I arrived back at the motel, two hundred miles from my home town at four in the morning. I was exhausted, but more concerned with my mom’s feeling than anything else. It wasn’t the first time in my life that I was awake at 4AM. Since there was nothing I could do to help mom at 4AM, I fell into bed and at least tried to sleep.
The ringing of the room phone woke me. My cell phone couldn’t ring because it was turned off. I had even taken the battery out, so that I wouldn’t be disturbed at home. Of course I was no longer at home, so the room phone rang until I answered it.
“Hello,” I said probably sounding like a zombie.
“How quick can you get down here?” Chief Deputy Webster asked.
“If I come in dressed for work about an hour, if I come in dressed like a hag from the underworld ten minutes,” I replied.
“Uniform, no fixing up, but clean and not smelling like a bar,” he said. “It’s important.” He did not give me a chance to complain, he just hung up on me.
I jumped out of bed and into a shower hot to scrub my nasty ass then cold to clear the cobwebs. After that I put on a clean uniform. I brushed my hair as I walked to the car. Since I didn’t go by a drive in restaurant, I went to the courthouse hungry. I made it through the front door, then was told by the receptionist on duty to get my ass into the detective’s offices.
“Porter, I need you to talk to the Allen woman’s sister. We finally found her, Every time I say hello to her, she starts to bawl.” Simpson said.
“What in the world would cause anyone to bawl around a sensitive guy like you?” I asked trying to keep a straight face.
“Listen up Porter, this is your chance to prove you can be of some use around here,” he said.
“Simpson, you don’t get it. I don’t have to prove I’m good enough to be here. You assholes have to prove, you have reason to let me go. You are already being investigated for discrimination. So now you can either get your head out of your ass, or I’m going back to bed.”
“Porter, get in there and find out all you can from that woman and Simpson try to keep your fucking mouth shut. It’s men like you who have the labor relations people on my ass,” Webster said it from across the room.
Deloris Harold was a small woman and old looking even though she was probably no older than me. She most likely had a much harder life, even than me. She was seated at the metal library type table, which was in every TV cop show’s interrogation room.
“Before we get started, do people call you Deloris or Dee?” I asked
“Most people call me Dee,” she said trying to smile.
“Then do you mind if I call you Dee as well?” I asked.
“No not at all. You are a lot more polite than that guy who was in before you,” she added.
“I don’t expect that he set that bar very high,” I said “Men seem to think they have all the answers and all they have to do is say it and everyone accepts it immediately.”
“Yeah,” she said hoping for a break from the interrogation.
“I have to talk to you but all I want to do is help you and your sister. You know all I ever heard her called was Mrs. Allen or Jennifer’s mother. What did ya’ll call her growing up?” I asked
“Gypsy, we called her Gypsy when we were kids. She was just plain wild but in a good way. She was the one who would jump out the barn loft onto the hay pile. You know just adventurous.” Dee said.
“She sounds cool. Judging from her pictures it looks like she got married young.” I said it just to add words to the conversation.
“Yes, pregnant at 16, so she got married,” Dee said sadly.
“There, but for the grace of god, go I,” I said it and I meant it.
“Me too,” Dee said.
“So Dee, if you have heard from her since the night Jenny went missing you need to tell me now. The guy who was in here before me, wants to charge you with hindering the investigation. If I were you, I would help me help Gypsy, or I would call a lawyer. I probably shouldn’t have told you that.” I waited to see what she would do. First one who speaks in a situation like that loses.
“She called me the night it happened. I have been sick wanting to tell someone what happened. Ya’ll have it all wrong. Gypsy didn’t kill Jenny,” she said.
“Then tell me what happened,” I asked gently.
“Her no good husband Harold killed Jenny and beat Gypsy while he was at it. He might not have meant to kill her, but he did. When he saw what he did, he wrapped her in a plastic sheet and took he out to hide. Gypsy was crazy by the time he got back. She had his shotgun and when he walked through the door she shot him.
“So after he was dead she loaded him in the truck and took him to the boar ramp?’ I asked.
“She said she backed the truck into the boat ramp opened the rear door and pulled him out into the water,” she said.
“I wonder why they didn’t find any blood in the truck?” I asked.
“Harold was a painter. He had lots of that blue painters plastic tarp stuff.” Dee said.
“Dee everything you said sounds perfectly reasonable what did she do after she dumped the body?” I asked.
