daughter a twenty-dollar note each month to cover his portion of the phone contract. He had to admit he was slowly getting used to texting, but her attempts to give him her old smart phone had failed, but not for a lack of trying.

Massey fingered the crisp twenty-dollar note in his breast pocket. He glanced at his wristwatch. Another trinket from yesteryear Denisha wouldn’t own, he thought. He logged the end of the day on the computer screen and made a note to himself in a notebook. Massey knew Denisha didn’t care for greasy spoon joints, so he turned over the engine and drove to his favorite bar that still made a decent steak.

* * *

Denisha tucked her smart phone into her pocket. Her father, while not a technophobe in the strictest sense of the word, he was still slow to adopt any new technology. He had a closet with two or three spare videocassette recorders and a considerable VHS tape collection. She knew he wouldn’t respond to her text – he simply didn’t understand texting etiquette. She would call him, as it got closer to their appointed date time.

“Denisha?”

Denisha looked up. “Yes Doctor Globe?”

“Did you liaison with the R-C-M-P on our sighting of subject three-one-six?”

“Yes, Doctor. You’re on a helicopter heading north in…” She checked her computer terminal, “fifteen minutes. You’ll be in the air for approximately forty minutes.”

Globe nodded. “Thank you for staying late tonight, Denisha.” Globe pulled on his uniform jacket. “After I land, you can hand off the operation to logistics and call it a day, but leave the end time open on your time card.”

Denisha smiled and nodded at her boss. I just might be able to meet up with my Dad after all, she thought as Globe walked out the office.

* * *

Detective Frank Massey laid his jacket on the seat next to him on the bar.

“Hey, Frank,” the bartender greeted him. “The usual?”

“Sure thing Tony, but lets skip the coffee, we’ve had unseasonably warm weather lately.”

“Don’t I know it,” Tony replied and motioned to his tattooed arms. “I’ve been running around in short sleeves. Wouldn’t’ve been able to do that thirty years ago.” Tony wrote something on a pad and tore off the top sheet. “Soda, then?”

Massey nodded and Tony plucked down a glass and filled it from the soda hose dispenser. He slid a bowl of peanuts toward Frank and turned to lay the paper on the grill counter. “Joe!” he called out. “It’s Frank’s so burn the shit outta it. Oh, sorry.”

“That’s okay,” a woman dressed in a knee-length red petticoat said. “I’ve heard worse.”

Tony nodded and Frank followed suit. The woman unbuttoned her petticoat to reveal a red dress underneath. She draped the petticoat over her arm and looked around the bar.

“If you’re looking for a coat rack, you’re out of luck in this joint.” Massey raised his voice and grinned at Tony. “These bums wouldn’t know what to do with one anyway.”

The woman smiled and laid her petticoat across her lap. She turned on her stool to face Massey. “They water down their drinks here?”

The woman turned to Tony who was listening attentively. “Malibu and Cherry Coke, please.”

“You okay with regular coke and cherry syrup?”

The woman nodded. “So, Frank,” she paused allowing Massey to correct her. “What’s good here?”

Massey slid the bowl of peanuts toward her. “Nothing,” he said emphatically.

Tony scowled as he placed the mixed drink in front of the woman. “Don’t listen to this clown, honey, he couldn’t get a clue in a field of clues during clue mating season, wearing clue musk oil.”

Massey raised his soda in salute before taking a sip. He placed the glass back on the napkin and turned to the woman. “You better tell us your name, or he’s gonna call you ‘honey’ all night.”

The woman smiled and extended her hand to Massey. “Anne,” she breathed in a husky voice. “Anne Henderson.”

Massey pumped her hand once. “You better order, the grill closes soon.”

“I’ll take a steak, bloody.” She glanced at the half full bowl of peanuts. “You better top these off, too.”

* * *

“Yes, Sir. We apprehended him trying to organize a cigarette smuggling ring.”

Major Jacob Globe shook his head and raised his voice over the cockpit noise, replying into the microphone. “Doesn’t sound like this Jules character is very smart.”

“No, Sir. We leaned on him and he admitted it wasn’t even his idea. We pulled surveillance and the guy he was talking to never made it back on the bus. We ran facial recognition, and the hit was flagged.”

“Anything else?”

“There was one more passenger unaccounted for on the bus. He matched a wanted poster out of Seattle. The bus minus our three guys crossed the border about ninety minutes ago.”

“We landing at the R-C-M-P post?”

“No, Sir. We’re landing at the border where the bus stopped.” The man talking motioned to the pilot. “I was led to believe that time was of the essence.”

“It is indeed.”

The man nodded and spoke into his microphone. “We’re descending, Sir. Wheels down in seven minutes.”

Globe nodded and looked out the open window at the Washington landscape below. I’m not letting this guy get away, he thought. “Not again,” he said out loud.

“Say again, Sir?”

“Nothing, just thinking out loud.”

“Yes, Sir.”

If he thinks he can escape my jurisdiction, Globe thought, he’s in for a surprise.

16Sunsets – Acquisitions


Lately, 16Sunsets is feeling more like a serial than a chapter novel. During the editing process, these will need a proper rewrite to get them into a proper chapter format. These 1100 words bring the total up to 31,279. I’ve shifted to setting up the final act, and expect to meet my deadline of having the vomit draft completed by the end of the first quarter. I wrote this one to Sunday Photo Fiction.

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degrees in Computer Systems and Applications and Applied Human Behavior. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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