Looking forward to a week of rest and relaxation after a hectic two month long assignment that saw Harrison travelling across the island in search of evidence that would definitely stand up in court and put away the most notorious bandit in the country, his excitement was actually stifling. Power and water turned off, last bag in hand, he turned at the door and mentally checked everything ensuring nothing was left undone before slamming it shut.
The car horn blaring at the gate sounded angry to his ears. He recognized the car by the heavy tint. Only one person would dare break the law like this and get away with it. He tried to duck behind the patch of dwarf ixoras his ex wife had planted before running of with his best friend, but to no avail.
“Get out from behind there, you old dog. I see you!”
“Give me a break Eddie. I’ve had a rough two months. You know that.”
“Yes. I know. But it’s my brother Renwick.” Edward said as he climbed out of the biggest car this side of town.
“Little Ronnie? What’s he done now?” Harrison asked.
“Police arrested him last night for the murder of Rostand McGuire.” Eddie answered.
“The shopkeeper? Ronnie couldn’t do that. He doesn’t have the brains to pull off a job like that. You know that and so do I.” Harrisonstated as a matter of fact. “And so does the police.” Harrison continued when Edward didn’t say anything. “They’re using him as a scapegoat?”
“That’s what I think yes. Maybe they want to get me? I don’t know.”
“So what do you want from me? If the big boys want you there’s nothing I can do. Besides you’ve got your cronies up there. Look at you breaking the law with your heavily tinted car. Only you can do that and get away with it.”
“This is a different set of players. Different rules. And from what I hear, the stakes are quite high.”
“I still don’t see what I can do.”
“That is your world Harrison. Or have you forgotten?”
“It’s a world I’ve left behind, Edward.”
Looking at Harrison askance he tried devilishly to read him, but met with a blank wall.
“I desperately need your help now Harrison. Please.”
Edward could see Harrison blocking him mentally. He tried another tactic.
“I’ll give you that plot of land down by the river. Give not sell.”
Harrison pulled at his beard and Edward was sure he got him.
“No thanks Eddie. Too late for that. Glad you reminded me that ten years ago I asked you to sell it to me.”
“That was my daughter’s wedding present. Turned out she didn’t want it.”
“And now I don’t.” Harrison got in his car and turned on the engine. “See you when I get back.”
“It’s my mother’s birthday. She’ll be sixty-one. Knowing her baby boy is in jail would kill her. Please help me out Harrison. I’m pleading with you.”
Harrison drove away. But it bothered him. Who’d set up a simple minded person like Ronnie? He beat his brains while driving then turned around back to town.
At the only saloon in the town he asked the barkeep. “What happened to Ronnie that made him trip? He was okay up to seventeen, right?”
“He witnessed the murder of his girlfriend Josanne and was threatened into silence.”
Harrison thought a bit and remembered the gruesome death of Josanne Linton. The case was unsolved with no leads whatsoever. Then he thought of the circumstances in which the shopkeepers’ body was found and the location.
“The shopkeepers’ body was found the same place as Josannes’ body?” He asked the barkeep who nodded in assent.
Back at his house, Harrison paced his living room till he had the answer settled in his mind.
“Get here now.” He said into the phone. Eddie turned up in ten minutes getting directly to the point.
“You have proof who killed the shopkeeper?”
“No. But I know who did it, Ronnie did.”
Eddie stood there with the blood draining from his face and mouth hanging open. Harrison took his arm and led him to the couch and sat him down.
“Here have some water. Nothing too strong now.”
“If you say it was Ronnie then it was. But how and why? Ronnie never know whether his shirt is inside out or not. He worked for that man for years. He’s the only person who’d hire him. He was a friend.”
“His high school girlfriend. She was murdered. They never found the perpetrator.”
“The shopkeeper did it. And made Ronnie watch. Then threatened to kill all of you if he talked.”
Eddie mopped his forehead that suddenly sprung a leak. Harrison watched him closely.
“You knew.” He practically accused him.
“What? Are you crazy? What give you that idea?”
“You just did. You sacrificed your own brother. All these years he believed he was protecting you all. But you used him. You were part of the gang that killed Josanne. Ronnie didn’t know because you all wore masks but the shopkeepers’ mask fell of.”
“It was an accident.”
“You mutilated her body. And had your own brother watch you all do it.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Free Ronnie. So your mother can have a happy birthday.”
“If it’s any consolation Ronnie got a stimulus check every week.”
“It’s no consolation.”
The bodies of Eddie and his four accomplices were found at the same place as the shopkeeper, cut up in about fifty pieces. And his mother did have a happy birthday.