"Adventures of the Angels is now published
to the following site to check it out.
http://www.lulu.com/lewduffey ((Click here or Copy and past to your address window above))
The short story below is actually a part of the novel. I would say the novel is a
combination of short stories but they are tied together by the same characters.
The characters are Angels. They travel through time to help those who need help.
This is sort of like a TV show. Each week something different but the same
characters are facing the problems. Oh yes, and you have to pay attention
because it's one of those shows where the characters are multitasking.
Read this excerpt and then read, "Adventures of the Angels"
It was a beautiful spring day when a beautiful strawberry blonde and a man in a
business suit walked out of a hotel on the west side of
“When are you going to tell Joe that you’re in love with me?” asked Lyn.
Sarah let out a sigh. She wasn’t looking forward to this. She couldn’t help
the fact that her love for Joe had all but died. She did love him, but she couldn’t
think of spending the rest of her life with him. Joe was to demanding.
Everything had to be his way and she could live her whole life as if everything that
she was had to conform to his way of thinking.
“I will tell him today,” she promised. “I’ll tell him this evening.”
She kissed Lyn, who flagged down a cab.
“Call me when you get a chance,” he said as he got into the cab.
She turned and walked toward a delicatessen to get a cup of coffee.
It was about fifteen minutes past nine in the morning when Detective
Jack McCausty was called to the crime scene.
With lights flashing, he pulled up behind another police car
which was already on the scene.
“What do we have?” he asked. The officer took him around
the corner into the alley.
They had not removed the body from the garbage dump, yet.
They were waiting for him.
“Have you dusted for fingerprints?” Jack asked.
The officer affirmed that they
had done so and there were fingerprints all over the place.
“I don’t know if that will help you, though,” he added.
“We haven’t found anything in
the data base yet. God alone knows how many people come up and down this alley.
You’re gonna have fun trying to check every one of these.
That is, of course, if we do find any of them in our data base.
“Who found the body?” enquired Jack.
“Those two over there,” answered the officer pointing to
two young boys standing wide-eyed by the corner. Jack walked over toward them.
“What you fella’s doing here?” he asked.
The smaller boy shrank away from the detective. The other one explained that they were
just looking for treasure.
“Treasure in a dumpster?” Jack asked in disbelief. “You must be hard up for treasure.
Tell me this,” he asked. “Did you see anyone coming into this alley?”
“No sir,” the boy answered. “Honest, sir, we would never hurt that lady.
We just found her,” He said more loudly now. He was really stressed out and Jack could tell.
“Hold on, Son,” he soothed. “Nobody thinks you did anything wrong.
What time did you find her here?”
“I don’t know,” the boy answered. “I don’t have a watch.
It was about a half hour ago, though. Jack thanked the boys and went back to the officers
and medical people who were now pulling the body out of the dumpster.
“Do you think she was on drugs?” he asked.
“We won’t know until the M.E. does an exam,” answered the officer.
“It doesn’t look like it, though.
There are no bruise marks or needle punctures on the body.
Of course we have not had a chance to really examine it.”
Jack’s next stop was the delicatessen. Nobody there could tell him anything.
He then went up and down the street, asking if anyone had seen anything.
He even went into a bar across the street. The officers had taken a picture of the girl
after dragging her out of the dumpster. Jack showed the picture, asking everyone if they had seen anything.
Everyone said they had not noticed anything out of the ordinary.
There was something in the back of his mind that kept nagging at Jack, although he didn’t know why.
He found a picture of Joe Morton in the girl’s wallet. He also found her driver’s license.
Jack went to the address on the license.
There was no answer when he knocked so Jack knocked louder.
A neighbor came to the door and looked down the hall to where Jack was standing.
“There won’t be anybody there until this evening,” the neighbor offered. “They are both at work.”
“One of them may be,” Jack answered. He walked over to the neighbor.
“This girl was murdered this morning. Do you know where her husband works?”
“You mean her boyfriend?” corrected the neighbor.
“These kids these days don’t bother with getting married anymore.”
“I get your point,” Jack said. “Do you know where her boyfriend works?”
“Down on 51st. street. He works in a pizza joint down there.
I can’t remember the name. He works at a place called Papa Jowls or something like that.”
“What’s His name?” asked the detective.
The next stop for Jack was 51st. Street. Papa Jowls was a family-owned pizza parlor.
The owner was a round sort of fella. Somehow, that did not surprise Jack.
The man looked like he might have eaten as many pizzas as he sold.
“What can I do for you?” he enquired of Jack.
“I’m Detective Jack McCausty,” he said by way of introduction while showing his badge.
“Do you have a Joe Morton working for you?”
The man was a little taken by surprise. He swallowed hard and requested what the detective
wanted with the man. Jack simply asked the question again.
“Yes,” answered the parlor owner after about a half minute. “He’s not in some kind of trouble is he?”
“We need to talk to him,” Jack stated flatly. The man turned over his shoulder and shouted for Joe
to come to the front.
“Coming,” Joe answered and he came out to the front. Jack held his badge.
He couldn’t be sure, but he swore he could see fear in the man’s eyes; when the police come
looking for anybody, they get a little apprehensive.
“What is it?” asked Joe. Jack’s answer was that the man might want to sit down.
Then he explained the fact that they found Sarah’s body downtown.
“We will need you to identify her body for us,” he explained.
Also, we need to know if she had any family here.”
“Her folks live in
Jack had been in homicide for quite a few years.
One thing he never relished was the chore of telling a mother and father that they had lost a child.
Somehow, it wasn’t easy whether the child was six or thirty-six.
“Where were you this morning between eight and nine?” he asked Joe.
“Stuck in traffic, on my way to work,” Joe answered.
Jack asked all the usual questions. What route did he take? How bad was the traffic?
Did anyone see him?
Somehow something told Jack that this man was hiding something.
The problem was that he could not prove anything. Stuck in traffic in
Jack himself hated the early morning rush-hour traffic.
“When did you see Sarah last?” he asked. Joe’s answer was that she didn’t come home the night before.
When asked why he had not reported her missing, Joe answered that she often would stay at a friend’s house.
He thought she simply forgot to call.
“Why wouldn’t she call and tell you she was staying over?” asked Jack.
“She might have been drinking,” Joe replied. Jack asked for this friend’s name.
Joe tried to duck the question by stating that she had several girlfriends that she often partied with.
“Listen,” he finally sighed. “We have an open relationship.
We both agreed that we would give each other free time. When she doesn’t come home I take it
for granted she’s partying with someone.”
“Names!” Jack spoke in a way that demanded an answer. So he walked away with about eight girls’
names and addresses.
Joe pointed them out, though that he had no idea which if any of these girls had seen her the night before.
“This guy is making it up as he goes,” Jack muttered to himself as he walked back to his car.
Now he had eight visits to make, but first he had to stop by the M.E.’s office and see what,
if anything he may have found.
What Jack found out at the Medical Examiner’s office was pretty much what he had suspected.
No signs of drug abuse. The only signs of violence were the bruises around her neck.
She had been strangled and the person strangling her was wearing gloves made of imitation leather.
That’s when Jack got a call from his chief. When he walked into the office he already knew it was
to replace his long-time partner, who had just retired, but he had a surprise that he was not ready for.
Standing to the right of the chief was a beautiful woman. She had dark brown hair and blue eyes
and she was dressed in a business suit.
“This is your new partner,” the chief said by way of introduction. “Her name is Audrey Shoemaker.
Jack was going to say something when the chief gave him one of his ‘don’t go there
looks and Jack decided he would have to make the best of it. He didn’t like the thought of working with a female cop.
He spent several hours bringing Audrey up to date on the case they were working,
and then they went off to finish the call list Jack had made. Audrey did not say anything in the car.
She seemed to know that Jack was fighting with the problem of having a female by his side.
She couldn’t figure if it were that he was a macho sort of guy or if he was simply worried that she may get hurt.
She figured anything she said right now would not be much help. She could only hope that he would learn to trust her as a fellow cop.
When they got to the home of Sandra Madigan, Frank was given food for thought.
He was getting nowhere with this lady. His surly attitude was simply a turn-off to her.
She decided to simply swap put-downs with him instead of answering his questions.
Audrey took a deep breath. She figured this male chauvinistic jerk-off should be called to task,
but she knew there were things to be learned.
“Jack, would you mind if we ladies talked alone for a few minutes?” she asked.
