Innocent Until Proven Guilty — Part 4

(If you haven’t read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3, follow the links to read them now.)

MAN@COMP3Throughout the following week, Simon logged almost eight hours a day staring at his computer screen. He did take time to work on another case during some of those hours, but as soon as he got a chance, he want right back to the evidence and clues about Peter Crandell.

His assistant, Tony, assumed that they were focusing on two other suspects who had also been brought in for questioning and had no one to corroborate their alibis. But this morning Tony had noticed that Simon was making notes on some information about Deanna.

“Hey, what’s the deal?’ He stood looking over Simon’s shoulder at the information on the screen. “I thought we took her out of the possibilities over a week ago?”

Simon Shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just a dog with a bone that I don’t quite want to let go of yet. Never hurts to cover all the bases even when we think we’ve got the case solved, and right now it’s still far from solved.”

“Right, but I thought we agreed that the guy who got cut out of the partnership with Crandell was our leading suspect.”

Simon sighed, stretched his arms over his head and swiveled his seat around to face Tony. “Yeah, he is our number one man right now. I don’t know ….” He paused and glanced back at the site he had up on his screen. “I guess I just can’t seem to get an ‘all clear’ on this.”

“But didn’t you say you had gone out to dinner with Deanna Forbes?”

“Yes, I did that. And I enjoyed myself. But I’ve been having some issues with the fact that I’m dating a woman who, a couple weeks ago, was a suspect in a murder case.” He got up and picked up his coffee cup from the desk. “Either I’m a little crazy, or I haven’t had enough caffeine the past couple of days. I’ll fix thCOFFEE STEAMING - SEPIAat part right now,” he added as he headed for the coffee maker.

“Well, time will tell, I guess,” Tony said, following him to get a cup of coffee as well. “but my money’s on the ex-partner.”

Simon glanced at Tony, but didn’t actually make eye contact. “I hope you’re right,” he said.

“I think I am. And you have to admit that money is a powerful motive. You know yourself that it’s behind a large portion of the crimes we solve.”

Simon nodded. “But the other large portion of those crimes are committed as a result of emotional pressure – anger, jealously, the need to get revenge for some personal wrong.”

Simon had walked over to a window on the far side of the office and stood looking out. Tony moved to perch on the corner of a desk close by. His interest was thoroughly peaked now. He’d known Simon for years, and he knew the attitude – the look he wore – when something in his gut told him there was more to the story than met the eye. “So you have reason to believe that Deanna Forbes was suffering from some kind of deep emotional turmoil concerning Crandell – jealousy maybe? Another woman?”

Simon shook his head. He didn’t turn around and look at Tony because he realized his partner was beginning to take him seriously, and, at this point, Simon didn’t want Tony to return to being suspicious of Deanna. Heaven knew – Simon didn’t want to be suspicious of her himself. He was unusually attracted to her already, and when he attended the watercolor exhibit at her art center later this week, he’d be spending the whole evening with her. So he decided he needed to throw Tony off the scent a little more. He turned and looked at him.

“No, I don’t think Deanna Forbes was jealous. Remember, Peter Crandell was about twenty years older than her, and believe me, she didn’t need to chase after a man twenty years her senior. Deanna Forbes can have just about any man she wants.”

“Whoa there, buddy. Does that include you?”

Simon shrugged. Then he grinned. “She’s been making some inroads that very few other women have managed.”

Tony chuckled and rose from the edge of the desk. “So all this extra investigating is more because you’re nervous about becoming vulnerable to the lady, is that it?”

Simon went back to his own desk and sat down. “I guess that has a lot to do with it,” he said, and was spared the need to continue because Tony’s cell phone rang then, and he answered it.

Both detectives passed the next two days collecting more evidence against Howard Blake, Crandell’s one-time partner in an art and craft import business. Crandell and Blake had gone their separate ways, but no one knew the exact terms of their division. Blake had been heard to say that Crandell had cheated him out of a fair price for his half of the business, and that he intended to get even. No alibi for the time of Crandell’s death made Blake an even stronger suspect, and with evidence of his purchase of a gun in the past year – a gun that matched the caliber of the bullet found in Peter Crandell’s heart – he looked like a killer for sure.

GUN FIRINGFriday morning, Tony laid the bill of sale for the gun on Simon’s desk. “This puts a few more nails in his coffin, to my way of thinking,” he said.

