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NO BORDER NO BOUNDARIES
NO BORDERS NO BOUNDARIES
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BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Mar.03.2009
  • 9781849239202

robert gives an overview of the book:

No Borders-No Boundaries is a compelling thought provoking tale of mystery, intrigue and romance. A cast of no nonsense characters jump from the page with sparkling dialogues that compel you to feel for their predicaments. The action takes place over a three month period during the summer of 2001. From the cruel streets of Washington D.C to the peaceful shores of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, this action packed page turner will have you hooked from the start. Amidst all the mayhem, there are real people and their turbulent lives that are altered and changed forever. The story thrives on deception and deceit and for some deliverance. There are new beginnings and sudden endings. The novel encompasses the shadowy lives of underworld crime figures and the innocent victims who are dragged unwillingly along with them. There are the hunters and the hunted whose roles...
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No Borders-No Boundaries is a compelling thought provoking tale of mystery, intrigue and romance. A cast of no nonsense characters jump from the page with sparkling dialogues that compel you to feel for their predicaments. The action takes place over a three month period during the summer of 2001. From the cruel streets of Washington D.C to the peaceful shores of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, this action packed page turner will have you hooked from the start. Amidst all the mayhem, there are real people and their turbulent lives that are altered and changed forever. The story thrives on deception and deceit and for some deliverance. There are new beginnings and sudden endings. The novel encompasses the shadowy lives of underworld crime figures and the innocent victims who are dragged unwillingly along with them. There are the hunters and the hunted whose roles explicitly become reversed. It's a story of life, love and death that all happen out of the blue.

Read an excerpt »

   NO BORDERS NO BOUNDARIES A NOVEL BY ROBERT C. BREWSTER        Published in 2008 by YouWriteOn.comCopyright © Text Robert C. BrewsterFirst EditionThe author asserts the moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author, nor beotherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.Published by YouWriteOn.com  THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO MY WIFE KIMBERLY AND MY CHILDREN KRISTY & BRITANY AS WELL AS DANIEL LUSSIER WHO LIVES WITHIN ITS PAGES      BOOK ONEONEFRIDAY JUNE 8, 2001

The theme music played us out and Kenny’s thumbs told me we were officially off the air.  I thanked Mayor Turnbull and said I’d walk him out of our new smoke free building since I needed one.   I was done for the night and looking forward to my three week Vegas vacation.  A small crowd of vocal protesters had gathered outside the office building that housed our ground floor studios.  They were there to confront the mayor, who was embroiled in a housing development project that was turning out to be very controversial and pissing off a lot of the wrong people.  His Worship had wisely decided to slip out a basement exit at the rear of the building.  From there it was only a two minute walk to his office where he’d told me he was planning to ‘burn the midnight oil.  I was headed for the same back exit when I realized I had forgotten my smokes.   As the noisy crowd outside gathered around the Mayor’s waiting limousine, he and his bodyguard Jake Johnson made their hasty unseen departure.  I was just a few seconds behind them as they stepped out into the darkness. I opened the back door and then:  saw what I saw.

Witnessing the murders I could have lived with.  Saying “Hi!” and waving to the two guys who did it was another story.  As I was inhaling deeply on the first puff of my cigarette, I looked up and saw the Mayor and his bodyguard get the back of their heads blown off.  I choked on the exhaling smoke. The taller of the two assassins looked at me   and pointed a very large gun at my face.  We were about fifteen feet apart.  I was dead meat!  Then, we both heard the scream from above.  He turned to look, I ducked behind a pillar as his shot ricocheted off a concrete cylinder and some fragments cut my forehead.  Other screams rapidly followed the first as people began appearing at street level looking down to where they had heard the shots.  The sound of the two shooters footsteps running away, made me instantly decide to slip away before the police arrived.   I stepped back into the building just in time to catch my producer Kenny on his way out.  I dragged him into my office and told him what had just gone down.  Within minutes the building was buzzing with the news.  Thirty minutes from now the world would know who had been killed.    Visibly shaken I sat behind my desk and pulled a fifth of scotch out of my bottom desk drawer.

“Look at you man, your shaking like a leaf.  You’re going to crack up if you don’t get away from here, now!”

“Taking advice from you on my mental health Kenny wouldn’t be wise.”  I said, taking a healthy swig from the bottle.

“You know, most times I’d agree with you, but this is that one time you’re dead wrong. You just witnessed a mob hit for Christ’s sake.  You gotta disappear for a long while, or your toast man!   They’ll turn the whole fucking country upside down if they have to. You should go to Europe.  You got a passport?”            I nodded and let Kenny ramble on for another few minutes while I thought about getting away.  I needed to vanish.  Europe was a bad choice.  Anywhere I had to use my passport wouldn’t work.  Mob people could find me anywhere in the world in a ‘nanosecond’, if they really wanted to.  Had to be someplace where they wouldn’t think to look?  There was!  After Kenny finished his tirade, exhausted, he left my office. I picked up the phone, thought better of it and replaced it in the cradle.  I took a taxi home and quickly packed up whatever I could into a large sports bag I kept in my closet.  I put my hand into the laundry hamper and reached down to the bottom of it, where I retrieved an old brown leather wallet.  Inside was ten thousand dollars in fifties and hundreds, my Vegas bankroll I had planned to turn into millions at the crap table.    

I tossed a few of my favorite mementos and knick-knacks into the bag and gave the place a quick going over and was about to close the door and lock it when I remembered that I should call Kenny.  I knew he wouldn’t be there yet, but I left a message telling him to take the spare key in my office desk and help himself to whatever he wanted in my apartment; because it didn’t look like I would be coming back anytime soon.    I closed the door for the final time and took the elevator down to the basement.  I put my belongings into the cab of my truck and then locked it, before going out the basement entrance and walking over to the payphones in the strip-mall across the street.

