It hit me that I was hungry but didn’t have much in the refrigerator or any transportation to a restaurant. This was the perfect time to call a friend for company and a ride. Ginger would be busy preparing something for Crab Festival and Mary Margaret would be working at the Kodiak Museum . I called my friend Tuesday.
Tuesday came to Kodiak courtesy of the Coast Guard. Her parents were born in the Philippians and immigrated to California shortly before Tuesday was born. Her parents didn’t want to interrupt the children’s excellent schooling so they retired from the Coast Guard and stayed put in Kodiak.
“Hey Tuesday, you had breakfast yet?”
“No, you want to meet somewhere” she asked.
“Yes, I do but there is a problem with that plan. My car is in the shop”.
“Again? No prob, I can come pick you up” she offered. “Where do you want to go, Mill Bay Espresso?”
“Nah, I’ve had enough of Mill Bay Espresso for now. How about The Café?” I was asking her to drive eight miles to the small suburb situated on Women’s Bay on a day that promised to rain and blow forty.
“We can do that. In fact, that would be perfect. I wanted to talk to you about something and this way we won’t run into people we know and who will want to sit with us.” She surprised me with that statement.
The drive out to Bell’s Flats was windy but manageable. I could feel the wind pushing the vehicle, especially in the open area after the Coast Guard base. I watched the white caps in the water and the seabirds gliding on the winds hardly moving forward. As a passenger, I was able to enjoy the views that I normally drove past.
Bell’s Flats was only eight miles away but it is a world of difference with its limited commerce, non-planned neighborhoods, and agricultural feel. Most of the houses in “the flats”, as it was locally known, were not on flat land at all but, instead, were situated on the hillsides of Old Woman’s and Kashevaroff mountains. The two hillsides were separated by Sargent and Russian creeks but it may as well have been an ocean considering the differences in the two sides to Bell’s Flats. One side received an abundance of sun and residents were known for growing successful gardens and large, sometimes commercial green houses. The other side of the creeks was dark. For two months during the winter the sun did not rise above the mountain top and the houses on this side remained enveloped by shade,
We pulled into the parking lot of the lone commercial building. It was a metal strip building with three businesses on the west side – a combination convenience store and gas station, The Café, and a second hand shop named One Man’s Trash. I can’t believe that someone would use that name for a commercial enterprise but I guess that one man’s trash is……………
The back, or east side, of the center had The Tire Shop with a full-time mechanic, The Quilt Shop, and a small fishing and hunting supply store. You would have to shop in town at a full blown sporting goods store if you wanted to purchase a bicycle or a yoga mat but this small store had everything one needed for hunting or fishing Kodiak’s road system. Tuesday parked the vehicle directly in front of The Café.
At first I was disappointed when we entered The Café and I saw Libby’s husband with that fellow from the police station. After the look he gave me I did not want any sort of confrontation with him; however, I realized I might just have an opportunity to learn something from his weak brain. I steered Tuesday to the booth directly behind him and sat so that the backs of our heads were less than a foot away. He was too busy talking and laughing to notice me.
The reception was perfect. If I leaned back against the banquette I could hear him clearly. When I leaned forward toward Tuesday, I could tell which man was talking but the words were not so clear. Mostly they were talking about work and money but eventually the other fellow commented to John, Libby’s husband, that it must be tough having a missing wife.
“Yes, I am concerned but mostly for our daughters” he said with some truth in his statement. I gave Tuesday the “just one minute” index finger command as I eavesdropped. Luckily, she had understood the command and surprisingly she did not attempt to stop my eavesdropping.
“Do you have any idea where she may have gone or what happened?” How lucky for me that this unknown man was asking the same questions that I wanted answered.
“Not a clue” John lied. “But, I have heard that she was having an affair so I am worried that she has gone off and left the girls for another man” (lie). He continued with “what kind of woman would do that?” The two commiserated about women but I had more information than I had hoped for – John was lying about his knowledge of Libby’s whereabouts.
How am I going to use this information? If I take it to the police I have no evidence to back it up and I could end up sounding like a nut. Yet, I had to do something. As the two men got up to leave I tried to focus on Tuesday and look at them but John saw me and his eyes lingered long enough for me to feel his stare. “I’ll be right back” I said to Tuesday who attempted to grab my arm to stop me. She was a millisecond to slow to stop me from doing something stupid. I followed the men out to the parking lot and quickly tried to figure out what to say before I lost what might be my only opportunity to confront Libby’s husband.
“Excuse me” I said to John. “I don’t believe your wife ran off with another man”.
“What makes you say that?”
“Because I know her. May I speak to you alone for a minute?” I asked John in a low voice.
“I don’t believe you want me to say in front of your friend”
John spoke to his friend and for a minute I worried he was going to leave to avoid this crazy redhead but surprisingly he returned and his friend got into the vehicle.
“It’s Brinkley, right?” I nodded. “What are you up too?” he asked.
“I know you had something to do with your wife’s disappearance”. That may have been a mistake but I really didn’t know what else to say. If I asked him if he was involved he would lie and I thought being direct might throw him off.
“Hey lady I don’t know what you think you know but you are way out of line. If you knew my wife so well, why don’t I know more than just your name and face?
“Interesting that you should choose the word knew my wife instead of know my wife. I guess that validates my earlier comment”. I was on a role, albeit a risky one.
“Screw you” he said and started to walk away.
“That’s fine talk. Do the police know that you refer to your wife in the past tense?”
He turned and came toward me, enraged. I could see his hand transforming to a fist but he stopped himself just short of raising it and turned back toward the car. If this had been a cartoon he would have had smoke coming from his ears.
Tuesday came outside to see what was going on. I told her my temper got away from me because I heard him speaking badly of his missing wife. We went back into the restaurant just as our breakfast was being served. Tuesday had an asparagus and ham frittata and I had whole grain pancakes with blueberries, raspberries, pecans, and powdered sugar.
Tuesday spoke first. “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Did you know Libby has been missing since Saturday? I just heard about it and can hardly wait until the paper comes out today”. Little did she know that I could give her a story much more interesting than the Island Breeze.