CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO 7TH THURSDAY Mike sleeps in and wakes around nine. He comes downstairs in his robe and pours himself coffee. He looks outside and sees the station wagon is gone. He finishes his coffee and goes up to get dressed.
Coming back down he looks out and there is still no car. He goes to the office and gets his briefcase, throws it in the car and heads for POCO. At twelve thirty he's waiting for Nina. She comes out and climbs into the car, out of the rain. He pulls away and says, "You look down today. Just want to go for lunch?" "No, please take me to the river. I need you to hold me and tell me everything will be alright." He respects her silence and drives without a word. When he has parked he slides over from under the wheel so he can hold her closer.
She doesn't seek his lips so he just holds her. She whispers, "It's all going too fast. I gave my notice today." "I saw the 'Sold' sign on your house.
When are you to be out?" "End of the month. They want to take possession by July second. Oh Mike, that only leaves me a couple of weeks." "Where are you going to stay until you go back east? You could stay at our place. We have the spare room." "Jeff is going down to Toronto next week to find us a place.
They want him to start down there on the second of July." "You mean you will be moving in two weeks. Wow! That is fast." "We don't even have a moving company lined up." "Don't worry about that. CPX does cross country moving and I'll haul it for you, myself.
I'd enjoy a long haul to Toronto. You just give me the date as soon as you can." "Oh, I will. That's enough of this feeling sorry for myself.
Why isn't this thing hard yet? Do you need some help? Oh oh, I spoke too soon. It's growing fast now. Kiss me!" When he drops her back at the detachment, Lindross is waiting for him.
He gestures for Mike to come in. When they are seated in the Staff Sergeant's office, he says to Mike, "Have you been able to come up with anything new on the Hanson case?" "You're asking me, not telling me?" "Look Mike, I don't have the resources to keep track of you everyday. We have other priorities, other cases. If you've got anything then let's put our heads together and work on it." "What I've got is a lot of circumstantial evidence, hunches and denials. I've narrowed it down to two suspects and I think I know who did it.
Of the other suspect, I'm not sure of her involvement. I do know you are going ahead with the trial of the wrong man." "We're going ahead with what we've got. Give us another case and we'll drop the least compelling. Who do you think did it and what's their motive?" "There you go, jumping the gun. I don't have a motive and probably won't until I confront him. Key elements, like physical evidence are missing. If I had a clear piece of physical evidence, I'd drop it on your desk and say, sic him.
How many people you got working on this case now?" "What's that got to do with it? Quit stalling and tell me who you suspect and why?" "Hey, I'm not a suspect!
I don't think you have anyone detailed to the case. I think you've shelved it. Listed it as an unsolved case, something for a rainy day. You know your not going to go anywhere with it in the courts.
Ray is going to be let off. Oh, maybe you'll be able to get him on a morals charge, the tapes, but the murder will remain unsolved.
Why don't you go after the murderer and clear my friend's name?" "Why should I? You're doing that for us, aren't you? That's what you're telling me." "That right; and I better get back at it.
Good day." Mike gets up and walks out of the office; never looking back at the other man who sits glaring at his back. Nina and he exchange glances and a wave as he leaves the detachment.
He drives out to the CPX yard and checks with dispatch. They don't have anything for him. He cleans up the truck and checks with the shops. They say they'll give it a lube job. He outlines a dozen small faults they should check into and lists them.
When he leaves he drives back towards Mission and Abbotsford. He spots a nondescript gray car keeping tabs on him. Between the two towns he calls his mechanic, while keeping his eyes in the mirror on his shadow. The mechanic has the fender in for him and says to bring the car around whenever he likes, but not today.
Next he calls Trudy. "Well love, what have we got in the mail? Any new work?" "Money. I got cheques for skip tracing. A local firm has a Workman's Compensation case for us. Guy claims back injuries, WCB doesn't believe him. Wants us to check it out." "Local case?" "POCO and Chilliwack.
