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Don Yarber Don Yarber
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Joint Effort in Death

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Under the Double Star - Chapter One

This is a joint effort in writing a PI novel.  Allen Clarke and I are writing this.  Please let us know how you like it.

JOINT EFFORT IN DEATH  By Allen Clarke and Don Yarber


                                                    CHAPTER ONE      

Burl Britton was feeling his age.  
       The couple that had just left the office of Burl Britton, Private Detective, were in their late thirties, young, vibrant, alive.  Burl was nearing 60 and feeling it every day.  He was touched by the case he had just accepted, and deep inside he felt a little selfish for taking it.  Missing teens are a dime a dozen, they are seldom found if they do not want to be found, and he knew it.  Yet he had accepted the retainer, a thousand dollars, and signed the contract.  
       He would be paid a hundred a day plus expenses.  If he didn’t find the teen aged girl in 30 days, his contract would terminate and he would turn over any documentation to the parents.
       He really disliked missing persons cases unless he felt that the case just involved a dead beat skipping out on child support or mounds of credit card debt.  Those cases he liked.  They paid good, and usually weren’t all that difficult to solve.
       Missing teens were hard to find.  He knew that of all the teens reported missing in the United States each year, only about ten percent were found alive.  The other ninety percent remained missing or returned on their own.  Some of them were likely dead, some huddled together in abandoned houses, subway tunnels and makeshift camps in the woods somewhere, most living on prostitution, theft and minor hold ups or burglary.  
       There was nothing different about the case brought to him by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Banquell.  Their daughter, Lisa, was sixteen.  She told her mother, Dora, that she was going to spend the night with a girlfriend, Mona, in the Augusta suburb of Whispering Meadows.  She said that she would be home in time for supper the next day, Saturday.  There was no mention of a party, no boys involved, and Dora had no reason to doubt Lisa.  They had a good relationship, loved each other a great deal, and both of them loved Art Banquell with all their beings.  That is what he was told.  He would learn different.
       Art was the perfect Dad.  He was an accountant, upper middle class, church going, active in the community, devoted to wife and daughter, didn’t drink and didn’t smoke, and did something most fathers never do.  He spent a lot of time with Lisa.  He was involved in her life.  He helped her study, he gave her attention, he listened to her daily.  He knew who she went out with, insisted that her dates pick her up at their home, and checked the background of each boy with the careful magnifying glass of someone who really cared.
That is what Britton was told.  That, too, might prove to be a different case.
       But Lisa did not come home Saturday.  She didn’t call to explain why she wouldn’t be home.  Dora called Mona’s home and was shocked to find that Lisa had not been there.  That was the thing that nearly broke Art and Dora’s hearts.  Lisa had lied to them.
       Burl Britton sighed.  His practice had gradually declined over the past two years or so, from peaks of near a hundred grand per year, he was now averaging only forty five.  His car was three years old, a Honda Civic Hybrid that he purchased for the good mileage, not the comfort.  
       Lisa Banquell’s case wasn’t one that he wanted, but he couldn’t afford to turn it down.  
       He locked his office and shuffled slowly out to the old Honda parked at the curb, glanced back as if he remembered something that he didn’t do, and then shrugged his shoulders and got in the car.
       It was after six and he hadn’t eaten since breakfast.  He was hungry, tired, and disappointed that the only case he had picked up on this quiet Monday was a missing teen case.  Oh well, he thought, I’ll start on it tomorrow.  
       He put his old Samsonite briefcase on the seat beside him, opened it and took out the picture of Lisa Banquell.  She was posed with her short cheer leader skirt, legs spread wide apart, arms extended fully to each side, hands holding pompoms.  Her long, dark hair hung over each shoulder and down over her chest.  She smiled at Burl Britton from the photograph, a full smile, revealing beautiful white perfectly aligned teeth.  
       Burl thought about his own daughters, now grown, married and with children of their own.
       He sighed again, dropped the photograph back in his briefcase, snapped the lid shut and fastened his seat belt.  He glanced at himself in the mirror.  His hair had turned almost completely white.  His blue eyes didn’t see as well as they once did.  His cheeks were a healthy color, tanned by summer sun and his passion for tennis.  
       He needed to go play a few sets, shower, get something to eat and go home.  Home to the empty house, the blathering television with nothing fit to watch, the emptiness.
    Chapter Two

