Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 33

30 Jan link to Sharon A.'s short  story collection link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

If in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns

                         RAYMOND CHANDLER

Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding, Detective Larry Hutchinson, Doris Bowman, and Dana Bowman (all from various stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford) sit and huddle around the end of the Thurston library boardroom table. They are staring at the photos and list that Aunt Doris dumped out of an envelope.

Fielding and Hutchinson are wearing latex gloves.

Dana: Where did these come from?

Doris: I told you I don’t know. They just arrived in the mail.

Fielding: Give me the envelope.

Doris hands it over. Fielding and Hutchinson scrutinize it. Dana tries to horn in and when she can’t see it she stands up and leans over Fielding’s shoulder.

Hutchinson:  The stamp isn’t cancelled and there is nothing to indicate it was put in the mail. Mrs. Bowman he turns to Aunt Doris), was this with the regular mail in your mailbox?

Doris: Yes, I think so. I remember the phone bill came the same day and some junk mail.

Fielding: What time does your mail arrive?

Doris: anytime between 10 a.m. and noon.

Fielding: Do you remember what time it arrived that day and what day was it?

Doris: Three days ago, same day I received that phone call on my land line. I brought in the mail just before noon, right after that phone call which came through about 11.40, 11.45 a.m.

Hutchinson: Did you hear anyone at your mailbox?

Doris: I suppose so; I don’t remember.

Dana: Think, Aunt Doris. This is important.

Hutchinson: Ms Bowman, the police are conducting this interview.

Dana: It’s my brother who is missing and unless my eyes are mistaken that is him in those photographs.

Fielding: Very well. Mrs. Bowman, please answer the question.

Doris: What was the question?

Dana: Aunt Doris, don’t be coy. Did you hear anyone at your mailbox that morning? And don’t ask what morning?

Doris: I know what morning it was. And…wait a minute. I was getting another cup of coffee  around 11. 30 or so and was just heading for the kitchen when I did hear something at the mailbox. And I remember thinking that’s funny because I had heard the mailman drop something in just after 10. And I know it was the mailman that time because I looked out the kitchen window and saw him walking down the driveway.

Fielding: And you didn’t check the mail then.

Doris: No. My neighbour was banging on my back door.

Fielding: You didn’t mention her before, Mrs. Bowman.

Doris: It slipped my mind. I am an old woman. And it wasn’t a she, but Mr. Crankshaw, come over to find out if I had seen his cat, Merde.

Dana: Merde? That’s French for…

Doris: I know what it means. But that’s his cat’s name and very appropriate. The little rascal is always in my flower garden leaving little deposits and spraying around.

Hutchison, smiling: It’s called marking their territory. My wife’s cat does the same, but fortunately in our backyard. Now how long did Mr. Crankshaw stay at your door?

Doris: Just a few minutes. Once I told him I hadn’t seen his cat and I better not or it would be sorry, and he started ranting at me about being a bad neighbour, I slammed the door in his face.

Hutchinson: And he left right then.

Doris: Of course. He knows better than to mess with me.

Hutchinson: Did you see him leave?

Doris: I heard his footsteps but when I looked out my kitchen window I saw him heading around the side so I guess he was going back to his place.

Hutchinson, turning to Fielding: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Fielding: Yes. Now Mrs. Bowman, how long has Mr. Crankshaw lived there, how old is he and…

Dana: Just a minute, Fielding. What about these photos of my brother?  Don’t they show that he is still alive?

Fielding: Ms Bowman, we have to cover all the angles.

Dana; I know that. But let’s look at what we have here and then you can deal with Mr. Crankshaw. Hey, you can even go up to Barrie and work with their police department to question him. Maybe he saw something.

Fielding, looks at Hutchinson, who nods. Very well Ms Bowman, let’s look at the photos.

Hutchinson: Try not to touch them, although we’ll have to eliminate your fingerprints.

Doris: Well, you have them already back when Dana’s house was broken into.

Dana: Can you move over Fielding, so I can sit in between the two of you and see the photos?

Doris: And what about me?

Dana: You’ve seen them already.

Doris: But I might have something valuable to say about them.

Hutchinson: Ladies, please. We can all look at them, just not touch.

Fielding picks up the first photo of the three.

Dana: That’s Bast all right. But what is he doing. He just seems to be sitting there staring at the camera.

Fielding: It would appear he is in a room, perhaps where he is being held.

Dana: Oh, so you now figure he has been kidnapped. But there has been no ransom note.

Fielding: No.

Dana: He doesn’t look well, like he’s sleep-deprived. Fielding, you have to do something. Can’t you trace these photos?

Fielding, turning over the photo: There is a photographer listed here – a C.W. Swan Photographer, Barrie, Ontario. No phone number though.

Dana hauls out a piece of paper and pen from her purse and starts scribbling: Good, that’s a start. We can check 411 and…

Hutchinson, waving his arms around: Just a minute, Ms. Bowman. This is police business.

Dana: It’s my brother who is missing. Do I have to keep reminding you of that?

Fielding and Hutchinson: Ms Bowman…

Doris: Quiet. I may have something. There’s a Cory Swan who lives across the street from me and I believe he is a photographer.

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 Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at


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