ATTENTION DEAR READERS:
Although this blog may illustrate the story line using photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and themes of the text are intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
Fr. Kevin peered through the tinted windows, cupping his hands to diminish the glare, and allowing him to see inside. "Not in person, I haven't. Just in print ads... and on the internet." He stood up and stared at Beckett. "Don't these things cost like $200,000?"
Beckett leaned against the wall of the garage, and grinned. "Something like that." He pressed the remote in his hand, and the doors unlocked. "Why don't you get yourself settled on the passenger side. We're gonna take off soon."
While Kevin maneuvered himself into the low bucket seat, Beckett and Wild Bill wandered outside of the garage a few feet in front of the door. He could see them locked in conversation, and at one point, the old man shook his head vigorously from side to side, a look of annoyance on his face. Kevin wished he could hear exactly what the two of them were saying, but with the windows closed, the car was virtually soundproof, and for the life of him, he couldn't figure how to roll them down.
Eventually, the two men shook hands, and Beckett walked toward the car. Sliding himself behind the steering wheel, he buckled up, and advised his passenger to do the same. With a turn of the key, the car's engine came to life, and they jetted out of the garage, across the gravel driveway, and back onto the highway. There was absolutely no vibration inside the vehicle, and Fr. Kevin could only guess how fast they were going by the speed of the scenery flying past the window.
Hoping to soothe his building nerves, he worked at starting a conversation with the Sheriff, who seemed rather morose, and deep in thought. "So...tell me about the car. I have to admit ...it's pretty awesome."
Beckett kept his attention focused on the road, but waxed on a subject that was obviously dear to him. "She's a 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo Coupe with a 5.2 L V 10 engine and 6 E gear transmission. The E gear allows me to shift much faster than I could with a manual."
"It's really an amazing piece of machinery. If you don't mind me asking, how did you end up buying a Lamborghini?"
He thought a moment before answering. "A weak moment I guess. Just seemed like the thing to do at the time, though I'm glad I bought it when I did. They've changed the design of the instrument panel, and I really prefer this style."
Kevin nodded his agreement, acting as if he knew anything at all about the design of Lamborghinis. Or any expensive car for that matter. But Beckett seemed to be in a rare chatty mood, and he wanted to take advantage of the opportunity. "I'm curious as to why you store it in Bridge water. If it were my car, I'd want it right where I could keep an eye on it. Plus, it must be a pain having to drive all the way to another town just to use it."
"A Lamborghini is a bit much for Dollyville, don't you think?" He smiled ruefully, and added, "I can well imagine the talk around town if I started driving this thing on a regular basis. The gossip is bad enough as it is. I don't need to add fuel to the local musings about my personal life. I'm actually hoping a wife and baby will put an end to all that bullshit."
For reasons he couldn't quite explain, that statement bothered Kevin, but he set aside his concerns to focus on keeping their verbal exchange going. "Speaking of wife and baby, how does your family feel about the big news?"
Beckett smirked. "You aren't very smooth when you're trying to pry, Fr. Busybody."
A tad embarrassed at being caught, Kevin turned a light shade of pink. "I don't think of it as prying, Sheriff. Just normal curiosity. You've come to know quite a bit about the O'Kenneys, and we'd like to feel as if we know something about your family. After all, once you and Maureen are married, we'll be spending a lot of time together. You know...holidays, birthday celebrations, and such."
Beckett's face never registered any emotion, but Kevin could swear the man's jaw tightened to his temples. "I see. Well...what exactly is it you want to know?"
"Just the normal stuff. About your parents. And your siblings...if you have any."
Beckett was impossible to read, and the only sign of discomfort might have been his fingers clenched around the steering wheel. He kept his statements short and clipped. "My mother is dead. Going on ten years now. Breast cancer. My father remarried about six years ago. A French national. They spend about half of each year in the Loire Valley, on her estate, the other half in Tahoe. Apparently, I have a 5 year old half brother whom I have never met."
He looked over at Kevin, waiting for a response, and when there was none, he continued. "I
have two other brothers. Jack, the oldest, is 38, and works for the Henton Corporation as CEO. Married, no children. Quinn is 32, and a neurosurgeon at John Hopkins. He's single. None of us are very close. I see my father and brothers when I occasionally go to New York on business, but we almost never get together socially. Frankly, we all move on different planes of the universe, and we're quite content going on in that manner."
The priest didn't know whether he should offer his sympathy, or counsel Beckett on the beauty of God's gift of family. His experience with the man suggested that neither option would be appreciated, so he decided on a different approach. "Well, its entirely different with the O'Kenneys. We all stay pretty connected. I hope you'll consider yourself one of us."
