by K. Ray
Crossover set in future of 1st novel LOE. AKA Case of the Missing Midget
| Connecting John Walker (new cases, post Reggie) with Madison's story
Scene 1: Case of Missing Madison and Case of Missing Idol
John Walker gets a call from Sam Koontz. In the past John helped Sam when he was accused of murdering his son Michael. Now Sam is remarried (to Laura Jacobson Koontz). They have no kids together but she has three children - two boys, one girl from previous marriage. The girl, Madison Jacobson, is missing. Sam wishes to hire John to locate her and bring her home safe. He knows acutely the pain of losing a child; he's unable to bear the thought of losing another.
Meanwhile, his partner Julie visits with Jack Macdonald in her office. He's looking for a missing object, a family heirloom. His father died early and unexpectedly; his will declared Jack the new owner of the coveted item, his three siblings being the coveters. Jack has three girls whose mother died when the eldest was 13. He remarried one year ago; the eldest has just turned 18 this year. His new bride had two girls already, so they've a full house. Recently, after the golden statue became missing, he found a pawn slip in his wife's purse. The ticket was for "scrap gold," but he cannot recall the name of the shop that issued it. The ticket--his only lead--was confiscated by someone in Pawned Goods, but he's unsure if that place or another he went to--the name of which he's also forgotten--was the one on the ticket. Hence, Julie
Scene 2: Dinner and a Proposal
Walker and Associates is located next door to a family-owned authentic Mexican restaurant called Escobar's. After J&J agree to handle their new clients' issues, they head to Escobar's. They have an appointment. They talk business during the meal and near its end John asks Julie if she has reconsidered his 'offer.' No details are given, but her response infers that it is a proposal--for marriage, for a job, for a trip to Tahiti? We don't know. They change the subject back to business. Someone calls Julie and she says, "I'm in the middle of something unavoidable." Things quickly wind-down after that and they depart.
2A) Julie parked at the Maverik gas station eight blocks west of 200 north. She couldn't get much closer to the pawnshop. The July Jamboree, the opening act of the city's three-week Shakespearan Festival had hijacked the city streets. Residents from the larger city of St. George, 40 minutes south, flocked north to spend their days at the event. Some would stay nights also, with friends or relatives. Out-of-towners from further away--most from Salt Lake City--packed the motels. During the festival, Cedar City sectioned off the four blocks of Main Street between 200 N and 200 S (what is located at those two points?), across the dividing line of Center Street, causing traffic to be blocked up for a three-mile radius around the epicenter. Parking lots and alleys in all directions outside of the party zone overflowed with vehicles abandoned by costumed owners walking to the festival activities. Up and down sidewalks, knights and squires bowed to kings and queens, and made passes at pail-toting wenches.
Inside the Main Street blockade, the parking lot of Lin's grocery store became a show lot for classic cars competing in the annual car show. The city park set up a small carnival, with the biggest attractions there being an artificial rock wall, inflated bouncy-house, and classic prize games--tossing rings on floating ducks and popping balloons with darts. After the Jamboree Week, the Shakespearean Festival officially began.
During the extravagant tribute to the era/Bard, the park would be transformed. Two dozen booths would be added to the existing carnival attractions, selling crafts, food, and other wares. Most were period-appropriate, but the weapons-booth (Armory) sold ninja stars--plastic or metal--and modern pepper spray next to broadswords and daggers, plus the ever-popular squirt-gun for the little knights-in-training. The old dollar-movie theater, long outdated and overshadowed by the Stadium 10, dusted off the cobwebs and ran old Hollywood classics twenty-four hours a day, only closing on Sunday so workers could attend church.
Julie got a notebook from her car and joined the foot traffic heading east on Burger Alley, passing a Taco Bell, Burger King, Sonic, and Subway. Travelling the opposite direction, westbound traffic would pass McDonald's, Wendy's, and Denny's, hence the moniker of 200 N. When she reached Pawned Goods she stopped and a teenage boy and girl nearly collided with her.
"Hey, Lady, watch out!" The boy yelled. The girl shot him a withering look and pulled herself out form under his outstretched arm. It flopped at his side.