Simon breathed a huge sigh – relief that was almost tangible – and picked up the bill. He nodded. “Yeah, I’d say it’s time to go pick up Mr. Blake.”

When Simon put the cuffs on Blake and read him his rights, Blake looked him right in the eye. “Detective Stone, I know things look bad for me. But you’ve gotta believe me! I didn’t kill Peter! Yes, I was angry, and, yes, I made threats. What man wouldn’t when he’d been cheated by someone who was supposed to be his friend?”

At those words, Simon’s stomach clinched. He’d heard those same words before – and by someone who had thought – at least at one time – that they fit Peter Crandell. He was hearing them a second time – again being used to describe Peter Crandell. Was the man actually guilty of such treachery – and against two different friends – at two different stages of his life? And if he were, was that treachery enough to push either friend into committing murder?

Simon pulled his thoughts back to his job and began ushering Blake out to the waiting police car. “You’ll have your day in court, Mr. Blake,” he said to the prisoner. “Be sure you give your attorney all the facts and all the information he’ll need to plead your case effectively.”

“Don’t worry, Detective. I’ll do that. And I’ll let him know a few other things I know that just might help you sharp detectives find out who the real killer is. There’s another party that had a real motive for murder, and when you finally get all the facts about her, you’ll be singin’ a different tune about me.”

Simon looked at him sharply, and Blake looked right back. His eyes told Simon that he had information Simon would rather not have come to light. Abruptly, Simon turned Blake over to Tony and got behind the steering wheel of the car. His own thoughts were swirling, but he refused to speculate or imagine beyond what the facts told him.

He was worked up and over-stressed. That was all. He never liked arresting anyone because he thought they were a cold-blooded killer. Even after all these years, it still upset him. And it was bad enough feeling this way about a stranger like Blake. He couldn’t afford to start imagining what he’d feel like if he had to do the same thing to a woman he really cared about.