A non-committal grunt was less than the response Fr. Kevin had hoped for, thus he changed the subject, hoping to avoid hurt feelings on his part. "So, when we get to Boston, how are we going to find Maureen if she still isn't answering her phone? The whole city has to be in a state of mass confusion right now. I wouldn't know where to begin searching."
He pointed to his cell phone stuck in a holder on the console. "I'm going to track the location of her cell phone using mine. That should give us some indication of where to start looking."
"You can do that?"
"Easily. All the new smart phones have a GPS system built in. I downloaded an app from my phone to hers that allows me to to pin point pretty accurately exactly where her phone is located. And we both know that Maureen is never without her iphone, so find the phone...find Maureen."
Unable to hide his shock, Kevin asked, "How long has that app been on her phone? And does she know you can track her like that?"
"I downloaded it about seven weeks ago." Beckett looked as if he wanted to say more, but then changed his mind. "And no...she doesn't know, and I'm adamant that you don't breath a word of this to her. We both know how...quickly... Maureen makes decisions, sometimes ill conceived ones. This just helps me stay one step ahead of her."
The Sheriff's nonchalance about invading his sister's privacy was unnerving, and there was no doubt Mo would be furious if she knew her intended had her on a type of digital leash. Family loyalty deemed he needed to make her aware of this situation as soon as possible. Even though his sister had a reputation for getting herself in trouble, she was an adult, and deserved to be treated as one. He opened his mouth to protest, but Beckett immediately cut him off."
"Look, Kevin. I'm sure you find my... methods...extreme. But in a few weeks, your sister will be my wife, and therefore my responsibility. And I will handle my family business in any way I see fit. Truly, you ought to be thanking me right now instead of judging. Without the phone tracking, locating her in the midst of all this trouble would be a nightmare."
There were a million things Kevin wanted to say on the subject, but the conversation was interrupted by flashing lights in the rear view mirror. Beckett swore under his breath, cursing Wild Bill's lack of ingenuity, and his personal string of bad luck. He came to a stop at the side of the road, and waited while the patrol car pulled up behind him. No one exited the car for a few minutes, and Kevin assumed that the officer was running the car's plates. Although it seemed rather childish, and in bad priestly form, to revel in the man's misfortune, Kevin was looking forward to seeing the pompous ass work himself out of what was sure to be a whopper of a speeding ticket.
The State Trooper took his time wandering over to the driver's side of the Lamborghini, first stopping and giving the car a complete once over. "Evening, Sheriff. You have any idea you were going over 90 mph down that stretch?"
Beckett noted the name tag pinned to his uniform. "Yes, Trooper Dixson. I was most certainly aware of my speed."
The State Trooper made a face, and even Kevin wondered at the rather condescending tone of Beckett's words. "Your driver's license, and registration, Sheriff." The trooper's body language changed, showing his dislike of the driver's attitude, and Fr. Kevin fidgeted in his seat, an audience to what was sure to be a tough guy- policeman pissing match. "You carrying, Sheriff?"
"Undoubtedly, Trooper Dixson."
"Then I'm going to have to ask you to remove your wallet very carefully, Beckett, and keep your hands where I can see them at all times."
Without acknowledging the man's request, Beckett removed his hands from the steering wheel, and reached into his back pocket, pulling out his wallet, and a leather bi-fold. He plucked his license and insurance card from the wallet, and handed them, along with the bi-fold, to the trooper, and retrieved the registration papers from the glove compartment. From his perspective, Fr. Kevin guessed that Beckett was also handing over his law enforcement shield, which in the priest's opinion, wouldn't make a hoot of difference. The trooper already knew Beckett was Dollyville's Sheriff when he ran his plates, and hadn't seemed all that impressed. In fact, the man appeared to be itching for a chance to take Beckett on. Maybe it was the fact the Sheriff was driving a Lamborghini. Or maybe it was the way Beckett always came off as having an attitude. Either way, the end result wouldn't be pretty.
Trooper Dixson looked over the driver's license and insurance card, and then flipped open the bi-fold. He stared at the information, looking back and forth from Beckett, to the thing in his hand, and quite suddenly, seemed a lot less sure of himself. He tapped the items in his palm, and then stated, "I'm going to need to check this all out."
From behind the steering wheel of the Lamborghini, Beckett's poker face never changed. "Certainly, Officer. You go right ahead."
The officer walked back to his patrol car, leaving Kevin confused over the apparent shift in the power struggle. "What the hell was all of that, Beckett? The guy's whole attitude changed in an instant. What did you hand over to him?"
"Just shut up, and keep quiet, O'Kenney. My goal is to get this over with, head to Boston, and find Maureen. It's all taking way too long."
Kevin huffed, and leaned back in his seat. He knew it was pride, but he definitely didn't like being told to "shut up", and if he hadn't been in the middle of nowhere, he would have like to have told the ass what he could do with his damn Lamborghini.