        My name is Savage. Noble T. Savage, if you can believe it. And, if you haven’t guessed by now, yeah, I’m a red man. The T stands for doubting Thomas. And, I suppose that I’ve had a whole bunch to disbelieve lately. Yeah, I know I shouldn’t be crying in my soup and crackers. Even though, the truth is, my cupboards have been a little skimpy these days.
I’m what one might call a private dick. Some might just call me a dick. That’s a matter of personal opinion. The truth is, if you can get past my callous heart and thick skin, you just might find a genuine human being in there somewhere.
        The nature of my business is tough. By the way, that could also be my middle name, as well as `trouble`.  I’m trouble to whoever wants it that way. On the other hand, I can be a real pussy cat.  The odd time you might see me crack a smile but the punch line has to be of an exceptional nature.
        My phone’s been silent. That’s not a good sign.  I don’t much like it when things get too quiet. I got to get out of this stinkin` hole of a reserve.  I’m tired of watchin` the grass grow.  Life on the rez can get to a guy after awhile. You might wonder how I got to be a private dick. Well, I couldn’t afford education through conventional means, so I tried correspondence. Two weeks later, they sent me a certificate which hangs proudly on my office wall.
Once in awhile I’ll get into my 56` Pontiac and rumble into town.  My office is a crawlspace which I rent for fifty bucks a month. My shingle’s been up for a couple of months now, but still no takers. Maybe nobody believes in the shadow man anymore.  I’m on the net. You’d think my inbox would be glutted with urgent messages by now. I guess you might say I’m still waiting for That  Great White Buffalo to make my day. Talk to you later.  I’ve got some grease bread to fry!