"I'm terribly sorry, M'lady." The girl knelt in a full curtsy, her hands at the hem of her voluminous (color?) dress. "My boyfriend appears to have been ogling my bosom and not paying mind to his steps."
The young man blushed scarlet. Julie adapted quickly to the scene and took the hand of the prostrate wench, bidding her to rise. She bowed her head slightly in acknowledgement and acceptance of the apology. "It's quite alright, Miss--"
"Kathy. And this is Chet."
"Miss Kathy, then. No harm done." Looking slyly at the boy, she added, "Perhaps only to his ego."
Kathy stepped to her beau's side and he returned his hand to her far shoulder. "He'll get used to it," she said. Then, out of character and with a slight Texas drawl she added, "I like your dress. The tiara's a nice touch, Princess."
"My name is Julie. Julie Davenport. It's nice to meet you. This is my stop, bt perhaps we'll meet again this week."
Finding his tongue, Chet said, "Fare thee well."
Julie laughed, turned, and walked up the steps to her destination.
Scene 3: Julie POV - Finding the Idol, Attempt One
Julie arrives at Pawned Goods. Shop described (out to in). She speaks to mgr. Steve Henley. She discovers that the idol is not in store inventory, and neither is Jack's wife in the customer database. The owner is rude, telling her that her client had already visited and had been told the same thing. She leaves, heading now to a second pawnshop, The Cedar Post. Shop described (out to in) and compared to PG. She speaks to worker Morgan who comments on her aura. Her aura is 'pleasant'; later John's will be described as 'disharmonic' and needing 'attunement' to 'align with the cosmos.' Morgan cannot find idol in customer database under Jack's wife's name and the store's manager is unable to search store inventory. The search program called "Sherlock" requires specific keywords and she doesn't know what to look for. Having learned all she could today, Julie calls John with update and heads home. She plans to return next day to see the manager, hoping he'd remember the item. (Note: Julie may have planned to quit and promised John she'd postpone until after the date of Escobar's, after having a chance to discuss it.)
3a) Pawned Goods sat in a small building couched between a temp agency and a laundromat. Julie imagined the three businesses had a good working relationship and wondered if they were all owned by the same individual. The storefront glass was painted in neon-yellow and lime-green with signs advertising '25% off all Used Items" and "We buy gold!" The plaque displaying the store hours listed a 9 to 5 workweek--excluding Sundays--but small white pricing stickers covered Thursday to Saturday, changing closing time to 9pm on those days, and a small hand-written sign below the plaque read, "Open Sundays 2pm to 9pm until July 25th." This was typical of most businesses during the Festival; the 25th marked the Festival's end.
Julie walked into Pawned Goods with a smile on her face. She loved the Rennaissance period and had owned period-style dresses since she was 9. The tiara she wore was from her high school days. She was never the Prom Queen--her friends had awarded her the crown on her 16th birthday. She enjoyed the impromptu run-in with the other fanatics.
(Describe inside of PG)
A college-age young woman in black jeans and a white Hello Kitty tee-shirt stood behind a long counter the length of the store. She looked up from a magazine and in nasal monotone said, "Can I help you?"
"Are you the manager?" Julie asked, remembering to use her normal voice.
The woman resumed reading the magazine, which was answer enough. Without looking up, she said, "He's not here right now. Try again tomorrow."
Julie waited in front of the counter. She folded her arms across her chest. She cleared her throat. Having determined subtlety didn't phase the apathetic employee, she swept her hand across the counter, sending the magazine flying. It collided with a DVD rack but didn't topple it. Too bad.
"Hey!" The woman protested, startled. "What the fuck?"
"I needed your attention. Now I've gotten it."
"What do you want?" The woman whined. (...)
Julie softened her posture, dropping her arms to her sides and lowering her shoulders. "My name is Julie. I work for a detective and we could really use your help." She bent down, retrieved the magazine, and returned it--closed--to the counter, but didn't remove her hand from it. She saw it was an issue of (...). "I'm sorry I snapped. What's your name?"
The woman huffed indignantly and reached for the magazine. Julie let it go. "The manager isn't in, like I said. I'm Linda."