He lives in POCO but works at the York Farms packing plant in Chilliwack. I said we'd take it because we're in POCO so much anyway. Okay?" "Hmmmm, alright. Just a lot of legwork. It'll require surveillance. Maybe we'll check it out in the morning. You busy then?" "The other reason I took it is because it came in direct, not through ABC Security.
We get the whole commission on this one." "Good thinking. I'll call you later. I'm just turning in home. Take care, love." He checks all around but the shadow is gone. Mike glances at the 'Sold' sign, shakes his head and goes to the side door. He pulls off his boots just inside the door.
He calls, "Hi, anybody home?" A clear little voice calls back, "Daddy's home. Daddy!" Janet comes running out of the front room to meet him. He scoops her up and sees Richard in the living room door.
"Where's your mom, Rick?" "I'm baby-sitting. She had to take Shelly to the hospital. She had a bump on her head. Some other girl hit her with a swing in the playground." Mike's cell phone beeps. He answers it. "Mike, when are you going to be home?" "I just came in.
How's Shelly?" "She got quite a thump on the head in the playground. No bleeding but a lot of swelling. I'm at MSA Hospital with her.
They want to keep her in overnight for observation. I think it would be a good idea. Do you want to bring the kids and we'll go to a restaurant for supper?" "Okay. Do you want me to come over to MSA? Is Shelly upset about staying there overnight?" "She doesn't seem to be.
Can you bring her pajamas and her favorite doll? You know, the one you got her in Calgary, the teddy bear doll." Mike gets Shelly's things and loads the kids in the car. He drives around the block to MSA Hospital. He could have walked faster, by the time he finds a parking place.
He locks the car and asks Richard to look after his sister while he's inside. In about ten minutes Marlene and Mike return to the car. Mike says, "She's really acting grown up. No tears, no fuss, no problem whatsoever. What did the doctor mean when he said check with him before we come over in the morning? You seemed to know what he was talking about." "He says these bumps can prove to be more of a problem than they at first appear.
Unless there is a drastic reduction in the swelling, he may want to keep her in another day. That's all he told me." "When I talked to him he sounded quite confident that she would be alright by morning. When did he tell you that?" "When he examined her." "Damn! I wish I'd asked him a lot more questions.
He seemed so sure that it was no big deal. Damn!" "Let's just go for supper. We can come back and visit with her later this evening." They go to a local restaurant and order supper. Janet says, "Where's Shelly?
Is she coming, too?" Marlene: "Hush now. Eat your supper." Mike says, "Shelly is staying at another house tonight. You know, like when she stays over at Tina's. She'll be home in the morning. Now dig in those chips or I'll finish mine and gobble yours all up, too." Janet: "Oh daddy." When they get home Mike tells Marlene to walk over and tell her goodnight. He says he'll go over when she gets back. He stays with the kids and helps Richard with some homework, while Janet colors with crayons.
Marlene comes in and tells him, "She's a little apprehensive now. She's really looking forward to you coming over to tuck her in.
You better go right over." "I'm on my way. How's her bump look? Is it bothering her?" "She didn't even mention it." "See you later." Mike walks past Jeff's and around the block to the hospital. He checks with the desk about visiting hours. The nurse tells him not to worry about the hours. They encourage parents to be with their children as much as possible.
Mike goes to her room. It's a four bed ward room and two other beds are occupied by little girls. One's asleep and the other looks up expectantly when he comes in. He spots Shelly as she raises her hand to catch his attention. He grins and says; "I hear you broke the swings with your head.
Hard heads must run in this family." He raps on the side of his head with his knuckles as he approaches her. "Ow! Mine's not as hard as I thought!" She grins at him. Mike sits in a chair by the bed and takes her hand. "Can I see the bump?" "It's right there." She bends her head forward.
He's shocked but tries to hide it, when he sees the swelling. Gently he takes his other hand and turns her head a bit. "I can't find it. Oh, just a minute, I see it. Is that little bump what this is all about?" "Oh daddy. What did you do to your hand?" She examines his scabs where he cut himself. "Awww, I zigged when I should have zagged with a knife. If you think it's bad enough, maybe I should stay in the hospital, too. Shall I see if I can get the next bed there?" "Hmmm, I don't think it's that bad.
