I am so very pleased that my readers have been enjoying The Haunting of Galveston Island articles on my Facebook page and being published in numerous newspapers in The Valley and upper northern states. It was quite the experience! It is a lovely hotel that is, no doubt, haunted. This …
Up early. Before the sun. Can’t sleep. The ending of Legion is haunting me. It’s time to pull 99,000 words together to complete a 100,000 word manuscript. People are waiting. “So when will your next mystery be coming out?” They are asking. The pressure is on. When I passed by Clark Anderson Fouraker’s room, I saw light under his door. He, too, is hard at it! Burning the midnight oil. I can smell his pipe tobacco and in my mind’s eye, I see him puffing away. Strategizing. He’s brilliant at tying up loose ends. It’s in his DNA.
“Mom, I hope you don’t mind if I brought a few friends with me for moral support. Some others will be coming along later.”
“Why do you feel you need moral support?”
“Chloe and Quiggy still won’t talk to me because of what happened the other day. I said I was sorry, Mom, but they still hate6 me.”
“I keep telling you no one hates you.I’ll talk to them and we’ll all get this straightened out. No one has said that they hate you and you shouldn’t be saying that. It’s not a nice thing to say about your brother and sister.”
“Well, Chloe said she almost hates me because Quiggy was going to pay the money back and he only took the money to help me raise funds for my sick friends. So she said Quiggy was only trying to help me and I was really being mean when I accused him. But, Mom, I was only doing my job as a private investigator!!!”
Quiggy and Chloe came sauntering in the room.
“Okay, this has gone on quite long enough. On the count of three everyone is going to say they are sorry for whatever part they played in this and then we’re all going to do a group hug.”
“I’m not hugging Clark Anderson Fouraker, Mom! He hurt Quiggy’s feelings!”
“You’re all going to say you’re sorry. That way amends will be made. And then we’ll do a group hug, including everyone.”
“But I don ‘t want to hug Clark!”
“How would it make you feel if Clark didn’t want to hug you?”
“It would hurt my feelings.” Chloe answered.
“Is that why we all came together….to hurt each others feelings or to ask for forgiveness and make amends.”
“I’ll hug you, Clark.I don’t want to hurt your feeling because I know how it feels to have your feelings hurt and I wouldn’t want to make anyone else feel that way.”
“I’ll give you a hug, too, Clark.” Quiggy whispered.
“Can we all say we love each other a really, really lot and we’ll never let something like this happen again?” Chloe asked.
“I think that’s an excellent idea!”
“I’ll hug Clark first.” Chloe said.
“No. Me first!” Quiggy squealed. ” You always think you have to be first Chloe just because you’re a girl!”
“That’s not true! Mom, make Quiggy take back what he just said!” TBC
Clark Anderson Fouraker’s head was hung low. “Mom, I want to turn in my license for my investigative service.” He said, sadly.
“Where do you have to go to turn it in?”
“Here.” He handed me a framed license.
“Why are you giving this to me? I didn’t issue you a license. I’m not qualified to do such things.”
“I did it for you, Mom. I didn’t think you would mind.”
“I do mind! You know better than to do something like this!” Looking hard at the license, I realized he had forged my name.
Tears rose in his eyes.
“I’m going to be better starting today, Mom. You always say, ‘tomorrow is a new beginning’. So I’m going to be a new me. Starting this morning.”
I hugged him close to me. “I forgive you.” I said. “New beginnings are good and I’m very proud of you for admitting your mistake and moving forward in the right direction.”
“Mom, could I ask you a favor?”
“Could you please ask Quiggy and Chloe to start being really good today.”
“They are good.”
“Not anymore, Mom. They hate me now for something I did when I had my office open and was a private investigator. In fact, Mom, now you and Dad are the only ones who will speak to me because I hurt Quiggy’s feelings when he was only trying to help me. I didn’t mean to. I was only trying to be a good investigator and now I don’t have one friend left in the whole wide world, but you. Well, maybe Dad because he doesn’t know about anything yet. And my teddy bear. He said he forgives me and that he’ll always love me. I’ve been hanging out with him a lot lately because no one else will have anything to do with me.”
“We’ll get this all straightened out. I’m sure no one hates you. Their feelings are just hurt. All will be well. Dad and I will talk to them.”
“Do you mind if me and Teddy come along so we can say how sorry we are.”
“I think that’s a great idea.” TBC
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“Ah-ha!!!” Clark Anderson Fouraker hit the hallway floor with all four paws. “We now know who the culprit is!”
“We do?” Chloe asked, innocently.
“Yes, we do!”
“Quiggy, you have incriminated your own self.”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, you have! How did you know the box that’s missing was filled with nickels? You couldn’t have known that if you weren’t the one who took it.”
“Well, I know Dad gives Chloe a nickel every week for her allowance and I just thought she might be saving them in her shoe box bank.”
“Ah-ha!!! Chloe never said “shoe box bank” she just said “shoe box”!
You need to come clean, Quiggy!”
Quiggy dropped his head in shame.
“I’m sorry.” Quiggy began to cry.
“Why did you steal my money, Quiggy?” Chloe asked.
“I didn’t steal it…exactly…I was going to borrow it until Heinz got his allowance and then Heinz was going to lend his allowance to me so I could put the money back, but Cogburn needed Heinz’ allowance for an emergency. Then, Heinz didn’t have any money to lend to me. And Pickles and the kitty cats are broke. I’m sorry Chloe.”
“And well you should be.”Clark Anderson Fouraker screamed to the top of his lungs.
“I did it for you,Clark.” Quiggy said, mournfully.
Quiggy was crying so hard, he could hardly talk.
