I sat in the diner with Philadelphia Homicide Lieutenant Sissy Van Buren drinking a tumbler of coffee and talking the next morning..
"That car was tampered with Kevin...That was a brand spanking new 2011 Lexus Coupe...Our Detectives in Auto went over it with a fine tooth comb and we called in the dealership...It was tampered with and we found a fingerprint." she said.
"Did you?" I said.
"Yeah, but it doesn't match anybody we have on file...I sent it to the FBI. They're going to run it through their VICAP files..." She said.
"I've had everybody I know searching, asking neighborhood people questions...and we've turned up nothing. What did you think of that text message?" I asked. I'd showed her Sepia's Blackberry and told her that through my own methods , which I was not at liberty to reveal....I found out that the caller texted the message from the zoo.
"I think you were right...They definitely wanted to throw you off the trail...They've probably ditched that phone by now...One of our guys called the number again and we got a signal interrupt...Which means her phone is probably in a basin of water somewhere right now." she said.
"Do you think.....Do you think she's dead?" I asked, already suspecting the worse.
"It's a possibility Kevin...you never know with these things...I've had a man outside of her house for a few days now and there has been no sign of anyone. We've talked to her family and friends and they don't know of a single enemy she had in the world...No jilted lovers..Nothing." she said.
"Oh well....If I hear anything...You'll be the first to know." I said as I plunked a couple of dollars on the table, got up and headed towards the door...
"Kevin!" said Sissy.
"Yeah?" I answered.
"Get some rest....you look tired." she said.
"I'll do what I can." I said with a smile.
As I headed to my car, my Blackberry went off....It was Gus of all people! What did he want?
"Junior...ya might want to stop by the bar when you get a minute...I got somebody that wants to talk to you...It's about that missing girl." he said.
"I'm on my way." I said.
It didn't take me anytime to get to Josie's Bar, Where Gus and a familiar fellow were waiting for me...It was early in the day and the bar hadn't opened yet...I walked in and sitting with Gus was none other than Floyd Dishwater, a deacon from my church. What could he possibly know about Freda Jordan?
"Hi ya Kevin....Floyd here has somethin to tell ya...Come on man, spill it...a girl's life could be in jeopordy." barked Gus.
"Yeah Floyd, what you got?" I said.
Floyd couldn't look me in the eye...He looked at the floor....After what seemed like an eternity he finally spoke..
"Uh Kevin...I-I...I uh ruh might have seen somethin that night...The night that there gal went missin..." He said.
"Go on...What was it you might have seen Floyd?" I asked.
"Well look..I'm gone tell you and you only...I can't tell no cops or be in the paper, see? If this goes past this bar...I'm going to deny it." he said sternly..
"Will you tell him what'cha tole me?" barked Gus.
"Okay...Okay...Look...I was down there...Not far from the drive.....in my station wagon..." he said.
"In your station wagon?? That time of night...just hangin out in the woods?? As cold as it was?" I asked.
"He wasn't alone Kevin and he was uh doin more than hangin out." said Gus sarcastically.
"Okay look...I was in my car with Daisy Miller....We was , well you know...being romantic." he said.
"Daisy Miller?? The church organist???Oh my God." I said.
"She's got a fine frame oh her...lawd have mercy...I been tryin to get some of that for years...Anyway..We got to drinkin some wine after choir rehearsal and I offered to take her home..I took a short cut through the drive and next thing you know...we kissin and huggin and
for I know it...she got my zipper down and got her mouth on my-" he said..
"Floyd...Floyd...What did you see?" I asked
"Oh....Well after we finished....We was fixin our clothes and that girl drove up....She had a Blue Lexus Coupe....It had broke down....Daisy asked me to help her out....but before I could get out of my car..This Silver Nissan Xterra drove up.....This big hulk of a fellow got out...She looked like she knew him....So I didn't think nothin of it...She was on her phone...So I thought she was alright. We got in our car and was pullin off when I heard this scream...The guy slapped her and then started kissing on her and squeezing her butt...I thought that maybe they were having a lovers quarrel...but she slapped him again and looked like she was trying to get away and he slapped her again and tossed her into his SUV...He got in and it looked like he hit her again...Then she stopped moving and they pulled off...." said Floyd.
"Floyd, we been lookin for her for going on two weeks now....Why didn't you go to the cops?" I asked.
"Man, if I go to the cops...They gone ask me what am I doin out that time of night...Just like you did.....People in the church find out that me and Daisy Miller are down there doin the nasty what you think will happen to me in church on Sunday?? Or her??" he said.
Gus turned his head from me...but I saw him laughing....I would have laughed to ,except that this was too serious....
"Floyd ...You get a good look at the guy?" I asked.
"Yeah...He didn't notice me...But I looked him right in the face...I don't know him, but I swear I've seen him before...I'd definitely know him if I seen him again." he said.
"A Silver Nissan Xterra huh?" I asked.
"Yeah man...You know I know my cars.." he said.
"Okay Floyd...Thanks ...you've been a great help." I said.
"Don't tell nobody that me and Daisy Miller was down there." he said as he got up to go.
"Don't worry Floyd...I won't." I said.
After he was gone....Gus looked at me funny, then he said to me....
"You know...That Gordon Chesley drives a Nissann Xterra."
"Yeah, but his is white....Floyd said that this one was silver." I said.
''She did slap the hell out of him that night she was in here."He said.
"Yeah, but Gordy is so laid back and such a clown...he wouldn't have cared..He didn't even seem mad about it." I said.
"Okay Kev...but he was sitting here at the bar afterwords....Honey Brown and my other barmaid
was giving him hell about that.....He was laughing along...but I think he was seething inside...That was pretty embarrassin...but what do I know...If you say he's a good guy...then I'll take your word for it...you're the detective ." he laughed.
"Well at any rate....there are a few cracks in this mystery...Let's see if I can glean something from this. Thanks a lot Gus." I said and patted him on the back.
"Be Easy Kid." he said as I left the bar.
I was driving home and I kept playing the scene in my head-
Freda removed his hands from her rear end, from her breasts and off of her hips several times and finally after his hands wandered a little too far up her legs and almost under her skirt..a loud slap was heard! There was a brief bit of silence....You could hear a pin drop!! This of course was not true because Reed Nelson was blowing his trumpet tonight....but we heard and saw the slap...
We were all embarrassed for Gordon...A nice enough fellow most of the time.
"I'm sorry....but I tried to give you a hint...you were getting just a wee bit too friendly." she said to him. He tried to play it off...He flashed that great smile of his and turned on his southern charm...
"I'm sorry baby, beggin yo pardon...can I buy you a drink to make it up?" he said.
"No that's okay...and I'm not your baby." she said. Clearly Freda was nobody's pushover.
"Could I give you a ride to your door?" He asked.
"Honey...I got a baby blue 2011 Lexus coupe outside....." she snapped.
Gordon??? Gordon Chesley?? Nahhhh, Not him!...Yet there were definitely cracks in this case..I was going to do my best to break this thing wide open!
(To Be Continued....)
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