            I made a couple of discrete phone calls and talked to my uncle Leandre, who hooked me up with my cousin Marc and in a flash I was off to ‘au bout du monde’   ‘the end of the world’ as the French say.             I got in my old Chevy pick-up and headed north to Canada.   When I finally arrived in the ‘le petite village’, I was exhausted and ready for some serious ‘R & R’.  I’d driven 2400 miles in three days.   It was eleven p.m. and I had been on the road non-stop since eight-thirty that morning.  The key was under the right front step like my cousin said it would be.  I unlocked the door and flipped on the kitchen light and gently laid my sports bag on the floor and unzipped it. I retrieved two bottles of double casked single malt whisky and placed them on the counter.   I fumbled around in the cupboard for a suitable glass.  Found one.    I opened a bottle and filled the glass half way and  went out to the front porch with my scotch in hand and sat down on this old rocking chair and thought  about why I ran here…from there.  I’d accidentally witnessed an execution.    Paul Turnbull,  Mayor of Washington D.C. and Hall Of Fame running back for the Redskins, dead in front of my eyes.    I just happened to be doing my job.  Did I mention that yet?  My Job!  I interview retired sports celebrities for the ‘Classic American Sports Network’.  Haven’t heard of it?  I’m not surprised.  They’re a little obscure.  They hired me sight unseen when I sent them a pretty crafty letter, telling them that being an ex-private eye and avid sports fan; I would be the perfect person to ask all the tough questions.  I sent the resume in as a joke, but a few weeks later some young hot shot from ‘C.A.S.N.’ calls me up and hires me over the phone.  That was five years ago.  The Network folded after two years.  Me, I kind of lucked out.  This dot COM Company bought my contract and re-launched my show on the Internet.   There I was live every weeknight from eight to ten, my face and voice streamed around the world and all its time zones to your home computer.Why didn’t I stick around and wait for the cops?  Because doing so would be like signing my own death certificate.  The cops knew who ordered the ‘hit’ on Turnbull before it happened.  He was fucking with the wrong kind of people.   I saw one of the shooters and he saw me.  I was the only one who could identify him.  If I did, in all likelihood the cops could tie him to Pete ‘Peepers” Balermo, a crime boss who controlled a large portion of the drug and shy locking trade in ‘D.C.’.  For thirty years he’s been in the news and under investigation for one thing or another.  Thirty years of exposure and not even a single traffic ticket.  I figured they had less than two weeks to find and eliminate me.  Otherwise, they would have to make the two shooters disappear.  Even then, if they were known associates of Peepers and had rap sheets; I could still identify one of them after the fact.  I was screwed and couldn’t foresee any scenario that would allow me to safely go back to Washington and resume my life, except one.  Peepers would have to ‘fuck-up’, something he’d never done before, but I can manage to pull off on a daily basis. I was screwed!  Now, I was sitting on a porch in the middle of nowhere, sipping twelve-year-old scotch and reaching into my shirt pocket for a Cuban, when I first spotted him out of the corner of my eye.  My initial reaction was to dive for cover, something told me not to.“Fog covered moon tonight. Smells up like rain soon.” the stranger, said.“How soon?” I said smiling.“More than later” the stranger unassailably smiled back.“Sooner the better!” I said confidently feeling like a local.“Sure be the truth boy.  You stay here now?”“Yah, for a week or two”. I said pulling a Monte Cristo number one out of my shirt pocket and fumbling in my pants for my lighter.  I found it. “I’m here boy...always here.  Always here, since I rose from the dead.  Rose from the dead I said.” He said, before flashing me one of those wild Jack Nicholson grins.   I fired up the Cuban.

“Amen!”  I exclaimed pausing long enough to enjoy the sweet aroma and fragrance, before realizing that I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about.  I did know however that for the first time in days, I started laughing and it felt good.  My new best friend laughed to and then I was well you know, laughing at him laughing.  I noticed he was backing away from me as I sipped my Scotch and pulled on my cigar.

“Care for a drink?” I said with my warmest smile.  He shook his head and took another step backward toward the road.  “Is there something wrong?” I asked him.

“Smoke” he said stepping back one more step.  “It’ll kill you.”

“Sooner or Later.” I answered.

“Sooner for you, than me no doubt.  Less I stand too close to you there boy.”  We both chuckled and then looked out silently into the darkness.

“Always this quiet and peaceful around here?”  I said enjoying the cool night air with all its accompanying sounds.

“Quiet yes.  Peaceful, no! ”   Before I had time to respond, he was gone. 

His back come into view as the porch light from his house across the dirt road illuminated his distinctive silhouette.  I’d assumed that this man was one of the two brothers my cousin had told me about who lived across the road.  These were the ones who took care of his place when he wasn’t around.  Seemed like a harmless fellow.   I went back in the house and replenished my beverage.  Back out on the porch I stared into the horizon and wondered.  Is this the kind of place I’ll be forced to live in?  Will I have to go to an even more isolated area?  Could they find me?   Would they find me in St. Joseph de Marchoix?  The fog was beginning to lift and I could now see the reflection of the moon glimmering on the ocean waves.  The coastline came into focus.  I saw the bay off to the right and the Train Bridge with three trusses that separated the two.   My cousin was right.  This truly was God’s country.  It might not be too bad spending my life in such a place.  I could think of a lot worse right now.  In the morning I was sure the view would be spectacular and my head would be clear.  I was tired.   I drained my second Scotch and decided to go to bed.  I’m sure I was asleep before my head hit the pillow but I don’t remember because I was that tired. 

***

          TWOTUESDAY JUNE 12, 2001

My first thought when I awoke this morning was: dam its cold!  My feet were freezing.  I hopped out of bed real quick, found my sneakers, bathrobe, and bolted to the kitchen and fired up the ‘old wood stove’ with what was left of the kindling.  I scrambled around until I found the coffeepot and coffee to put in it.  That done, I headed outside and around back to the woodshed where I was told there was a large supply.

            As I was about to open the shed door, I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my  eye of a beautiful vision jogging down the hill that was so unreal it had to be a dream.  She was tall, with long flowing hair the color of straw.  She wore a blue sports dress that clung tightly to her perfectly proportioned body.  She took long strides down the road as her sleek Russian wolfhound kept pace beside her.  I lost sight of them momentarily as they both passed in front of the house up the hill and out of my view.  I was witnessing perfection in motion.  A long legged girl that belonged on an haute couture runway and not a dirt road on the Gaspé Peninsula had just sauntered in the direction of my house with her dog.  The wood would have to wait.  I’d quickly made my way back to the front of the house and gave them an awkward smile and a little wave as they jogged by.  She barely acknowledged me and continued on her way. I was smitten.  I was embarrassed.  I also had a ‘hard on’ the size of the Florida Keys.  Who was this woman?  Who was this vision of heavenly beauty?    I could only stare in wonder watching them make their way to the bottom of the hill.

“That be Charmin MaGuire and Pluto there boy.”

