The loud voices woke me. After listening to the shouting for several minutes I still had no idea what was happening. I wanted desperately to ignore it, but I had to pee. That’s what happens when a 46 year old woman gets awakened in the middle of the night.
The bathhouse was in the trailer part of the campsite. So like it or not, I was going to be near the shouting. I was sleeping in my clothes, so the .357 was near me, but not inside my jeans. Before I left the space the pistol was back under my sloppy tee and inside the waist band of my jeans.
The bathhouse should have been the only puddle of light in the dark night, but the trailers were all lit. I noticed the small group standing outside shouting at each other. Even dumb ass me could tell it was escalating quickly. I went inside the bathroom to pee before I even considered anything else. I seated myself on the last toilet inside a small cubicle. I really was in a hurry to get it over with and get the hell away from the loud voices. Of course my nerves made it harder to start the flow.
I finally got the flow going. It felt wonderful even on just a physical level. Emotionally, I was thrilled to think I might be gone before it went too rank. Alas it was not to be. On my very first night on the road I heard what was the unmistakable blast of a shotgun. I was pretty sure someone had just been shot and likely killed. I had absolutely no intention of getting involved.
I knew two things for sure. I was not going to call 911 and I was going to go hide my .357. With a little luck none of the participants in the shooting had seen me enter the bathhouse. I was pretty sure they were going to be too busy to see me leave it.
Once I got back to my space I lay on top of the tarp and waited. As I expected the sirens began within a minute of my arrival. It was a minute or two later that they entered the park. It was also about the time I decided that I could kill for a cup of black coffee, even the terrible shit they call coffee in a restaurant would do.
It was hard for me to believe but the Sheriff’s deputy woke me. I had somehow fallen asleep clutching the inflatable pillow. I should have bought the inflatable Ken doll pillow, but I went with the plain olive drab pillow. If I tried to sleep without a pillow I would lay awake all night with clogged sinus cavities. The blow up pillow was my best possible solution.
“Excuse me miss have you seen or heard anything?” the slightly more than half my age deputy asked.
“Something woke me earlier, but I’m not sure what it was.” I was just about to continue lying but I remembered the father and son beside me. Most likely one of them heard or saw me leave the site for the bathhouse. Since that revelation came to me in the middle of the interview I improvised.
“When I got awake, I needed to pee, so I went to the bathhouse. I heard a gunshot, so I hightailed it back here. I must have fallen asleep waiting for you to arrive,” I said.
“So you didn’t actually see what happened,” he asked again.
‘No, I just heard loud voices. I would have went somewhere else, but I had to pee badly. So I was in the bathroom when the shot startled me. I thought it was just a domestic argument,” I said.
“Could I get your name and address? So that we can have the detectives follow up with you, if they need more information,” the deputy asked.
“If you really need it sure, but I have to warn you I’m on vacation and will be on the road for more than a month. I do have a cell with me. I can give you that number as well.” He was agreeable so I gave him the new address back home, and the number to the smart phone.
The deputy left and I went back to sleep. Even though I sleep until 8AM I was still tired when I awoke. I didn’t even bother with the coffee making. Instead I packed the trailer and then headed for the cafe where I had eaten the day before. I noted that the trailer, which had been very neatly packed the day before, was running over on day 2. The tarp took up more space than before. Even the thin cotton blanket seemed to be thicker. I had expected some difficulties, but I wasn’t quite prepared for the growing trailer load.
Before I stopped at the cafe, I made a stop at a convenience store a block from it. I pumped exactly .5 of a gallon of regular gas into the tank. Then I found my plastic quart bottle of 2cycle engine oil. Next I used my calculator function on the smart phone to determine the proper amount of oil to add to the tank. the proper amount of oil I determined to be 1.28 oz. With the child’s needle less drug syringe, I measured 1.25oz then just a smidgen over. The joys of a two cycle engine, I thought.
Most women wouldn’t try mixing gas and oil but I used the gasoline weedeater at home most of the time. Jeff just wasn’t the yard man type. Even with a yard service, I did most of the weedeating. I guess I am a little anal myself. I did a little reading to find the easy way to do it on the road, and I had to admit that it worked pretty darn well.
Inside the cafe I found that the talk was all about the murder at the campground. It was the first I had heard about it being a murder. “Damn strangers,” seemed to be the consensus of opinion.
“Ain’t even no mystery, just and inconvenience,” and older farmer type said.
“Yeah, but so senseless. He told them to shut up and the man should have just shut up.” His companion also a farmer type agreed.
