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|Roadhouse Blues (standard:mystery, 4486 words)|
|Author: Thom||Added: Dec 11 2000||Views/Reads: 2136/1249||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Sean Murphy is a PI based in Columbus Ohio. He is looking for a client's lost father. The trail leads to a roadhouse in West Virginia. Then things go bad. Very bad|
ROADHOUSE BLUES Thomas L. Givens 288-52-4935 1104 Willard Ave. Grandview Heights OH 43212 APPROX. 4500 WORDS The sun was warm as the Mustang rolled down the rutted gravel road. The top was down and dust settled on the GT's black finish. Ahead was US 35 and the Kanawa River. Above and behind me was a wide spot in the road named Hawk's Nest, West Virginia. I had spent the last week following the cold trail of an old ex-con for his daughter. The old man at the barely standing general store said I'd probably find Web Collins at Rhonda's Roadhouse. I would talk to Mister Collins and give him his daughter's phone number. Then I was off to Charleston, West Virginia for a little R&R. I wanted to see the man who'd been the best man at my wedding. I liked him much more than my ex-wife. Hell, I like Nixon more than my ex. Seven days ago, I met Melissa Collins in the bar of the old Clock Restaurant in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. We sat at the antique bar where my Grandfather had worked after he came over from Ireland. The air was cool and the light subdued as she tried to decide what to say to me. Melissa was a petite, attractive brunette. She wore a navy Donna Karan suit and a white silk blouse. Her brown eyes were alive and serious as she spoke. "Mister Murphy, Mother always told me my father was dead. I believed her. After all, she was my mother. Why would she lie? I guess she really hated him." She took a small sip of her draft beer and moved the pilsner glass in a small circle, leaving a trail of moisture on the bar. The ceiling fan above us rotated slowly, soft moving the still air. Looking around, if I didn't know better, I'd swear it was nineteen-thirty-five. Melissa idly twisted a strand of hair in her fingers as she continued. "Mr. Murphy, I never knew my father. Well, there's vague memories of a man who gave me piggy back rides. He was tall and gentle and smelled of tobacco and Aqua Velva when he lifted me in the air. Then one day he was gone. Mama said he'd died." I lit a cigarette, took a sip of my beer and watched her. From a purse slightly smaller than a steamer trunk she pulled a bundle of letters and a few faded newspaper clippings, dry and brittle with age. "Mom died a month ago. I found these in the attic. There were some pictures too." She handed me a snapshot of a tall, thin man, an attractive young woman and a young girl, maybe two or so. The little girl had bangs and wore some frilly confection of a party dress. Everyone in the picture looked happy. More or less. The man was rail thin and had the look of generations of the hills and hollows in his face. The woman was tall, slim and dark. I could see Melissa in her mother's face. I looked at the letters. They were from the old Ohio Pen, on Spring Street, here in Columbus. I set them aside and read the short articles. They were from the "Citizen-Journal," a morning daily that folded several years ago. The first clipping dealt with a man charged with embezzlement. Webster Collins was accused of taking eight hundred dollars from a vending company. He was a route driver for them. The second article said he pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft and was sentenced to five years in the slam. This was July of sixty-two. Melissa was two years old. I was ten. The letters were to Mom. Amanda Collins. They dealt with Webster's pain and shame. From the letters I gathered Amanda never answered him. The last letter acknowledged the divorce. It was dated November of sixty-two. "Mr. Murphy, I need to know why. That's all. Why didn't he try to see me? Why did he do it? And why Mom hated him so." I gathered the papers off the wooden bar and looked into her confident Click here to read the rest of this story (588 more lines)
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