I almost jumped out of my skin, but the voice was warm and reassuring. It was my new best friend from last night.

“Pardon Me?” I said stupefied and feeling like a jerk in my ratty looking bathrobe.

“That’s Charmin and Pluto.  They come down June and July.”

“Where are they from?” I asked innocently.

“She born here.  Don’t know where Pluto from, but she born here.  My brother Joey and her in the same class at school.  Me, I don’t go to school.  Too smart for school.  Too smart!  That’s what they said about me, Fred.  You way ahead Fred.  You too cool for school.  That’s what they said.  So here I stand a God fearing man.  Just me and Joey and Fred.  Well of course…”

“She got a husband?” I said cutting him off in mid sentence.

“No.  Far as I know she come down here the last five years or so all by herself. Her mother and father dead in a boat, near the rock,” he said pointing at Percé Rock that felt like it was close enough to reach out and touch

“She always come alone?” I said in an interrogating tone.

 “Just her and Pluto, far as I know there boy.”

“So you must be Fred then, right?”

“No.  Fred is dead.  Just me and Joey left there boy.”

***  

            “I want him found now and taken care of!”

“He’s disappeared boss.  Nobody can get a lead on him.” said Johnny Daratzeo.  His boss, Pete ‘Peepers’ Balermo was uncharacteristically pacing in his luxurious D.C. office.

“Nobody just disappears.  Unless of course, I want them to.  You find him Johnny!  You find him now!”

“I’m doing all I can boss.” Johnny said hiding the frustration in his voice.  “I got our people all over the country looking for him.  It’s not like he can hide for long.  His face is very recognizable, at least in some circles.  He’s gotta crawl outa somewhere soon, and when he does…POW!  We got him!”

“I don’t like this Johnny.  We find him by the weekend, or you gotta take care of your brother and cousin…personally!”

Johnny Daratzeo’s face flushed a bright red and in the pit of his stomach a burning sensation, more intense than the frequent indigestion and heartburn that had plagued him for years.

“Don’t worry boss.  I got them stashed away where no one could find them.”

“Well you make sure we can find them when we need to.  By the weekend Johnny!  Or

 

they disappear permanently.  You understand?”

 

“Perfectly boss,” Daratzeo said forcing his best smile.  “We’ll have the bastard by the weekend.  I guarantee it!”

“I’m counting on it Johnny.  Find him.  Before the cops do.”  Johnny took his cue and made a quick exit from the room.  Today was Tuesday.  That gave him five days at the outmost to find and eliminate the elusive Lloyd Jenkins.  If he didn’t, then his brother Frankie and his cousin Vinnie would have to be put on ice.  Either that, or Peepers’ would have him in the deep freeze.

***

 THREEFRIDAY JUNE 14, 2001

I, Lloyd Jenkins handsome thirty eight year old devil that I am stood exactly six foot tall soaking wet and was a solid two hundred pounds and up until a few days ago had a great mane of long wavy brown hair.  I’d been here five days now and spent it in relative isolation.  I had not ventured off the property since arriving here.  I could no longer exist on beer, whisky, stale crackers and canned soup.  My body needed real nourishment and venturing forth into the outside world was the only way to acquire it.  My mind on the other hand wanted no part of the outside world.  It was simply a case of mind over matter.  In this instance matter would easily win out.  I paused for a moment in front of the mirror and admired my almost week old beard that was growing in quite nicely, but didn’t match my recently ‘Henna’ died blonde hair.  I reflected on the possibility that my publicity photo was probably on the front page of every American newspaper and lead story on the evening news.  “Hopefully they don’t sell USA TODAY in St. Joseph de Marchoix,” I said out loud to myself.  Even if they did, I wouldn’t be instantly recognizable to the untrained eye.  I could lose the hair all together and go with that bald thing for awhile.  What the hell, why worry.  This was supposed to be a village of mostly unemployed fisherman, who worked odd jobs to supplement their government welfare checks.  I thought about the ten thousand U.S. dollars I still had with me.  With the current rate exchange I’d have about fifteen thousand Canadian dollars.  Around these parts I could probably live on that for a year.  About halfway down the large hill that led to the village I heard an unfamiliar voice yell from behind me.

“Hey wait up there boy.”  Not really feeling threatened or sensing waves of unnecessary paranoia, I stopped and turned to see what I assumed would be the other half of the brother act that lived across the street.  I could detect a slight family resemblance.

“Hi I’m Joey,” he said extending his hand slightly out of breath.  “You must be the cousin Mark told me about.”

“Yeah, that’s me.”

“You got a name there boy?”

“Yeah….yeah, sure I do,” I said a little taken back.  I wasn’t expecting it though I should have been.  Someone was eventually going to ask me who I was, so here goes.

“Boyd,” I said shaking his hand, while wondering why I had come up with a name that was so close to my own.

“First or last?” Joey said with sparkling blue eyes.

“Huh?”

“Boyd, boy.  First or last name?”

“Uh…last.  First name is Bob.  Too many Bobs in the world, so I just go by Boyd.”

“A dozen Bobs round here boy.  You be better off with Boyd, boy.  Where yeah headin?”

“Buy a little bread, milk.  Maybe a newspaper.”

“No newspapers round here Boyd, boy. You from Toronto then there boy?

“Yeah, Toronto it is,” I said figuring it was as good a place as any to be from.

“Well that’s what Mark said aeh.  Told me to expect his big city slicker cousin from Toronto.  Big city slicker he said.  By God he did.  Told me to watch out for you there Boyd boy.  Said you might need some lookin after he said.  So, here I is.  Your personal tour guide to all the sights and sounds of old St Joe….” 

We kept walking down the hill and, he kept talking.

“Got us a nice little country bar down the road a piece, but not many women though.  Less of course you be liking them over fifty with half a mouth full of teeth.” He said smiling and flashing a mouth full of what looked like well taken care of teeth.  He appeared to be in his early thirties and unlike his older brother, seemed to be all there.

“I saw a beautiful woman the other day with a dog.”

“Oh yeah.  Fred told me.  She’s Charmin McGuire and her dog….”

“Named Pluto,” I said smiling while picturing the lovely Charmin’s long graceful strides.

“They’re beauties.  Both of them.” Joey said with a look of appreciation in his eyes. “Like a breath of fresh air.”

“So Fred, is your brother’s name then?”

“Yeah.  Fred it is, Boyd boy.”