Jack wanted say no, but he was taken aback by her request.
“I’ll be in the car,” he muttered as he walked out the door. Audrey looked over to the other woman.
“Can I call you
“Actually, that’s what my friends call me,” answered
to Sarah and I don’t appreciate some wise guy coming around treating me like I’m a piece of meat.”
“He can be a jerk,” Audrey agreed. “He’s just trying to find out some background on Sarah.
We’ve been told you know her well. Nobody is trying to say you were in any way a part of this,
but if there is any background you can tell me, it may help us find out what happened.”
“What kind of background? You mean like her sex life?
I don’t understand what you want to find out from me,”
“How were things between Sarah and Joe Morton?” asked the detective.
“O.K., I guess,” she said. Then she studied her hand some more.
When she looked up into Audrey’s eyes, Audrey could not help but notice
“Look,” she said. “I don’t want to create any problems for Joe; things between them would
have been fine if he hadn’t been so possessive. If she stopped at the coffee shop for a cup with me after
work, he grilled her as to why she didn’t come home sooner. It was like he was completely sure she was
always out with somebody else.”
“Was she?” asked Audrey. It made since that if this man was so super possessive
he may have driven her to someone else.
“I guess I shouldn’t tell you, but she was seeing a guy on the sly.
That was only because Joe was becoming such a pain in the ass.”
“Do you know his name?” Audrey enquired. All
“If you think of anything else, give me a call,” requested Audrey, handing
Then she said goodbye and walked out to the car.
Fortunately for both of them, Jack had a chance to cool off by the time she got there.
Moreover, he knew he wasn’t getting anywhere with the lady. His old partner used to do much the same thing as Audrey.
On occasion he did the same, himself.
“What did you find out?” he asked, purposely not looking her way.
Audrey turned to look at him though, and explained everything that went on with the two ladies after he left.
She did leave out the part about calling Jack an Ass.
In spite of himself, Jack was impressed. Maybe there were times when having a woman for a partner might come in handy.
Still, though Jack was concerned about how she would handle a life or death situation.
“I have a feeling this guy is the Perp,” he said. “I can’t explain why, but call it a hunch.
“Are we going to check out the other people now?” asked Audrey. Jack stared out the window as he drove.
“Yes. I think maybe you would be better equipped to handle the questioning. I guess I just don’t think like a woman.”
Audrey smiled to herself. Jack took her back to the precinct and dropped her off at her own car.
“I’m going back to the hotel,” he said. “Maybe they can shed some light on this lover boy of the vic.”
Audrey went to visit the other girls on the list and Jack headed for the hotel. He got out of his car and went inside.
Jack didn’t notice the man standing across the street watching as he headed for the lobby.
The man, Peter Brady, knew him as the detective because he had seen him asking questions after the murder of that girl.
Peter had seen what happened, but he choose not to get involved, so he went into the bar and had a few beers without
letting anybody know he had seen anything
Now he was feeling something completely out of character for him. He was feeling guilty.
He did not like cops. Peter had a wrap sheet for pushing dope on the streets. Why was he feeling so bad about staying out of this mess?
He couldn’t understand what was nagging at him but it was. Meanwhile, Jack went up to the desk and showed the girl’s picture to the clerk
“Oh, yeah, that’s the girl that got killed out front,” exclaimed the clerk.
“Did she ever come in here?” asked Jack. The clerk seemed a little hesitant to speak, but finally swallowed and answered.
“Yes,” he said. “She’s been in quite a few times over the last few months with some guy.
I got the feeling she was seeing him on the sly. They would rent a room, stay for three or four hours and then leave.
I didn’t want to poke my nose into other people’s business so I never asked questions.
“Who paid?” asked Jack.
“She did, with her credit card,” the desk clerk answered. “The guy usually stayed out in the lobby.
I don’t know who they thought they were fooling; they acted like just two people who happened to be here at the same time.
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to tell they were together.
“Did you ever get his name?” asked Jack
“No,” answered the clerk. “Like I said, they were acting very sly but not sly enough.”
“Would you recognize this guy if you saw him again?” Jack asked next.
The clerk said yes and Jack asked him to come down to the precinct to talk to the sketch artist.
Jack spent quite a bit of time with the hotel clerk and the sketch artist, getting a picture of the man
who was seen with Sarah before her murder.
Then he went back to the hotel to ask anyone who may know the identity of the man.
Audrey was busy questioning the other women on the list about who Sarah may have been seeing.
She got pretty much the same story from each person she talked to until she asked Joyce McCauley, a close friend of Sarah’s.
“She asked me not to tell anyone this,” Joyce began. “But, she’s dead now.
I don’t think I am violating her trust now. I must say that I don’t believe
“Lynn Morgan. They loved each other, but Audrey was afraid to tell her boyfriend,
Joe, that she wanted to break off their relationship.”
“Why was she afraid?” Audrey prompted.
Joyce told her that Joe Morton had an awful temper and had threatened her in a manner of speaking if she ever left him.
“What did he say in the way of a threat?” asked the detective. Joyce didn’t know.
She said Sarah had told her several times that the man she thought she loved turned out to be a manipulative man who
wanted everything his way and would not consider her feelings.
When Audrey headed back to the precinct she contemplated what the witness had told her.
Now, it seemed she had two possible suspects.
Audrey shared what she had learned with Jack and he in return brought her up to date with what he found.
The two of them didn’t have to look far to find Joe. They already had his address.
“I had nothing to do with her murder,” exclaimed Joe. “I loved her. Why are you trying to pin this on me?
“Where were you on that morning between eight and nine?” Joe asked once again.
“Look, you asked me already and I told you. I was stuck in traffic.
Please stop wasting your time and find the person who hurt her. I hear she was seeing someone at that hotel.
Maybe, he was the one who did it.”
The two detectives shared a look. So, Joe knew about Sarah’s affair. They didn’t say anything.
They didn’t have enough to get a warrant so they thanked Joe for his time and went back to the car.
“So, he knew,” said Jack and Audrey almost in the same breath. Jack looked at her and smiled
“Goes to motive,” said Audrey
“And the man has no alibi,” said Jack, “but we still don’t have enough to pin a murder charge on him.”
“Maybe we should check out this Lynn Morgan,” suggested Audrey.
There were about eighteen listings of Lynn Morgan in the
to Joyce with the sketch to see if it was in fact the man Sarah was seen with at that hotel.
They found it was. They also found after some talk that Joyce knew more about the man than she had originally told Audrey.
She knew where he worked. The two went to a small advertising firm on the west side and asked for him.
“You asked for me?’ he enquired.
Jack and Audrey introduced themselves and showed their badges.
Jack announced that this conversation would go better if they went downtown. Once they were at the precinct they began asking questions.
After asking some more questions the two detectives got him to open up.
“Look,” he began. “We were seeing each other but I didn’t kill her. I loved her.
I wanted her to dump that fool she was with and I would have given her a life with me.”
“Maybe, you loved her so much that you couldn’t stand the idea of her going home to this fool,” offered Audrey.
“Maybe, you gave her a choice and she didn’t love you as much as you did her.
Maybe, you figured if you couldn’t have her to yourself you would make sure no man did. I’ve seen it all before.”
“Audrey,” Jack interrupted. “Let’s not fool around with so many maybes. The poor man loved this woman.
“I’m going to get a cup of coffee,” said Audrey as she stood.
“Would you like some?” she asked the suspect.
Audrey gave him a steamy look as she walked to the door.
“Next thing, you’ll want me to do your laundry,” she huffed as she went out of the room.”
Jack smiled to himself. The two were playing good cop, bad cop in hopes of getting a confession out of this guy.
However, something kept nagging at Jack. He didn’t truly believe this was the man. His money was on Joe.
“Look,” he began. “If this was an accident or something that happened before you could contain yourself,
we can get the D.A. to come down on the charges. After all, a man will do some strange things out of love.”
“I would have killed myself before I would have hurt Sarah.
Look man, I’m going to have to live the rest of my life without the woman I love.
Why would I even want to hurt her, knowing that I would never kiss her lips again?
Even if she was afraid of that rat she was with,”
I could hold her in my arms for a few hours, was better than never making love to her again.”
The door opened and Audrey walked in with two cups of coffee.
She set one in front of Jack and took a sip from hers.
She had dropped the good cop, bad cop deal. She really believed what she had heard
through the sound system from the other room.