“I knew you wanted to sell your black hat and nobody called you to buy it,” he choked back tears, “and I knew that meant you wouldn’t have the money you needed for your sick friends in Commerce, GA so I borrowed the money from Chloe to buy your hat.” TBC
“Fouraker Investigative Services, Clark Anderson speaking. How may I assist you?”
“It’s me, Clark.” Chloe said, in a shaky voice.
“Please state your full name, ma’am.”
“Me! Chloe!” She said, emphatically.
“Your full legal name, ma’am.”
Chloe sighed. “It’s me! Your sister! Chloe Belle!”
“How may I assist you, ma’am?”
“You can’t!” Chloe screamed, utterly disgusted and disconnected from the call.
About that time, Quiggy came sauntering down the hallway.
“I can’t believe I have to make a phone call to my own brother who’s just on the other side of this door, Quiggy! It’s ridiculous!!”
“What’s up?” Quiggy asked.
“Oh, nothing.” She responded lamely, totally put out with the investigative service and the fact that her shoe box bank was missing. “Quiggy, have you, by chance, seen a shoe box?”
“Did it have a lot of nickels in it?”
“Yes!” Chloe’s face lit up!
“No, I haven’t seen it.”
“Oh.” Chloe’s face dropped.
Clark Anderson Fouraker, who’d been holding a glass up to the door listening to the entire conversation, shot out of his office with lightning speed. TBC
“Mom! I can’t believe it! My shoe box bank is missing!
Dad gives me one nickel a week for my allowance and now somebody has stolen my bank. I don’t have one single nickel left.” Huge tears rolled down from Chloe’s sweet little doe-like eyes.
“Maybe your shoe box bank was misplaced during house cleaning. Surely it will turn up, Chloe. Don’t cry.”
“I don’t think so, Mom. I think somebody stole it.” She looked so sad.
“Tell me how we can help you, Chloe and please stop crying, Honey, we’ll get to the bottom of this, I promise.”
“I’m going to ask Clark Anderson Fouraker if he’ll help me find out who did it.” Her little voice trailed off as she continued to cry.
“Well, with the crime-solving techniques Clark is developing, I think he’d be the very one to help you.” I said, confidently. “He’s in his room studying now, so why don’t you take a minute and go ask him. I’m sure he’ll help.”
“I just can’t walk into his bedroom and ask him.”
“And just why not?”
“He has a business phone he wants us to contact him on.”
“Surely, you jest. He’s just down the hall.”
“I know, but he says he’s a professional now and we can’t just barge in on him like we used to do because he has important work to do and he can’t be constantly interrupted. Anyway, he really likes to answer his phone. It makes him feel important.”
“Saying ‘Hello’ makes him feel important?”
“Oh, he doesn’t just say ‘hello’, Mom. He says, “Fouraker Investigative Services, Clark Anderson speaking.” TBC
“Mom!! I sold my black top hat!!” Clark Anderson Fouraker screamed to the top of his lungs. ” Now, I’ll have some more money to send to Brad. I only got one call, but the guy who called bought it the minute I described it to him. He said he’d always wanted a black top hat and that he has small ears!!! I’m so happy Mom! I can help Brad again! He’s getting better, but he’ s still not totally well. I’m so happy I can help him!!
“So who bought the hat? Did you get his name so we can send him a thank note.”
“No, I didn’t get his name. And he sent a courier to pick it up and paid me with cash.”
“Well, whoever he was he, his heart is certainly in the right place to be willing to help those who are less fortunate.”
“That’s what I thought, Mom.”
” Well, I’m going to call it a night now, Sweetie. It’s been a long day. Don’t stay up too late. We have a big day tomorrow.”
“Okay, Mom . Nite-nite.”
I plodded down the long hallway lit only by a soft night light. “Quiggy, is that you? ” I called out into semi-darkness.
“No!” I screamed, my eyes ablaze. “What is this?”
“Mom, now don’t get upset. I can explain.”
“Clark Anderson Fouraker, you were asked to polish and refine My Name Is Legion while I was away! Is this what you call refining?”
I lifted 100 addition pages he had added to the manuscript. “What is this?” I screamed again.
“Mom, it’s easy to explain.”
“Then, explain.” I said, shaking a sheaf of papers in his face.
“Well, see, Mom…” he paused.
“Don’t stop now. You’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”
My eyes bore into a paragraph on the top page I was holding. “Heinz and Cogburn stood on the veranda waving good-bye to Pickles and the kitty cats as they backed down the drive in their mini van.”
“WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY MANUSCRIPT?”
“Well, Mom, see…me and Quiggy and Chloe, Heinz, Cogburn, Pickles and the kitty cats thought we would…”
“Stop right there! Don’t tell me that while I was away on a retreat you took the liberty of writing yourself and everyone under this roof into MY manuscript!!!” I pointed to the ceiling, outraged.
“I just gave us small parts, Mom. And it wasn’t everyone. I didn’t write in parts for Dad and Masa and the maid.”
“Well, aren’t I the lucky one? If I had been gone another day everyone in the neighborhood would have played a a major role in my book!”
“No, not really, Mom. I didn’t want to make you mad, so I stopped after I wrote a part for all of us guys.” He dropped his head in shame. “I only gave us small parts.”
“A hundred pages of small parts! You have until dinner time this evening to get my manuscript back exactly as it was when I left it with you and you are never to write yourself or anyone else into my books. Is that understood?”
“I’m sorry, Mom. I guess I got carried away.” He said, meekly.
“Give me a hug.”
As I reached for him my eyes locked onto the title page of my upcoming mystery lying on top of the desk.. My Name Is Legion, it read, by Clark Anderson Fouraker with Margie Myers.TBC