“Man standing there looking down the barrel of a shotgun says, ‘Make me shut up old man,’ is just plain stupid.” the first one said.
“Course we don’t know any of them hon,” a different waitress said. “Could have been more to it.” she said. “What’ll you have miss?”
“Coffee for sure, then I’ll decide,” I replied.
“Man had a fucking death wish if you ask me,” The second man said.
“Suicide by bystander,” I suggested.
“What, the younger of the farmers asked.
“What if the victim wanted to die and grabbed the shotgun barrel and pulled. That would have forced the gun to go off against the shooters will. Therefore it would be suicide,” I suggested.
“Sounds like something out of a book,” the waitress said.
“It would be easy enough to prove, if the victim’s prints are on the gun barrel,” I suggested.
After my strawberry pancakes I left the restaurant. On the way out of town I stopped by the sheriff’s office to talk to the deputy on duty. It was a different one but I only wanted to leave a message for the detectives.
Since I was named in the report I had to speak to the detective. It was a very attractive Hispanic woman about thirty.
“So you are an attorney?” she asked.
“Yes and I’m not ambulance chasing. Just thought I would suggest you check the shotgun barrel for the victim’s finger prints. I know you have a confession but you shooter might not even realize what happened.” I suggested.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“The victim might have just been upset enough to pull the shotgun and that is what caused the gun to discharge. It might not have been intentional or even an accident. The victim might have known exactly what he was doing. You might want to get ahead of some smart ass lawyer, who will try to plead this out with that information,” I suggested. “I am also going to make this known to the shooter’s wife in a text message. I can get her cell phone number from the police report, which is a public record.”
“You are a criminal defense lawyer aren’t you?” the detective asked.
“One of the sleaziest,” I admitted.
“Okay, I’ll check it out but no guarantees. If there is anything to it, I will make it part of the information I give the ADA,” she said.
“Fair enough,” I replied.
She waited a second then asked, “Are you really going cross country on a moped?”
“Yes it is,” I said.
“Lady you got balls,” she said smiling.
“Glad you noticed,” I replied headed for the door.
I got 62 Miles farther down the road by 2PM. It was at that time that the pancakes wore off. Since I was on an empty road I just put off stopping until I hit a truck stop. It was more a commercial area all geared toward the drivers down from the interstate, which crossed over my little state road.
Off and on I had met those little Chinese scooters, so I wasn’t surprised to see two of them at the gas pumps. I pulling in at the empty pump across from the yellow scooter. I put a half gallon of gas into the bike which did’t quite fill it. I a little extra oil just as I had in the morning. I did the extra not only because I needed a .03 of an oz more but because I actually needed just a little more in my after market mechanic’s opinion.
“Just a drop more,” he had said. The reason was because he had changed out the head on the motor for me. I had read on line that there was a recessed head that would add 15cc more or less to the engine. That would increase the speed by about 10mph which was no big deal but it would also increase the up hill climbing torque. That was a huge deal, since it was possible to burn out a clutch trying to climb a hill with too little power from the engine. Yeah it was illegal but what wasn’t.
He looked at me with his greasy hands and said, “It is like adultery. It’s only a bad thing if you get caught.”
“I wouldn’t know,” had been my reply.
“Never been caught?” he asked.
“Never tried adultery,” I replied.
“Then take my word for it and have fun,” with that he just laughed. “I’m only going to charge you fifty bucks for the labor. I can sell your head for more than the new one cost. Yours is original factory equip.”
“Then you shouldn’t charge me any labor.” I said trying to bargain.
“Then I’ll charge you the price I quoted $150 and you can try to find a buyer on craigs list.” he suggested.
“Okay fifty bucks and you can have the head,” I agreed.
“I do love head,” he commented. It was strange that I should think about that while standing at a gas pump.
“That’s a great paint job on that bike,” the scooter owner said.
“Thanks, it a knockoff of the easy rider bikes. I couldn’t do the bike so I did the paint job. I know you guys haven’t been on the highway with those things, do you live around here?”
“About ten miles out of town. We both work for a patio furniture manufacturer. Our shift ended a few minutes ago,” the owner of the yellow scooter said.
So I am headed on down the road. How far is it to the next town south of here?” I asked.
It’s about two hours on one of these things,” he informed me.
“That’s okay, I got lots of time,” I replied.
“Well I wish you luck, we need to get a move on,” he said.
“Me to, thanks for the information,” I said as I kicked the Sprint to life.