      CHAPTER 3

Tuesday morning Burl Britton went through the rituals of showering, shaving, and getting dressed for work.  After a bowl of oatmeal he felt better and when he picked up his briefcase and headed for the old Honda in the driveway, he even allowed himself the luxury of a positive thought.  He thought he would find a lead to Lisa Banquell today.
At his small office, Britton went through all he had on the case, checked his message machine and then called the Banquell residence and asked if he could see Lisa’s room.  He knew what he would find there might be something that the Banquell’s had overlooked.  They had not gone to the police yet, and he had asked them to postpone filing an official missing persons report until he had a chance to do some preliminary investigating.  There were two reasons for that.  First reason was that Police work invariably clouded up the issue.  Police tasks are regimented, follow certain inbred patterns, and seldom turned in directions that aren’t part of that procedure.  He had learned years ago to follow his instinct instead of procedures.
When he was a rookie cop he already had the instincts of a seasoned private detective, but then that isn’t what the Augusta police force expected of a rookie cop so they frowned on any individual thinking.  A phrase heard on television a lot nowadays is “think out of the box”.  That’s what Britton did.  He couldn’t help it.  It was a part of his nature to think of things that others might never think of, to follow leads that might not appear to be a lead.  That is one reason he was a lousy cop and a great private detective.  
The Banquell’s lived in an exclusive part of Whispering Meadows.  You might call it an estate instead of a home.  The house sat a third of the way back on the five acre lot, a long, shiny blacktop driveway rolled through brick entryways that had four rail white vinyl fence extending from them, across the front and down each side of the driveway.  It reminded Britton of a horse ranch, but the Banquell’s owned no horses.  
He parked the car near a four car garage, but out of the way of the doors so that anyone wanting to leave could do so.  He walked the short distance to a side entrance of the large brick two story home and rang the doorbell.  
“Good morning Mrs. Banquell,” he said as Dora Banquell answered the door.
“Mr. Britton,” she said.  Her voice was hollow and weak.  He knew that she hadn’t slept much.  Her eyes had little dark circles under them.  
“Come in,” she said, holding the door in her right hand and motioning with her left hand.  Britton went in and was immediately impressed with the interior of the Banquell home.  Upper middle class residence, impressive furniture, exquisitely decorated.  
“Ill show you to Lisa’s bedroom,” Dora Banquell said.  
“Thank you, Mrs. Banquell,” Britton said, politely, “I hope that I am not disturbing you, I won’t be long.”
He followed her through the rambling home, up a flight of stairs that curved left from bottom to top and emerged on a hallway that ran athwart of the living room area below.  The second door on their right was open and Dora motioned towards it.  
“I haven’t done anything in here,” she said.  “It’s just as it was the morning she left.”
“Thank you,” he said.  “I won’t be long.”
He went in and the room was almost exactly as he had thought it would be, decorated nicely in school colors of Whispering Meadows High School.  Maroon and gold.  The bed was made, next to it was a small computer desk, a screen saver program scrolling across the screen read “English Lit test Friday”.  He glanced over his shoulder and saw that Dora had left him alone in the room.
One of the first things that he looked for was e-mail.  There were several, none of which held a clue as to where the beautiful young lady had gone.  
He opened a Facebook page and looked at Lisa’s messages.  One caught his attention.  It was from a boy named Larry who wanted Lisa to go to the prom with him.  Britton took a notebook from his pocket and copied the email message verbatim.  He closed Facebook and went back to the email program.
Lisa used Outlook Express as her email server and Britton clicked on the “View” at the top of the toolbar.  A drop down menu appeared and the first entry was “Current View”.  He clicked on that.  The first three lines of that menu were “Show all messages” “Hide read messages” and “Hide read or ignored messages”.
The hair on Burl Britton’s arms rose slightly and he felt the familiar tingle that he experienced every time he knew that he was about to uncover something of importance in a case.  His eyes followed the cursor as he swept it to “Show all messages” and clicked.  The little black dot next to “Hide read or ignored messages” disappeared and appeared, as if by magic, on the line he chose.  
A new page of email messages appeared.
The first one he read held the clue he knew he was going to find.
“Lisa darling, I will pick you up at the designated spot on Saturday.  Don’t worry about clothes, we can hit a Wal-Mart store and get whatever you need, toothbrush, whatever.  Please don’t worry, this is going to work.  We’ll be together forever and that is what counts.”
The email was from someone named James Enderly.  
Britton put the cursor on James Enderly and did a right mouse click and clicked on “properties”.  A box opened on the screen with two tabs, “General” and “Details”.  He clicked on details and the page opened with all of James Enderly’s email properties on it.  Britton laboriously copied every word on to the page in his notebook.  It would have been easier to print the page, Lisa Banquell’s printer was on a shelf below the monitor.   Britton preferred to write it down.  He had always had the ability to remember most of what he wrote.  If he was going to take a test in school and there was something that he knew would be on the test, he would copy it verbatim onto a piece of his notebook paper and when time came for the test he would remember most of it.
“Snap out of it, Burl,” he said to himself, “You’re a long ways from school.”
Feeling confident that he had what he had came to find in Lisa’s room, Burl Britton rose from the chair and glanced around.  He riffled through books, opened clothes drawers and peeked in.  He felt weird looking at Lisa Banquell’s underwear, and quickly closed that drawer.  
He dropped to hands and knees, stretched his body prone on the lush carpet and peered under the bed.  There was a pencil and paperback book under the bed.  He retrieved both.  A standard #2 pencil.  The book was a copy of “Flowers in the Attic” and when Burl Britton riffled it with his thumb a note fell out.
“Lisa, this is the book I was telling you about.”  It was signed “Michelle” in the block style handwriting that is prevalent.  Parker penmanship is no longer taught in school, Britton reflected.  Shame, too.
Britton carried the book with him when he left Lisa’s room and went down the curved stairway.  Mrs. Banquell was in the living room, staring at the dark screen of a 52 inch television set.  A cup of coffee sat on a table to her right.
“I found this book under Lisa’s bed,” Britton said, and watched as Dora’s head turned slowly.
“Is that important?” She wanted to know.
“Do you know who ‘Michelle’ might be?  There’s a note in it from ‘Michelle’.”
“More than likely that is Michelle Montague,” Dora said.  “She is Lisa’s friend from school.  Her best friend.”
Britton opened his notebook and made a note.
He didn’t mention the small plastic envelope he had found in the book with a white powder substance in it.  He would find out what the substance was before he told her about it.  No need opening a can of worms for nothing.
“Did Lisa ever mention a boy named James Enderly?”
“No, I’ve never heard that name before,” Dora said. “Who is he?”
“I don’t know yet,” Britton said.  He wasn’t ready to give her any hope at this point.  Too many times he had given parents a name and they had started their own investigation.  By the time he tried to follow, the trail was muddied.  He didn’t tell her any details, just that it was someone Lisa knew, as evident by an email he had found on her computer.  He didn’t tell her what the email said, he had some checking to do first.  Curiously she didn’t ask about the details of the email.
He asked Dora about the boy who wanted to take Lisa to the prom.  She knew the boy and gave him a rundown on the boy’s family, a general idea of where he lived and that he was a running back on the football team and considered very intelligent.
Dutifully Britton jotted that information into his spiral notebook.  
By the time he said his goodbyes to Dora Banquell, Britton’s spirits had lifted considerably.  He had some clues.  He had some leads.  He had some work to do to keep his mind occupied and off of his own loss.

