Author Tim Greaton’s latest short story and previous submission all in one place!
Tim Greaton has been promising me a longer short story to post on my blog for some time. As some of you may know, he was the winner of last month’s writing contest. Now I finally have one from him to share with you and it is just as great as expected. The story will follow below. After that I will post additional comments showing his other tales which have been seen in previous posts. Hope you enjoy them as much I did. Tim is certainly one talented writer!
For the Deposit
The sky brightened as dawn broke through the dense trees that lined the Maine highway. Kate brushed away her tears and crawled up out of the ditch on Route 112. She took one last look down at the beautiful display of bouquets, photos and crosses that marked the site of her daughter’s last breath on this earth. Knowing people would see her, but unable to stop herself, she staggered backwards and fell to her knees beside her company van. Tears came from such a deep and pain-filled place that she couldn’t find a way to stop them. She couldn’t find a way to control the shudders that strafed across her body.
How could it have happened?
How was it possible that her little girl was gone?
Some indeterminate time later, Kate crawled back behind the wheel and somehow drove herself the last two miles to her bio-lab on Route 112 in Groacherville. Thankful that none of her employees had arrived yet, she went into the bathroom and attempted to make herself look as though she had slept more than an hour the night before. Every day it got harder to cover the dark circles beneath her eyes and the raw skin on her cheeks and nose where she habitually wiped away the tears every few minutes. Her heart was broken and she feared it would never heal again.
She ignored the case of Kool-Aid containers her ex-husband had left on her desk the previous afternoon and sank into her seat just as the phone rang. Glancing at the wall clock, which definitely said it was still only 6:15 in the morning, she reached for the handset and wondered why her phone didn’t have a caller ID display like the one on her assistant Gary’s phone.
“Good morning, this is Kate Heller.”
“Mrs. Heller, Detective Jack Benson of the Maine State Police.”
“I remember you, Detective.”
She paused, refusing to beg for information she felt the police owed her, information they had been withholding from her since the day her daughter’s body was found on the side of the road. Her hand went to her raw cheek.
“I wanted you to know that we have conclusively identified the beverage stains on your daughter’s clothing.”
Kate’s eyes shifted to the more than a dozen cans of Kool-Aid sitting on her desk. She remained silent.
“Our forensics lab has determined it to be vodka mixed with an artificially sweetened fruit drink. Was your daughter prone to drinking vodka with fruit punch?”
Kate gripped the phone and sat bolt upright.
“My daughter was seventeen years old, Detective. She wasn’t prone to drinking vodka mixed with anything. As you also know, the autopsy demonstrated that she had no alcohol in her system.”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Heller. I know how difficult this must be for—”
“Detective, please stop.” Kate swallowed and tried to mentally calm the fury that seemed to have formed in equal parts with the grief in her stomach. “I appreciate the update, and I want you to know that you can call my office and leave a list of questions with my assistant Gary anytime you like. I will always make it a priority to get any answers back to you as quickly as possible.”
“Ms. Heller, Detective. It’s Ms. Heller. My ex-husband and I divorced nearly five years ago. A man so invested in details, I would expect that you long ago would have realized that.”
“I’m sorry Ms. Heller.”
Kate rubbed shaking hands across her eyes, fully aware that she was ruining whatever success she might have had with her makeup just a few minutes before.
“Detective, I’m tired, upset and not feeling particularly talkative. Is there any other information that you can share with me, or is there any other question or two that I could answer for you at this time?”
“Yes, Ma’am, there is. Do you know what brand of vodka your ex-husband drinks?”
“He doesn’t drink anymore, not since about a year after we broke up.”
“But if he did…I mean what brand did he used to—“
“Don’s drinking again!” Kate said, suddenly realizing that the detective knew something she didn’t. How else could he have known that Don drank vodka unless he smelled it on his breath? Being an attorney, Don never would have discussed his past drinking, not without a court order.
“My partner thinks so,” Detective Benson said.
“He drank Absolut.”