“He told me Fred was dead.”

“Well you know some days he is and then there be some that he’s not.”

“Could get confusing.”

“Well only to him their Boyd boy.  Only to him.”

“You care to explain?” I said grinning from ear to ear.

“Well not much to it as she goes.  Bout twenty odd year ago Fred was workin the Lobster boats off the Rock out there,” he said pointing to Percé Rock; the famous tourist attraction with the large hole in it.  “And boy the sea she be rough that day, and as Fred leaned over to haul up the trap he fall right in there he did.  And if that’s not bad enough, he catches his foot around the trap line.  They lost him for about a minute or so, and then they finally hauled him back on board and pushed the water out of his lungs.” Joey said, with heartfelt eyes. “Well anyway they’d thought they’d lost him but he finally comes round.  When he snaps back he says he been with Jesus and all that crap.  Never been the same since.  Doctor said he lost oxygen to the brain and probably killed part of it.  So’s some days he’s Fred, not the Fred he once was you understands.  But enough Fred so you still remembers who Fred was.  Rest of the time, he thinks he’s Jesus.  That’s okay with me there Boyd boy, long as he doesn’t go trying walking on water,” he said laughing and punching me on the left arm.  I found myself laughing also.  What a place!  What a bunch of characters.  “Your groceries be bought just over here.  I’m heading that way myself.  Well further past aeh!  Got me some fix-it work over at Muldoons Bay Side Cottages.    In fact, I’ll be over your place later.  Got to fix a window back of your wood shed.  . Come on in I’ll introduce yah,” Joey said at the entrance of Cliffs Country Grocery. 

 Cliff’s was a one stop; get everything in one kinda place.  . 

“Don’t buy your lobster here,” Joey said whispering in my ear.  “They’re just for the tourists.  I’ll take you to the Co-op later.”  I suddenly felt strange.  It was like a thousand eyes were watching me though it was only a few dozen. 

“Say Rita.  This here be Boyd boy, Mark’s city slicker cousin from Toronto.  Now don’t hold that against him there.  Not his fault aeh!” Joey said laughing loudly.  I was coming to realize that Joey was one of those people who loved to laugh at their own jokes. 

“You take good care of him now Rita.  Local prices aeh!  None of that tourist crap!  See yah later there Boyd boy,” Joey said turning and walking out the store’s screen door.  I was left with smiling Rita and her two top front missing teeth.

“You married?” were the first words out of her mouth.

“Not the marrying kind.” I said wondering whatever happened to ‘Good morning sir.  How are you today and how may I help you’. The eyes of the dozen or so people in the store never left me.  It was like I was a new exhibit at the zoo.

 “Anything particular you need?”

“Naw, I’ll just have a look around,” I said walking over and pulling out a shopping cart.

“Whatever you want, we got it.  We don’t have it, then you don’t need it,” she laughed.

After a few minutes of browsing, I sensed that I was no longer the focus of attention.  People had gone back to doing whatever it was they were doing before I had so ceremoniously interrupted their daily routines.  I stocked up on everything I could think of and was pleasantly surprised to see ‘bar clams’ on the shelf.  I snatched six cans and quickly put them in my cart.  Bar clams were a rare find for me these days.  Living in ‘D.C’, they were non-existent.  Maine or New England was the only place to find them in the ‘U.S.’ I backed up my cart and took the remaining four cans.  Tonight, I would make myself chowder fit for a king.  I couldn’t cook many things that I would dare serve to another person, but I’d put my clam chowder up against anybody’s.  My grandmother was a Maritimer and the queen of making chowder.  As a young child I remember going to visit her with my mother for a few weeks every summer.   I don’t recall ever eating any meat when we visited. When I was about thirteen and on our last visit to grandmothers’ who died six months later, she taught me how to make clam chowder.  She was quite frail by then with a failing heart and Rheumatoid Arthritis, but a mind still sharp as a tack.  A flood of fond childhood memories was filling my heart as I approached smiling Rita at the check out line.  “That’s quite a load you got there boy,” Rita said eyeing by basket.  “Sweet Jesus!  Ten cans of bar clams.  You throwing a party there boy?  You know, I got me this cute little niece lives over in Percé.  Unmarried, and real cute, though she’s not planning on staying that way for long.  So if I was you, I’d check her out real quick.”

“Unmarried, or real cute?” I said flashing a wide smile.

“What?”

“You said she wasn’t planning on staying that way for long.  I wanted to know if it was unmarried, or real cute?”

Rita thought about it for a few seconds longer than she should have had to, before slapping her hand down hard on the counter and laughing loudly.

“By Jesus aren’t you the funny one there boy.  Could sure use more of your kind round these parts.”

Rita rang up my purchases, and gave me the ‘locals only’ ten percent discount.  I realized after paying for everything, that there was no way I would be able to carry all these grocery back up the hill to the house.  I explained to her that I had originally planned to just come in for bread and milk.  Now I had a full grocery order. 

“I’ll just walk back on up to the house and pick up my truck.  I’ll be back in fifteen.” I said taking the change from Rita.

“No need their young fellow.  Maggie Monroe lives just up the hill from you.  Don’t you Maggie?” Rita said to the tiny sectarian standing behind me in the shopping line.  “You’ll take real good care of him.  Won’t you Maggie?” Rita said winking at Maggie, then breaking out into her boisterous laugh.

“You need a ride sonny.  Give me two minutes.  I gave her my best smile and gathered up my plastic bags full of groceries.  Maggie’s groceries consisted of a quart of milk, a loaf of bread and a single bottle of beer.  She insisted on carrying her own bag, and all my attempts at chivalry were spurned immediately.

“This ones mine sonny.  Just put them in the back,” she said pointing to a brand new Ford F-150 with four wheel drive.

“Lot of ride for a little lady,” I said with a quick rise of my eyebrows and my best killer smile.

“I ain’t so little and this baby ain’t got half the guts it should have for something so big.  Get in!”  She yanked open the trucks’ door and gracefully pulled herself up on the runner and got inside the cab. 

“You the guy staying in Mark’s house right?”

“In the flesh kind lady, I am the cousin of Mark”

“Call me Maggie alright.”

“Alright, they call me Boyd.”

“You a Dube, like your cousin?”

“No.  I’m a Boyd, a Dube on my mother’s side.”

“Well if your half the man your cousin is, you’ll be alright,” Maggie said wheeling her oversized truck out of the parking lot.

