Let’s count together …


Fresh from my last final exam yesterday, I walked off the campus of UGA and breathed deep. I had worked hard at my studies, worked hard at my job, worked hard at researching for Charley and as I walked across the bustling campus, swirling with both students and leaves I realized that all my hard work this last year was about to begin to pay off.

The last production, despite pitfalls and chaos came together at the end in a beautiful collage of talent, whimsy and fiscal reward for my program. My research has given me a new course in life,; a new understanding of life and provided professional segue to conference calls and meetings with some of the most prestigious agencies in law enforcement. In addition, recent studies in Criminology and Psychology have garnered intimate and peripheral information that will support and guardrail my every adventure from this day forward. And while this may all seem little in the eyes of many… further education was a personal goal I set for myself and at 52, I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of me for not giving up in the face of absolute adversity.

Aside from all the above… I reached out to Charley again, as I have been consumed with studies and productions these many days and felt the thread begin to thin. We go in cycles, he and I. Sometimes I cannot breathe air that has not already passed through his metaphorical lungs and sometimes I feel he has wandered onto another path and I become starved for his oxygen. I made him a promise, that as soon as school was over for the holidays, that I would return my attentions. That if he would mentor, I would follow.

As always… my dear Charley did not let me down. After a brief personal moment of celebration, I headed up stairs to rearrange my desk and put away papers and books to make ready for my next assignment; Charley and the official report. In doing so, I glanced at his photo, announced that I was back and ready to refocus my attentions to helping him move forward… asking if he had anything he wanted to share to jump start the process again.

He did.

A folder that had been under a stack of academic papers caught my attention. It was one of Hazel’s files with old articles and carbon copies of attorney communications. Seeing as this attorney is now a person of interest for me… I slowed my pace and pulled the file from my desk. It was not the first time I had looked at this file, but with hindsight and so much more information than I had had a year ago, I reopened it- popped a stray Halloween Reeses Peanut Butter Cup and set to reading. A few onion papered pages into the file, I found an itemized billing statement. It was most interesting as it listed all the hours of research she (Hazel) was being charged for. And not just the hours… but what he did in those hours. Who he corresponded with, who he interviewed; names, dates, times… all very interesting. It has given me many more names to research, but the most amazing thing of all, is that it gave me the answer to one of my more recent questions for Charley.
Who was Elizabeth?
Do you remember the woman who stood, holding broken glass from a chandelier? A woman whose home was broken into… who had three law enforcement intimidate and threaten her if she did not give the location of, “it”? The big, “it” they all were searching for 44 years ago? The big “it” they assumed Grim later destroyed? The big “it” they were certain was the only one left?

I know who she is now…this Elizabeth. I know her first name and her last name. It has to be her. Why would she be listed in this billing? Why would the attorney have needed to interview her? Why would she be among the list of other names that now tell me more as a group than they ever did individually?

It is her… the woman with the broken glass in her hand. The woman whose home was vandalized by law enforcement as an act of intimidation… the woman who could not give them what they wanted! I know who she is… and I know now why it was so important for them to go after her. The big “it” they were looking for? It wasn’t there. Not in her house… not in her keeping the way they supposed.

Wouldn’t you like to know where it really was… is…was… is? I get so confused these days. Did it get destroyed? Didn’t it? Yes… one did.

The question is… was there just one?
Or two?
Or three… or four… or five?

How many copies did Charley make???
Think, Grim. How many would you have made, knowing what was on it?
Me? I’d have made a million… but then Charley didn’t have that much time in between making copies and getting murdered.

But he did have some time…How long do you think it takes to make one of those?

Here’s another riddle for you:
How many bad guys does it take to make a _________?
How many bad guys does it take to destroy a _________?

Now, times that by 4 and you have your answer!

Let’s count together on our fingers how many that leaves still unaccounted for!

I told you… Charley never disappoints me. Never!

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