Can I come home tonight, daddy?" "Well, I think the doctor wants to look at your noggin first thing in the morning. Mommy and I would never get up early enough to bring you over so you better stay the night. I'll stick around with you, if you want?" "Don't you have to work in the morning?" "Maybe after I come over to see you." "Don't I have to go to school?" "Do you want to?" She whispers, "Not really. I got a headache." Mike asks with real concern in his voice, "Does it hurt a lot, honey?" Soberly she says, "No, it just aches a bit." "Maybe you should try to get some sleep.
I'll tuck you in. Will that be alright?" He tucks the blankets up around her and she says, "Thanks, daddy. I'll go to sleep so you can go home and sleep, too." He sits beside her until she has dropped off to sleep. He feels so anxious about her condition. He checks her chart and tries to figure out what they are doing for her.
Finally he gives up and goes to the nearest nurse's station. He gives his card to the nurse and asks he be called if any problems with his daughter should arise. He specifies he be called immediately. Then he leaves the hospital and walks home. Down the street he sees a black van parked and he wonders, "Can they be tailing me that close?" He doesn't think so and goes on into the house. Down the street in the black van sit two men playing cards. One says, "He's back from the hospital.
I just saw him go into the house." Mike goes to see where Marlene is, hears her upstairs putting the kids to bed and goes down to his office. He calls Trudy and tells her he will have to take part of the morning to be with his daughter. He also tells her he argued with Lindross today and has a tail. He asks if she can come to Abbotsford tomorrow morning with the files and meet him at the restaurant closest to the hospital.
They will use her car and shake off the tail. She agrees and they set up a time. He also asks her to bring a Polaroid and anything else she thinks they may be able to use. Early in the morning Mike takes his car around to his mechanic. He comes home with a loaner and parks it at the hospital.
He walks home and tells Marlene he's going over to the hospital. Marlene says, "Wait a minute till I get Richard off to school and I'll go with you.
We can take Janet. Will they be long fixing the car?" "He said he might be able to finish it today. He hasn't got a lot of other work, so far. He gave me a loaner and I parked it by the hospital. Lindross has a tail on me again so I'll go to work from there. I might be able to shake him that way." "Can't you ever get along with that man?
Do you want me to take your briefcase under my spring coat? I think I can hide it unless they come right up to me." "That sounds like a good idea. Your pretty sharp." "Sharpest lady in Abbotsford!" "I guess I'd agree to that." "Maybe tonight you'll reward me?" "Maybe." He grins as she scoots Richard on his way. It's misting a light rain as they leave the house. Mike notes that the van is back.
He takes Janet's hand on one side and Marlene takes her other. Marlene uses her other hand to hold the briefcase tight against her body under her coat. They walk around the block and into the hospital. Mike waves Marlene on and fades back into the shadows by the door. He watches the black van park out near the front of the lot.
He smiles and catches up with his wife and daughter. They go right in to find a cheerful Shelly chatting with a nurse. The nurse says the doctor will be right back. He is releasing their daughter this morning. Shelly wants him to look at her head and he's surprised to see that the bump has subsided and is almost invisible. When the doctor comes back he says she has responded to treatment well and he is sending her home.
She should rest this weekend and will be able to go back to school by Monday. Mike stays until his daughter is released then asks Marlene to wait for ten minutes before she takes them home.
He slips out a side door and walks around the next block to the restaurant. He spots Trudy's Sprint and goes inside. "Hi Boss, you want coffee?" "No, but you go ahead and finish yours.
You got the file for POCO? The WCB file?" She pulls out a manila envelope, about nine by twelve and hands it to him. Return address's Workman's Compensation Board, Victoria, British Columbia and a postal code.
He pulls out the package, glances at the advisory letter then looks into the file. John Hagen, forty-four, married, address in Port Coquitlam claims he sustained a back injury while moving produce in the food processing and packing plant of York Farms in Chilliwack. Has been off work for over a month. Claims he is bedridden, suffering such pains as to make it impossible for him to work.