 (Part 5 coming Thursday)

~~~

Tickle Me Tuesday – Week 9

CARTOON MAN LYING DOWN LAUGHING 2Today is the final “Tickle Me Tuesday” post. It’s been a lot of fun for me and, I think, for a few other folks.  If you have something you’d like to share for this week — it can be ordinarily funny, outrageously hilarious, or just downright happy — post it onto your own blog and then come over here and paste the link into the “Comments” window below. Just make sure it’s fit for general audiences, and you don’t have to worry about any other rules. Feel free to post something for this last week at any time.

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evolution money - edited
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Innocent Until Proven Guilty — Part 3

If you haven’t read Part 1 or Part 2, follow the links to read them now.

SAILBOAT IN SUNRISE - MINEPart 3

Saturday turned out to be the perfect day for sailing, and Deanna acclimated herself to Simon’s boat and the rhythm of his enjoyment of the sea. They’d started in time to catch the sunrise, and had sailed until mid-afternoon.

When they finally forced themselves to head back to the dock and secured the Blue Swan at the marina, they walked through the open-air market along the wharf. Simon was surprised and touched to see how Deanna showed genuine interest in each of the vendors at the stalls where she stopped. He put his thoughts into words as they sat at a nearby snack bar and had coffee.

COFFEE SHOP - MINE“You surprise me, Dee.”

She looked surprised at his words, “How so?”

“You took time to talk personally with each one of those vendors where we stopped and drew them out about themselves and their own lives.”

She laughed, “And you didn’t think I had enough heart to care about the ‘little people’ who run these open air market stalls? Is that it?’

He grimaced at her mocking tone. “I didn’t exactly mean that, no. I just thought you were a much more impersonal – no – make that a more private person, I guess.”

“My grandmother used to set up a stall in this market place years ago,” she said, looking away to the row of stalls behind them.

“Really? What did she sell?”

“Her art.”

“So your grandmother was a painter? Is that where your love of art comes from?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe. I don’t really know. She had a few commissions over the years, and during the summer, she painted here at the market – at her stall. People could come by and have their portrait done in charcoal or colored pencil for a small price, and she loved doing that on a regular basis. I loved the work my grandmother did, but she was never able to make it pay enough to become a full-time artist. And then she had some of her best works stolen. The worst part was that it looked as though the thief was another artist who had pretended to befriend her. The paintings were unsigned, so he could easily have put his own name on the canvases and passed them off as his.”

“But didn’t she report him to the authorities?”

Deanna shook her head. “She couldn’t prove it. She wanted to believe he hadn’t done it, but she refused to call the police because, I think, in her heart she felt it really was him.” She shrugged her shoulders again.

“She was so heart-broken that one day, right after the robbery, she went into the bedroom she used as a studio and destroyed most of her other paintings. I was thirteen then, and by that time I was living with her in order to be away from my abusive father. I came ART PALET AND BRUSHEShome that afternoon and roamed around looking for her. I finally heard her yelling back in her studio, and when I went to investigate, I saw almost every painting either smothered in black paint or ripped to shreds. There were three left, and I grabbed them and ran with them until she could get control of her anger again. I still have them displayed at my center in a special case. But I can’t part with them, so they’re not for sale.”

“Is this the same grandmother who runs the casino?”

Deanna nodded her head. “Yes, that’s when she went to work at the casino. She was still a beautiful woman, even though she was 50 years old. Being almost full-blooded Cree, she still had almost coal black hair with no gray, but her eyes were green, and they sparkled like emeralds. And she was good at the tables. Jack Townsend, the owner, took a real liking to her, and eventually he hired her to run the office and gradually more and more of the business. They finally married, and when he died five years ago, she became the sole owner. Now days that’s her whole life.”

Something like electricity was coursing through Simon. There was a connection here that he’d never even considered. An artist who had seriously hurt Deanna’s grandmother and virtually stolen her possible future success. Who was that man? And was he still alive – or had he been shot and killed a little over a week ago? Peter Crandell would have been considerably younger than Dee’s grandmother, but he could have known her well. The question was would he still be hanging around here if he’d stolen the woman’s  paintings?

Simon leaned closer to Dee and spoke softly. “At the risk of stirring up bitter feelings, do you mind if I ask you who that artist was who stole your grandmother’s paintings?”

Dee looked startled at first, but then she allowed herself to smile slowly. “What you’re really asking is if that artist was Peter Crandell.” She looked right into Simon’s eyes, daring him to deny the charge.

He didn’t flinch. “All right. Let’s say you’re correct in that assumption. It’s a reasonable guess, isn’t it?”

Dee shrugged her shoulders again and rose from her seat. “I suppose one could say it’s reasonable, but why on earth would Peter still be hanging around this area if he had actually stolen paintings from someone else who still lives here?”

“Good question. But you haven’t answered my question, and I asked first.” He rose from his seat as well and took their cups to deposit them in a nearby garbage container. When he returned to Dee’s side, she grimaced.

“I guess I might as well tell you because I’m sure you have ways of finding out. So yes, Peter Crandell is the man who I used to believe stole my grandmother’s paintings.”

Simon looked at her sharply. “Used to believe? You mean you don’t believe now that he was the guilty party?”

Deanna shook her head. “I don’t know. I find it hard to match anyone who was that greedy and mean to the kind of man Peter was when he moved back here. Of course, I didn’t actually know him very well back then. My own personal life was so messed up at that time I couldn’t be bothered with my grandmother’s friends. He was actually an art student in those days, but an extremely promising one, and he often hung out with Grandmother and even helped her in her stall here at the market.”

“And he continued working with her after the paintings were stolen?”

She shook her head. “No, he graduated the same month the paintings disappeared, and he left the area for many years. He returned only about three years ago, and that’s when I really got to know him.”

They had started walking toward the parking lot by then, and after they were seated in the car, she continued. “Peter was extremely talented, and when he came to me about a showing of his work, I was prepared to blackball him completely. But Grandmother said that truly great artistic talent is rare, and that the value of that kind of gift – and the sharing of it – are more important that personal feelings. She still insisted that she didn’t believe Peter was the culprit and she insisted that I work with him. So – not wanting to cause her more unhappiness, I did.”