“My money is on this Morgan, fellow,” said Audrey. Jack stared at the notes of what they had already found
out and simply nodded. Then he looked straight into Audrey’s eyes for the first time since they met.
“You know something?” he asked. Audrey didn’t respond. She was struck by the fact that he was looking into her eyes.
Joe simply continued.
“You and I will make a great team,” he said with a smile. Audrey wasn’t sure how to handle this.
For the first time since she met him, she found herself feeling defensive. The strange thing about it was the fact that this
was the first sign of friendship from Jack. That was something she was not prepared for.
It made her nervous. Then she realized that the reason for that nervousness was the excitement.
She, for the first time had to admit that she was attracted to this man.
What was equally strange was that he was also attracted to her and now for the first time he was admitting it to himself and to her.
“You got any plans for dinner, tonight?” Jack asked.
“I was just going back to my apartment and grab something there,” Audrey answered.
“How ‘bout having dinner with me tonight?” asked Jack. “I know a real nice little Italian restaurant.”
Her answer was a yes and their date was set.
The man who had been watching Frank go into the hotel spent the evening fighting with himself.
He really did not want to get involved in any way with the police but he saw that girl get killed.
At the very least he saw the man take her around the corner into the alley.
His name was Arnold Moats. Although he didn’t see the murder, his information would have cleared
He preferred not to get involved. Now, however, he was finding himself thinking that he really should.
This really bothered him. He had never cared much about anyone but himself.
“Good Lord,” he thought to himself. “I’m developing a conscience.”
No matter how he tried he could not shake the feeling that he needed to call someone’s attention to what he saw that night.
After work, Jack and Audrey each went home and took showers.
They had agreed that Jack would come by to pick Audrey up at seven.
Audrey found herself not only showering, but looking for something super attractive to wear.
She even took the time to splash on some perfume before Jack got there. She was humming to herself.
When she realized that she was going to all this trouble, she found herself chuckling.
She had not bothered with such feminine stuff for many years.
When the doorbell rang she sprinted to the door like it was prom night.
She was almost breathless when she saw Jack standing there wearing a suit and tie. Jack was equally surprised to see
Audrey looking more beautiful than he already thought she was.
“You’re beautiful,” he told her.
“I bet you say that to all the girls,” she countered, while the look in her eyes told him she was thrilled to hear it.
“Nope,” he retorted. “I can’t remember the last time I said that.”
For a while the two talked about the case they were working.
They even shared some stories with each other about other cases they had worked.
One might get the idea they were just a couple of guys eating together.
Then Jack changed the subject. As they were eating he suddenly took her by surprise by asking a question
which she was not sure she wanted to answer.
“How come a beautiful lady like you isn’t married?” he asked. Audrey deliberated for a spell.
“I almost did, once,” she said. “It didn’t work out. How come you’re still single?”
“You first,” said Jack. Audrey explained that the man she thought she would love forever turned out to be a control freak.
“He wanted me to quit my job and be a stay at home wife,” she explained.
“When I told him I wanted to keep working, he said he couldn’t live with me that way.
So, I told him we were better apart. “Now, about you?”
She said that kind of in the form of a demand. Jack took a bite of spaghetti and sighed.
“My old man was a bit of a rat,” he explained. “My mom finally divorced him and we lived alone.
To tell you the truth, I don’t know how she stayed with him as long as she did. I never wanted to be in the position to hurt anyone
like he hurt her, and I never wanted to be hurt. I guess that’s why I built a wall around my feelings.
You seemed to break through that wall, Audrey. I didn’t want to fall in love with you, but I couldn’t stop it.
To tell you the truth, I’m kind of scared. I hope we can build a life together.”
“Are you proposing?” asked Audrey. Jack blushed. He hadn’t realized how it sounded until she asked that question.
There was a long pregnant pause. Jack finally broke the silence with a soft answer.
“Yeah, that is what I have wanted to ask you from the first time I laid eyes on you in the chiefs’ office.”
Audrey quietly put her fork down on the table. Suddenly she didn’t feel hungry. She looked into his eyes.
Tears were fighting to erupt from her eyes.
“This is so sudden,” she answered quietly. “I wasn’t ready for this so soon.
“So soon?” Jack prompted, his eyes pleading with hers.
“I think I have loved you from the beginning too, but I thought things would go a little slower. Man, Jack I’m kinda dizzy.”
“You don’t need to answer now. I’ve waited this long for you and I can wait longer,” he offered
Suddenly Audrey didn’t want to wait and now tears were flowing freely from her eyes.
“I hope those are happy tears,” Jack crooned. Audrey assured him in between sniffles that they were definitely happy tears.
After dinner Jack took Audrey home. At her door he took her hands in his.
“I’ll see you in the morning,” he said. Audrey looked deeply into his eyes. She wanted him to kiss her.
Suddenly he took her into his arms and they shared a long passionate kiss. It took all his will power to end it.
“Bye,” he said softly. Audrey leaned forward and kissed him again. Somehow he managed to reign in his desire.
Audrey went inside and as soon as the door was shut she fell back against it.
“Don’t forget to lock your door,” Jack said through the door. He heard the lock turn and went outside to find his car.
Jack drove home and went to bed. Audrey also went to bed. They both would dream of each other.
Neither of them cared about the work load they would have the next day.
Jack walked into the office at the precinct, humming to himself as he walked up to Audrey. The two were amazingly professional. One would have never thought they had just enjoyed a romantic episode the night before. They simply went about business as normal.
They both believed that
“That’s a stretch, though,” said Audrey. “I mean we don’t really know what went on between them that night and nobody actually saw anything.
“I think we should call him in for another talk,” Jack said. “Maybe we can clear him of this and try to find who actually hurt her.”
Jack could not figure why he felt so sure that it was not Lynn who had killed the girl. Audrey was at a loss for a reason but they both wanted one. They went back to the crime scene one more time and then each took one side of the street to see if they could find anyone who saw anything.
Audrey came into the bar across the street from the alley where they found Sarah’s body.
“I’m Detective Shoemaker,” she announced. “Does anyone here remember seeing anything out of the ordinary the night that girl was killed across the street?”
Nobody said anything. There was
It was about quitting time when she and Jack met. Neither had learned anything. One of the frustrations with their job was long hours of disappointing searches without results.
“Let’s pick up on this in the morning,” offered Jack. “You wanna have dinner with me tonight?”
Audrey accepted and the two of them headed back to their apartments for a shower.
It was about seven when Jack came knocking at Audrey’s door. They went to the same restaurant. Neither Jack nor Audrey wanted to talk business right now. They seemed to want to know more about each other.
Audrey shared some of her childhood with Jack. It was a childhood that was not overly happy.
“When I was nine my sister got raped by some bum on the street,” she told Jack. “I guess that’s why I got into police work. Julia had never hurt anyone. Her only sin was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This guy came up to her and told her he had lost his dog. She was really naive. He asked her to check out an alley while he looked down another street. He followed her and as soon as she was far enough out of anyone’s sight, he raped her.”
“Did they ever catch the guy?” asked Jack. Audrey explained that although they did and he did hard time, her sister was never the same. This was not a new concept to Jack. He had seen it many times before.
After they ate, Jack took Audrey back to her apartment. They kissed at the door. Audrey suddenly took the initiative. She wrapped her hand around his neck forcing him closer to her and kissed him with such passion his blood began to boil.
When the two got to work, they were the same professional couple they had been.
“Let’s see if we can get Lynne to give us a DNA sample,” Jack urged. “If we don’t find anything we can clear him and move on.”
“I don’t think that would prove anything,” Audrey offered. “Remember, they had spent the night together the night before.”
“Still, it may help move us on,” Jack insisted. The two went to visit
“I told you, I would kill myself before I could hurt Sarah. I’m not going to let you people come around trying to pin this on me.”
No matter how much the detectives tried to reason with him,
“We can’t get a warrant with no more evidence than we have,” said Audrey.
Just then, one of the other officers came up to their desk.
“There’s a guy out here who says he may be able to help with the Sarah Fontana case,” he said.
“Send him back,” instructed Jack. A few minutes later Arnold Moats came walking in.
Jack introduced himself and Audrey and got
“What do you have for us?” Frank asked.
“I didn’t see that girl get killed,” he began. “I did see her that evening, though. She and this tall fella, about six foot tall with dark hair came out of the hotel across the street from the bar I go to.”