“She had her bike on back of the truck. She rode the bike to the Jarrell cabin and took a shower. When her clothes were dry, she dressed again and rode the bike ten miles to the truck stop on the interstate highway. She got a ride with a trucker and has been in Florida ever since.
“Dee, do you know how to reach her. A cell number or something?” I asked. She just looked down, so I took it as a yes.
“Dee, you need to call Gypsy and convince her to turn herself in. Tell her you will get her a lawyer and we will see that her side of the story is told. To be honest, I’m not sure we can make it go away, but I never thought that girl in Florida would walk either. You never know about juries. If she turns herself in, it is going to look better than if some cop finds her hiding somewhere.” I was trying to sound as honest as I was being.
“Yeah, that is pretty much what my friend’s husband, who is a lawyer, said. It’s why I called the Sheriff’s office. I just never expected to be treated like that jerk treated me. I mean I came in on my own.” Dee said.
“Men, what can I tell you,” I replied.
“Yeah, will you stay with me, while I call her?” she asked.
“If they let me,” I explained. “Let me get you a phone.” I stood and walked from the room. I could tell Simpson was pissed and that pleased me. He might try to make trouble for me, but you can’t fight success.
“So we use one of our phones and have a trace on it before the sister answers,” Simpson said.
“Simpson buy me a diet coke,” I demanded.
He opened his mouth to make some nasty comment no doubt, when Webster said, “Simpson do it and consider it a bargain for her having saved your ass.”
“It’t not for me, it’s for Dee,” I said smiling at Webster.
“Here you go Dee, a phone as promised and a diet coke from Detective Simpson. Men always buy things rather just apologizing,” I said it shaking my head.
“Yeah, my boyfriend was like that,” Dee said. It took Dee three tries over twenty minutes before Gypsy answered. She just said she had been busy. I expect that she was turning tricks or some other less than admirable thing to earn money. Being on the run was expensive.
Dee prepared her for me, and then I talked to her. They were busy tracing the call as I spoke. “Gypsy, Dee told me what happened. I can only say this, it will sit a lot better with a jury if you turn yourself in, than if we have to find you. If I were you, I would get myself a lawyer and then I would turn myself into the nearest FBI office.”
“Oh you would?” Gypsy said.
“Sweetie, you have been on the run for a few days now. The things you have to do to live are only going to get worse. Believe me there are a lot of bad things that can happen to you when you are on the run.” I said.
“Yeah, I have seen a lot already. I guess if I come back there, I can get my family to help me take care of this.” Gypsy said.
“Honey, I know Dee wants to help you. That gives you a step up. You can start forgiving yourself, once you are off the run.” I advised her.
“Yeah, I do need to do that,” she said.
“Webster came to the door and nodded, Gypsy I am going to send some Florida cops to you, so that you don’t have to do anything. We are going to call his your surrender. I will testify to that for you, so just stay there and give up when they show.”
“Alright,” she said.
“So Gypsy what’s the weather like where you are?” I asked.
“It’s warm but humid,” she said.
“Ah, you seen any alligators?” I asked.
“It’s only on TV that the alligators are in people’s back yards. It’s kind of like timber rattlers in the mountains where you are.” she said.
“I wish you hadn’t said that, I hate fucking snakes,” I said.
“Me to,” she said. Then she added, “Can I speak to Dee till they get here?”
“Sure, just don’t make any big escape plans. I would be in so much trouble if you did.”
I laughed after I said it. I sat for fifteen minutes listening to Dee’s end of the conversation. Then suddenly she said, “The cops are at the door. She said she had to go, but the officer there came on the phone and wants to talk to you.” She handed me the phone.
“You the cop who talked her into surrendering?” he asked.
“Yeah, wasn’t anything to it. She wanted to come home.” I said.
“Whatever it saved us some shit no doubt. thanks,” he said.
“Just glad we are all going home tonight, her included.” I said.
“Yeah,” he said then broke the connection.
“Thank you,” Dee said then hugged me. She was crying and I was beginning to tear up as well.
“You did okay, Porter. Don’t get all wound up. You still have to put your time in,” Simpson said.
“Oh I don’t mind. Maybe by the time I get my time in, they will have figured out what a loser you are. If not, I have worked with guys worse than you and survived.”
“There are guys worse than Simpson?” one of the patrol deputies asked.
“Think, Afghan Chieftain drug runner,” I commented.
“I will say this for you,” Webster Commented. “You can hold your own. I wouldn’t worry about Simpson.”
“I wasn’t really worried about anyone. I am just trying to get by long enough to collect that big pension.”
“Good to hear,” Webster said.