“And?” Simon prompted

“And gradually, his quiet, unassuming manner wore down my dark feelings. He was something of an enigma. I never could figure out how anyone with his modesty could possibly commit a crime like the one against Grandmother, and I guess I lulled myself into thinking perhaps I had been wrong.”  She looked Simon in the eye. “And don’t you go accusing my grandmother of murder either. I’ve told you, she’s the one who insisted I help Peter.”

“Don’t worry. I’ve already looked into your grandmother, and she has a hard and fast alibi.”

Simon didn’t ask any more questions. He could see that Deanna was upset, and he had to admit that the whole scenario – and its multiple possible interpretations – had him upset as well.

After dropping Deanna at her home – and giving in to one more light kiss as he said goodbye, Simon couldn’t make himself go home to his apartment. Instead, he headed for the office. He had to do some more checking. He had to connect some dots.

GUN FIRINGIt’s true he had seen a whole new side to Deanna Forbes today – a soft, caring side that he would have bet a week ago didn’t exist. But he had to keep reminding himself: most people are made up of several different layers of personality. And a number of other people who had displayed a warm, personable, caring side of their character had also been known to commit cold-blooded murder when they felt they had a strong enough motive.

(Part 4)

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Innocent Until Proven Guilty — Part 2

If you haven’t had an opportunity to read “Part 1″ yet, you can find it here.

Part 2

Dee chose her sexiest knee-length dress for her date with Simon. Apple red with a V-neck that threatened to plunge too far, but GOLD SANDALS SOFT EDGEthen stopped unexpectedly. Keeping the men she dated just slightly off-balance was important to her. The dress had a belted waist that showed her figure to perfection, and three-inch high, gold strappy sandals gave her enough glitter to match her excitement.

Simon was waiting at a table when she arrived, his dark suit intensifying his virile looks and those brilliant eyes. Ordering quickly, they then turned their attention to conversation. “Now, tell me, Simon — I do have permission to call you Simon?”

He grinned. “Please do.”

“So … how’s your case going? Any new leads today?”

“Dee, you must know that I can’t discuss that with you.”

She looked surprised. “But since I’ve been in on it from the beginning, I thought that would make a difference.”

Simon didn’t believe her to be that naive, but he refrained from saying so. “Maybe we’d do better to talk about your work,” he said instead.

“My art center?” He nodded.

“Well, I have to admit, I do enjoy talking about it.  It’s very satisfying. We offer art classes by some of the most talented artists in the state, and I’m sure you know we have a new exhibit every month. Of course, one of the things I’m most excited about this week is my purchase of the most excellent prints I’ve ever seen of several works by world renowned masters.”

Simon nodded as he took a sip of his wine. “I’ve seen the advertisements for the classes and the exhibits, but I didn’t know about the new acquisitions.”

“I’ll be advertising those soon. But, tell me, why is it you’ve seen only the advertisements and never the real thing?”

He smiled. “I’m afraid I’m not a connoisseur of art, although when I see a piece I really like, I do value the talent it took to create it.”

She reached over and laid her hand gently on his arm. “Well, in two weeks, we are exhibiting the work of a brilliant local artist — all water colors — and all images of the inner city. You must come. You will recognize all the scenes, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the pieces.”

He felt her energy pulling on him, drawing him toward her, urging him to agree to attend and make the deliberate move into her territory. “I’ll send you a personal invitation so you won’t forget,” she added, looking straight into his eyes.

“That’s fine. I just might make it a point to attend.” He returned the earnest look, letting his eyes hold hers for several moments, and hers dilated with pleasure at his action. He was trying to read her – trying to get a handle on exactly what it was about her that attracted him – and what it was about her that made him sure she had killed Peter Crandell.TABLE SETTING - PUB DOM - MUSEUM - LIGHTENED

From that point, their meal progressed into conversation about the things Simon enjoyed when he had free time.

“I enjoy sailing as often as I can,” he said.

Her eyes lit up. “I love sailing! Do you have your own boat?”

He nodded. “Yes. Nothing elaborate, but it serves my purposes.”

“You’ve named it, of course.”

He nodded again. “The Blue Swan.”

She lifted her eyebrows in approval. “Interesting. And, of course, it’s blue?”

He laughed gently. “What else?”

“Would I be too forward if I asked for an invitation to go sailing with you some time?”

Simon was quiet for a moment, but then smiled. “Deanna Forbes, I do hereby issue you a formal invitation to go sailing with me on my next day off — which, by the way, is this coming Saturday.”

“It just so happens that I’m free Saturday. The gallery is closed this weekend, due to some new carpet being laid in the front foyer, and my custodian will be on hand to make sure everything goes as it should. So, what time should I be ready?”

“I like to go out early when I’m alone. The sunrise is usually spectacular, and we are supposed to have clear weather for the next several days. Is 5:30 too early for you?”

She grimaced slightly. “I have to admit that I’m not normally an early riser, but for something this special, I’m sure I can make it. Will you include a big cup of coffee in the deal?”

“I’ll bring coffee when I pick you up. And, of course, I already have your address in the case file, so I’ll be at you house at 5:30 on the dot.”

She smiled into his eyes. “I’ll be ready and looking forward to the day, Simon. And thank you.”

They left the restaurant shortly after making plans for Saturday. Just outside her front door, Dee offered him her hand, saying, “I had a lovely time, Simon. Let’s do this again.”

He took her hand and held it for several moments, then leaned over and placed his lips against hers in a touch so light, she barely felt it, yet she felt her response throughout her entire body. This man had some kind of magic in him she thought. But before she could discover what thought came next, he had stepped back and was saying he’d see her bright and early Saturday.

Simon slept fitfully that night. His dreams kept bringing him visions of Deanna with a gun in her hand. After waking, getting up to go to the bathroom, an finally getting back to sleep, his second dream brought a worse scenario. In dream number two, she fired the gun GUN FIRINGat some unknown person, and the sound of the shot brought him wide awake. He found himself in a cold sweat, and couldn’t figure out why.

He’d had cases before when he’d dreamed about people he’d interrogated and even people who were unquestionably guilty of the crime, but he’d never felt their presence or their actions so personally. But then, of course, he’d never dated one of those people right after interrogating them either. He explained away his unusual response with that fact, and did his best to put the dreams behind him. He had some serious investigating to do tomorrow morning, and he had to be alert to do it right.

(Part 3) 

(Shoes by Perfect Me, Ltd.)

