The Id and The Odyssey; Episode 130
Rich drove downtown and parked the Jeep on Main Street two blocks from The Beacon. He got out walked up to a pay phone and called Butch Hagler.
“Hey, Butch, this is Rich.”
“What ya up to?” Butch said.
“About 6’3”,” Rich said. “Can we get together tomorrow?”
“Sure,” Butch said, “right after church.”
“Unless they’re holding revival meetings in a bar…”
“I’ll tell you what,” Butch said, “that means if you show up before noon I’ll still be hung over.”
“I have something important to give you,” Rich said. “It is very explosive and you must promise to hold on to it for awhile.”
“This sounds important,” Butch said.
“It is,” Rich said. “I’ll see you tomorrow around noon.”
Rich hung up and walked toward the Jeep.
There was a familiar voice from behind him, “Larsen.”
Rich turned around; it was Dave Smithson. He pulled back his jacket showing a pistol holstered in his belt. “Walk to The Beacon.”
“Am I under arrest or something?” Rich said.
“Or something,” Dave said.
“What if I don’t go?” Rich said.
“I pull my weapon,” Dave said, “and put as many holes in you that I can. I come up and see if you are alive, regardless I drop this pistol at your side and it appears that I shot somebody going for a gun.” Dave lifted a pistol from his jacket pocket showing only the grip. “This is the one I gave you. I went to your boat and found it in a box. Your prints are all over it. In addition your prints are all over Sam White’s wall safe. It will look as if I shot a common thief.”
“What about the prints on the ledger?” Rich said.
“What ledger,” Dave smiled. “The only thing that was missing from the safe was the $5,000 we’ll find in your chart cabinet. So just walk to The Beacon.”
They walked to the Beacon. Sam was waiting at the front door and let them in.
Sam was smug and cold. It seemed strange how a face so warm and friendly could suddenly change.
Sam locked the door behind them. They walked through the lobby and into the outer office. Rich grabbed hold of the banister to go upstairs.
“Go the pressroom,” Sam said.
They walked into the pressroom and Sam nodded to go to the stairs leading to the basement. Sam flicked on the light. Dave pulled open the door and they all walked down the steps to the basement.
“Over there,” Sam said pushing Rich toward the wall.
Rich walked to the wall. A drain pipe ran vertically and beneath the floor.
“Stand next to the pipe with your back to it,” Dave said.
Rich did as Dave ordered and a pair of handcuffs were snapped on Rich’s wrists, tethering him to the pipe.
“How did you know?” Rich said to Sam.
“I always leave the combination dial on 11,” Sam said. “And you were the only one who knew the combination and even though it was changed it would not take you long to figure out it would be Katie’s date of birth.”
“Did you take pictures of the pages?” Dave asked.
“No,” Rich said. “I took handwritten notes and left them with a lawyer,” Rich said. “If anything happens to me he’ll take the notes to the authorities.”
“You’re not that clever,” Sam said.
“I guess we’ll have to see,” Rich said.
“You don’t bluff well,” Dave said.
“What is this all about?” Rich said.
“It’s about change,” Sam said, “and you’re in the way. You could have been a part of it, but you were too thick to see it.”
“You know what the problem is, Sam,” Rich said. “I’ve never gone to college and I’m brighter than you. You’re jealous of me. Somewhere, sometime you knew it and that’s when it was over for me. All you have over me is the power of an employer over an employee. My star is raising.”
“Me, jealous of an uneducated dote,” Sam said. “You are a delusional uneducated dimwit. Your star is about to fall.”
“That’s twice in the same paragraphs you mentioned uneducated,” Rich said. “That really bothers you, but what really bothers you is that I have seen completely through the crap you and Frank tried to feed me. It was supposed to change my thinking. It was nothing more than feebly written screed.”
“You are an amusing chap,” Sam said. “You think you are morally superior.”
“Dave, what really happened to Mrs. Gaffee?” Rich said.
“She had a difficult time adjusting to her new cellmate,” Dave said. “Gaffee snored a lot and her cellmate quieted her with a pillow over her face. It was ruled a heart attack.”
“We are going to leave you for now,” Sam said. “There will be someone to come and get you. Scream to high heaven if you like, but it won’t do. Years ago this was the pressroom and it was built to keep the sound of the presses from escaping and bothering the rest of the businesses.”
“Why, Sam,” Rich said.
“You were an innocent fly that came along and flew right into a web,” Sam said. “It is unfortunate, but those sorts of things happen. I so wished you would have grasped things better. It was such a long shot, but I was willing to bring you along, you just couldn’t be led.”
“That’s a compliment,” Rich said.
“Let’s go,” Sam said.
As Dave and Sam neared the staircase Rich said, “Sam!”
Sam turned around. Dave laid the key to the cuffs on the first step.
“I don’t imagine you ever heard of Jack Shepherd.” Rich said.
“The wife murderer from Ohio, supposedly wrongfully convicted,” Sam said.
“Sam,” Rich said, “That was Sam Shepherd. You should read more.”
Sam and Dave climbed the steps, shut the door, and the lights went out leaving only a dull security light.