And this was just the beginning…

And this was just the beginning…
After we discussed several other issues regarding the notepad drawing, I redirected the conversation and dropped my bombshell. I told them since it was mutually agreed that Charley did not commit suicide that I wished to share something further. I then told them I had been informed by a reliable source that 8 years after Charley’s death, a detective stepped forward (BR) and told my source that he had seen evidence that proved that it was homicide- but that it would not look good for Charley and that he had been shot in self defense. For the first time since we had begun, they fell silent. The man with the black rimmed glasses became openly agitated with me. Not certain what part of my information had inflamed him, I continued to watch his face as I told them that this individual also chose to do nothing with that information as he felt it wouldn’t have done anybody any good. Charley would still be dead and countless innocent lives would be damaged. All around the table, expletives of every sort poured forth. They then began to badger me. Peppering me with the standard; who, where, when…why? At that point I did not feel the necessity to share my source and asked them only to respond to the information. Was it possible? Had they ever heard the same? What did they know about the initial messenger other than the fact that he too was now dead and gone? Would he have been a credible source? Why would it have looked bad for Charley? Who was this source? How had I gotten my information? The queries were endless, the answers finite and limiting. In an effort to let them plow their way through embroiled emotions, I let them simmer on this topic for a few minutes. The man with the crooked teeth then took center stage and produced another theory about moonshiners taking him out. Endless threads of conjecture began to weave themselves into a tapestry of conspiracy and while I shared in many of their suspicions… the clock continued to tick towards closing time and I could not afford the detour of derailment.
Blindsiding them with another blast of information was not my intent, but I had things I needed yet to discover and time was short. I broke through a reverie about the numbers game, bolita and a black nightclub owner who figured prominently into the local scene by introducing the topic of the hidden porn tapes. Faces went blank and I could hear my pulse in the sheer silence that followed. I waited for a second before commenting further about the envelope and the invoice admittedly sent to a post office box in Charley’s name. They looked at one another and then asked if I had actually seen an invoice. I nodded and tried not to feed their embarrassment. There I was in the midst of gentlemen my father’s age and without pause or blush had spoken a word outside their common vocabulary. No one spoke for a second and then I told them of the rumors about the parties over the pawn shop and the ones out at the clubhouse. With that, the clubhouse and its eclectic persuasions of entertainment took center stage and we were off and running again with wild tales of sex parties and illegal gambling. Stories I will remember- stories I will have to investigate further at a later date. As the clock raced past five and we moved towards closing ceremonies of hugs and photos, I thanked them profusely and then asked for one final favor. They held their smiles- had the last two and half hours not been enough? I asked if any of them might act as escort to the Clyattville-Nankin Road where Charley’s body and car had been found. My ally with the booming voice stepped forward immediately and volunteered to act as guardian. With the others set free, we made a promise to meet in the parking lot. Once things were gathered and we were well outside the building, I shared my grim reaper text with J, her son and my husband. J began to put the car in reverse, and then paused to ask if we should be afraid. As we pulled onto the road, I sent a text to R asking that very thing and then laughed- saying, “…not until the psychic tells me we should be!” Ten minutes later we turned onto Clyattville-Nankin Road, heading towards the spot where Charley spent the final moments of his life when my phone hummed again.
“Be aware. Trust your gut instinct.” I checked with my gut, then placed my hands on my knees to stop them from shaking and smiled back at J. “We’re fine” I said. “Just fine- – keep driving” It was the first time I had lied to her since we had started this thing over a year ago.

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