~~~

“Thawing The Ice” — My Response to ‘Anyone Got a Story’ Writing Challenge

Finally!!! I have been energized by the other authors who have been quick to respond to the writing challenge “Anyone Got a Story to Go With This Picture,” and, at last, I have had an opportunity to sit down and write mine. I offer it below. And remember, there is no time limit on taking part in this challenge, so if you’d like to participate, hop over to the link above and check out the very simple rules. I will also post the link to this story on the original challenge page.

ABSTRACT WHITE CHRISTMAS POND-B & WTHAWING THE ICE

Misty laced up her skates and glided smoothly across the ice. It had been more than a year since she’d come to her favorite pond. The trees were stark silhouettes against the deep snow, barren and seemingly useless in this white wilderness. She felt that way herself. The gray world around her matched her gray and barren heart. Words came back to her now from the whispering past.

“You can’t just give up, Misty. Marcus wouldn’t want you to quit skating. He wouldn’t want you to give up the life you’ve always loved.”

She continued to circle the pond, listening to conversations in her head – all from last year. After the accident. “I can’t skate alone. I’m no good by myself. It’s always been Marcus and me together – from the time we were seventeen.”

“But you’re so gifted, dear,” Mother had insisted. “You were skating beautifully long before you even met Marcus. Why, from the time you put on your first pair of skates – remember? – the pink pair you got for Christmas when you were six? – from that very first day, you’ve been a star in the making. All your fans want to see you back out there on the ice.”

Misty had merely hung her head and wept. She new her mother meant well, but she’d never be able to understand. And Misty was glad her mother had never known that kind of loss.

But her family didn’t understand about the fans either. Yes, her own family were her personal fans, but the fans in all the ice rinks around the world hadn’t been hers. They were fans who loved Misty and Marcus – together – “the darling duo” as they’d been dubbed in more than one news story. The fans wanted to see both of them on the ice, not just one lonely girl –  lost now in a world that had been her own kingdom little more than a year ago.

The cold wind bit at her, but she welcomed the pain. It matched the pain in her heart. And she welcomed the gray world she skated in now. It matched the world she lived the rest of her life in with Marcus dead.

So she skated – round and round the pond – one hour – then another. And with each trip around that pond of her childhood came the memories – like warm flashes of sunlight:  the first time she’d skated in her pink skates; the first day she’d invited Marcus to skate with her there; the first competition they’d entered – and won; the grueling hours of practice that both of them had loved.

Gradually, as the happy memories flooded back and thawed the ice that had held her soul in its lonely, gray world for the past year, Misty began to feel alive again. A smile spread across her face and she flung out her arms as if to embrace this precious pond with its stark trees and white emptiness. She found herself skating into routines she’d used before she and Marcus had become a team. And gradually, she found herself adding moves to those routines. They weren’t done consciously. They just flowed from her as naturally as water flows down a hill when a barrier has been removed.