“What were you doing when you saw them?” Jack asked.
“Smokin’ a cigarette,” answered
“Weren’t you in the bar yesterday when I asked about this?” Audrey enquired.
“Why are you here now?” asked Jack.
“I don’t know what has come over me; I felt I needed to do the right thing at least once in my life.”
“Do you think you’d recognize the second guy if you saw him?” prompted Audrey.
“I think, but I was across the street.” He answered.
“You say you were in front of the bar?” Jack asked.
“Where were they?” he prompted, “In front of the hotel?”
No, she had walked away after the first guy rode off in the cab. She was in front of the delicatessen about three doors down from the hotel,” said
“We want you to sit with our sketch artist for a spell,” requested Jack. “We need to know what this man looked like.”
“I’ll give it my best shot,” exclaimed
“Anything you can remember will help,” Audrey said by way of encouragement.
Sure enough, the sketch looked like Joe Morton. The two detectives shared a look.
“I think we have enough for a search warrant and an arrest warrant,” said Joe. Audrey agreed.
Before long the two, along with some other officers, were knocking on the door at Joe’s apartment.
Joe came to the door, gave a sigh and invited the two detectives in.
“I hope you found the guy who did this to Sarah,” he breathed. Then he noticed the other officers by their side and went white. Audrey answered by handing him the papers. As the officers cuffed Joe, Audrey read him his rights and Jack proceeded to go over his apartment for anything that might be useful.
By this time Joe was shouting.
“Why is it always the one who is hurt the most that you guys zero in on?” he asked. “I loved Sarah. Why would I hurt her?”
“Maybe you loved her too much,” said Jack.
“Or maybe you didn’t love her enough,” suggested Audrey. They asked him to step aside and let them work. The detectives and others in the crime squad went through Joe’s apartment, looking for clues.
After a time of going through everything and finding nothing, one of the detectives called Jack and Audrey to the closet.
“Well, will you look at that?” he asked in a tone that was more an exclamation than a question.
“The treads on these shoes are a perfect match to the footprints one of the crime lab workers found at the murder scene.”
“Could be a coincidence,” uttered Jack. Audrey turned to walk away and stopped in her tracks when the officers answered.
“Not likely,” he began. “See the red stuff on the outer curve of the soul? It matches the photo taken at the crime scene.”
“What is it?” asked Audrey, stretching her neck for a closer look.
“If I’m right, when we take these downtown we will find they are cranberries,” answered the officer. This caused them all to start laughing.
“Cranberries?” echoed Audrey. “How did cranberries get on his shoes?”
“Remember, we found the girls body next to a dumpster. I couldn’t be sure how, but it’s a good bet that some of them spilled while they were emptying the dumpster.” As he spoke he carefully put the shoes into a plastic to take them downtown for further analysis.
“Maybe we should go back to the crime scene,” Audrey said.
“Probably not going to find anything now. They have probably cleaned that alley a couple of times since the murder,” said the officer. “There is one more thing, though.
“What’s that?” Jack chirped. “You’ll find some Thanksgiving turkey?”
“Very funny,” replied the officer with more than a hint of sarcasm. “Did you notice that on the other side of the sole of the shoe there was leftover asphalt. They had just patched a pothole and it was evidently still fresh when he stepped into it. You can see it here,” he said while pulling out the photo that had been taken at the crime scene.
“We’ll be able to tell for sure once we get this downtown.” They were soon on their way downtown.
The next morning the lab called with the results. Sure enough, it was cranberries on the soles of Joe’s shoes and likewise it was fresh asphalt.
From this point on, the detectives knew they would have little trouble making a case against Joe Morton.
“The report came in from the lab,” announced Audrey. “Unless someone else was wearing Joe Morton’s shoes he was at the crime scene.”
“Let’s bring him in,” suggested Frank. “Oh, and call the D.A.,” he added. “I think we have enough to make a case.
When Joe Morton and his attorney entered the interrogation room, they immediately placed him under arrest, read him his rights and then began telling Joe and his attorney Jake Malloy what they had found.
“You have no proof that he was there. We can make a case that he found her there afterward, panicked and ran away,” retorted Jake.
“No!” interrupted Joe. “I killed her.” His attorney tried to quiet him, but Joe had had enough.
“Look, man,” he began. “I killed the only woman I will ever love. What do I have to live for?”
“We’re listening,” said Audrey. In spite of his attorney’s attempts to get Joe to be quiet, he went on to explain what happened.
“I lost my temper,” he began. “I truly didn’t mean to kill her; I let my own selfishness carry me away. She loved someone else and I couldn’t stand the thought of her being with someone else. I didn’t handle it well. Instead of telling her of my love, I called her a whore right there on the street. She slapped me and went around the corner. I was so angry I wasn’t even thinking. I followed her and when I grabbed her by the arm she pulled away. I wanted to beg her not to leave me. I wanted to tell her I could be better, but she said she had found someone who she could love and she was tired of me and my self-centered attitude. When she turned to walk away I grabbed her again. She slapped me again and I hit her. God help me I hit her,” Joe cried out as he put his head on the table.
“Can we get manslaughter?” asked Jake.
Jack shrugged. Audrey watched silently as Joe sat crying into his hands. Jack got up and walked over to the window.
“That’s up to the D.A.” he answered. “I’d say he probably would entertain a plea; I’m sure it would include life in prison.”
Joe was silent, although his attorney kept trying to negotiate. This was not a decision for the officers to make, but he hoped that a good word from them would help. After much discussion Jack announced that he would tell the D.A. that the man’s sorrow was genuine and he never meant to hurt Sarah, but that was as far as Jack could go with a clear conscience.
They took the suspect through the entire booking procedure and soon it was time to go home.
As they drove along, Jack suddenly asked Audrey to marry him. She was more than a little taken by surprise. The words just came bursting out of his mouth.
Jack went on to explain that they made a great team. He now knew she was a wonderful partner. He also had figured out that they were soul mates.
“Marry me!” He spoke again with a firmer sound. “Let’s not lose this. You’re too good for me and I can be good for you, too.”
It was a month later when the two said ‘I do,’ and the chief was Jack’s best man.
“Somehow, I knew that lady was just what you needed,” he bragged. Jack could only smile.
“So, where are you going on your honeymoon?” asked the chief.
“I’m going to take Audrey to the little town I grew up in,” answered Jack. “I can’t thank you enough. You’re a good man, Chief.”
“Call me Ed,” said the Chief.
“Sounds kinda unprofessional, doesn’t it?” asked Jack
“For Pete’s sake, Jack, said the Chief. “I was the best man at your wedding. Doesn’t that make us friends?” Jack shrugged.
“Yes, I guess it does,” he affirmed. “I thought Audrey would like to see where I lived my childhood. I’m not sure it will be the same as when I left it but I would like to stop by, lay some flowers on Mom and Dad’s grave and show her the Commons.
“The what?” asked the chief.
“That’s what my folks called it,” Jack went on. “I was raised in a little town in
“I wonder why they called it the commons?” Ed sighed.
“Don’t know,” answered Jack, “but, we spent many a happy hours there, though we called it the ball park. I was never good enough to make the little league teams, but a bunch of us got together and played ball just about every afternoon during the summer. We played high fence over,” he lamented.
“What’s high fence over?” asked Ed.
“We didn’t have enough players for two nine player teams so we ran the bases backwards. Third base became first base and since the fence down the left field line was a very short distance. The Independent league players didn’t want to make a homerun to easy to hit, so they put up a fourteen foot fence that ran almost to center field, where the fence was much further away from home plate. The fence gave us a place to narrow the field so we could play with four or five people on a team,” Jack explained.
“The town was founded in 1767,” Jack went on. “It was founded by a man name Funck––he named it
“It sounds like an interesting place to grow up in,” said Ed. Jack smiled.
“There’s a lot of history there,” said Jack. “During the civil war there was a battle fought on the near town as General Lee’s troops retreated after the big battle at
Soon Jack and Audrey were on the road to his home town.
“So what’s this home town of yours like?” asked Audrey. As he drove, Jack explained that he wasn’t sure it would be the same.
“When I was a kid there were two grocery stores in town but the last time I went there they were closed and antique shops were everywhere,” he said. “They built a memorial on the old route 40. It was moved a bit so they could have wider road access, I guess. Any way, it used to sit along the right side of the road as you headed into town. Now it’s still there but on the left side. Who knows what other changes they may have made. The town might have grown into something big, but when they put the railroad through, they went through
“Sounds fascinating,” said Audrey.