“So we’re like kinda neighbors,” I said real friendly like.

“We’re all neighbors around here.  Town is too small not to be.  I take care of the McGuire place up the road from you.”

            Just as Maggie made the left turn off the main road at the bottom of the hill, I saw the long legged Charmin and Pluto striding up the hill.  I watched sheepishly as Maggie lowered the driver side window and barked at the lovely Charmin.

“Move your butt their MaGuire!  You want an old lady should show you how it’s done!”

“Blow it out your ass Monroe!”  Maggie laughed long and loud and I tried not to blush as she continued driving up the big hill.

“That’s my boss!  Cute huh?”

“The cutest!”

“Yah, well she’s also my granddaughter there drifter.  So you stay away from her,” she said with a snarling grin.  I must have momentarily registered a look of confused fear on my face because Maggie burst out laughing again.  “Scared yah, didn’t I?”  I just smiled.  “Boy you big city boys are easy to spook,” she said pulling the truck into my driveway.

“Well thank you very much for the ride Maggie Monroe and the enlightening conversation,” I said opening the truck door and retrieving my groceries from the back.

“See yah around Boyd. Nice ride!” she exclaimed referring to my 1991 Chevy pick-up.  She laid some rubber on the gravel driveway as she backed out.  What a feisty little number, I thought to myself. I waved and carried my groceries inside.  By the time I put them away and stepped back onto the porch, I was just in time to catch my dream girl and her sidekick effortlessly make their way past my driveway.

“Hi there neighbor,” I said as warm and friendly as I could.  Wondering why I couldn’t have thought of something better to break the ice.  I needn’t have worried.  She gave me a halfhearted smile and kept on walking. I heard a phone ring inside my house.

            I hadn’t realized there was a phone, never given it much thought.  I followed the ringing until I found it hanging on the pantry wall.  I hesitated for a split second before answering.  Was it the bad guys?  A wave of paranoia swept through me.  I took a deep breath then snatched up the phone,

“Hello.”

“Yo cus!  How yah doing there boy?” Mark said loudly into the receiver.

“Pretty good, considering.  And you?” 

“Just saw your ugly mug on the C.B.C.”

“Oh shit!  Just what I needed.”

“They said they’ve put out an International Alert. You’re wanted as a material witness in a double murder.  When you told me you had to get away, you really meant it.”

“Was it a lead story?”

“Naw, about ten minutes into the newscast.  If I didn’t know it was you, I don’t think I would have made you from the photograph.  They also added that there was a strong possibility that you’d already been eliminated by the mob.”

“What about the newspapers?”

“There was a little article on the back page of the World News Section in The Globe and Mail.  No picture though.”

“Thank God,” I said somewhat relieved

“Your secret is safe with me cus.  So how are things going up there?  You meet the neighbors yet?” he said with a chuckle.

“You mean Joey and Fred?”

“Oh! Fred back from the dead then is he?   Mark started laughing so loud; I had to remove the receiver from my ear.  What was it about these Maritimers and loud laughing?  I hadn’t seen my cousin Mark in about five years.  As kids we were inseparable.  We were both the same ages, him older by only three months.  We used to spend our summer days just fishing and looking for crabs and clams on the beach.  My parents had a summer cottage in Bathurst New Brunswick before they got divorced.  Into our later teens, mom and I would stay with her sister who was Mark’s mom.  Those beautiful summer nights were spent looking for young teenage girls that we could chase.  Oh the good old days when life was sweet and simple.  In our twenties and early thirties we got together about twice a year to go hunting and fishing

“Well at least he was still alive yesterday,” I said into the phone once the laughing had receded.

“Well he’s a strange one there boy, yes he is.  Joey’s’ all right though.  He’s a good fix-it man as long as you limit him to two beers.   It would probably we wise if you parked your truck in the little barn in the back.  No point in tempting fate.  I got an old Ford pick-up in there that you can use.  The registration and keys are in the glove compartment.  There’s a little oil leak so check it regularly.  Besides that, she runs like a charm.”

“What can you tell me about the long legged beauty?”

“Ah! Sweet Charmin!  A Heavenly vision if they’re ever……”

“Get your married ass mind out of the gutter Mark.”

“A man is still allowed to dream.  Married or not.  At least it was last time I checked.”

“Better check again.”  It was my turn to laugh this time.    “Now cus, I want to know everything there is to know about Charmin MaGuire.”

“You mean besides the fact that Charmin in shorts is better than…….” There was a prolonged silence on the other end of the phone before Mark continued.  “…Shit!  Come to think of it cousin; there is nothing that compares to Charmin in shorts.  Unless of course it would be Charmin totally….”

“I catch your drift cus.  Now just give me the facts.”

“She’s about thirty, thirty one.  She’s single, as far as I know.  She comes and stays with her grandmother for a couple of months every summer.  By the way, If Joey asks, you’re from Toronto.”

“He already did.  And I guessed right.  Go on.”

“Well, she was born in the log house at the top of the hill. It’s more like a homestead now.  The MaGuires were fish wholesalers. Old Pat MaGuire sold out just before the whole industry tanked.  Smart bastard, old Pat!  Anyway, he and the wife Shanna took Charmin to Toronto.  Oh she musta been about twelve or thirteen.  He opened up a grocery store and ended up with twelve of them.  Did quite well for himself did old Pat.  He kept four hundred prime growing acres on top of the hill.  Never farmed it, just added on this huge extension which is six or seven times larger than the original house.  He’d show up every June first until about mid august.  Most days he’d just watch the men work on the house or riding stables. He’d go fishing once and awhile. 

“She an only child?” 

“You bet your big city slicker ass she is.  When her folks drowned in that boating accident in the Bay des Chaleurs...” 

“What happened to the boat?”

 “Well they were sailing back here from Bathurst after a weekend visiting her sister.  There was a freak storm.  They made it almost to the ‘rock’ when the boat went down. They found it the next morning.  Funny thing though.  They found old Pat.  They found the skipper.  But they never found Shanna.  The boat was pretty busted up they say.”

“Jesus!  What a way to lose your parents,” was all I could muster up in response.

“She was here at the time.  Pretty sad it was. Anyway cus I got to go.  The other line is flashing. Duty calls.  I’ll keep you posted.”

“You do that;” I said hanging up the phone.

