I try to leave out the parts that people skip.
– Elmore Leonard
Bast Overture is still missing. His fraternal twin and PI partner Dana Bowman is determined to find him. She has decided to interview everyone Bast interviewed from some of the short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2012). Last week she talked to Todd, Chrissie’s somewhat mysterious co-worker in “Missing in Action.” Dana is still trying to get another interview with Detective Larry Hutchison but he is still not returning her calls. However, she has tracked down Chrissie’s elusive cousin Robbie Stewart and today she will be talking to him – if he bothers to show up.
Dana taps her fingers on the boardroom table and glances at her digital watch for at least the tenth time. Robbie Stewart is 15 minutes late but what did she expect of a guy who disappears regularly and shows up only when someone in the family dies. She stares at the abstract painting at the end of the room. Yet again, she wonders what everyone else seems to be seeing there and for some reason she can’t see. Maybe she’ll have to bring David back in – although she hesitates to do so considering all he’s been through. But children can often see things grownups can’t.
Dana muttering to herself: Come on Robbie. The sooner you get here the sooner we get the interview done.
Robbie (from behind Dana): I’m here. Sorry, had transportation problems with the GO.
Dana (swinging around). Robbie, you startled me. Thanks for coming. Yeah, this is Thurston, not Toronto but you know there is that new bus transit system for the area. You don’t need to take the GO.
Robbie shrugs: Whatever. So, what did you want with me?
Dana: As you know my fraternal twin and business partner, Bast Overture has disappeared and…
Robbie: What’s that got to do with me?
Dana: Well, for starters, just before he vanished he was interviewing the characters from “Missing in Action” and that includes you.
Robbie: Yeah, but I wasn’t the last one he talked to. That would be that detective, what’s his name – Hutch something or other.
Dana: Detective Hutchinson. And I’ve already talked to him.
Robbie: So, what do you need me for? Nothing.
Robbie turns to go. Dana grabs his arm.
Dana: Not so fast. Sit down, Robbie. You just might know something you don’t know you know that can help.
Robbie: Fine. But get your paws off me.
Dana complies and Robbie sits down on the right side of the table, three chairs down from Dana’s end.
Dana: Thank you. Now Robbie, you were close to your cousin Chrissie when you two were growing up. But then you did your own disappearing act somewhere in your late teens. Why was that?
Robbie: You know damn well why. My father left my mother, my little sister Susie and me and ran away with his secretary.
Dana: How did that make you feel?
Robbie shrugs his shoulder: What do you think. Abandoned, betrayed.
Dana: Yes, but you still had your mother and sister Susie and of course, Chrissie.
Robbie: Not now. Some of those people are now dead.
Dana: Did you ever try to find your father?
Robbie: Didn’t have to. The old buzzard showed up back in Toronto.
Dana: But then he died too.
Robbie: Good for him.
Dana: Did you see him before he died?
Robbie: Why would I want to?
Dana: I repeat – did you see him before he died?
Dana: What about your sister Susie?
Robbie: What about Susie?
Dana: Did she see your dad before he died?
Robbie shrugs his shoulders.
Dana: Come on. Don’t play stupid with me. I know you and Susie re-connected before Chrissie found out. Why did you send Chrissie that cryptic email?
Robbie: Because I wanted her to know that none of us still living in this family were safe.
Dana: Not safe from what?
Robbie: Read the damn story.
Dana: I have.
Dana: Tell me about your sister Susie.
Robbie: She was my younger sister. I missed her. What do you want me to say?
Dana: Just the truth. How long before you emailed Chrissie did you re-connect with Susie and what did you two talk about?
Robbie: None of your damn business. This was all before your brother disappeared. Take it from one who knows about this disappearing business. Maybe your brother wanted to disappear and just did it all by himself.
Dana: I don’t think so. I know my brother better than you do and Bast and I were close. He would tell me if for some reason he had to “disappear.”
Robbie: Suit yourself, but it’s something to consider.
Dana pointing to the end of the room: What do you know about that painting on the wall down there?
Robbie: Painting? Looks like an abstract to me. Never seen it before. What does it have to do with me or even your brother?
Dana: That’s what I’m trying to find out. I don’t see anything odd about it, but everyone else whom I’ve talked to has seen something in it and runs out the door.
Robbie: Not me. It’s a painting. Still. An abstract. It’s not going anywhere. It’s not vibrating. Nothing happening there.
Dana: I find that surprising; I mean you do write novels so do use your imagination.
Robbie: Well, my imagination on that painting is zilch. Is there anything else? Because if not, I’m out of here.
Dana: That’s all for now. But I may call you back.
Robbie stands up and leaves. Dana is left staring at the painting and scratching her head. She has about made up her mind to bring David back in here. But Christmas is almost here, so she wants to spend a normal Christmas with her son – and not here in this boardroom.
Cheers and Merry Christmas.
Sharon A. Crawford
You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.
See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html