You couldn’t trump a card like that…


As if Friday and Saturday’s deluge hadn’t been enough, Sunday proved latently to be just as productive. The morning broke with a mist that seems to cloud the skies as much as our brains. The weekend had proven to be everything I had hoped and more. With the photos burning a hole in my bag, we set out to get copies made. It is difficult to get such copied without the questioning eyes of those who must process them. We tried two places and finally found an Office Max who was willing and mindful of what we were trying to accomplish. Several sets of copies later, we met J and her son for breakfast- hugs and instructions dispersed- my husband and I hit the road for a few hours on the road and a final stop before we could head north from Atlanta.
Weeks earlier I had gotten information about a retired ATF agent who had written two books about his experiences. I ordered them and had hoped they might come in before my trip, but such is the wait for online publications. Contacts had been made before the trip- always the same. Did you know, or know of Charley? What had you heard? Who might still be alive to contact? My litany became a mantra and while this agent had spent the bulk of his time in North Georgia and the Atlanta area, I had hopes that he might have heard something about this case that would be new. He was gracious in his response. Yes he knew Charley. Yes he had worked with him a time or two. Yes he would talk to me, but no… he felt he had nothing more he could add to what I already knew. I took the shot just the same and asked if I could swing by on my way back from Valdosta.
The rain cooperated with moderation and made for more ambience than annoyance on the ride back up I75. Quiet and content at the driver’s seat, the constant drone of the windshield wipers provided white noise for thinking. While my husband napped, I ran over every piece of information I could mentally retrieve from the past three days of interviews. The man with the crooked teeth still perplexed me. The confidence he showed with answers that matched nothing else baited further, but I could not afford to get side-tracked by ego so I concentrated on what I could verify. Three and a half hours later, I placed a call and confirmed that my appointment was still viable. Three and a half hours after that, I was back on the road with two autographed books and a wish for success. Charles Weems was an interesting fellow and his wife M.L. a gracious host. I learned more that day about the kind of man it took to do what Charley did and in that regard I walked away rich with information, but no further ahead with clues.
On the last leg of the road trip I pondered what it really was I was supposed to have taken from that interview. The two books lay in the back of the car and I promised myself I would try to read more than I would write in the next few weeks to see if perhaps I had overlooked something in my notes. I couldn’t get my thoughts to tear away from the text about the grim reaper. No matter what other information came in about this individual, you couldn’t trump a card like that. The grim reaper meant death and R had presented that it was in direct correlation to Charley- even though she could not get ultimate confirmation from him that this person had been the shooter. The process of this blows my mind, but R says that sometimes they will not answer a question yes or no- there must be discovery and journey involved. I thought it boiled down to a matter of ethereal semantics and was losing my sense of humor fast.
The closer we got to home, the clearer the skies, but not my brain. It was almost too much to take in at one time. J called to let us know that she had taken the original photos to get better copies than the copy of copies we had been forced to manipulate. Fortunately for her, she had help from the local law pave the way so as not to violate anyone’s sensibilities when they saw the contents of the photos. I thought about the endless parade of phone calls, emails and letters I had sent to every state, and federal program I could think of to get information about this investigation and how they all had nothing they could share. Then with one phone call, we had scored the motherload. Either Charley had a hell of a sense of humor or he was pacing me. I thought about Mr. Weems again. Charley would not have placed him in my path unless he had information to divulge to me through him. I said a small prayer for patience. R Promised that two things; no-one I would meet that weekend would be by chance and information would be dropped into my lap. I bit my lip and tried to imagine what Charley had in mind. Though Mr. Weems had been a fascinating subject, I could not find the nugget of information I felt would catapult me onto a new path. I baited Charley and told him he was slacking…two weeks later, he proved me wrong!
Charles Weems had a great deal of information to share with me… he just didn’t know it at the time and neither did I!

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