When they got there, Jack realized that the changes were still taking place all around Funkstown but the residents had somehow maintained the historic value of the town.
They found a Motor Inn in
Audrey was curious about this quaint little town. She asked questions and listened as Jack tried as best he could to give answers.
“We learned in school that Funkstown or
“What kind of mills?” asked Audrey.
“Various kinds,” said Jack. “There was a powder mill that supplied
“That’s a lot of history,” sighed Audrey. “It’s such a beautiful little town. I hope they never lose the wonderful atmosphere.”
“My dad told me about an electric trolley in which he and his father rode. It ran from
“Maybe tomorrow, I’ll take you to Boonsboro. You know the old route 40 was once the only road that led to Boonsboro,
“I’d love to see it,” Audrey said emphatically. Audrey had been raised in the city. The rural area was a wonderful treat. As a kid her dad would take the family on trips in the summer. They would usually find some mountain area in the upper part of
“Jack,” she asked as they sat eating at the restaurant in the motor inn, “when did you say the memorial was built?”
Jack took a bite of food and after wiping his mouth, he took a breath, trying to remember.
“I think some guy named Weisner started building it. I think he finished it in 1921. They said that was the main square but by the time I came along the square was considered to be a block north.”
“We used to visit the Antietam Battlefield which isn’t far out of town regularly,” Jack Lamented. “Of course, the trip of all trips was when we went on a long drive into
“I’d love to see it,” said Audrey. “Maybe we could come back down this way in the fall and make that part of our trip.”
“At this moment, I have something else in mind,” Jack said with a husky sound to his voice.
“Are you ready to go up to our room?” Audrey asked, although she already knew the answer.
The next morning they drove to Boonsboro and over the mountain past an
On the way back to
As they ate the two made conversation. Audrey was curious as to what else was in the town besides antique shops and grocery stores.
“We had one barber shop,” Jack answered. “And a lady moved into town and opened a home based business called The Doll Shop. She would take old antique dolls, repair and dress them up and sell them. Before long people were bringing their old dolls for her to fix. From what I could tell her business was flourishing. I think she’s still in business.”
“I’d really like to see that,” said Audrey. Jack offered to drop by before they went back to the motor inn. This was never to come to be.
Murder & Romance and Salvation
Then, there came the ironic twist of events that ended with their car going off the road and into the water of the Antietam Creek.
Ed was working as usual when his phone rang. He picked it up. An old friend of his had decided several years ago to get out of the city life and move to a more rural location. He was now working for the sheriffs department of
The car Jack was driving went off the road at the place commonly known in the area as Death Curve and ended up in the Antietam Creek with Jack and Audrey in it.
“Are they alright?” Ed asked before his friend could go further. He listened carefully but there was a long silence on the other end. When it was finally broken his friend simply said,
“I’m sorry. They didn’t make it.” Ed sat staring out the window. He would have about halfway expected it if some fool shot Jack in the line of duty but to have him and Audrey meet their death on their honeymoon? This he could not comprehend.
“God, how could you let this happen?” he charged, “How could you take their lives today of all days?”
Ed felt the pain deeper than he ever felt he could. He was looking forward to the possibility of Jack and Audrey maybe one day having kids. He could be their Godfather.
He had just grown close to the couple and they were snuffed away from him.
As Ed grieved, someone else was receiving a call. Beatrice Edmonson picked up her phone and was told of the death of her twin sister and her new brother-in-law.
Bee, as everyone called her, didn’t make the wedding. Now she hated herself for letting business get in the way. She would have seen her sister one last time. What really made her feel bad is the fact that they were identical twins but had grown apart over the last eight or nine years. She had her life and Audrey had hers. That seemed to be the way they each wanted it. Now, however, she was wishing they had spent more time together.
After hanging up the phone she went into the bedroom and dragged out the old family album that she had not often bothered to look at in the past few years until now. Suddenly, it was all that was left of Audrey, and Bee felt the need to contemplate.
Ed and Bee did not even know each other but they did share something in common. For the next three days they would both mourn the loss of loved ones.
Three days later, Ed pulled into the parking lot of the Funeral home to attend the viewing. When he walked in he saw the two caskets sitting side by side in front. In front of one was a woman. Ed stared at her unbelievingly.
“Audrey?” he almost spurted out but stopped himself. It couldn’t be her. He wished it were but he knew it couldn’t be.
“My name is Beatrice Edmonson,” she announced. “I was Audrey’s twin sister––am Audrey’s twin sister,” she amended as an afterthought.
“I didn’t know she had one,” Ed wondered. “Oh,” he said after a brief moment of thought. “I’m sorry. I’m Ed Wingert. I didn’t realize Audrey had any living relatives. She didn’t speak about her personal life much.”
“We hadn’t been real close over the past couple of years,” said Bee. “I regret that now. If only I could go back and relive those last couple of years I would change that. It’s too late now.”
She returned her gaze to the lifeless body of her sister. They didn’t say much more after that.
The funeral was painful but Ed tried to control his sorrow. One thing that lightened the load some for him was the beautiful lady sitting in the front. Ed couldn’t keep himself from glancing over at Bee. It was as if Audrey had come back from the dead. At one point, she saw him looking and managed a weak smile and then turned her attention back to the coffin where her dead sister lay.
When it was all over, Ed took the rest of the day off. He went home to his apartment. Jack and Audrey had become his best friends. Ed had not allowed himself anything in the way of friendship until now. He contemplated this. How ironic it was. The first time he allowed himself to care about someone on a personal level, they were both stripped away from him. This pain he didn’t want. Maybe that was why he never allowed himself to be made vulnerable until now. He decided he would not let this happen again. He was not going to open himself up to pain again.
“You’re taking on a rather cynical attitude, there, my friend.” This was a voice he knew well. Ed turned and there sat Jack.
Ed wasn’t sure what was happening to himself, now. He swore he was losing his mind.
“No, you are not crazy,” Jack answered his unspoken question. “I am real. Well, as real as I can be to you. There is something about my death that you don’t completely understand. That is why the Master has instructed me to make you the first person on my ‘to do’ list.
“Master,” Ed questioned? “To do list?” he added. “I think you’re just a hallucination. I would love for you to be alive but they just buried you. I think I need counseling of some kind.”
“Okay,” Jack answered. “I’ll be your counselor. Let me tell you what our honeymoon was like.” Ed just sat and listened. He wasn’t sure what was happening to him, but he was beginning to doubt his sanity.
“I took Audrey back to my hometown and we had a wonderful time. We visited all the old places where I played as a kid and Audrey loved hearing me go on and on about the great times I had,” he continued.
“We Drove down to
“Man, I never really had a childhood. I hope you two know how lucky you are.”
Jack explained how he almost ran the car off the road right there but managed to keep his composure.
“Who are you?” he inquired. “And how did you get into the car? We were doing fifty miles an hour.”
“Oh, I can do better than that,” Arty Answered. “I am here because the Master wants to save the two of you. Come with me and you will have an adventure you have never dreamed was possible. Believe me, it will be worth it. It sure has been for me.”
Jack went on to tell Ed how Arty explained his childhood, his relationship with Andora and his untimely death. Only, it was more like walking into a wonderful life and Arty had explained that he knew he did not deserve it.
“I guess it was a gift,” he praised the Master.
“Who is this Master?” Jack enquired.
“God!” Arty stated emphatically. God is my Master. He is the source of all life and anyone who knows him through his son Jesus has a doorway to eternal life. Funny thing is I didn’t even know I knew him till after we went over that cliff in the buggy. In fact, I didn’t know him until about a hundred years or so afterward.
“I don’t get it,” said Jack emphatically. “Why are you here?” Arty turned and gazed out the car window. He was enjoying the beauty of the spring flowers and newly budding trees. Then he stopped his contemplation long enough to answer Jack.
“I’m a reaper, he said.” Jack looked off the road long enough to study Arty through the rear view mirror.
“A what?” he asked.
“I am what you might call a gatherer. I am an Angel of God. I am sent to reap souls for the Kingdom.”
“Are you here for us?” asked Audrey, who had been extremely quiet until now. “I don’t think we are ready to go now. We both want to have kids. We haven’t lived our lives together yet.”
“It’s your time,” Arty quipped. “The Master said today is your day.” Audrey turned and stared into the eyes of the Angel in the back seat.