      CHAPTER 4
Canwood, Saskatchewan is a one-horse town.  Doesn’t that little tidbit of local geography excite you?  Nah, I didn’t think so.  I blush a deep shade of red when I think of its implications.  There’s nothing here but miles and miles of farmland.  Canwood pub is the central hub of activity.  I roll into town at about 3:oo p.m., as the crow flies.  Screeching to a stop in front of the post office, my 56`Pontiac farts to a halt in a cloud of blue smoke.  Quite unceremoniously, I drag my lazy carcass from off of the red, velour seats and onto the sidewalk.  The postmaster, J.P. Grimley, almost kills me dead with his usual “evil eye.”  I always suspected he didn’t like the colour of my skin.  I kinda think he was secretly jealous of my perfect tan.
     “Well, good morning`, girly-girl!” I say to the postmistress.  She had the look of a youngish Marilyn Monroe.
     “Morning, sir.” she breathed.
     “Say, howz about a date?” I whispered slyly.
     “Sure, Mr. Savage, how about the twelfth of never.” She giggled girlishly.
     “Aww you done hurt my widdle feelings.” I said, trying my best Sylvester the Cat impersonation.
     “Actually, Mr. Savage, my doctor told me to cut back on...ahem, red meat”
     “Now, now, now, girly-girl, the parson wouldn’t be too impressed to hear you talking that way to a distinguished gentleman. Would he now?”
       J.P. Grimley came out of his little perch, with his face exasperated and beet-red.
      “Now, Noble, you scat! Pick up your mail and get outta town!”
      “You’d best be minding your p`s and q`s, J. P.!” I barked.
At that precise moment, he made the stupid mistake of trying to manhandle me out of the Post Office.  He tried his level best to hug me not so tenderly and I danced out of his grip.  In a split second, I planted my size 14`s where the sun don’t shine. I left him rolling in the dust screaming in a falsetto vein.
Scooping up my mail, I paused at the doorway long enough to bid Marilyn adieu.
      “Now, remember, girly-girl, if you ever get tired of life in the fast lane. Look me up.  I’m in the yellow pages.”

On the way out of town, I cracked open my mail.  There was a letter all the way from the Windy City.  Chicago, the moider capital of the Noo-nited States of `Merca!  A picture fell out just as I went to open it. It was of a young man, a teenager.  Either that or he was the next Dick Clark.  A wholesome looking kid, I surmised.  `Precious` was written on the back.  I took out the letter and read the barely legible handwriting. Again, I surmised that this was the infamous scrawl of a very well paid physician.  Actually, I didn’t think anybody wrote letters anymore. The letter was not crisply presented. It had the look of something which had been wrinkled over.  It read;

Chicago, Illinois
July 4, 2012

Dear Det. Savage.
         We are in a desperate situation. Our son has gone missing for the past few weeks.  We are in no position to offer you a substantial fee for his safe return.  We are by no means wealthy by today’s standards, but we will pay you for your travel and accommodations.  As for your regular fees, we can only promise you that we are doing everything in our power to acquire sufficient funds to meet your needs.  As a gesture of good faith, please find remitted in U.S. Funds via traveler’s checks the amount of $500.00.  Please, Mr. Savage, we have exhausted all other means to secure services such as you are able to provide.  We have approached so many other agencies and we have come up empty.  You are our last resort. My wife is an emotional wreck. And, I feel, at this writing that I am not too far behind her.

                                                                                                                           Desperate , yet Hopeful

John and  Marilyn Enderly

Well, call me an all-day sucker. I guess I’ve just been hired.  On a separate sheet of paper, I found all the particulars of the case.  It took me less than a day to take off my shingle and put out a “Gone Fishing”  sign.  I guess my usual pork and bean Friday night supper would have to wait for awhile.  I had to wonder though if my old Pontiac would make it there and back.  I guess I was about to find out.  I didn’t pack no heat. If need be, my fists would have to do the talking.