“No other brand…not something more expensive?”
“Don’s a lot of things, Detective, but he was never one to waste money. What are you getting at?”
“Our lab results suggest the vodka on your daughter’s clothing might have been a brand called Diva.”
“Never heard of it.”
“Probably because you’re a sensible person. Most of the Diva vodkas start at about six thousand dollars a bottle. Did your daughter have any friends that might have had access to liquor that expensive or the money to buy it?”
Kate almost dropped the phone.
“I’m afraid I can’t help you, Detective.”
“Maybe if we could get a second list of your daughter’s friends—”
“Please call Gary at my office with a list of any more questions you may have,” Kate said. “I’ll make sure that they are taken care of.”
“But, Mrs., I mean Ms.—“
“I’m sorry, Detective, but this is not a good time.”
She hung up the phone and pressed her trembling hands to her head. She was filled with equal parts rage and disgust. It made her flesh crawl just to think about it. Knowing what she had to do, she raced out of her office and spun the tires on the company van as she slewed out into the street.
Terrible thoughts filled her mind, which made it difficult to concentrate on the road. She remembered very little about her five-plus mile drive to her ex-husband’s house, the home where they brought their daughter up together. His Volvo was still parked in the driveway when she swerved off the street and slammed into it.
“Jesus, Kate,” Don said as he came rushing out the door dressed in slacks and a tie but with only one shoe on. She staggered up the walkway and nearly tripped going up the three front steps.
“Carrie loved Lady Godfree-Godfell—“
“Lady Gaga,” Don said, pulling her inside. “You look like hell, Kate, and you hit my car.”
Suddenly, Kate looked up and realized her ex-husband’s pale complexion and dark rings almost made her look healthy. Though they hadn’t made the best couple, they had loved their daughter equally. His eyes were bloodshot but she didn’t smell any alcohol. He led her inside and pushed her gently into one of his hard oak kitchen chairs then sat beside her.
“I want to help, Kate,” he said. “That’s why I spent the afternoon buying every flavor of Kool-Aid that I could find. But since you’re babbling about a pop singer, I’m guessing you haven’t done any lab work on the Kool-Aid yet.”
“You defended my Uncle Bryce that time.”
“Don’t remind me,” Don said. He ran a hand through hair that had grayed considerably since their divorce. “I still can’t believe the jury bought that crap about rumors of other sex offenders enticing kids with tickets.”
“Didn’t my uncle get a settlement for an accident a year or two ago?”
“I heard he did but no one at my firm would have touched that case, not after he mailed me the Miley Cyrus tickets with smiley face note. Why do you ask?”
“I think the money from the settlement helped him to lure Carrie into some car. I think it was him and that pervert friend of his.”
Don’s expression hardened.
Kate said, “I just heard from the state police that they think the vodka on her clothes cost over six thousand dollars a bottle…the kind of thing a celebrity would drink.”
“And you think—”
“Most of the girls these days know all about expensive shoes, jewelry. Carrie could recognize a knock-off Coach or Gauche handbag from across a parking lot.”
“And you think she knew about expensive vodka?”
“What if someone was waiting for her after dance class? What if a limousine or some other fancy car pulled up and convinced her Lady Gaga wanted to meet her? If she saw the expensive vodka label, she might have believed…”
Don got up, turned on the kitchen sink and splashed water on his face.
“And you think Bryce did it the way he attracted those kids into his car with backstage tickets to see Miley Cyrus?”
“My uncle Bryce needed to pay for what he did to our daughter…and those other kids.”
They could hear sirens approaching.
“Sounds like Mrs. Swench didn’t waste any time,” Don said.
“She always was a busybody,” Kate said with a wan smile.
“I still don’t get it,” Don said. “What did you gain by smashing into my Volvo?”
“I wanted to make sure my attorney was present when the police arrested me for murder.”
“I hit him over the head with the empty bottle of Diva I found on his counter. He must have been saving it for the deposit.”
~ by Suzie on July 26, 2011.