Her heart began to sing. Her body followed suit. And although the pond and all it’s surroundings were still as gray and barren as they’d been when she’d arrived, Misty discovered that she was now skating in sunshine – in the warmth of her love for Marcus and in the fire of the passion she felt for skating. Perhaps her family and friends had been right after all. Perhaps she did still have a life to live and a gift to give to the world from her kingdom on the ice.

~~~

Innocent Until Proven Guilty – Part 1

Alrighty then!  Let’s try this again. I think I’m on top of the computer situations enough to try posting this story in parts again. I just deleted the first try, and today I’m posting “Part 1″ to get the story started in the right place again. I’ve tweaked this part anyway, so it’s a tad different in a couple places. You’ll want to read it again to make sure you have all the facts you’ll need for later.

INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

LEGS CROSSED CLIP ART - SMOOTHEDDeanna Forbes sat straight in the uncomfortable wooden chair. She kept her shoulders back and her right leg crossed over her left knee, making sure to hold her foot perfectly still. That effort, along with the pleasant expression on her face, cost her considerable energy, but she was a strong-willed woman and had had a lot of practice at maintaining proper demeanor.

Her ash blond hair, blunt cut to just below her jawline, was shiny smooth and added to her cool, collected composure. Only her gray eyes darted from place to place, taking in all the details of her surroundings and keeping up with her rapidly shifting thoughts.

“Now, Ms. Forbes,” Detective Simon Stone addressed her from the opposite side of the table where they sat in the interrogation room. Her eyes focused totally on him as he continued. “I have here your earlier statement that you were with friends at a private party the evening Peter Crandell was shot, but so far, our office hasn’t been able to make contact with any of these – uh – friends.” As he said the last word, his left eyebrow lifted in a question, and his blue eyes pinned her.

The implication that real friendship was somewhat lacking here wasn’t lost on Deanna, but she couldn’t seem to keep herself from focusing on those eyes — well — on his whole appearance, which was demandingly attractive: dark complexion, black, wavy hair, and strong brows – all accented by the most brilliantly blue eyes she’d ever seen on a man. This meeting was the second time she’d sat with Simon Stone for questioning, and both times his extravagant good looks and his virile, no-nonsense manner, coupled with a surprisingly melodious voice, had interfered with her efforts to concentrate. That wasn’t good — not good at all. She needed all her wits about her for this one.

“Well, Detective Stone, as I explained in my original statement, it was a bon voyage party, and two of the couples were sailing that night. The only other couple lives in Montrose, some 100 miles from here, so God only knows where they may be by this week. Besides — as I also said previously — you won’t find anyone who honestly thinks I had a motive for killing Peter Crandell. Why on earth would I want poor Peter dead?”

“I don’t know that you did want him dead, Ms. Forbes. But right now we can’t rule out anyone who knew him, and an alibi for your whereabouts at the time of death is crucial.” There was a knock at the door of the interrogation room, and Stone got up to answer it. After the briefest whispered conversation, he turned to Deanna. “Excuse me a moment, Ms. Forbes. I’ll be right back with you.” He then stepped out into the hall to continue the conversation.

After a good five minutes, he returned with a smile on his face. “Well, good news: “ he said, closing the door and returning to his seat at the table, “our men have finally made contact with one of the couples from the bon voyage party. They have corroborated your alibi completely, so it looks as though you’re free to go. I’m sorry we had to detain you so long.”

Deanna smiled widely. “That is good news, Detective. And I’m glad to know you think so too. I’d hate to have you believe I was guilty of such a terrible act as shooting someone.”GUN FIRING

“Just because we question a person doesn’t necessarily mean we believe they committed the crime, Ms. Forbes. But in cases like this, there are usually a number of people who are possible suspects until we can find good reason to eliminate them from the list.”

“I understand, Detective Stone. But I want to make sure I have the facts right: You are saying that your department no longer consider me a suspect in the shooting of Peter Crandell. Is that correct?”

Stone smiled. “You are correct, Ms. Forbes,” he said and rose from his chair.

Deanna rose as well, and on a sudden impulse, she said, “Well … now that we’ve got all that matter cleared up, I wonder if you might consider having dinner with me tomorrow evening. I feel I’d like to get to know you better.”

Stone’s first response was one of surprise, but it registered only momentarily. His easy smile replaced it, a smile that reached his eyes, and Deanna suddenly realized that it was that smile that came from deep inside of him that made him particularly attractive.