       Burl Britton had a friend who ran a computer repair shop in Augusta.  He headed the Honda towards the parkway out of Whispering Meadows and pointed it up the onramp towards Augusta.
       Thirty minutes later he opened the door to the shop.
       “Burl, my favorite Private Eye,” Roger Stone said.
       “Hi, Roger.”
       “Has your laptop gone haywire again?”
       “No, it’s doing fine,” Britton said as he ambled towards the counter in the back of the shop.
       “OK, just a friendly visit this time?  You want some coffee?”
       “OK thanks, Roger.  What I really came for is some help.  Can you take a look at something and tell me what you make of it?”
       “Sure, let’s see it.”
       Burl opened his spiral notebook and showed Roger the page with the information he had laboriously copied, the email properties for James Enderly.
       “What do you want to know?”
       “Can you determine from that where it came from?”
       Roger glanced own the page.  His practiced eye found the line that read “received from” and he sat at his computer and typed a few words.
       The result of his Google search for WesTel.Com showed a small communications company with a network of users in the Chicago area.
       “It came from Chicago, an internet service provider named WesTel.
This was handled by a proxy server in Augusta but it originated in Chicago.”
       “Chicago, huh?”  
       “Yep.  Does that help?”
       Britton accepted the coffee that Roger poured for him, took a sip and grinned.  “It may help a lot.  Do me a favor and see if you’ve got a white pages listing for surname Enderly in the Chicago area.”
       The keys on Roger’s computer clicked and clacked, hesitated, clicked a few more times and clacked several times.
       “There are several listings,” Roger said, “One, two, three….” he went down the list, counting out loud.
       “Any James?”
       “What’s the number?”
       Roger rattled off the Chicago area code, and a seven digit number.  Burl wrote it down in his notebook.
       “Thanks, Roger.”
       “You’re welcome.  What kind of case are you tackling now?”
       “Kid missing over in Whispering Meadows.  Girl, 16.  I think she ran away with James Enderly.  I found an email in her computer from him.  That’s where I got that stuff.” He motioned towards the page with the “properties” of James Enderly’s email.
       “You going to Chicago?”
       “Not if I can help it,” he said.  “I’ll try making some phone calls first, see if I can find out anything.  If not, I’ll get in touch with an investigator I know in Chicago, see if he will help.”
       “Well, good luck with it,” Roger said.  “I’ve got a bunch of work to do, Burl.  Good to see you again.  Come back when you don’t have so long to stay.”
       Burl drank the last of his coffee, sat the cup down and grinned at Roger.         “Up yours too!” He said.  
       He sat in his Honda thinking that he would wait until he got back to his office to call Chicago.  His cell phone was low on minutes and he had a plan on his office phone that let him call long distance at a rate so low it wouldn’t bankrupt him.  A penny saved is a penny earned, he thought.
       It was nearly noon when he got back to his office and dialed the Chicago number.
       “Is this the Enderly residence?”
       “Yes, who’s calling?”  A female voice.
       “Is there a James Enderly living at your residence?”
       “Yes, that is my husband.  Who wants to know?”
       “Mrs. Enderly, my name is Burl Britton.  I’m a private investigator from Georgia, and I’m working a missing persons case.  The young lady who is missing received an email from a James Enderly in the Chicago area.  I’m trying to get a lead on that person.”
       “Well it isn’t MY James!”
       “Mrs. Enderly, I’m sure that it isn’t your husband.  Is there a young James Enderly?  A son perhaps?”
       “My husband has a nephew named James.  We haven’t seen him in a few years.  We don’t associate with my husband’s brother very much.  They’ve not spoken in five years.”
       “Can you tell me anything about your husband’s nephew?  How old would he be?  Where he goes to school, is he out of school, where he works?”
       “I can only tell you that he’s about eighteen.”  She said.
       “You don’t know if he’s still in school?”
       “No.  I told you, we haven’t heard from that family in at least five years.”
       “What is your husband’s brother’s name?”
       “Well, thank you, Mrs. Enderly.  I appreciate your time.”
       The line went dead.  
       Apparently Mrs. Enderly wasn’t anxious to help if it meant dealing with the family of her husband’s brother.