            I decided I was hungry.  I had all the ingredients for the perfect bar clam chowder, so I began the long tedious process of preparation.  During the four hours that past from conception to completion was time spent thinking of my own predicament.  I had made the Canadian TV news barely, and an article ‘sans’ photograph in the newspaper.  Shouldn’t be too much to worry about?  Just be careful.  It was still early days yet.

Whatever will be, will be; I convinced myself after my second large bowl.

***

            It was Friday night and Pete ‘Peepers’ Balermo was not his usual jovial self.  Normally by this time he would be at one of the many Bars or Clubs he owned in D.C., with a lovely lady on each arm.  Tonight he sat alone in his office waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for confirmation from Johnny Daratzeo that Lloyd Jenkins had been located and eliminated.  It was now ten of eleven.  Johnny had told him he’d call by ten-thirty.  Johnny usually wasn’t late.  He took a cigar out of the humidor on his desk and lit it.  The phone rang and Peepers’ snatched it up on half a ring.

“Yah!” He barked into the receiver.

“Bad news boss, it wasn’t him.”

“Jesus Christ Johnny!”  Peepers screamed as he slammed his hand down on the desk harder than he wanted to.  “How can it be the wrong fucking guy?” he said opening and closing his soar hand as he talked.

“It was one of those look a like things.  You know close but no cigar.  I swear boss the guy was a dead ringer for him, almost.  Don't worry about it; we already got a couple of new leads.  We’ll find him.”

“You got forty-eight fucking hours Johnny, or else!”  He said smashing the phone into the cradle.  Peepers got up from his desk and walked to the far end of his oak walled office. He grabbed a bottle of scotch from the built in bar and poured himself a healthy shot and downed it in one gulp.  He repeated the process.

***

            Johnny Daratzeo was also at his wits’ end.  He had no leads.  He didn’t have a clue where Lloyd Jenkins was. He would have to make arrangements for his brother and cousin.  I can’t fucking kill them, he thought to himself.  They’re family!  You don’t kill family because somebody accidentally saw them whack somebody.  You hide them.    Johnny looked at the large map of North America hanging on his wall next to the dartboard.  Johnny liked tossing darts.  It helped him relax.  Tonight, it would help him decide where to hide his brother and cousin, until the smoke cleared.  They would have to leave the country.  Mexico or Canada?  Which would it be?  One is nice and sunny with scantly clad women running around.  The other is known to be cold most of the year and people hibernate for the winter.  Canada it would be.  Now where in Canada could he send them?  It was a pretty big country with a lot of open spaces.  He walked over to the dartboard and retrieved a dart.  He moved back to his desk, closed his eyes and threw the dart in the direction of Canada.  The dart landed in Quebec.  He stepped closer to see exactly where in Quebec that dart had actually landed.

*** 

                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

FOURMONDAY JUNE 18, 2001

  The night sky was filled with stars and the moon reflected off the quiet sea.  It was a cool clear evening in Paradise.  I was content with today and looking forward to tomorrow.  Maybe I would go fishing.  Fishing for Charmin!  I would definitely have to drive back to Gaspé and convert some American dollars into Canadian.  Maybe I would call Kenny and see what’s happening in D.C.?  As soon as I thought of it I knew it was a stupid idea.  There was no way in hell I could contact Kenny or anybody else in Washington for that matter.  They would pull the phone records of everyone they thought I knew. 

***

            “What do you mean we’re going to Canada?” Frankie Daratzeo said. 

“Just what I fucking said!  You and Vinnie are going to disappear for a nice long time.” “I don’t like it Johnny.”

 “Me neither.” spoke Vinnie Bentaveina. 

Vinnie was a short stocky man with powerful arms and legs.  He once hung a man by grabbing him around the throat and lifting him two feet off the ground and holding this position for a full three minutes until he was convinced the guy was dead.

“Frankly, I don’t give a sweet flying fuck what you guys want or don’t want.”  Johnny said looking at his wristwatch.  “In exactly twelve hours either youse guys or Lloyd Jenkins gotta be put on ice.  You understand?”

Both Vinnie and Frankie shrugged their shoulders.  Frankie was the taller of the two by about eight inches.  He was six foot four and mean and lean.  He had a round face that made him look like a young Al Pacino.  Frankie was thirty two and Vinnie forty one years old and both of them had been whacking people professionally as a team for ten years.  They were known to authorities and were the prime suspects in the D.C. double murder, but with Lloyd Jenkins mysterious disappearance there was no concrete proof against them.  As Johnny continued talking, both men slowly resigned themselves to the fact that Johnny was doing them a favor by giving them the chance to vanish temporarily and not permanently.

“So where you want us to go?” Frankie said reluctantly.

“Quebec, Canada.  There’s great hunting and fishing up there.  Fish the size of Vinnie that you can catch off a pier.” 

Vinnie smiled a wide grin.  He loved the outdoors.  Hunting and fishing were two of his favorite pastimes.  Frankie on the other hand, had other immediate concerns

.“What about fucking broads?”

“What about them?” Johnny snapped back knowing what Frankie would say next.

“Can we bring a couple to keep us company?”

“What are you a total fucking moron?  Of course you can’t bring broads.  Everyone is supposed to think youse guys are dead.  You take a couple of broads and people know they’re missing.  Come on Frankie, you’re smarter than that.”

“We’ll find broads their Frankie.  No big deal.  Two handsome guys like us.”

“Sure!  But we don’t know the language.  They talk French there.  Don’t they?”

“Even better,” Johnny said.  “They speak American dollars.  Cash is king, just like here.  I’ve been to Quebec.  It’s just like America. Don’t kid yourself; most of those Frenchies can speak English too.  So watch what you say around them.  Look you guys!  Consider this a long over due vacation.  I want you to act like a couple of American businessmen.  Do tourist stuff.  Move around a little bit.  Don’t stay parked in one place for too long.  I mean, you guys know what to do.  It’s what you do.” Johnny said realizing that this talk wasn’t necessary.

 Frankie and Vinnie made a career out of going all over America and blending in.  .  They knew how to become invisible. Lying low and doing nothing for a few months would be difficult for them, but surely not impossible.  Vinnie had always wanted to go to Canada because he heard the hunting and fishing were spectacular.  He hadn’t gone, because he was afraid to leave America for fear that they wouldn’t let him back in.  Fear, was something that was totally foreign to Vinnie except for this leaving the country thing.

“How you going to get us out and back into the country?”  Vinnie said very concerned.

