“Well these days I try to stay out of trouble,” I said.
“I certainly hope so. You know it’s hard to live on that pension. A lot of early retirees try to supplement it.”
“Well honey, all my income is reported. I don’t hide anything. so feel free to check it out,” I said.
“How about I check it out personally?” she asked.
“Feel free to come around anytime. I’m always glad to have a cop stop by,” I said. Since she was in the club first, I didn’t expect it had anything to do with me.
“If you aren’t here to check on me, what brings you up here,” I asked.
“Your sheriff invited us to come up and help with an investigation. I really can’t say any more.” It was a teaser statement. The kind of thing a cop says to find out how much a citizen knows.
She was waiting to see if I would ask, whether she was working on a certain case. I really didn’t care. I knew they weren’t going to tie me to anything. That was for sure my hope.
If I over played my hand, it might look like I was trolling for information on the Mary Ellen investigation. She was sure to find out, if she didn’t already know, that I knew her.
“Well good luck to you on whatever brings you here,” I said moving away from her. If she followed, I would be a person of interest. Well it could be for a different reason than strictly business. Going to bed with a suspect, was totally a bad idea.
Playing up to one in a bar was good police work. So if she came at me again, I would see how far she was willing to go. Otherwise I had said all I was planning to say to her. I moved down the bar making it obvious that the conversation had come to an end.
“Hi there you new here,” A guy asked.
“Well I’ve been here before, but it was a couple of years ago, and I only came a time or two. You a cop?” I asked.
“Well not exactly, I’m a highway patrolman.” he said.
“Oh you ride up and down the roads,” I said.
“Yeah something like that, what do you do?” he asked.
“You ever see that show on TV storage wars?” I asked.
“Yeah, you do that,” he asked.
“I’m retired on disability. I do that to earn a little extra money now and then,” I said. I didn’t try to hide it, since it was better if I told it, than if they sprung it on me. I had no idea whether he was working on the Mary Ellen thing and didn’t care. It was my cover story, even before I had to kill Mary Ellen.
“So you have a store somewhere,” he asked.
“No, I resell the thrift store stuff to a guy who does flea markets. I just deal in estate jewelry. Sometimes I go to festivals, but I sell a lot of it online.” I said.
“That sounds like a sweet deal,” he suggested.
“Well, I don’t get rich, but you never know it could happen one day. One of those pieces of jewelry, or art, could be worth real money.” I suggested.
“Damn Silvia, is that really you,” I nodded to the guy who approached me. “I thought that was you.” the young man said. He was obviously a cop.
“Do I know you,” I asked.
“Damn, I’m that easy to forget,” he said it with a laugh. “I’m Deputy Bobby Ellis. I worked for Warren County at the same time you were there. I guess it was natural you wouldn’t remember me. I came in just a month before you went UC with the state.”
“Sure Bobby, you still with Warren County,” I asked. trying like hell to place him.
“You don’t remember me at all. Don’t feel bad, I’m with the crime lab and yeah I’m still there.” he said.
“Of course the crime lab,” I said. “They were just cranking it up when I went UC. So how is the Sheriff these days. Is he going to run again.” I asked staying the hell away from Mary Ellen.
“He had his posters printed. He said this is the last term for him. He has some health issues. There was some speculation, you might run against him. You know you are are pretty well known. You got a lot of press over the years,” he said.
“Well you never know. How do you think you would feel working under a woman,” I asked.
I noticed the Highway Patrolman drifted off. I also noticed he didn’t go sit with Morris the SBI agent.
“Depends on what kind of work you are talking about,” he said with a laugh.
“Well it might have been Monkey business before I knew you were a Warren County employee. I can’t have you getting the wrong idea, just in case I do end up your boss,” I said.
“Okay, I’ll leave you alone then,” he said.
If I was a person of interest I could imagine them saying, “I got to give it to her. The woman has balls. Her walking into a known cop bar would take big ones.”
If I were a person of interest they would expect me to be trying to gain information about the investigation. I acted as if I didn’t even know Mary Ellen was dead. That had to confuse them at the very least.
I finished my beer and had another one. I side stepped more than one advance. Some where smoother than others, just like they would be in any other bar. When I saw Morris go to the ladies room, I went behind her. I took a chance and forcefully pushed her against the wall and kissed her hard. Lots of tongue and heat. She didn’t return it at all.
“You know that is assault,” she said.
“And you would seriously take that to court,” I said with a laugh.
“No,” she said as she pulled me back to her. That time she was the aggressor. My submissive side was getting the better of me when next she spoke. “This wouldn’t be good for either of us.”
