Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection
There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers. Your job isn’t to find these ideas, but to recognize them when they show up.
— Stephen King, On Writing
In the last post, suspect Cory Swan suddenly appeared pointing a gun at the interviewing/séance session with Dana Bowman, Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding, Detective Larry Hutchinson, Robbie Stuart and the spirits of Roger Stuart and Susan Stuart. PC Oliver is still present but has remained silent, as if in a stupor, from seeing the spirits.
Hutchinson: Put that gun down, Swan before someone gets hurt.
Swan: Why? So you can arrest me? No. I have something to say and I’m going to say it.
Dana: You’re going to tell us all.
Swan: That’s right.
Dana: You’re going to tell Detective Hutchinson, Detective Sergeant Fielding, PC Oliver, Robbie Stuart, and me.
Swan: Of course. You’re all here, all five of you.
Dana (looking at Susan’s spirit. They nod at each other as if in cahoots): Very well. Speak.
Fielding, clearing his throat: Okay, please sit down over there and put that gun down.
Swan: No, no, no, no. I remain standing and keep the gun. You three cops though, take out your guns slowly and put them on the side table over there. Or I start shooting you one by one and Robbie Stuart is first.
The three police officers comply.
Swan: Good choice. Okay, I heard you discuss my story – so far, but not all of it. And I want immunity before I go any further.
Hutchinson: We can’t promise you that.
Swan: Then I don’t talk.
Fielding: We can probably reduce the blackmail charges to a plea bargain.
Swan: A good start, but I expect more.
Dana: And I expect my brother back safe and sound and alive.
Swan: All in due time, Ms Private Eye. Okay. What you guys were talking about is somewhat correct as far as it goes. Sure I blackmailed Roger Stuart and made a pretty penny until he had the audacity to croak. (He looks at Dana). That’s your brother’s fault for interviewing him and getting a lot more details from him.
Dana: And were you there hovering and hiding for that interview.
Swan moves closer to Dana and waves the gun a few inches from her face: Shut up. This is my story.
Dana, her voice shaking: Very well. Continue.
Swan: Thank you. Yes, I was around when your brother interviewed Roger but not hiding. Bast and I arrived together as he wanted me to take pictures of Roger. But that’s not all I did. I took photos of her, too.
Swan: Yeah, the second bogus Mrs. Roger Stuart. She walked in right near the end of the interview. She was furious, ranting and raging about Roger blabbing family secrets. She threatened him and Bast if the story got printed and me if the photos got printed. Then the bitch grabbed my camera and pulled out the film. Too bad we didn’t have digital then but I guess she would have just smashed the camera. Then she went after Roger. She picked up a lamp and charged towards him. Bast and I managed to grab the lamp and stop her. We were going to call the police but Roger said, “No, please don’t do that. I can calm her down.”
Roger’s spirit is nodding “yes” at this.
Swan: Bast and I left when she appeared to be sitting calmly at the table. But… we should have stayed because Roger Stuart died later that evening of a heart attack.
Hutchinson: Are you saying that the second Mrs. Stuart scared her husband into a heart attack?
Swan shrugs his shoulders.
Roger Stuart is nodding again: She attacked me again that evening. She knew I had a heart condition. She hated my first wife and my kids. I couldn’t take it and so I died.
Hutchinson: So, you wanted all this to be suppressed in Robbie Stuart’s memoir? And so that’s why you kidnapped Bast Overture?
Swan: No, you got that all wrong. I wanted the memoir to be published. But Mrs. Stuart No. 2 got wind of it and…
Dana: She’s in prison.
Fielding: Ms Bowman, you should know that doesn’t stop anyone.
Swan: You got that right Detective.
Fielding: So, where does Bast Overture fit into all this?
Dana: Yes, why did you kidnap my brother after he returned from his first disappearance?
Swan: I didn’t kidnap your brother. He suddenly appeared in my office demanding answers. He didn’t want to co-operate with me…
Dana: So you tied him up and kept him prisoner?
Swan: What choice did I have? He was going to have me arrested? And that didn’t fit in with my plan.
Dana: But he got away.
Swan: Yes, damn him.
Fielding: But that’s when you started threatening Doris Bowman and David Bowman?
Swan (smiling): Of course. Nothing like a little family pressure to get someone to come round.
Dana (standing up): You scum.
Swan: Sit down Ms Bowman or you’ll meet the same fate as your brother.
Dana: What’s that? What have you done to Bast?
Swan: Not telling right now. First, I need police co-operation – no charges against me and you put me in witness protection – or whatever you call it here in Canada.
Hutchinson: No, you’re wrong. First you tell us where Bast Overture is now because it is obvious you have him somewhere.
Swan: Not yet. I still need him.
Dana: What for?
Swan: Why he is going to come out of retirement and write another newspaper story about the Stuart saga, sort of a preliminary to Robbie’s memoir and also with some updates about what really happened during that other interview.
Susan’s spirit, looking at Dana: Time for Dad and me to step in.
Roger’s spirit, Robbie and Dana nod. Detective Sergeant Fielding and Detective Hutchinson both stand up. Swan raises the gun and fires into the air.
PC Joseph Oliver suddenly becomes alert to what is happening.
Sharon A. Crawford
Sharon A. Crawford’s prequel novel Beyond Blood, featuring the fraternal twins will be published fall 2014 by Blue Denim Press. Stay tuned.
Meantime, 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.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html