“That hardly seems fair,” she cried out. “Ask the Master if he couldn’t give us some time together before he takes us. This is our honeymoon.”
“Sweetheart, you are going to have eternity together,” Arty consoled. “Isn’t that what you want?”
Audrey fell silent for a spell. Then she turned to Arty again. Her eyes implored him. She couldn’t understand why God felt that shortening their lives was the right thing.
“We had plans,” she began. Then, as if she needed something specific she told him that Jack had promised to show her
“Oh, we can do that Arty said. Then he placed a hand on each of their shoulders and they suddenly were not in the car anymore. They were floating far above it. Jack and Audrey watched as the car came upon “Death Curve.” It did not turn but ran off the road into the water below.
Now, they were both silent. Arty was still holding them.
“All of a sudden,” Jack began. “I didn’t feel worry or trouble or anything negative. I felt more at home than I had ever felt in my life. I should have been scared. After all, we were about sixty feet off the ground.
“What happened next,” Ed asked. Suddenly, he felt the presence of the Master, though he didn’t know why. He was never a religious person but this was a wonderful joy.
“What happened next was Arty took us on our first trip through time,” laughed Jack. “True to his word, he said he wanted to show
‘We can travel through time just like you used to walk from one room to another in the flesh,” he told me. “You will see more than you ever could see as a man.’
Then he took us to the Heavens. It was beautiful. I couldn’t find the words to describe it to you. One day, you will see it too. The Master has already saved a place for you in Heaven, Ed. First, though, you must work out some issues here on Earth.”
“What issues?” Ed asked incredulously. He was suddenly feeling very nervous. Jack picked up on that nervousness and tried to console him.
“Listen,” he began. “I didn’t get a chance to finish working with Joe Morton. I need you to do something for me.”
“Joe Morton is in jail,” Ed retorted. “You have nothing more to do.” Jack smiled and explained that he wanted Ed to visit the man in jail.
“He will try to kill himself,” he said. Ed answered that he probably deserved to die for what he did.
“Listen, man,” Jack replied. “The man did something in anger and now he feels a remorse that he will carry for the rest of his life. Actually, life in prison is a harsher penalty than death. As long as he lives, he will feel the remorse. You need to give him comfort.”
“You’re an Angel,” said Ed. “You certainly don’t need me. Go and sprinkle some fairy dust on him or something.”
Jack smiled again. He knew Ed would fight this. Ed had been working with people who committed these violent crimes for years. He had become very negative. Jack knew the feeling. He had been, too. It was when he met Audrey that he began to see that someone must have been looking after him. It was her love that had expanded his mind. The problem was that he could not explain to Ed why he wanted his help. It was not that Jack needed it. It was that Ed did. His eternal salvation would hinge on his ability to take on a more forgiving attitude. Jack would have liked to explain to Ed that Sarah, the woman Joe had killed, was alive and well in a place where pain had no place. This, he would have to let Ed figure out on his own. He simply moved on.
“You are going to go to sleep now,” he began. “When you awaken, it will be as if all this were a dream. But I will be working with you from the shadows. You must visit this man and get to know him.
“I still don’t understand,” Ed protested.
What Jack had learned while in the Heavenly city was that anything Ed did with the purpose of saving his own soul or claiming eternal life would not be enough. He needed to do his good deeds because of love. His eternal salvation was dependant upon his ability to simply place the love of his fellow man above his own life. The Son of God once said, “He who would save his life, must lose it. He that loses his life for my sake, the same shall be saved.”
This was why it was important for Jack to have his help. It was not for the sake of Joe so much as it was for Ed’s sake.
“I saw something about the man,” Jack explained. “He is carrying a heavy load. He did not mean to hurt that girl. He simply lost his temper and exploded. Now, he is considering taking his own life. He is in prison. The one person on the face of the earth that he loved is dead and he is the one who killed her. In his heart he is not even blaming her for her affair with another man. He is taking it all upon himself. Somebody must help him.”
“But, why me?” Ed complained. “I helped put him in jail and he confessed to killing her.”
“Maybe that’s why you,” Ed retorted. “Maybe he needs to hear someone who was involved with the whole thing say they understand. You are his earthly angel, Chief.”
“Ed,” his boss interrupted.
“Ed,” said Jack. “You are Joe’s earthly angel. How would you feel if you were responsible for the death of the person you love?”
Ed’s eyes began to mist. He sat for several moments contemplating what Jack had just said. Then he sighed.
“There but by the grace of God, go I,” he breathed softly. Jack smiled.
“Exactly!” he responded.
“O.K., I’ll stop by in the morning and visit this guy,” Ed agreed. “The least I can do is, see his frame of mind.”
With those words, his eyes grew heavy and he went to sleep right there on the chair. He awoke sometime later. Somehow, he wasn’t sure if Jack’s visit had been a dream or not. By morning he felt it was a dream, but he still felt compelled to visit Joe and see what was happening with him.
Murder & Romance and Salvation
While Jack was with Ed, Audrey was called by the Master to visit her sister. Bee went into the house after the funeral. She was wiping tears from her eyes; no matter how many times she wiped them away, her face was streaked with tears. She wished she would have been able to talk to Audrey one last time. Alas, she had not called her sister, not even to say she could not make her wedding. Instead, she attended Audrey’s funeral.
Bee knew her face had to be a mess. Tears and makeup do not make for a beautiful complexion. She walked into the bathroom, switched on the light and looked in the mirror at her tear-soaked face.
As she stared, her mind contemplated why she and Audrey had grown apart. It was as much sibling rivalry as anything. Their mom and dad––who were now passed away––had been super proud of Audrey. Bee felt like they did not have much pride in her and that caused her to feel a resentment she now regretted.
That was when she noticed the complexion on the reflection in the mirror changing. The streaks were gone and the face looking back at her was smiling although she wasn’t smiling.
Her hand reflexively rose to her cheek but the reflection simply looked back at her, smiling.
This freaked Bee out and she turned and stumbled into the living room. She was sure she was going crazy.
“I’m sorry,” the words came a from a voice behind her. Bee turned to see Audrey sitting on the sofa.
“I couldn’t resist the temptation,” chuckled Audrey. Bee was still in shock and said nothing.
“Listen,” Audrey began. “I was sent here by the Master to give you closure. After all, you were not the only one who didn’t bother to visit her sister. I could have come to see you. I just never did.”
Bee finally took a breath and managed to speak. She couldn’t fathom why Audrey was here. She was in a box six feet under ground at the cemetery.
“My body is there,” Audrey explained. “My Spirit is anywhere the Master asks me to go. The first thing he wanted me to do was relieve myself of the guilt of a horrible transgression. I should have come to see you, but I didn’t”
“I should have come to see you,” said Bee. “But, I was jealous of you. Mom and Dad were so proud of you. I don’t think I could ever live up to their expectations and you did. I wish I had been more proud of you and thought a little less about my hurt feelings.”
It was then that Audrey cut her off with an admission that took her breath away. She raised her hand to shush her sister and then she breathed a statement which she had never admitted until now.
“I flaunted that at you,” she proclaimed. “I should have been a source of comfort to you; instead I chose to enjoy my feeling of superiority. I am sorry, Honeybee. I was selfish and completely ignorant to treat you like that.” Then she sighed heavily and added.
“It’s sad that I would only understand this now. We could have had some wonderful times together.”
There were tears welling up in Bee’s eyes. She couldn’t remember when Audrey called her Honeybee last. It was a term of endearment that she had used a lot while they were growing up.
Then Audrey smiled and reached out to hug Bee. She had forgotten that she couldn’t touch, and Bee almost walked into the wall as she passed through the image of her sister.
“Oh, sorry,” Audrey apologized. “I forgot. I don’t have a body any more. Try to remember something for me, Honeybee. Always know that as sure as there is a God I will be with you always, just as Jesus will be with you always.”
Then she faded away and Bee sat down in the chair. As she contemplated what had just happened she fell asleep. When she awoke, it was as if she had dreamed the whole thing, but there was a feeling of peace that she thought she would never feel again.
Bee got ready to go to work. Before she left the house she looked up Ed’s phone number and wrote it down on a note pad. Tearing the page off, she put it into her purse.