“I should be free tomorrow evening — barring some unexpected homicide, that is,” he said with a grin. “Do you have a particular place in mind?”

“I like dining at The Captain’s Table in the restored lighthouse a little south of the city. Do you know it?”

“Yes, I’m familiar with it. I enjoy it myself. Shall I pick you up?”

“It’s probably better if I meet you there. Say 7:00?”

“Fine. I’ll look forward to it Ms. Forbes.”

Deanna smiled widely, “Why don’t you just call me Dee? All my friends do, and I think we could become friends now that this nasty murder business is behind us.”

“Well, then, Dee,” he said moving to the door and holding it open for her, “I’ll see you at The Captain’s Table at 7:00 tomorrow evening.”

“Good bye Detective Stone.” She smiled again and gave him a questioning look. “Perhaps you’ll give me permission to call you Simon when we meet for dinner.”

“Perhaps I shall,” he answered with a teasing grin. Deanna turned and walked out of the office and exited the police station without looking back. Keeping her back straight and her head up was second nature to her; smiling at everyone she passed didn’t come quite so naturally. However, she was determined not to let that smile slip until she was well out of sight of any law enforcement officers.

Simon Stone returned to his own desk and filled out his report on the interrogation – but he didn’t sign off on it. Instead, he entered Deanna Forbes’ name into a data-base he used only when the normal sites failed to give him satisfactory information. He waited, holding his breath.

Deanna Forbes sat behind the wheel of her Lexus. Driving back to her home, she questioned her own sanity. Why on earth had she invited Simon Stone to dinner? Well, she knew the answer on the surface, of course: he was stunning, sexy, and captivating. He was also dangerous, but she had lived with danger most of her life. Having been raised by a drunken father who came home to beat up on his wife and two kids on a regular basis — and then living with a grandmother who ran a gambling casino, with all the attending crime element casinos attracted — she was no stranger to dealing with danger and it’s threats to her own peace and security. In fact, sometimes she wondered if she had become too comfortable with danger. Maybe that’s why she’d never stuck with any relationships in the past that didn’t carry with them any kind of threat.

She shrugged her shoulders now. Oh well, her die was cast. She was having dinner with a man who, up until an hour ago, had considered her a possible murderer. Come to think of it, he hadn’t told her which couple had corroborated her alibi for that night. Of course, both couples had been so drunk that they couldn’t have been sure about who was there and who wasn’t. One thing about most of her friends: they were so irresponsible in their own lives that they didn’t think twice about checking up on anyone else to make sure they weren’t doing something they shouldn’t be doing. It would never occur to them that one of their guests might have slipped away from the group long enough to put old Peter away and slipped right back into the crowd as if nothing had transpired except a trip to the bathroom.

(Part 2)

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Tickle Me Tuesday – Week 8 — ‘Me and My TV’

CARTOON MAN LYING DOWN LAUGHING 2Join the fun. Make us laugh — or chuckle — or at least snicker. Give us your idea of what turns over the ‘tickle-box.’  It can be a picture, a story, a poem, a joke, a song, anything you’re in the mood for — as long as it’s fit for general audiences.

Just post on your own site and come over here and paste the link into the “Comments” box below.

Here’s mine:BOY & TVMom says I watch too much TV.
And if I do not change,
My body will quite chubby be,
And I’ll have sluggish brains.

She tells me that I need to read,
Study science and math,
And that I need to exercise,
Run up and down the path.

I’d like to make her smile at me
To please her I don’t mind.
But day and night my programs air;
I just have no free time!

But I have promised I will do
My best – some day – she’ll see.
As soon as I have finished with
My programs on TV.

Sabbath Rest Invitational — Week 4

Originally posted on Hangin' Out With God:

Today is the next to the last posting in the “Sabbath Rest Invitational” series.  If you have a picture, quote, song, poem, or prose piece that represents “Rest” to you, please share it.  Post on your own blog and come over here and paste the link to it in the “Comments” section below.

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BOY & DOG FISHING - summer yellow

Tired little boys and puppy dogs do it so well.
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View original

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Visit WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh and take part in this week’s challenge.

I felt it was time again to let my good friend Terry Valley have a say in the weekly photo challenge. His artwork + my editing = my interpretation of the theme “Fresh.”

TERRY'S BLUE TREES WITH SUNRISE - larger

 

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Writing Challenge: Anybody Got a Story to Go With This Picture?

