The golden pastries had the smallest amount of steam rising out of them. The scene made you wish for smell-o-vision. The fat man in the purple apron delicately takes a taste of and begins a silly dance, saying it was so good you’d slap your Momma. Another psychological trick to sell the customer on it. The whole channel devoted to stuff you can pick up at the local store. We’re almost out! The call center is jammed. Use online ordering to ensure your shipment.
I look at the upper left corner of the screen at the price.
Right. And people watch this for entertainment.
I shut it off and put on some Ramones. I wonder if fat guy was ever sedated. He needs to be.
The shopping channel was on because it was mindless noise. I never ordered the crap. I had to admire the guy, though. He had to fake enthusiasm for hours straight night after night. It had to get old after awhile
Sleet is pounding outside the window. Shivering, I pull the hoodie over my head. Every year the sudden change of seasons shows up, 60 degrees and sunny one day, freezing rain the next. I think about how miserable it was after first frost on the lake. The cabin’s windows never did seal right no matter how much caulk I stuffed into the cracks. The damp wind would frost along the bottom edge of the frame.
At least here I didn’t feel like Frosty.
The project was going as well as could be expected. In the last two weeks, I had put in almost seventy hours in with not much to show for it. Herrington, of course, was unavailable at all his known addresses. I wasn’t worried about that. I didn’t need to talk and he’d lie to me anyway.
The bank was fun. I played my best car salesman voice to get them to tell me Mr. Herrington had closed the account months ago and they couldn’t legally tell me anything more. This was not unexpected. Neither was the fact most of the other assets on the list were no where to be found. The big prize still was the Sunset Dream.
I had a pretty complete history of the boat. It was a 2008 model and had already gone through six owners before Herrington bought it out of a foreclosure auction last year at 25% of its assessed value, paying cash. He immediately got a loan against it for twice what he paid for it. Interestingly, the payments were current. Not normally his style, but it will make it a lot easier to return when I find it.
I was able to confirm Donna Bartlett was indeed the name of my client, confirming it when I called the next morning to follow up on some things. She told me the last time she had seen the boat was when she had moved out. I asked about the Cabin Cruiser she’d mentioned and she said that had been sold before they had bought the “Dream”.
The only question now was, where was it? It wasn’t in its slip when I went by the marina. The manager wasn’t a lot of help. She’d only started a week earlier and the boat already. There were no records where somebody had it pulled out of the water. Which means it sailed out. I asked if I could ask the neighbors and she said no and I left. It wasn’t a good time to make enemies.
Right now, I was scanning the dealers online around the lake for sale listings. There weren’t any yet, but it was too early. It was likely sitting in a covered dry dock waiting for right time to move it. I remember the old days when I would this part on the telephone, using the same technique as I used on the bank. Half the time, I’d get a lead to chase. Sometimes they’d work. Sometimes not. Automated or not, the drudge work needed to get done. It was how cases got completed.
My phone chirps and I read the text. It’s from one of my buddies from Hall County Sheriff.
Donna Bartlett was found dead.
And they need to talk to me.
Pic-Michelle Marko King
Pic guesses: Frosty (in blog), Winter fun, Carrots, White Christmas, I see you, Ice storm