Has not responded favorably to treatment and his claim is supported by his doctor.
"This one may require patience, but it's fairly straight forward. Catch him on film doing something strenuous. You could handle this one on your own, if he doesn't catch you. Just about done?" "Just finished.
Let's go. You want to drive?" "I'm surprised you'd let me." He takes the keys and catches her coffee at the till. They go out front and Mike tries to fit himself into the sub compact.
He's surprised how much room he does have when he slides the seat back all the way. It starts to rain in earnest as they head west from Mission. Mike says, "I hope it's not going to keep this up. Did you hear the weather report this morning?" "No, but last night on the news it said an unsettled day of sun and rain. It didn't look bad when I left home." "Maybe this is just a shower. It should get better as we go west, anyway. I've often seen it pouring out around Chilliwack and the sun shining when I get into the yard in POCO.
How can you find the pedals in this little piss pot?" "Don't make fun of it. This little baby gets me seventy miles to the gallon. I laugh when I pass everybody at the gas pumps." "I'm surprised how much room you have when you push the seat all the way back.
I suppose you use it with the seat forward as far as it'll go. I can't imagine even a child using the rear seat behind me. That rear seat comes out, doesn't it?" "Yep.
I pulled them out once and took Crystal camping. We slept back there on a foam rubber pad. It fit us." "I think I'd have to leave the hatch back open to lay down back there." He laughs as he pictures himself stretched out with his feet sticking out.
They cross Harris Road and the rain has stopped. It's still a gray day with overcast skies but not bad temperature wise, fairly warm actually. "You want to dig that address out for me?" Trudy pulls out the files and studies it. She looks at a map. "It's only a couple of blocks from Tony's place. It's on Kelly Ave. Take the Mary Hill. Get over to the left there!
Like you're going to work. We'll take Kingsway." They turn at the Mary Hill Bypass and catch Kingsway after they go under the CP tracks. Mike glances in the yard at CPX on his way by. "You know where the Wilson Seniors' Center is, down Wilson from Tony's at the corner of Kingsway and Wilson.
Kelly is just before we get to the center. Watch for it on the left." "Just after Kingsway makes that jog towards town?" "Yep, stay left on the jog cause it's just the next street." "Got it." They turn down a busy street but the traffic eases within two blocks as it turns residential. Trudy's watching the numbers and she says, "It must be down near the end." "It can't be much farther.
I can see Reeve Street Park down at the end already. I suppose the teen hookers will be collecting there again tonight.
It's Friday." "That's it! You just passed it. That little green bungalow set well back on the property." "That describes about half the houses in this part of town. These are in the older low-income area of POCO. We'll go around the block." He swings right on Reeve Street and turns again on Wilson. To the left about half a block is the entrance to the park and Tony's house. He turns right on Wilson then right again on Shaughnessy Street. When he reaches Kelly he slows to watch for the place as he turns.
"Which one?" "Just ahead about four houses. See it?" Mike pulls to the curb. He looks around for cover. There's a kids playground across the street and he says, "Let's go for a walk in the playground." The rain has eased so it's pleasant for walking. They stroll through the playground and Mike points out a viewpoint in some shrubbery. He says, "That would be perfect if we had a camera with a telephoto lens. It's too far for a Polaroid." "Ha!
I brought my tripod and I have my Polaroid set up with a telephoto, so there." "Where did you ever get that kind of equipment?" "My ex used to be a photo nut. I inherited it from him." She grins. "In other words you're using it and he doesn't know?" "Or care." "Do you know how to work it?" "Of course. He always wanted me to take pictures of him to send to his parents in Quebec." "Let's set it up then and hope it doesn't rain." "I'll put a plastic bag over it when I'm not shooting.
You know the pictures will be dark. The telephoto does that. I will lighten them as much as I can." "We'll try a couple of shots. Have you got lots of film with you?" "Four packs of ten. We can get more if we need them." "Great. Let's get it set up." She sets up the camera and tries two shots of just the front door.