Julie pulled the insurance photo out of her purse and placed it atop the magazine. "Have you seen this before?"
Linda took the photo, held it p to examine it, placed it on counter glass, and opened her magazine. "I'm not going through this again. That guy is harassing this place."
"Explain." Julie said impatiently.
"No we've not seen his statue. Yes, his wife has sold/pawned here, but she sold/pawned a pile of scrap gold--broken chains, earrings without a match, rings bent out of shape, stuff like that. He waved that stupid ticket in my face so I grabbed it and tore it up--so sue me!"
"Thanks," Julie said, and in the formal voice of royalty added, "You've been most helpful, M'lady."
Out of the store, she contined down Burger Alley, stopped at Wendy's to buy a small ice cream cone, then proceeded to the Cedar Post pawnshop, devouring the cold treat along the way. By the time she arrived, she was sweaty, hot, and her feet were aching. (She was glad she'd decided on sneakers even though they clashed with the dress.) The long side of the building faced the busy street. Propped up on a raised wooden deck that ran its length were large metal signs that in turn proclaimed, "Buy! Sell! Trade!" A decorational arrow formed by an arrangement of yellow light bulbs was lit up on top of a double-sided billboard at the street corner. Moveable capital letters spelled out a message on the board. "YE OLD TRADING POST/TREAT HER LIKE A PRINCESS/BUY YER WENCH A BAUBLE."
Julie walked around the corner to the front of the store. Two carved totem poles framed the door--definitely not Renaissance. She climbed the steps and entered.
A cowbell clanged. She jumped, startled. She looked behind her and saw the bell hanging from the door. Not your average chime, but as she moved to the counter she noticed many details fit for an old Cowboy vs. Indian theme. She looked to see if her embarrassing reaction was noticed.
A woman in her twenties stood behind the counter, reading a magazine. Dvu. Julie couldn't imagine that she hadn't heard the clanging of the cow bell. "Excuse me!" She said forcefully.
The woman looked up from her magazine, closed the pages, and sheepishly apologized. "I'm so sorry, Miss. I'm trying to get in a purchase order from our car-audio dealer and I guess I was just really focused. But that's no excuse, is it. I should notice customers coming in. Can I help you?"
Julie couldn't help but smile. Sincerity oozed from the girl, a refreshing change from the attitude she experienced at the other shop. She pulled out the photo and repeated her inquiry, but the girl, who introduced herself as Morgan, had neither seen the object nor could find the client's wife in the computer system.
Scene 4 - The Interview AKA Jerked Around. John's POV @ Sam's house the 1st time since taking case
John is introduced to Sam's family: Sam's wife Laura and her two older boys, Lance and Clint. They use John's arrival as excuse to leave, saying, "I probably should head home and check back in with the wife," (Lance) and "I need to get back to work." (Clint). When they leave, Laura comments that they don't love her OR Madison. She describes Madison's disability, OI, and its burden on her.
Sam fills him in on family history while John searches Madison's room. He describes Madison ("Maddie") as "adventurous," but "limited" by her disability. He reveals that Maddie couldn't drive, yet tells John the van is missing also. Laura suggests speaking to Madison's best friend, Stacy Baker. Stacy sometimes took Madison around town, but they contacted her and Stacy reported that she hasn't seen her. Maddie--presumeably with the van--went missing around 1AM after staying up with Sam playing Black Ops. John makes note to call "Caleb" to see if APB was issued on van, an4bd to get an update on the police's missing person case file.