“Private plane.”

“What about weapons?”

“You won’t need sidearms.  You’re not being hunted.”

“Speaking of hunting?  I’m going to need a rifle and probably a license.”

“I’ll have a brand new set of I.D. waiting for youse guys when you get to your first destination.  I’ll give yah each fifty grand in hundreds and twenties.  Be cool!  Enjoy yourselves and have a good time.  You leave at eleven tonight.  I’ll meet you back here at ten-fifteen.  Unless of course a miracle happens and we find Jenkins.”

            Frankie sat slumped in his chair and wasn’t saying anything.  He was pissed!  What the fuck was he going to do In Quebec?  Vinnie might be happy hunting, but he needed nightlife and lots of pussy.

“You didn’t tell us exactly where we’re going in Quebec Johnny?  I hope it’s in the bush somewhere, where we can get away from it all.”

“Don’t worry Vinnie.  You’re going to like it just fine,” Johnny said grinning.

“What about the kind of bush I like huh?  And I hate getting away from it all.  I like to be where ‘all’ is. Capiche?”

“Look Frankie.  I’m sure you’ll get a chance to take your dick out of your pants.  Just be reasonable.  You’ll see little brother; those French broads are something else.  I’ve had me a couple.  They’re the real thing,” he said with a knowing smile and a wink.

 “Well they better be, because I don’t like this Johnny.”

“Would you rather be dead?”

“No.  Even if this guy does show up, it’s our word against his.  We got a solid alibi.”

“Who do you fucking think the cops are going to believe?  .  It’s not youse the cops want.  It’s Peepers.  Frankie, you’re disappointing me again.  Look, just go. I’ll take care of everything here.  When it’s alright to come back, I’ll come and get you myself.”

“How will you know where we are?  And you still haven’t told us exactly where we’re going?” Vinnie said 

“Come over here I’ll show yah.” Johnny said walking over to the map on his office wall.

 “I think you’re really going to like the area.  Come on Frankie.  Let me show yah.”

Vinnie couldn’t wait to have a look at the map.  Frankie slowly got up from his chair and walked over to the map.

***

                    FIVETUESDAY JUNE 19, 2001

I awoke with a slight hangover and a buzz in my head, which turned out to be a honeybee flying around the bedroom.  I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep.  When I finally opened my eyes it was still only six-fifteen.  The buzzing in my head was gone and my hangover almost non-existent. I jumped out of bed and did that two minute shower thing and ran back into the room and put on my last fresh T-shirt and a pair of jeans I’d been wearing for the last five days.  I was feeling a lot more settled in.  The constant fear of always looking over my shoulder wasn’t as prevalent. I was sleeping well and actually waking up rested with a smile on my face.  I fired up the wood stove, made coffee and then took a cup outside on the porch.  It was another gorgeous day and I would finish my cup of Joe and then be on my way to Gaspe.  I needed to do a load of laundry and see what the big city had to offer.  It was now eleven days and counting since I had left D.C.  The event that happened and the reason why I was here seemed so far away.  I stopped at Bert’s Texaco and filled up the tank and topped up the oil with half a liter.   When I had first arrived here it had been in the late evening and foggy.  Now I was afforded the opportunity and luxury of time to take in the last undulation of the Appalachian Mountains.  From Bert’s, I could see the blue waters of Malbay stretching for miles and I could see the ‘rock’.  No matter where you stopped on this side of the peninsula, if there was an ocean view; you saw the ‘rock’.  Fred and Joey had both told me that I could walk out to the ‘rock’ at low tide and experience the eerie magnetic forces that surrounded the immediate area.   

***

“Fasten your seat belts guys.  We’ll be landing in about five minutes,” the pilot said to his two passengers as he turned around and faced them.  They were flying in a Lear 36 jet.  They’d taken off from Chicago just over two hours ago when it was still dark.   Frankie had to admit that the view from the airplane as the sun rose was breath

taking.  The natural beauty of the scenery was almost overwhelming.  Broad beaches and towering cliffs framed a rugged yet hospitable environment.  Vinnie was almost drooling as he saw the miles and miles of natural forest and the abundance of lakes. 

“There you go boys, smooth as silk” the pilot said commenting on his landing.

“So this is it. We just get off the plane, walk into the terminal and disappear?”

“Easy as one-two-three,” the pilot said smiling as he taxied down the runway and came to a full stop “I do this all the time.  People, drugs, whatever!  Someone pays, I play.” He got out of the plane and opened the side luggage hatch.  Vinnie slipped out quickly and stood on the tarmac and breathed deeply.

“Sweet fucking fresh air, fill up my lungs!”  He bellowed.   Frankie slowly made his way out of the plane.  His posture resembled that of a tired old man until he stepped on to the asphalt and caught a glimpse of a young lady unloading baggage from a plane nearby.

“Ooh! Sweet!” Frankie said perking up immediately.  The young lady in question was about nineteen years old with amble breasts and a nice tight ass.  It took all the self-control he could muster not to run over to the girl and swoop her up in his arms.  Vinnie took the luggage from the pilot and motioned to Frankie to grab a couple of bags.  He very reluctantly tore his view away from the girl and focused in on the matter at hand.

“Whatever Vinnie, I’ll just play follow the leader.”  Vinnie waved goodbye to the pilot whose name they never knew and who had never inquired about theirs. 

***

Well here I was.  Smack dab in the middle of Gaspe.  The big city!  What a joke!  It was nice, but it certainly wasn’t big by American standards.  I had to find a bank.  The sooner the better!  I still had twenty Canadian dollars left.  I spotted this all day breakfast place that looked to good to pass up.  I walked in and sat down.  The place smelt wonderful and the waitress who walked past me was holding a plate that looked delicious.  It was only seven-twenty and the banks didn’t open until ten am.  I figured I could spend some time walking around and just see what I could see

***

Frankie and Vinnie got into the first taxi they saw and after waking up the driver told him to take them to the pre-arranged hotel.  Once there, they checked in under the names they were told to by Johnny.  A large envelope was waiting for each of them and they were shown to adjoining rooms.  They met a few seconds later in Frankie’s room and sat on his bed and each of them opened their envelopes and shared the elation when the money came pouring out.

“Sweet fucking Jesus Christ1” Frankie said fingering all the money as it spilt out on to the bed.