Mike is surprised at how clear and bright they are. "Those are good.
I thought you said they'd be dark." "I've got it set for as light as it will go." They wait around strolling occasionally but never far from the bushes where the camera is set. Around eleven a car arrives with three men in it and they go in the house.
Mike says, "What does our guy look like?" "I don't know. I guess we shoot everybody and hope we catch him. Those three all look to be in their forties" "We'll watch." The three men come out with a fourth and walk around to the garage. They go in a small side door. Mike says, "That fourth guy looks like he lives there.
I'll bet that's our man. Better shoot them all though, just in case it isn't. I'm going to try something. You got the file?" "In my purse." Mike pulls the file and looks for the man's phone number then calls it on his cell phone. A woman answers and he says he'd like to speak to John Hagen. She says to wait a moment. A woman comes to the door across the street and goes around the house to the garage. She comes back around with the fourth man as Mike grins and punches 'end' on his cell phone.
"That's him." They chuckle as Trudy snaps the camera. They study the photo as it develops. Trudy says, "Nice looking couple, aren't they?" "Yeah, too bad he isn't carrying a great big box or skipping or something." "Be patient.
He might yet." "By the way, can I borrow your car for an hour or so." "Can't she do without for one day?" "She's my pipeline into what's going on inside the detachment. You wouldn't want to deprive me of important insider's information, would you?" "Don't get the seats all messed up then!
And save some for me, dammit! It'll probably pour down rain as soon as you leave and I'll be stuck out here in the bushes." "Do you want anything out of the car?" "No. Get out of here. I can tell you got ants in your pants. You're almost panting. Scat!" Mike drives across to the RCMP Detachment and watches for Nina as he approaches. She's coming down the sidewalk so he flashes the lights twice to get her attention, waves and points on down the block as he drives by slowly.
In his mirror he sees her following. He parks just out of sight of the offices and wait's for her. She comes up to the car and bends down to speak to him through the passenger window. "Where did you get this little bug?" "Hop in.
I didn't want to stop in front of the building.
Lindross has a tail on me again and I didn't want him to see what I was driving. The Mustang's in the shop." She climbs in and her knees are higher than her lap.
Mike shows her how to adjust the seat then pulls away. She says, "God, I thought my Pinto was small. How can you fit in here?" "It's not bad when you get used to it. What's new?" "I knew the boss had you under surveillance again.
That's what I was going to tell you." They drive out to their spot by the river and park. He says, "I don't think we'll be able to do anything today in this cramped little car, and it's soaking wet outside." Nina grins and says, "These seats let down, don't they?" She fiddles with the adjustments and drops the seat back. "Come on around to my side." Mike goes around the car and she raises herself so he can sit in the seat then she sits in his lap.
Her head is almost touching the ceiling but she turns and kisses him. As he lays back she hikes her skirt up and tries to turn herself around in his lap so she can straddle him. She puts her back to the door and brings one leg; bent at the knee onto his stomach then wiggles her ass while she tries to bring the other leg around.
She hikes her skirt up farther and swings the second leg while wiggling and moving her other knee across his torso. Suddenly she says, "Oh, are you ever hard. You must be really hot today." "Huh?" She reaches down to touch him and exclaims, "Oh hell! It's the gear shift knob." Mike is shaking and trying not to laugh out loud as she gets her knee caught in the seatbelt and is trying to pull the other leg to his hip. She whispers, "Move over a bit. I can't get my other knee past the emergency brake." Mike can't hold it in any longer.
He explodes in laughter and she hides her head in his chest. "Don't laugh, move your ass over!" He moves a bit towards the door but can't go farther without crushing the knee that is there between him and the door. Somehow she gets her knee down over him.
She says, "Now what are you laughing at. I can feel you shaking." Mike speaks with humor in his voice, "I was just thinking what Lindross would think if he pulled down in here and saw your ass sticking up in the front window like it is now." Promptly she pulls in down and her pelvis rests on his.