“What fooling around?” I asked.
“Being seen fooling about by cops. I’ll meet you in the parking lot.” she said.
I handed her a ‘quick print’ business card from the quick print shop. Every time I changed burner phones, they ran off twenty five business cards for me with the new number. “Call me, I need to get some sleep tonight. Big day tomorrow,” I said. “Be sure it’s at a time when you have a few hours. I think it is going to take that long.”
“You know, you will be my first woman,” she said.
“Another good reason to stop and take a breath,” I said. The fact that she was willing was enough for me. She probably wouldn’t have gone through with it, if she was playing me. At least she wasn’t revolted by it for sure. I would just see, if she called. She hadn’t learned anything and she hadn’t give away anything, so it was a no harm no foul situation so far. If I played her it would be a long con. She couldn’t play me without crossing the line, making her testimony useless in court. Yeah it was cold blooded, but sometimes you just had to be that way.
The Box house was a little cool, when I arrived, so I turned the ceramic furnace on for a few minutes, just to take the chill away. The area was so small even my body heat would help keep it warm. I also put on a very unsexy four sizes to large sweat shirt, I had stolen it from The Brit.
The Brit really didn’t need me, so I took a look on line for a storage locker auction. There was one two weeks away in Dobson, but there was one scheduled for Friday of the same week at a warehouse. It was an insurance auction for damaged packages from a trucking company.
After my bike ride the next morning, I sat down to check for any new action listings. There were no overnite listing, so what the hell, I thought. I called Mary Ellen’s young friend, who had worked with me before. I acted as though I knew nothing about Mary Ellen. Yes I was trolling for information as well as merchandise.
“So kid how about bringing your truck and lets go to a damaged auction over in Granger. The S&K warehouse is doing an insurance thing. I called Mary Ellen, but she must have gone out of town.” I said.
“Sylvia, haven’t you heard?” he asked.
“Heard what?” I replied.
“They found Mary Ellen floating in the reservoir,” he explained.
“I didn’t know Mary Ellen had a boat?” I asked.
“No she didn’t, but she was in the reservoir for sure. The cops said she was naked, I can’t believe you haven’t heard,” the kid said.
“I haven’t heard a word about it. Damn I’m sorry to hear that. Mary Ellen and I were in business together. I thought it was a little strange, that I hadn’t heard from her for a while, but it was like that with Mary Ellen. I never heard from her unless she wanted something. To be honest I never called her unless I wanted something. I did call her last night, to see if she wanted to work this auction like we did the storage units. All I got was her voice mail.” I explained.
I was laying a false trail, just as I had by moving all her money to Phil and Jeff. I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a lot of attention. Even if it might being down some heat on me as well. I had a feeling they wouldn’t want to get into what all they had done, since Mary Ellen was not in the documentary part of the business. Maybe the porn. I would go down for but there was nothing illegal in that.
Mary Ellen was pretty secretive about her business, so how much the cops could trace was questionable. Probably some of it from the teenage girlfriend. But I could be Mary Ellen hid her, since she could have been charged for her taste in lovers. There was so much shit she was into, that it would take the cops years to unravel it all. That might be why the SBI had been brought into the case.
The kid and I decided I would go to the auction then call him, if I need him and his truck. Before the auction I spent two days helping The Brit finish his pub. It looked as though he would be open before another week passed. We also talked a bit about Mary Ellen. “Brit you need to tell Jeremy something. Just tell him you are a consultant to a private security company. Tell him you do body guard gigs and shit,” I suggested.
“Tell him to keep us from losing our license, he should forget about Mountain home,” I said.
“If anyone asks him, he met Mary though you and I. It was just a casual meeting.” I suggested. “No need to mention how she set us all up. The less said about it the better.”
The Brit looked into my eyes and asked, “And what if Jeremy decides to go to the cops?”
“That’s up to you,” I said. “The cops will probably never question him, but if they do he should tell the same story you do.”
“Yeah, you are right. I won’t mention it unless I have to. The less said the better. I expect he can add two and two.” he said.
“Yeah by now the cops have found someone who saw her that Saturday, so they know she went in the water sometime after that. They can probably pin it down to Sunday by appointments she missed, or the store being closed on Monday. The best we can hope for is they take the bait, I threw at them. We can also hope that they never find out about Mountain Home. She wouldn’t have told anyone, since it was not in her best interest.” I explained it to The Brit.
“If we have to bug out, make your way to the swamp,” The Brit said before he turned away from me.