The first opportunity she got at work, she took a break and phoned him. When she got the answering machine she told him who she was and asked if they could get together. Bee felt a little self-conscience about calling a man that she had only met once, but he knew Audrey and she needed to vent. She could feel Ed’s pain over the loss of his friends, so she took a deep breath and began talking.
“Hello, Mr. Wingert,” she began. “This is Beatrice Edmonson. If you have a chance, I need to talk to you. I really don’t have anyone else and I am feeling the loss of my sister and your friend to be a heavy cross to bear.”
She also gave her phone number and hung up. She wasn’t sure Ed would reply but something told her to try.
As it turned out, Ed would not get home until late that evening. True to his word he took a long lunch break and went to visit Joe at the prison.
The guards did not cut Ed any slack. They made him go through the same routine that any visitor to the prison had to endure. After he left his gun and anything else that would set off the metal detectors in a locker, Ed walked through. When it did not let out the shrill sound, he had his hand stamped and a wrist band placed around his left wrist. Then he sat down and waited. Soon Joe’s name was announced through the loud speaker and Ed got up and went through the first gate, waited on it to close and the second gate to open and then walked into the next building where Joe sat.
Joe had been on suicide watch and was not allowed in the visiting room, itself. He was in a booth with a Plexiglas window and a telephone.
When he saw that it was Ed, his face dropped. After a moment of silence in which both tried to find some words without success, it was Ed who finally said something.
“I thought I would stop by and see how you are doing,” he said. Even as he heard himself saying it, Ed could not help but feel rather lame.
From the look on Joe’s face, Ed expected something like, “how do you think I am? I’m in prison.” Instead Joe studied Ed’s eyes for a moment and then his look softened somewhat.
“I’m here,” he said. Somehow he could not come right out and say what he was feeling. He hated himself for what he had done. What made matters worse for him was the fact that he had time to think about why Sarah had been seeing that other guy. Deep down, inside, Joe knew he had driven her to do it.
“Listen,” Ed began. “This is a little awkward. I promised Jack I would stop by and see how you were doing. He said he felt you were really sorry for what happened and he wanted to help you deal with the sorrow.”
“I’m dealing with it,” Joe said flatly. “If Jack cared so much, why isn’t he here?”
Ed sighed as his eyes dropped down. Joe couldn’t tell what he was saying, but the despair that showed on Ed’s face made him nervous. Finally Ed broke the thirty-seconds of silence.
“He’s dead,” he said. He and Audrey were on their honeymoon. The car went off the road and they were both pronounced dead at the scene.”
“Bummer.” It was a weak response but it was all Joe could say at first. Then after a few breaths he looked from Ed’s eyes and gazed at his free hand, clinched on the table between him and his visitor. “If God wanted to take someone, he should have taken me. I deserve to die. I killed the only person on Earth that I could ever love.”
“It’s hard to think like God,” Ed exclaimed. Now he was lost in thought. He was staring but not focusing on anything.
“I take it, you’ve tried,” answered Joe.
“Not until now,” said Ed. “Now, I am trying to figure this creator out for the first time in my life and it took the death of a friend to make me do it.” He wanted to tell Joe about his visit with Jack but he was sure Joe would think he was crazy or simply hallucinating out of grief, so he kept it to himself.
“Well, if you do figure him out, let me know. I would like to ask him some questions,” Joe retorted with a hint of skepticism in his voice.
Suddenly, without knowing why, Ed felt empowered. He didn’t know where this insight was coming from, but he felt a need to comfort a man he hardly knew other than the man he had helped convict of a murder.
“What would you ask him?” He enquired. “More importantly, what would you tell him?” Ed didn’t even understand where that last sentence came from but he would, eventually.
“I would ask him why I was so blind for all those years and I would tell him I was sorry.”
“Sorry for what?” Ed prompted.
Joe’s eyes dropped down again. As he stared at the palm of his free hand he took a deep breath and then spoke softly into the phone.
“I drove her away,” he started. “She wanted me to be romantic and loving and for a while I was. She wanted kids but I didn’t want the responsibility. She wanted me to love her like she loved me and I did, but I simply didn’t show it. I became caught up in my job. I was working long hours and when I came home I was tired. I wouldn’t even notice the romantic way she hinted at her desires, even when it included wearing scanty night clothes. I had become completely dysfunctional. After a couple of years of trying, she simply gave up on me and went looking for someone who could make her feel loved.”
Joe was crying now. Tears were running down his face. He reached into his pocket for a tissue and wiped his face.
“I got angry and pushed her. I didn’t mean to kill her but I was blaming her for what she had done to me. All along, it was me who had done it to her. I was too dumb to know what I wanted. I should have wanted kids. I should have wanted to hold her in my arms. I should have loved her but I chose to become a sexless tyrant.”
Now there were tears beginning to well up in Ed’s eyes. He looked at the man on the other side of the glass with a brand new point of view.
“One moment of insanity and you pay for it for the rest of your life,” Joe sighed. “You don’t know how close I have come to killing myself. I should have done that before I hurt Sarah.”
“Sarah is in Gods hands now,” said Ed. He wondered where that kind of talk was coming from. It didn’t sound like the kind of thing he would say or even think.
“Listen,” he continued. “Maybe there are others in here who you can help. Maybe there are a lot of people who need to find their peace with God. Maybe it takes a lot of heartache to make a man, I don’t know. I do know that you are a good man. If I could, I would get you out of there. Unfortunately, the laws of this state are not forgiving, but God is. Ask him how you can make amends.”
After a few more minutes of talk, the guard came up and announced that their time was up. Ed got up and left but not before he promised he would return and visit Joe again.
Ed found his frame of mind was changed. He looked at the cases that floated past his desk with a completely different attitude. He wasn’t looking for convictions as much as he wondered what caused the people to do what he knew some of them did. Others, he wondered if they were even guilty at all.
He got through the day with much soul searching and after stopping at a restaurant he headed home.
When he got there he pushed the button and there was Bee’s voice repeating the message she had left earlier in the day.
When Ed Wingert got to his apartment he pushed the button and listened to the voice mail left by Bee.
“I think she wants to see me,” he sighed. Ed had not allowed himself to care about anybody until now. He had been with women but he would not consider marriage or even a romance with them. Bee was challenging him. It was not because she was the spittin’ image of Audrey. He had always though Audrey was beautiful, although he never fell in love with her. Jack did that. Now he was having feelings about Beatrice which he was not in control of and it sort of scared him. He picked up the phone and called her. After several rings Bee picked up on the other end.
“Hello,” she announced herself.
“Hi,” said Ed. He suddenly was aware that he knew not what to say. She simply said she needed to talk to him. He knew she was troubled over the loss of her sister, and he did not know what he could say to comfort her. A long silent pause was the result of all these thoughts, as she stood completely tongue-tied with her phone to her ear. Finally Ed broke the silence.
“You wanted to talk to me,” he began. “I think I need someone to talk to, myself. I was wondering if you would have dinner with me this evening.”
It was only after he said it that Ed realized what he was saying. He was rather surprised because he had not intended to ask her out for dinner. He was even more surprised when she accepted. There was another thirty seconds of silence and then Ed spoke again.
“Can I pick you up at seven?” he asked. Bee accepted and, upon request, gave him her address. Then they both said goodbye and both simultaneously headed for the shower.
At six-fifty-five, Ed rang the doorbell at Bee’s apartment. After he announced himself over the intercom she unlocked the door and he entered.
This was the first of many dinners they had together. At first they were both self-conscious, so the dialogue was mainly small talk, but as they became more familiar with one another, they began to see that they shared a lot in common.
During dinner one night Ed just blurted something out that he immediately regretted... but not for long.
“You know I saw Jack after the funeral,” he said. “He came to me at my apartment.” Ed looked into Bee’s eyes, trying to ascertain what she was thinking of this wild idea but he didn’t find shock. He found her to be extremely interested. Still he felt he needed to explain. He didn’t want her to think he was crazy.
He explained the whole visit to her. When she didn’t cut him off or act like she was becoming distant to him, he continued. When he finished, she shared news of her visit with Audrey.
“People would probably think we were crazy,” she said. “I am sure she was there that night and I have felt her presence or someone like her ever since. You know, I’ve never been the religious kind, but I am starting to believe that God does exist and he is working in our lives. I think he has brought you to me together. I thank him for that.”
Jack reached across the table and put his hand on hers. His smile said more than any words he may have tried to say. Somehow right now, there were no words except what he was now saying.
“I love you!”