After several minutes, Dixson returned, sheepishly handing the items back to Beckett. "You're free to go, Sir. Heading to the trouble in Boston?" When Beckett just nodded, the Trooper continued, "Horrible thing, that bombing. Good luck with your investigation."
"Thank you, Officer." And without a further word, Beckett started the engine, and pulled the car back onto the highway.
They had gone only a few miles, when Kevin finally gave in and asked, "You're not going to explain any of what just happened, are you?"
Expressionless, Beckett replied, "Nope."
And so the next hour's drive was spent in complete silence, while the city of Boston, and a myriad of questions, loomed murkily in front of them.
Just inside the city's limits, Beckett pulled into a gas station. After fueling up, he grabbed his cell phone, and first tried dialing Maureen's number, and then her friend, Allison. There was no answer at either, but he was grateful that Maureen's phone was still on, and seemingly charged. Tapping an icon on the screen, he brought up the GPS tracking on her cell, then turning toward Kevin, he asked, "Does Riley's Pub mean anything to you?"
Still angry, Kevin looked out the window, refusing to answer him.
"Stop behaving like a five year old, O'Kenney, and talk to me. The goal here is to find Maureen, not act like fuckn' baby, because I won't let you interrogate me."
Fr. Kevin swung around to face him. "You are such an asshole, Beckett. I have no idea what my sister sees in a jerk like you."
"Well, you can ask her when we find her. In the meantime, I could use your help in actually doing that, if you can get past your crybaby hurt feelings."
Kevin grabbed the cell phone from his hand, and examined the screen. "Riley's is about three plus miles from where they said the bombs went off. I can't imagine why she'd be there. That area is kinda rough. I can't see her, or Allison, going to any pub in that location."
"I can't explain the reasons, but the GPS says that's where her phone is now, so that's where we're going to check first."
Using the GPS on the car, they wove through the back streets of Boston. The city was on high alert, and police presence was everywhere. In any other situation, the Lamborghini might have garnished admiring attention, but in the aftermath of the tragedy, minds were on the whys and hows, and not the passing whimsy of traffic. They pulled up just past Tremont Street, in the city's South End neighborhood, and looking around him, Beckett worried over the idea that his Maureen might have come here on her own.
Riley's Pub was your typical dive bar...dark, seedy, and badly in need of tuck pointing. Beckett parked his car a block up the street, and pulled his jacket from behind his seat. "You stay here, and keep an eye on the car. I'm gonna go check out the pub."
Indignant, Kevin retorted, "I'm not staying here. She's my sister. I'm going with you."
"Don't be ridiculous. You in that kind of place...dressed the way you're dressed...would be a big mistake. You'd just be a target for all kinda shit I don't want to have to deal with right now. Please...just stay in the damn car."
Ripping the Roman collar from his neck, Kevin unbuttoned his shirt, and slipped his jacket off his shoulders. "I'm perfectly capable of taking care of my self, as you can personally attest to, Beckett. I was able to get a jump on you a few weeks ago. Besides, I grew up here. I know exactly how things are, and I have no intention of sitting here in the car, while you go off and play superhero in front of my sister."
Beckett sighed, and waved him out of the car. "Suit yourself, O'Kenney. I tried to warn you." Setting the security on the car, the two of them made their way up the street toward the pub, Kevin several strides ahead of Beckett. He reached the door first, but waited for the Sheriff before going inside. The shabby pub was, not surprisingly, quite empty. A few patrons leaned on the bar, while the bartender dried glasses behind it. All eyes were glued to a TV set in the far corner, the screen rolling with videos of the bomb exploding on Bolyston Street hours before.
Kevin followed Beckett over to the the end of the bar, nearest to the front door. They sat down, and waited for the bartender to notice their arrival. The man looked over his shoulder, and not recognizing their faces, ignored them, and turned back to his drying. His dismissal, and the obvious lack of interest from the rest of the patrons, was a blessing in disguise. It gave the two men the opportunity to explore the entire room for any sign of Maureen."
Leaning toward the Sheriff, Kevin whispered, "I don't see her. Why would the GPS send us here?"
"Because her phone is here. Look down toward the end of the bar. To the far right. See that guy there? The one with the ripped denim jacket?"
"Yeah. I see him. So what?"
"He's obviously playing with a cell phone. I got a quick glimpse of it when he held it up to the light. The case is pink with some small set diamonds. That's Maureen's phone. I know because I bought that new case for her three weeks ago."
"So why does that guy have her cell phone? And where exactly is Maureen?"
Sliding off the bar stool, Beckett looked totally pissed, his hand on something set in the waistband of his pants. "I don't know, O'Kenney. But I'm sure as hell going to find out."
|Looking for the missing Maureen inside Riley's Pub|
Copyright 2013 Victoria T. Rocus
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