Chapter Two

Posted: February 15, 2016 by Ty in Speare Book 1

Casablanca droned on in the background as Speare poured his fourth cup of coffee in the hour. It had been a long morning leaving little to the imagination on what was to come in the future for him. His throwback flip phone laid on the kitchen table waiting a text or call from his long term friend—colleaugue—partner in crime, what was nom de plume for one such as Sax?

On the coffee table resting on top of well-read Jughead comics; Sherlock Holmes and Robert B. Parker novels was an even more well-worn Bible cracked open to the Gospel section. It was interesting that the church would seek out a defrocked minister to search out the murderer of their minister, one who wasn’t even sure if he could believe the mythologies spun within the pages of a collection of books that brought comfort in times of crisis.

The church lady Jane had confirmed what Speare believed before leaving the scene of the possible crime. As Rick speaks to Sam at the piano on the television, the phone vibrates. Speare flips it open.

“Speare.” Silently he curses the need for a cell phone, how he hated the idea of being reachable constantly for the world. Who ever thought that the average citizen was as important as a doctor? Someone who’s every moment needed to be reachable because it would be life and death, although it was cheaper than a landline which was sad in and of itself.

The familiar fog horn of the newest phone scam is heard, Speare flips his phone closed. Another vibration, a simple text with an unknown number:

12th and 8th Coffee Shop. Look for the red hat.

Some days you search hard for clues, other days the magic elves bring it across your cell phone screen. Today was a four cup of coffee, magic elves bring it across your cell phone kind of days, like discovering Jughead’s Time Police for the first time as a child.

Speare grabs his leather bomber coat and pulls it on over top of his black hoody and exits the simple one bedroom apartment. Time to hunt for a red hat, the coffee shop is just three blocks away, so whomever is trying to reach him also knows where he lives, which is a whole other level of creepy in this mystery solving venture, but that is all a matter of perspective.

The diner is a throwback, looks like something out of the 1960’s greasy spoon’s even down to the first name: Harold’s. Speare strokes the greying whiskers growing in on his scarred face as he steps inside. There are what appears to be 12 trades person types at the counter eating lunch, the booths are along the outside walls, mostly empty, except for a red hat bobbing in the far right corner.

Speare walks towards the hat, the brim is wide and keeping the identity of the person a secret. Speare motions to the gap toothed over the hill waiter behind the counter for a cup of coffee to the table, judging from the layer of stale grease on the countertops he would not be par taking in the food fare. Speare sits across from the hat as the cup arrives.

The wide brimmed hat rises. The elderly church lady. “Ms. Lowery, to what do I owe all the cloak and dagger gambits?”

The church lady smiles, and takes a sip of her tea. “Simple, I could not speak openly in the sanctuary.”

“Kind of ironic that one could not speak openly in the house of God?”

“Ah, you younglings and your idealism, the house of God, especially that one sold its soul for mammon long ago. It is the old story of being unable to worship two masters.” Lowery said.

“O’Neil was known as a rabble rouser for a cause.” Speare responded.

Lowery chuckled low. “We were the Reverend’s last stop. His ways had created waves in many circles as he challenged the patriarchal norms of the world in which we live. Sadly there are many things that were wrong with the stop. Not the least of which was the three bald men that called you this morning.”

If there was one thing binge watching Matlock and Murder, She Wrote had taught Speare about the deductive process it was that you listened to old people, for they glided through life unnoticed and were able to pick up all the clues the young were too busy updating their social media on their smart phones to catch.

But this lady was sitting here sipping tea in a dive neither one of them would be found in otherwise, casting aspersions on those that paid his retainer. “Why?”

“Pardon?” Lowery contorted her mouth in a twist of disgust.

“Why would they bother hiring me, to find a murderer if they were tied into it?”

“Simple, to throw you off the truth, because why would the killers hire you?” Lowery said. Speare had to admit the old lady made sense in a twisted sort of way. A second sip of his coffee confirmed that even drinking in this dive was not worthwhile, he subtly pushes the cup to the side. Lowery focuses in on the scarring, she tries to break contact with the stare when his one eye focuses in on her trifocals.

“It is okay to stare, most get distracted by my beautiful face.”

“You look like what my shitzou yakked up last night.”

“That as well is true Ms. Lowery.”

She takes a sip of the tea that in itself astounds Speare she can drink from the chipped ceramic mug. “Well aside from that I would suggest you follow the money.”

“So what are you Ms. Lowery, my deep throat?” A slap across the face is his answer. “Not the porno, from Watergate.”

“Sorry. But truly, have you looked at the financials at the church?”

“Seriously I have been on the case for all of sixty minutes. I haven’t had time to complete digest the Google search on your dead reverend, never mind to dig deeper.”

Lowery slips out of the booth, leaving a five spot on the table. “I will send a message when I have been able to copy the financials for you, the true ones, not those worthless pieces of toilet paper they present to the Annual General Meeting every year.” With that the little church lady leaves the diner.

Speare waits a few beats and hits the streets as well. The old lady was quick, for the street was empty, either that or she had parked close by. There is a low rumble in the sky. Nope, not the sky, Speare pulls out his cell phone, noting that he really should look into the ring tones available on his phone.

“Speare.” A crackle on the other end of the line. Since the systems switched from digital to analog, crackles normally didn’t happen. Usually a bad connection was simply silence. “Hellooo? If you are attempting to intimidate me, the crackling bad sci-fi thing, you may want to rethink.” Speare flips the phone closed ending the call.

He turns down 8th and heads back towards the bus stop that will take him back to the church. There is strange things happening in the city, and more importantly within that congregation, that led someone or ones to kill their reverend. At least that is the story the church lady wanted him to believe.








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