She sighs, "Whew! That's quite a tight fit. I knew we could do it." She lays her head down on his chest and says: "Now kiss me and make me feel like it was all worth it." They can't engage in a lot of foreplay so Mike has her lift up a bit and pushes his pants and shorts down to his knees.
He pushes aside her panties then uses his tool to rub her and lubricate her until she moans and starts involuntary movements of her hips. He pulls his hand back out of the way and she brings her body down tight to his, wiggling and squirming to align herself with him.
Her lips fasten onto his as she finds him, and her tongue darts into his mouth as she ensheathes him. For a frantic half hour they seek to satisfy each other. Then it's over. Nina rubs the top of her head. "It was fantastic as usual, but I never want to try again in this tight a spot. I hit my head on the ceiling a half dozen times. How do we get out of here?" Mike chuckles and pulls the door handle.
The two of them tumble out and struggle to stay on their feet. Nina screams, "Mike! You crazy bugger! It's a wonder I didn't end up in a puddle on my ass." "You asked, 'how do we get out of here', didn't you?" He's laughing as he pulls up his pants and watches her pulling her skirt down.
"We better get going. We don't want you to be late during your last weeks on the job." "Oh, to hell with them! Come here and hold me for a moment." He does and she says, "Will you come to Toronto and see me someday?" "If you need me, call. I'll try to get a load back east and come to you. Let us know when the baby is due and I'll try to be there for that, too." She holds on to him, "I don't want to go. I want to be with Jeff, but I want to stay here, where I can have a part of you, too." "I guess that's no longer an option, is it?" "No.
I've started packing. Jeff is leaving this weekend to get us a place. Oh Mike, what am I going to do without my savage lover?" She leans back and runs her hand over his face. "I hope we have a boy and he looks just like you. Black, black wavy hair, top and bottom. . It's a little kinkier down there." She grins, "And soft brown eyes that flash when your angry and twinkle when you laugh, high cheekbones like yours, a strong countenance with a good straight nose and soft, soft lips.
He will even have a little bobbing Adam's apple under his chin and tall, so tall. You must be six foot. The girls will swoon over him and he'll always have his choice." Mike guides her to sit in the car seat and kisses her again then closes the door. He goes around and gets in. They leave their spot and head for town. He drops her off a block away from the detachment and goes to look for Trudy.
"What's been happening while I was away?" "Rain! Now it's quit! That's all!" "Uh, I'm sorry. I never noticed if it was raining or not out where I was." "I expect you wouldn't have noticed if it hailed.
You better be good in bed tonight. You owe me!" Patiently Mike watches the house while Trudy sloshes around in wet sneakers. She squish, squishes this way and squish, squishes that way, cursing under her breath.
Mike suggests she go to the car; get herself warmed up, but she says she likes the wet and she's happy where she is, thank you. Around two thirty a department store delivery truck comes and the driver wheels a carton that says 'Candle TV' on the side of it, to the front door. He talks to the subject then wheels it inside. He leaves and about twenty minutes go by.
Mike is thinking that they might as well go home, when the front door opens and the guy's wife holds the screen door open. Mike signals Trudy who pulls the plastic bag off the camera and gets set. Sure enough the guy comes out the door staggering with their old color TV and carries it around to the garage, his wife running ahead to open the door for him.
Mike grins and says, "You got it?" "At least three shots; maybe four unless his wife was in the way on that one shot. Can I pack up now?" Mike studies the photos as they develop and says, "Pack it up. We're going home." He's grinning from ear to ear.
The photos are automatically time and date stamped, so there will be no dispute later. He shows her the pictures. She gives a low whistle as she looks them over. She grins, too. They haul the equipment back to the car and Mike opens the hatch back. With everything in, Trudy takes off her coat and throws it in on top.