4b) John drives to the apartment of Stacy Baker. She lets him in when he says he's there after Madison's disappearance. (apartment described). He asks if she knows where Madison might've gone, and with whom. She says she's the only one who ever "rescued Madison from being cooped up with her neurotic family all day every day." Despite what Laura had claimed, Stacy believes the brothers love Madison and believes it is Laura herself who hates her own daughter. She says Laura blames her daughter for the poor relationship she has with her sons. She says Madison "valued her independence" and therefore she's "not surprised she ran away." She describes Madison as "a fun-loving person" who "could rarely be herself" because "people expect her to behave a certain way." She explains that "Madison has no problem climbing on the counter if that's what it takes to reach the microwave, bt Laura would absolutely freak out if she caught Madison on the counter, so she often asks for Laura's 'help' even when it's not needed." She says, "Laura needs to feel needed, so Madison has to stay 'Mommy's Little Girl' at nearly 30 years old." She says also, "I let Madison do what she has to do in her own unique way, no matter if she takes 30 minutes to do what could have been done in five if she had asked me or someone else to do it for her." She concludes, "She is better off anywhere else but stuck with her mother." John discusses these points, comparing them to his own observation. They talk about a trip Stacy and Madison took to Las Vegas. Then, Stacy asks, "Do you think her dad took her away?" He figures out that she's not referring to Sam, but is confused. He was under the impression that the bio-dad was dead. Stacy isn't sure, but she did take Madison to meet a guy--not Sam--who she thinks Madison called, "Dad."
4c) John calls Laura on the way back to her house and asks her bluntly if biodad could still be alive. She sounds shocked, becomes silent, but then admits she lied and had let Madison believe he was dead. She reveals he (Aaron) sent letters from various locations at different points in his life, which she keeps in a box on the very top of her closet, a place concealed from Madison because she could never reach it. John hangs up, speeds to the address. When he arrives, Laura lets him in. She has already opened the letter-box. It is on the coffee table. The letters, she says, are missing. She recalls they were from Cali, Maryland, and Las Vegas. Most recently Vegas. He realize someone else has omitted important info. He believes Stacy helped Madison get the letters, they contacted Aaron, then she took Madison to meet him. He is sure he;'ll have the best chance at finding Madison by tracking Aaron, beginning with dissecting what happened on recent Vegas trip. He asks if she has Credit Card and cellphone records for her. Once he has these, he leaves.
He returns to Stacy, feeling like a yo-yo being jerked around. He needs to know how Madison and Aaron made contact. He interrogates Stacy about trip and about the missing letters from Aaron. She insists she did NOT get them down, and he believes her. She tells him nothing new except a few extra details about Vegas, including that they had sold a ring at a pawnshop to recoup losses and have gas money to get home. She remembers she and Madison had called their mothers for money and it was Laura who recommended the shop. He thanks her and leaves.
Scene 5 - Complications (Day 2). Julie's POV
The next day, when Julie returns to the CPPS to speak to the manager she is shocked to see the building badly damage by fire. The fire department's still on scene. She interviews Morgan; she is standing on the lot, facing the ruins with a lost-shocked-mesmerized gaze toward ruins. She gets a long list of suspects, and adds some of her own:
Jack Macdonald, idolater with revenge motive
Greg Stump, furniture owner with financial motive
Steve Henley, rival PS owner with ruthless-competition motive
Simon or Zach Cohen - manager/owner of CPPS with insurance money motive
Morgan White - clerk with motive possibly to cover theft or due to carelessness
Then the body of Zach Cohen in found inside; Simon is clearly upset, downgrading him as a suspect. The death adds a new suspect
Random thug with robbery or intimidation motive
Julie calls Caleb, who is "already on the way."
Scene 5b - John's POV - The fire
John wakes up in the morning (Day 2) to a call from Julie. He gets an earful about arson, murder. He trusts her to handle the case, asks if she needs anything. She's just reporting in, so he hangs up. Next, after coffee, he hauls files from his car to his kitchen table. He gets a lead from the CC statements: Maddie checked into Motel 6 the night she went missing. (NOTE: These files are printed from where? They must be very recent. FIX). He visits and gets room number from helpful Arab clerk. The body of aa young woman is in the room, but it isn't Madison. (Body will turn out to be a daughter of Jack Macdonald, the idolater). He calls Caleb and reports it in, getting a second earful about arson and murder, and an added earful about troublesome PIs. John asks about APB on missing van. Caleb tells him to take a number and hangs up. When police arrive they identify girl from ID in her pocket. He calls Julie and suggests they need to compare notes. They meet at the office, discuss case crossover. J&J together head reluctantly to the Macdonald residence to give the bad news.
(FIX: instead of office, why doesn't she meet him at the 2nd scene or at Jack's house or somewhere case-related.)
See Jack Family POVs