Last night’s abundance of wine and conversation resulted in a restful night’s sleep. A real treat for an erratic sleeper like me. Guy Hanson spent the night invading both my conscious and subconscious dreams. I wanted to stay in bed with my thoughts this morning but the silence was interrupted by the telephone. To make matters worse, the phone woke up two rat terriers. I can bury my head and ignore many things, like natural disasters and noisy modern technological devices, but not the pouncing and pawing of two active dogs demanding their breakfast and a walk.
“Hello” I said in the phone with a verbal frown.
“Is this Brinkley Monroe?” the caller asked.
“Yes, who is this?” I replied in an irritated tone because the caller had an annoying beep on his phone. Plus, this is a small town – if you have my telephone number you should know who I am.
“This is Sergeant Strickland with the Kodiak Police Department. We would like you to come in right away. We have a few questions for you”
If there was any trace of alcohol from last night left in my system, it evaporated and the speaker had my complete attention. “What’s this about?” I asked.
“I’d rather not get into it over the phone. If you could just come in as soon as possible I would appreciate it” he answered.
I thought of all the reasons I couldn’t get there right away. I need to get dressed, groomed, feed & walk my dogs. “Sure, but I am going to need about a half hour” I finally said after a pause. Luckily everything in town was within a 5-minute drive.
“OK, see you shortly” and he hung up.
I tried to focus on the appropriate thing to wear to a police interview instead of why I was called. No amount of worrying would change anything, right? Could this be one of those fundraisers where they put you in jail? I loathed that type of thing. I am willing to give and participate in fundraising events, but I don’t like asking for money outright. Then I remembered that group comes and “arrests” you and you don’t actually go to the city jail. Trigger worry.
Two disappointed terriers starred at me as I left. They got their breakfast and then thrown into the back yard to do their morning business but no walk. Maybe later if I wasn’t arrested for some crime. My common sense kicked in and reminded me if they wanted to arrest me they would come get me, not invite me to the station.
“Shit, shit, and shit” I slapped at the steering wheel. Of all the days for my car not to start, it had to be today. My Explorer had been a bit temperamental lately. Actually, for the last year. I forgave its intermittent tantrums figuring that when I get that old, I might need some forgiveness too. I made a mental note to at least drive by the Ford dealership and eyeball the new cars sometime this week. I was assuming my vehicle would have me driving again.
“Not a problem. We can send someone to pick you up” was the officer’s response to my car trouble when I called to explain my situation. I had hoped they would say not to bother that it hadn’t been that important but no such luck. Four minutes later, there was a patrol car in my driveway.
Turns out that I was assigned to an officer I knew. Kelvin Bishop was the first person I dated when I moved to the island. Ours was one of those relationships where we enjoyed doing things together but the fireworks, butterflies, and other signs of infatuation never appeared. We remained good friends until he met someone with the fireworks and butterflies.
We exchanged niceties until he got to the point. “Brinkley, I understand you saw Libby Sinclair on Saturday. Can you tell me about that?”
“Yes, I ran into her at Mill Bay Espresso. There’s not much to tell really. I invited her to the library on Friday nights when I teach a genealogy class and she said she was busy but would try to come after the summer” I explained.
“Was she with anyone?”
“I believe she was about to meet with Alan Johnson” I recalled.
“Why do you say that?”
“They ended up sitting together and she introduced him to me. Oh, and he had a pile of papers on the table where she was sitting” I explained.
“Did she say anything else?” he persisted.
“Not really. But I did notice something odd for a Saturday morning at Mill Bay Espresso.”
“Go on” he encouraged.
“When she first came in it was obvious that she had been crying, recently. Plus I thought it was odd to have a meeting with lawyer in a coffee shop on a weekend when he has an office and regular business hours”. No response from Kelvin.
My old friend questioned me for a half hour and asked me for the same information from several different directions. He did admit that the Mill Bay Espresso sighting may have been the last time anyone saw Libby. I left with him telling me to call if I thought of anything else. Just as I was walking through the lobby I realized I did not have my car. I looked at the time on my cell phone. Yes, Kodiak Island Ford would be open. Perhaps I could stop by for a cup of coffee and a brief peek at the new cars on the lot.
On my way out of the station I saw Libby’s husband heading in. He was talking, laughing, and smiling to another guy also entering the police station. I was appalled that he could seem so happy and care free with his wife, the mother of his two daughters, missing for two days. He caught me staring at him and my face must have given away my thoughts because he gave me a stern, almost threatening look. Could I have imagined that? What does he have against me? As I turned to look back over my shoulder, so did he.
The Ford dealership was open and I could smell coffee brewing as I opened the glass doors. “Well Brinkley Monroe, what are you doing here?” the beautiful blond woman asked.
“Just looking for a free cup of coffee” I said as I winked at Sandy. “Are you a grandmother yet?”
“No, but anytime now” she replied. “Cream or sugar?”
“Cream, please. I tell you, grandmothers are getting younger everyday” Sandy was a good friend but I was enjoying needling her a little about her rite of passage to grandmotherhood.
“I have no problem with being a grandmother but Marty is having a tough time of it. Who knew my husband was so vain about his age?” she laughed.
Sandy and I chatted about the impending birth and her pregnant daughter. She is our local example of the saying that you can have it all. Sandy is gorgeous, tall, thin, fashionable, smart, and successful. She’s owned the car dealership since she was in her late twenties. Eventually the conversation turned to my car problem.
“It’s time” she said.
“Time for what?” I asked.
“Time to replace that old car of yours. As often as you drive out the road to Pasagshak you need reliable transportation. If you don’t want to invest in a new vehicle, I can show you a trade in” she said in her business voice.
I relented. “OK, show me the new ones”. We talked cars for a half hour before she had her service manager and a mechanic drive me home and try to get my vehicle started. As luck would have it, my car started right up when the mechanic turned the key.