The signature was clear and it matched…



Without fanfare and/or feather, my darling
Charley has come through again! Can I tell you how much I love this man? Just
when I worry that the threads that bind us are too worn and frazzled to be of
any further assistance, divine intuition is sent to save me from myself.

Today while writing and working on
the book, I was suddenly drawn to look through my plastic arsenal of Charley
files again. I cannot tell you exactly why. It wasn’t as though what I was
writing had a direct tie, as is often the case. Or that suddenly I had a flash
of brilliance. It was more like a tug or a pull… a peripheral feeling that I
was leaving something undone. That I had lost my touch and that my radar
was somehow faulty. Concerned that I may have misinterpreted the last segue to
the MOT’s actual identity, I felt drawn to retrace my steps. To look through
the bins for the thing/envelope with the hieroglyphics Hazel spoke of- the
white envelope that Charley continued to blather about. So, without conscious
mission I abandoned my post at the laptop and began to rummage through the
mounds of legal documents, cards and condolences letters, telegrams and copies
of errant bills and invoices…and fifteen minutes in, I spotted something that
intrigued me.

It was a white envelope that had no
postmark… no outwards sign of having been anything but hand delivered. It was
addressed to Chas Covington; a
common title for Charley I had seen on many letters and documents. For twelve
seconds, unaware of what I held, I contemplated whether Charley cared that I
called him Charley and not Chas… or that I spelled Charley different from the
traditional Charlie. No matter, I surmised. Chas seemed so much more GQ, Soap
Opera or Hollywood
than the clean shaven, balding 8×10 on my desk and so I never saw him in that
light. This was Hazel’s husband, Julie’s father and my eternal friend and
nothing else fit but the name I had given him.

Yellowed with age and lack of tacky
seal, the envelope shown nothing but his underlined name, so I opened it with
the same casual air as the last twenty or more envelopes before. It contained a
handwritten letter with poor grammar and illiterate phrasing. When I glanced at
the signature at the bottom, my hair immediately began to bristle. Another, “Oh
shit” moment in the making, I turned on the light and tried to decipher. The
handwriting scrawled lengthy about the lines and held no respect for margin or
punctuation. Words were misspelled and there was little to no cadence applied
to the contents. How had I missed this before? After the hundred times I had
canvassed this bin… how was it possible after two years of work, I had
missed this? How?

The envelope had been stuck inside a
bill from a company named Bray something that had to do with construction
materials Charley had been billed for prior to his death and negotiated by
Hazel after his death. When I unfolded the invoice, there it was. Just a plain
white envelope with his name- nothing special or significant in its exterior. Suddenly
my head spun. Was this envelope the culmination of two clues: Hazel’s
hieroglyphics and Charley’s white envelope/just open it?

I read and re-read. I asked my husband to
listen as I clumsily tried to ferret out the phonetics, trying to formulate a
coherent message.  I am reticent to share
all, but here is a glimpse and wheels are already in motion. I immediately
called R- got confirmation and then made another call I cannot share with you.
Suffice it to say, the letter is dated 3 years prior to Charley’s death. It
names places, addresses and a name. I will list here so that anyone from Valdosta might be of
service in helping place more peripheral information in my hands. I shall try
to re-assign grammatical errors as embedded in the manuscript so that you might understand better. This is but a
portion of its contents. I will break up the run-on sentences with // so that
you can read it coherently and understand its meaning.


“Dear Mr. Charlie,

 I want you to come
to my house by yourself so i can tell you a lot you don’t know far as the man
from Lakeland //  it is on all this
//  so i want you to let no one no
nothing about this but you can come to my house any day about 12 and I will be
there… (there are instructions and an address to the location they are to

Don’t let no body no nothing till you get this settled fast
(something illegible or
possibly the word, sorry)

The signature was clear and it
matched a last name R had given me over a year ago! Emotionally convulsing, I made the call to her…

(For you
Miss Bonnie…)

9 Responses to “The signature was clear and it matched…”

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    Oh no! Oh no! Lord, Ms. Powell I just can’t hardly stand it!

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