If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
– Richard Bach
In last week’s post, Dana Bowman and PC Oliver are just getting ready to leave the Thurston Public Library boardroom to head down to Toronto to Roger Stuart’s place.
The scene shifts as PC Joseph Oliver and Dana Bowman meet Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson at the Stuart residence in Toronto. Dana doesn’t listen to Fielding’s instructions to wait until the three police officers check out the place, but follows them right in. They find Robbie Stuart, his sister Susan’s spirit and a third spirit sitting around the dining room table, as if involved in a séance.
Hutchinson: Detective Larry Hutchinson, Toronto Police Services.
The three at the table ignore them.
Hutchinson: We received a call there was a commotion going on here.
The three at the table still ignore them.
Fielding: Detective Sergeant Fielding, Cooks Regional Police.
Still no acknowledgement from the table. All three seem to be in a trance.
Dana (whispering): Let me try. (She raises her voice.) Dana Bowman here. Bast Overture’s twin and business partner. Susan and Robbie, we’ve met before and I’m guessing you (she points to the third figure) are Roger Stuart, in spirit of course.
Susan’s Spirit: Very clever Ms Bowman. But don’t think you coming here will help you find your brother or change anything.
Fielding: We just want to ask you some questions.
Susan: Questions, questions. We’ve had too many questions hurled at us and we’ve had enough.
Roger’s Spirit: I haven’t. And I have something to say to all.
Fielding: Very well. In your own words.
Roger’s Spirit: Boo. Hah, hah. Well, isn’t that what ghosts do?
Fielding: Very funny.
Hutchinson: Don, let me try. Now a couple of you are in serious trouble and it is in your best interests to answer our questions.
Susan’s Spirit: And if we don’t you’ll what? Two of us are already dead and you can’t hurt us. Hah. Hah. Hah.
Hutchinson: Robbie Stuart isn’t dead.
Susan’s Spirit: You’re sure of that.
Dana: Oh for Christ’s sake. Let’s stop playing games and put our cards on the table. We are basically looking for my brother Bast and also for Cory Swan. You should be interested in both, especially Swan as he didn’t exactly treat you in your best interests.
Susan: That’s putting it mildly. Nice try, but I can’t see how we can help each other –I gather that’s what you are after.
Dana: Look, Susan and Roger, you probably want some peace and maybe by sorting all this out, you can get that.
Hutchinson, raising his arms: All right. That’s enough dodging around. Fielding and I have some questions and you are all going to answer them.
Susan and Roger: Hah. Hah
Robbie suddenly stands up and glares at his father and sister: Cut it out you two. Let’s get this done for once and for all. Detective Hutchinson and Fielding? Ask your questions. I’m willing to answer anyway.
Hutchinson: Okay, we’ll start with you. What do you know about your father’s and Cory Swan’s dealings?
Robbie: Swan was blackmailing Dad about marrying his secretary while still married to Mom.
Hutchinson: Yes, we know that. But what else?
Robbie, looking over at the two spirits as if for confirmation: Well it was later, when Dad and his secretary returned to Toronto, just before Dad died. He knew he had a heart condition and he wanted to see Susan and I again before he died.
Hutchinson nodding: Yes, go on.
Robbie: Dad found out that Mom had died from cancer and he blamed himself. He wanted to make it up to us. But his second wife was jealous and turned on him. Dad met up with Susan and I – it was when Susan was just starting to make it as an artist and she was getting interviewed by various newspapers. He didn’t tell his second wife this. Dad, well, he seemed afraid of her for some reason.
Dana: Not surprising, considering what she did later.
Fielding: Dana, let Mr. Stuart tell his story.
Robbie: Not much more to tell. Dad told us what happened, but while he did so, that photographer Cory Swan was snooping around outside taking preliminary photos or so he said. But he was inside the house and Susan and I didn’t let him in.
Susan: But you left the damn back door open, Robbie.
Hutchinson: And so Swan heard your dad’s story and something in it got his attention. (He turns to Roger’s spirit). You told Robbie and Susan about the blackmail.
Roger’s spirit: Yes, and that bastard Swan was going to tell the reporter – Bast Overture – and make sure the whole world knew, knew I was back and well the whole sordid story. I couldn’t have that happen, she…she would come after me and my kids if she knew I’d told.
Hutchinson: Who would come after you?
Roger: My second wife.
Hutchinson: And what didn’t you want your second wife to know?
Roger’s spirit: What she was really like.
Hutchinson: And what was that?
Roger: I can’t tell. I can’t
Fielding: So Cory added to the blackmail?
Roger’s spirit: Yes.
Dana: That’s not it, is it? Cory, did tell my brother, didn’t he?
Roger: No, not that I know of.
Susan: Dad… Oh very well; Robbie blabbed Dad’s story to Bast, so your brother knew Dad was alive and back in Toronto.
Dana: And did Bast interview your Dad?
Susan: Yes, and it killed him. Dad had his heart attack and died right after your precious twin brother interviewed him.
Dana: So this is payback? But why now.
Susan: Because my precious brother, Robbie is writing a tell-all memoir about our family and it’s being published this year.
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 Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://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.
This Saturday, March 29, 2014,Sharon A. hosts and reads at another Crime Writers of Canada Murder and Mayhem at Du Cafe in east end Toronto, Ontario, Canada.. If you are in Toronto, drop in – the food is to die for and so are the stories read by crime writers Howard Shrier, Lynn Albrecht, Rob Brunet and Rosemary McCracken.
More info on this and Sharon A.’s other upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html