“I love you, too,” Bee answered. “I never thought I would love any man; you have been a source of real comfort,” she continued.
“I guess we have comforted each other,” Jack answered.
The next day, Jack didn’t meet Bee for lunch as usual. He drove out to the prison to see how Joe was doing.
He went through the ritual as usual. He checked his keys and anything metallic in a locker supplied by the prison, walked through the metal detector and then waited until he heard Joe’s name called out over the intercom. Then he got up and walked through the security gates that seemed to take forever to slide open and close behind him. He had, as usual, had a stamp on the back of his hand which only could be seen when he slipped his hand under the black light. Then he saw Joe who was in the general population now. He was sitting on a bench-like chair waiting.
Ed couldn’t help but notice the smile on his face. Ed apologized for not coming back to see him sooner and Joe waved it off.
“I’m always glad to see you,” he said.
During the course of their conversation, Ed asked how he was holding up and Joe surprised him.
“I found Jesus in here,” he said as a matter of fact. “I have made some real friends. You know there are a lot of guys in here who swear they were framed.
Ed chuckled and asked if Joe believed them.
“No,” Joe answered. “There are a lot of guys here like me,” he continued. “They know what they did was wrong and now they simply want to pay their dues. A few of them will probably get paroled. I don’t expect I will. I don’t think I deserve it. But the fact is that no matter where I am, I know for the first time in my life that God really does have a place for me and I am going to live for him. I’ve kinda started a ministry in here. I want to help as many of these guys who will allow me to find where they are in life and build a future, if not in this life then in the next.”
“You’ve come a long way,” praised Ed. “I am glad you have found yourself. I believe in God, too. He has sent an angel to me. She’s loving and never misses a chance to praise me. I think I’m going to ask her to marry me.” He was grinning from ear to ear and Ron smiled broadly.
“That’s great,” he said. “Remember to never stop loving her. Don’t ever make her feel like she’s second best and whatever you do treat her with kindness. I wish I could only do that with Sarah, now.”
The rest of their visit was more small talk and before he knew it Ed felt the hand of a guard on his shoulder telling him his time was up. He said goodbye to his friend and left.
True to his word, Ed did ask Bee to marry him and she said yes. They were married about a month later and about fourteen months after that he came home from work one night to a glowing wife. Bee had an announcement to make. She was with child.
Their little baby girl was born healthy and Ed was feeling better about life than he had ever felt before.
Years flowed by. For Ed and Bee and their daughter, Mary Jane, it seemed to go too fast, at least for Ed and Bee. Mary Jane was the light of their lives.
For Joe things were going well, too, at least as well as you can expect for a man in prison. He had become an influence on the lives of many others who might have been career criminals, but instead found that life had much to offer for those who had faith. He watched many of them as they came up for parole, and he was never lonely because, like Ed, these guys did not forget a friend who supported them. They came back to visit on a regular basis.
Ed’s life was about to take a change. Mary Jane was just seven years old and in school and Bee had taken a job as a library assistant to help keep the finances strong so they would be able to have a college fund set up for their daughter.
She noticed that one case Ed was working on was troubling him, but he wouldn’t talk about it. She never pressed.
Then one day he came home from work with eyes glazed over. He shuffled through the front door and sat down at the kitchen table, saying nothing.
“What’s wrong?” asked Bee.
“I killed a seventeen year old boy today,” he groaned. “I didn’t want to. It was him or me.”
“What happened, Dear?” Bee asked, laying a hand on his shoulder.
“Actually, all I was trying to do was wrestle the gun away from him. He was threatening to kill people. I saw an opportunity and jumped for the gun but he stepped backward and we scuffled over the gun. It went off and he fell to the floor,” Ed cried.
“In the Twenty plus years I’ve been on the force, I had never been forced to cause the death of another,” he said.
“Now he’s dead.” Ed looked into Bee’s eyes as if he were trying to gain some feeling of forgiveness. Actually that was all she had to give him. She knew nothing about the case and she did not understand how any of this happened.
Bee drew him into her arms. Ed said nothing for a long time. Then Mary Jane came into the room. When she saw her father with tears in his eyes, she began to cry.
“What’s wrong, Daddy?” she asked. Ed pulled her to him and kissed her cheek. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t know how to tell his daughter what he had told Bee.
Later that evening he announced that he was retiring from the police force.
“I have enough time to earn a good retirement,” he said. “I think I will try something else.”
Bee didn’t try to change his mind. In truth, she was relieved that he had made that decision. She had always been concerned that he may not come home some evening, leaving her and Mary Jane to live alone. After what had just happened, she was more acutely aware that it could have been him who received that bullet.
The next day, Ed turned in his resignation. Then later he stopped by to visit with Joe.
When Ed told him what had happened Joe gave the same exclamation that he so often used.
“Bummer,” he declared. Ed went on to explain that he had turned in his papers. Joe asked what he was going to do and Ed said that he simply didn’t know
“Look man,” Joe began. “I found comfort in the Lord and my transgressions were a lot worse than yours. Maybe you should look to him, too.”
Ed simply looked at him for a spell. Then he took a deep breath.
“I have prayed everyday that something like that would never happen. I guess he wasn’t listening,” he complained.
“He was listening,” corrected Joe. “You need to keep in mind that everything, both good and bad will work for the good of those who love the Lord. You know what?” he went on. “You should consider becoming a minister. You could use your heartbreak as a tool. You know grief. You know what it does to you. You could help others out of the same pain. It would also help you out of your pain. It worked for me.”
It wasn’t long after that visit that Ed joined a seminary.
The years go by faster than anyone wants them to. Ed did become an ordained minister. He eventually got a job as a prison chaplain. He and Joe were always friends and Bee kept working as a library assistant. Before they knew it Mary Jane had grown up, fallen in love, married, and Ed and Bee were grandparents.
It was about thirty years after Ed graduated from seminary that his faith was put to the greatest test. Bee was diagnosed with cancer and there was no cure. He lost her but he knew she was with God.
It was only seven years after that when Ed got a visitor. He was going over some papers at his desk in the den at home when Arty came for him.
“You’ve done well,” Arty praised. “Now it’s time you come with me.”
“Where too?” asked Ed, though deep down inside he knew.
“We are going to hook up with your wife,” Arty smiled. “You’re going to meet your Master.”
“What about Mary Jane?” Ed asked. Arty simply reassured him that she was taken care of and it was Mary Jane who found Ed slumped over his desk. She had been raised to believe in God, so in spite of her sadness she knew her father was in God’s arms.
Joe, who did spend the rest of his life in prison, got the same visitor. Arty announced that the Master had forgiven all his transgressions and wished his company.
“You are going to see Sarah again,” Arty explained. “She has forgiven you and she really never stopped loving you. She can’t wait to see you.”
Joe was found by a guard and that ended a saga.
TO GO BACK TO THE MAIN PAGE!
My novel, “Adventures of the Angels” is about a group of Angels who travel around the Earth helping those who need help. I believe Angels really do this. My book is a novel. I will be the first to tell you I do not believe I will become an Angel when God calls me. Some of the Angels in my book are portrayed that way. I will repeat, “My book is a novel.” I wanted to mix fiction with my true beliefs but the fact is Angels are not glorified human beings. The Bible teaches us that God created man a little below the Angels.
That being said I realize that there were only a certain number of Angels created by God and they do not die so they will be there or here forever.
The word Angel actually comes from the Greek word aggleos, which means ‘messenger.’ The matching Hebrew word mal’ak has the same meaning.
If you read your bible you know there are both good and evil angels. Satan is a fallen Angel.
Angels come as spirits. They also have other categories such as cherubim which are associated with the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Moses saw one of these when God spoke to him through a burning bush which was not consumed.
The cherubim were symbolical. They were intended to represent spiritual existences in immediate contact with Jehovah.
Seraphim are mention in the Bible. The word means fiery ones, in allusion, as supposed to their burning love. They appear to be human but with wings.
The third kind of angel is an archangel. This means a chief angel or the prince of angels. The scripture speaks about the creation of angels so we know they have not existed for eternity like God. We have no history so we do not know when they were created but we do believe they were created before man.
Angels can take on the appearance of men when needed. Jesus once said, “Some have entertained Angels unawares.” They have no physical body which means they may not always be seen. Maybe there is one looking over your shoulder right now.
When Angels do appear it is usually in the form of men. Maybe you have already said hello to one today.