Chapter Six
           I hit the eastbound blacktop at around 8:45, the morning after I received my retainer.  In a sick sort of way, I felt like I was going to miss the flatlands.  What the heck for, I don’t know.  I guess some things in life can’t be easily accounted for.  Like the motives for this runaway, except for the fact, that he met this sweet thing over the net, and...Bammo!,  he was hooked!  If the boy was from the wrong side of the tracks, I could easily relate.  No one knows deep poverty quite like us redskins.  If it wasn’t for bologna and macaroni, the Cree Nation, would likely be extinct.  Listen to me, I’m not even in Chicago yet, and I’m already singin` the blues!  Wait`ll they get a load of me!
           I read somewhere (probably in Reader’s Digest) that the town of Chicago can be quite deadly.  That’s quite alright with me.  I’m in my element, when things get vicious.  That’s just my game.  I’ve got warrior blood coursing through my veins. My heart is a beating chunk of ice, cause once I get you down you’re not coming back up the same way you went down. Somebody comes at me with a weapon, they better be able to make the first shot count, cause they will spend the rest of their natural life in a wheelchair.
           The miles keep whipping past me as I roar down the wide open plains.  At dusk, I pull off the road at a truck stop close to the Manitoba border.  I fill up my guzzler, and go into the confectionary to buy a ring of garlic and a loaf of day-old rye.  People think I’m cheap, but, I prefer the word frugal.  Staring off into the distance, I see a blue moon riding on the clear night sky.  It’s beautiful out here on the prairie.  It’s so unconfined. It makes a man want to reach out and touch the stars.  Back home, most folks will be curling up in their warm blankets.  I sigh deeply, and I think of home, luxuriating in a few moments of peace. I see a young couple on the other side of the highway trying to flag down a ride before darkness falls. I snap to it, as I realize I’m losing precious time.  At 57, I feel I can no longer dilly-dally, even at the simplest of chores. I look in the rear-view, and I barely recognize the man staring back at me under the shadow of a dark brown fedora.  The light in the cab glitters off the beaded hatband and the wisps of silvery hair at the sideburns.
          Pouring a hot cup of java, I see the steam curling up to merge with the smoke from my cheroot.  I don’t really like to smoke, but I like the way it makes me look tough.  It’s all part of the illusion.  At least, that’s what I want them to believe.  I figure by the time they figure out it’s no bluff, it’s too late.  By then, they’re usually trying to process what just hit them. I’m part con, repo-man and snake charmer.  In my experience, there’s a lot of two-legged snakes, so you always have to be keen to their tricks. By the way, I also have this uncanny sixth sense, I kinda inherited from my granpappy.  It’s kinda like this small voice in my head that senses the imminence of something bad about to happen.  I usually get that strange little “twinge” on the inside of me.  Whenever I feel it, I know I’m about to step into some pretty deep, “ka-ka”
          Wha!...hold on, here it comes! This big buck jumps out from the tall grass, and barely misses ruining the finish on Old Betsy!  I careen wildly for about a hundred yards, before regaining my composure. I figure if I would have been holding my java, I might have scalded my wienie!  The whip I drive is a souped-up muscle car. It’s like a shiny black ghost swiftly eating up the wide open prairie.  It’s got a deep-throated rumble from a pair of genuine Hollywood mufflers.  It’s a big V-8, and it’s punishing on my thinning wallet.  I chose to sacrifice frugality over power. I’ve got my window wide open and I’m just now getting used to the smell of putrefying swamp water coming up from the ditch.  Needless to say, the raunchy odor keeps my beautiful brown eyes wide open.
          I got the speedometer at a steady 120 clicks.  I’m the bloody Red Baron, and I’m coming after you, babies!  Towards early morning, I run out of prairie and I’m deep into the woodland.  I’m praying that the moose are still sleeping.  The lush green of pine blurs on either side of my journey, mile after lonely mile.  I turn on the ancient radio and it crackles and sputs to life.
        “This is C.G.B.B!  The Voice of a Thousand Lakes! We got us a reequest from Margie to Donny to play, “Yer Cheatin`Heart” by old Hanky Panky Williams! You all enjoy this moldy an` oldie, but a goody! Yee`haw!!
          I’m not much for “corn” but it was the only reception I was getting, so I just let it play. Finding some comfort in the sound of another human voice, I found myself singing along like poor old Kawliga. It was at that moment that I started to think about this young guy I was supposed to locate.  I wondered where he was tonight.  Maybe he was sleeping in some dumpster, or maybe in a culvert with the mosquitoes feasting on his hiney.  Funny, how the mind can start to play with you after 8 hours behind the wheel.  In the instructions, they had told me to meet them at a designated bus depot deep in the heart of Chicago.  They thought that I would arrive by Greyhound.  I wasn’t too keen on the idea of riding in the belly of a big dog, so I decided to drive.
          Before hitting Winnipeg, I exited off to a side-road, and got some beauty sleep, not that I needed it.  I guess it would have been easier to fly but the miser in me won out. I knew I’d be fit to be tied after this long road trip, so I planned on taking in some of the sights after I finished my business. I barely remember going through International Falls, before heading south.   Finally, I reached the city of my destination. I had quite the time peeling myself off the red velour seats as I got off of Old Betsy and walked into the Greyhound terminal. I phoned my clients and within half an hour they came to meet me at the bus depot.  When I finally met their acquaintance, they looked very tired and old beyond their years. It seemed to me like they had driven all the way from Saskatchewan.

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