ABSTRACT WHITE CHRISTMAS POND-B & W

If you have a story — or poem — to go with
this picture, post it on your blog and put the
link to it into the “Comments” section below.

No word limit.  No time limit.
Let your imagination run wild.

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(Something fit for general audiences please.)

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Irish Blessing

Several years ago, a dear friend gave me a gift on St. Patrick’s Day. It was simply a slip of paper on which was printed one of the most delightful and endearing blessings I have ever received. He explained that it is one of many Irish blessings, and he wanted me to be the recipient of all that it entailed.

I believe in blessings. I believe in the power of words, and I know for certain that when we speak words of cursing or words of blessing from our hearts, those words can have a real effect on the people to whom we speak them.  So I would like to pass this blessing on to all of you, my readers, with my most earnest heartfelt wish that it come into manifestation in your lives:

IRISH CLOVER - PD PHOTO - IRISH BLESSING

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St. Patrick’s Daily Prayer

ST.PATRICK WINDOW BRIGHTENED CURVEDFor the past three years on St. Patrick’s Day, I have posted an article I wrote a few years ago about the “real” St. Patrick. The article, based on information taken from Patrick’s own personal writings, has nothing to do with the legends and fairy tales about him — or with leprechauns, shamrocks, or green beer. I’m not going to re-post that article today, but if you did not have an opportunity to read it and would like to read the true story of the miraculous life of this man of God, you can find it here.

However,  today I’d like to share a prayer that St. Patrick prayed daily. He knew the power of prayer, and he understood, from the Word of God, what spiritual warfare involved. His prayers reflect that knowledge and his strong, uncompromising faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. This prayer is an excellent example of St. Patrick’s faithful prayer life and is an inspiration to anyone who calls Jesus Lord and lives a life of service to Him.

PRAYIN HANDS CLIPART - flippedSt. Patrick’s Daily Prayer

I arise today through a mighty strength: Through the invocation of the Trinity – through belief in the threeness – through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim
Obedience of angels in the service of archangels
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward
In prayers of patriarchs
In predictions of prophets
In preaching of apostles
In faith of confessors
In innocence of holy virgins
In deeds of righteous men

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven
Light of sun
Radiance of moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightening
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me
God’s might to uphold me
God’s wisdom to guide me
God’s eye to look before me
God’s ear to hear me
God’s Word to speak for me.–
God’s hand to guard me
God’s way to fie before me
God’s shield to protect me
God’s hosts to save me from snares of devils
From temptation of vices
From everyone who shall wish me ill – afar and near – alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel, merciless power that may oppose my body and soul.
Against incantations of false prophets
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics
Against craft of idolatry
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards
Against every knowledge that corrupts men’s souls.

Christ to shield me today against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with; Christ before me; Christ behind me; Christ in me; Christ beneath me; Christ above me; Christ on my right; Christ on my left;

Christ when I sit down; Christ when I lie down; Christ when I arise.
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in every one who speaks of me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me

I arise today through a mighty strength: Through the invocation of the Trinity – through belief in the threeness – through confession of the oneness of the Creator of creation.

CELTIC CROSS GREEN

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Tickle Me Tuesday – Week 7 — I just have to do a second one

CARTOON MAN LYING DOWN LAUGHING 2Can’t help it. I just have to do a second post for this week’s “Tickle Me Tuesday.” This little limerick story just came to me, and I do hate to keep it to myself. (If you want to participate in “Tickle Me Tuesday,” just follow the link for instructions.)

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WOMAN FREAKED OUT - EGGSEgg-Head

I just can’t get over her hair.
Such a fright everyone has to stare.
She discovered online
That two raw eggs and wine
Would give luster beyond all compare.

So she mixed up the potion exact,
With a pinch of vanilla extract,
Now she smells nice and sweet,
But the eggs, they got beat
When her hair dryer got in the act.

So she’s walking around everywhere
With scrambled eggs now in her hair.
A good lesson she’s learned:
That a girl could get burned.
So with online advice, just BEWARE!

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