Ginger and I practically ran to the car and once inside I told her everything – how I had seen Libby meeting Alan that morning, that I had seen him in Anchorage with the young women, and that now his wife was in a women’s shelter. I told her about John Sinclair, my coming out to Herbie Carmichael, and the visit to Hope Wilson’s wake. I didn’t realize the weight of the burden of knowledge until I released it to my friend Ginger.

            By the time I finished talking we had been sitting in my driveway for a few minutes. “What are we doing here? I thought we were going to an early dinner?” I asked.

            “Go change your clothes and get the dogs. It is time for a good walk on the beach. I’ll fix us dinner later.” Ginger and I had spent many hours walking and talking on Monoshka Beach. We had solved all our problems there plus a few of our friend’s and family’s. Occasionally we solved the world’s problems but no one was listening. It was a stretch of sand that somehow helped me focus and discuss thoughts that would otherwise have festered in my brain.

            Ginger waited in the car as I rushed around to change my clothes and get the dogs ready for a ride and a walk. By waiting in the car for me, instead of dropping me off to drive on my own, Ginger was insuring that I would hurry. Plus, it would be less convenient for me to have a change of heart and say I wanted to stay home. My friend knows me well. She also did a little telephone business of her own that I wouldn’t know about until dinner time.

            I was just about to leave the house when I realized I had a telephone message. I wavered on playing it or not playing it before deciding it might hamper my ability to think clearly tonight if that waiting call was in the back of my mind. I pushed the play button with some hesitance and heard the voice of a fabric designer, a college friend who now lives in Florida, who contracted me to help her with color ways for her new fabric line. She is a pen and ink artist who claims to be color blind. Her designs are so detailed that I wondered if colorizing them properly was just too much work and outside her comfort zone of black and white.

With all the excitement of the last week I had ignored the project waiting on me in one of those squishy envelopes on my desk. Usually I jump right on these projects because I get so little work where I use my art degree training. I grabbed the envelope and my color wheel and brought them along to Ginger’s house.

            The ratties were enjoying their off-leash walk down the long and secluded beach. Daisey ran toward a large Black Oystercatcher who was foraging an outcropping of slate rocks on the beach. When he flew off she returned to chasing the Turnstones working the marshy area behind us. Luckily, her prey drive was low for a terrier so she didn’t bark or try to catch the shorebird. She simply ran toward them and then stood and watched them as they flew over her head. It was as though she simply wanted to watch them fly.

Eddie was busy chasing the waves and foam in the surf. Sometimes he would bite at the movement and then shake his head in disgust at the taste of the saltwater. He checked out every beached starfish and piece of driftwood on the beach. While he did maintain a high prey drive, I felt lucky that he was not interested in birds. He liked his prey to stay on or under the ground. Both rat terriers were wet and covered in sand but tonight’s bath would be well worth the fun of exploring the beach and running off-leash.

Ginger and I talked over and over about the events since my trip to Mill Bay Espresso that Saturday. I owned up to my attraction to Guy, my obsession with John Sinclair, and now my doubts about John and new suspicions toward Alan Johnson. We both came to the same conclusion that I needed to find a way to talk to Mr. Wilson about his suspicions. I could do things the police couldn’t and it was ok to use my gift to help this family heal.

We decided it was time to let all this information and our decisions simmer as we headed back to the house to prepare dinner. Matt was waiting for us on the deck with the news of a freshly caught crab in the sink and a bottle of wine. The crab was so large that I initially thought it was a king crab taking up the entire farm sink.

            “Ooh, my favorite! Tanner crab” I exclaimed as I examined the crustacean.

            “I’ll whip up a chopped salad if you will melt some butter, turn on the oven, and the large burner on the cooktop. Honey, can you get the big pot of out the garage and fill it half full with salted water please?” Ginger was the Chef de Cuisine in her kitchen and I filled the roll of Sous-chef. Matt was a simple assistant assigned to the grunt work. After doing my assigned duties I placed the best-looking lettuce leaves in 3 small bowls covering the edges to where they looked like bowl made from lettuce leaves. Ginger would soon fill these bowls with her salad of chopped tomatoes, scallions, cucumbers, bell pepper, cilantro, radish, and carrots. The salad would also have included celery if I had not been tipped off by its offensive odor when she began the chopping process.

            As I watched the bread brown in the oven and the crab heat on the stovetop, Ginger finalized the salad with a dressing made of herbs, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and grated cheese. It smelled delicious. The ratties were so tired they slept on the family room rug and didn’t respond to the wonderful aromas wafting though the house. We ate, drank, and laughed for almost an hour around the kitchen island. The view of Monoshka Bay and the low sun was so spectacular from kitchen that we never made it to the actual dining room.

After dinner Matt surprised us with a box of beautiful chocolate covered strawberries. There was dark chocolate with milk chocolate swirls, milk chocolate with white chocolate swirls, white chocolate covered rolled in coconut flakes, and milk chocolate rolled in chopped nuts. These large berries were a work of art and I questioned where Matt had secured them.

            “It seems” he explained, “that word has leaked out that you two are up to something and other people are interested in that something” he said with a grin and one raised eyebrow. “Spill it.”

            We explained the cupcake store idea and afterward Matt explained that the realtor’s wife was making chocolate dipped strawberries for showers, parties, and weddings but was interested in another venue for her product. She dropped off a box of samples hoping to get our attention. There was also a menu detailing all the designs available including a list of all the liqueurs she used to spike the berries on request. Ginger’s reaction to the beautiful berries told me we needed to find a way to include them in our store. This was a huge deviation from my original business plan and it had me thinking about the Nano Nash store in Anchorage again.

            “Ginger, how is your schedule this week? Could you fit in an overnighter to Anchorage?” I asked.

            “Hell yeah, girl.” I loved Ginger’s feisty spirit. “But you have to promise me we can eat dinner at Club Paris. I just love their filet mignon.”

            “How’s tomorrow sound? I can call Maria tonight to get the access code.”

            “What time do you want to go? I will take care of the tickets” she responded.

Matt spoke up with “Brinkley you shouldn’t twist my wife’s arm, it just might break.” With that we laughed away the seriousness of the day.

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