The Silent Child 1
Friday, October 26, 2012
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The Silent Child 1
The Silent Child 1
Episode Fourteen concluded with:
Dehner looked at the picture. “The Thompsons came from Indiana. They might not have been too far away from Chicago. The picture was probably taken at a photography studio there.”
“Where did you get this, Laszlo?” the sheriff asked.
“At the stable, where I sleep.”
“The stable behind Harper’s Mercantile?”
“Yes. I found it in one of Mr. Harper’s saddle bags. I noticed because the bag was open, not like usual.”
Sheriff Clint Bolger stared silently at the photograph for a few moments, then spoke quietly to Dehner. “Maybe my instincts aren’t so good after all.”
Rupert Bushrod opened the front door of Bushrod Brothers’ General Store. His brother Clarence stepped out onto the boardwalk. “This is my favorite time of day,” Clarence declared. “No loud mobs of people around to bother a man.”
“Whaddya talkin’ about?! There ain’t no loud mobs of people inside our store at any time of day!”
“Well, yeah. But in the very early mornin’, I don’t hav’ ta watch folks goin’ into Harper’s Mercantile. That can do somethin’ to a man’s pride.”
“Guess you got a point there.” Rupert looked up the street. “The town thinker is comin’ this way.”
“You shouldn’t talk about Laszlo that way.”
“It’s all right! I don’t say nothin’ mean to the man’s face. I just make jokes about him behind his back.”
“That is the more gentlemanly way of doin’ things.” Clarence ran a hand through his thinning hair. “Dehner is with him.”
“This could be a good omen. Last time Dehner was in the store, he bought two pieces of candy.”
“Yeah, made up ‘bout twenty-five percent of our sales for that day.”
As Dehner and Laszlo approached the Bushrod brothers, Laszlo pulled a few coins from his pocket. “Mornin’ Rupert. Mornin’ Clarence.”
“Mornin’ Laszlo,” Rupert nodded at the four pennies in the swamper’s hand. “I see your investments have paid off.”
From what Dehner could tell Laszlo was aware that Rupert had just made a joke but didn’t understand it. The swamper continued to smile as he handed the coins to Rupert. “I got paid this morning. Here is the money I owe you.”
Rupert’s smile broadened as he took the money. “Pay day is always a cause for celebration. Come on inside Laszlo, and have a licorice stick on the house. Care to join us, Rance?”
“Thanks, but no thanks.”
“Mr. Dehner wants to look at the stable behind Harper’s Mercantile,” Laszlo’s eyes were already looking inside the store at the glass containers of candy on the counter.
The detective decided to tell the Bushrod brothers what they would soon find out anyway. “Emory Logan was killed last night. He had broken into Harper’s Mercantile and Enoch shot him, not knowing who he was. I’m helping Sheriff Bolger investigate.”
Both brothers looked shocked. For the first time since Dehner had met him, Rupert spoke in a serious voice. “I recollect bein’ woke up last night by a shot. I thought it was just some drunk.”
“Thanks for helpin’ the sheriff, Rance,” Clarence’s voice was subdued.
Rupert noticed the confused look on Laszlo’s face and placed a hand his shoulder. “That licorice is still on the house. Come on in, Laszlo.”
Both Bushrod brothers nodded at Dehner, who then turned and crossed the street. As he entered the stable, a predawn sky was providing enough light that Rance could easily find the lantern on the rickety stool.
The saddle bag where Laszlo had found the picture remained open. Dehner could find nothing else of interest in the saddle bags or anywhere else. Still, he didn’t want to leave. The stable provided him with a place to think. And he had a lot to think about.
Monday: Episode Sixteen of The Silent Child