She jumps into the passenger side and Mike takes the wheel. As they whisk off out Kingsway, Trudy marvels at all the legroom with the seat pushed all the way back. They cross the Pitt River bridge and are out by Harris Road before Trudy says, "What a wet day. Even my ass feels wet." She feels under her and looks at Mike. "You rotten skunk! I told you not to make a mess of the seats. I'm sitting in a wet spot and it's not mine! Damn you, Michael Claymore!" "Gee, I checked and didn't see anything.
Nina sat there all the way back to the detachment and she didn't say anything. Oh Lord, I bet she never noticed. Will she ever get a razzing at work. She'll be so embarrassed." "Serves her right, the hot assed little bitch. Next time she'll be more careful. Shit!
I go around without any pants and I don't leave a mess behind me. well, most of the time I don't. I got your sheets done for you." Mike grins and says, "Thanks, dear." Mike stops at the hospital in Abbotsford and picks up the loaner car.
He follows Trudy to Chilliwack. They work on paperwork until supper. After supper he plays for a while with Crystal then takes her mother into the bedroom and plays with her. She says as they close the door, "Payback time." and as they open it again she says, "Thanks for a beautiful day, my love." When Mike pulls in home he doesn't see the van. He sighs and calls his mechanic at home. He can pick up the car in the morning.
It will have to be painted sometime but the color match is not too bad. She's all ready to go. Mike hears Shelly and Janet arguing over something upstairs and Marlene says it has been bedlam around the house all day. "It's the rain. If they can't get outside, all they do is argue.
I almost wish she'd gone to school today." "How is her head?" "You'll have to ask her. She won't let me look at it." "You're her mother. Don't let her defy you and get away with it at her age. When she gets older you won't be able to control her and, lately I've seen some out of control teens. They're not a pretty sight." He tells her a bit about the teens in the park.
She shudders and says he's right. She calls Shelly. "Let's see that bump of yours. Has it been hurting at all?" "Not now, Mommy. I'm busy." She turns away and Mike says in a stern voice, "Now!" She turns back and goes to her mother. Marlene looks at it and says it seems to be okay.
Mike says, "When your mother asks you to do something, she usually has your best interests in mind. You think about that and start doing what she asks, when she asks. Got it?" "Yeth, daddy." She hangs her head and goes back upstairs. "We'll have to figure out a way to reinforce that notion in the future, honey.
I don't want her to grow up like the teens I saw in the park." "Amen" They spend a quiet evening around home. They have Nina and Jeff over for cards. This time it's cards only although Nina giggles a lot.
She and Mike exchange glances and she starts giggling. They go home early because Jeff says he has to catch a plane tomorrow.
He's going east to find them a new home. She whispers to Mike as they're leaving, "Did I get a rough time at work today. The ass of my skirt was soaked and I didn't know it." She grimaces and giggles again, as she goes to catch up with Jeff. Saturday and Sunday are rather uneventful. The only exception is a trip to Zellers at Cottonwood Mall in Sardis, by Chilliwack.
Mike runs into the warehouse leadhand, Wayne Stadnyk, who has transferred in from Kelowna where Mike met him. He introduces him to his wife and kids. Stadnyk, in turn introduces him to his Associate Manager, Wendel Blake, and the store Manager, Frank Buttersworth.
They all stand around chatting in the general office and Wendel's wife comes in. Her name is Carol Byers and she works in Accounting. Wayne tells Mike he's heard he's working on the POCO Rapist case. Mike confirms that rumor and Carol says, "How does a truck driver work on a murder investigation?" Mike explains his background in security and a little about the case.
Everybody is interested and they all end up gathered around a table in the Skillet with coffee. They all have theories but the prevalent thought is the ex husband. Mike says he hopes to soon have the guilty party.
The case is coming together now. He won't say more. The atmosphere is so warm and friendly that Frank invites him and his wife to join them in the fall when he takes his managers, their wives and a number of friends on a hunting trip. He says they go every year and would be delighted to have them join. They take their campers and while the wives keep up the camp, the guys go hunting. Mike says if he's free, he just might join them.
Marlene likes the idea, too. They leave Zellers 171 feeling like they are leaving a friend's place.