“Hey look!”  Vinnie said showing his new American passport to Frankie.  “I’m Tony Kalponie.  Who are you?”  Frankie as casually as he could flipped open his passport and looked at his photograph and new identity.

“I’m Emilo Fragapanni.  Beat that.”

“Tony and Emilio, young, single and available.  What broads could ask for more?” Vinnie said grinning from ear to ear.

“Let’s get to the bank and get us some Canadian Money. 

“Sounds good to me.”  They each took a couple of thousand dollars from their piles and shoved it in their pants pockets.  Vinnie retreated to his own room and deposited the rest into the wall safe provided, Frankie did the same. 

***

“I thing he’s pretty cute.”

“Well I’ll give you that much.”

“He has a nice smile.  I wonder where he’s from.”

“Washington!”

“How do you know that?  You’ve never even talked to him.”

“I saw it on the license plate of his truck when Pluto and I were out speed walking.”

“You’re very observant.”

“Its part of what I do Grammy.”

“Well I think you should give him a chance.  He seems like a very nice boy.”

“We’ll see,” Charmin said smiling as she watched her grandmother prepare the bourguignon for this evening’s dinner.   This spry gray haired woman was all that remained of her family.  Now that her father was gone and her mother supposedly gone also, Grammy was it.  She could deal with that.  She could live with it also.  It was five years ago today that the accident happened and neither of them had mentioned it.  Does time really heal all wounds?  Hers' were still raw.

“So maybe we should invite him for dinner?”

“Maybe”

“You don’t seem too enthusiastic?”

“We’ll see Grammy.  We’ll see.”

“Well I think we should!”

“Then do it.”

“But if you don’t want me to…”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Well you didn’t say not to.”

“Your trying to pressure me aren’t you?”

“Me.  Pressure you!  Never!”

“Well if you put it that way, you might as well invite him.”

            The two women both smiled then shared a hearty laugh.  Charmin got up from her chair next to the woodstove and gave her grandmother a big hug.  This woman was easy to love, she thought.  There was so much of her mother in her, so much of herself.

“I’m going to go brush and feed Blaze, before we go shopping in Gaspe.  I’ve been neglecting him lately.  He’ll think I don’t love him anymore.”

“There's no danger of that dear, I see the way that horse looks at you.  I swear he can tell when you’re coming.  A week before you arrive, he starts to kick his stall and get all frisky and stuff.  These animals are smarter than we know.”

“What would you say if I told you I was thinking of moving back here full time?”

            Maggie Monroe froze at the stove where she was stirring the bourguignon.  Did she hear right?  Did her granddaughter actually say that she was thinking of moving back home?  It would be too good to be true, if it was true.  She was so happy she wanted to burst.  She couldn’t show her excitement.  She couldn’t.

“That would be very nice Charmin.  If it’s what you really want?”

“I’ve been thinking about it.  They want me to write a book.  I’ve been told I can take up to two years off, with pay.  I just thought that here might be a good place to…”

“I think it would be lovely dear, if it’s what you really want.”

“It would be a trip though wouldn’t it?  Me and you and a St. Joseph de Marchoix winter.  We’d be ready to kill each other by Christmas.  Don’t you think?” 

Charmin could not see the tear that was welling up in her grandmother’s eye.  She was a happy woman boarding on ecstatic. Her granddaughter was the only thing that kept her sane and gave her a reason for going on.  She was the happiest she had been in years.  She was so afraid to be happy in case her granddaughter changed her mind.

“Maybe by Easter dear.  I think we could stand each other until then.”

“Well, I have a week or so to decide.  Right now, I’m really leaning toward staying here.  You okay with that Grammy?”

“Of course I’m okay with it.”  Maggie said casually wiping a tear from her eye.  It was her dream.  It was her town called Paradise.

***

            With a full and satisfied stomach, I walked down the main street of Gaspe and for two hours I aimlessly walked around and took in the various and varied window displays.   I figured if I was going to be in this area for a prolonged period of time, I might as well get to know what’s here.   It was still too early in June for the small city to be flooded with tourists, but it still seemed pretty busy for a place in the middle of nowhere.  I spotted a bank that had a Foreign Exchange sign in the window.  I walked in and waited in line for less than two minutes.  I gave the teller one thousand dollars U.S and I was pleasantly surprised to receive close to fifteen hundred dollars in Canadian money.  What a beautiful thing I thought as I left the bank counting it.  I didn’t take the time to look up at the two men who walked past me into the bank as I was leaving.  If I had, this little tale might have been over right here.  Once outside, I leisurely walked back to my cousin’s Ford pick-up and slowly drove around until I spotted a supermarket.

***

          “UN-fucking believable!” Frankie said looking at the fistful of multi colored money.   He’d given the teller three grand U.S. and gotten back over four in Canadian.

 Vinnie’s money was safely stashed in his right hip pocket away from prying eyes.  Frankie on the other hand was waving his around in the air, attracting the attention of two young thugs who were standing a few feet away in the alley next to the bank.  The two men walked in their direction. Within a few seconds one of the thugs bumped into Frankie while the other snatched the money out of his hands.  The plan almost worked except for the fact that the thugs underestimated their victims.  In one swift motion Vinnie grabbed the perpetrator as he tried to scurry away by the back of his shirt and brought him down hard on the concrete sidewalk banging his head, which resulted in a nasty gash that slowly streamed blood on the pavement.  If this had happened back home, they would have pulverized the guy to within an inch of his life.  Since this wasn’t their home turf, Frankie casually leaned down and took the money from the punk’s hand. 

“Consider this your lucky day asshole!” Frankie said with a swift boot to the guy’s ribs. 

            Then they did what they had done so many times in the past under similar circumstances; they each walked off in a different direction.  This was an unwritten rule in their business when leaving a crime scene, though on this occasion they were the victims and not the aggressor.  Without a word being spoken the two men quickly but without haste disappeared.  They should have called the police and held the ‘perp’ until the authorities arrived, but that would have attracted unwanted attention towards themselves. Even with new I.D.’s neither Frankie nor Vinnie wanted to have anything to do with cops.  They would meet up later at their hotel.

***

            I never realized that I could find such pleasure in a grocery store.  I’d always taken them for granted.  I was in the fresh baked goods section, when I saw that unmistakable pair of legs cross by at the end of the aisle. A second or two later Maggie also walked by.  Well boy this is your chance, I thought to myself.  You’ll never find a better time to break the ice than with a formal introduction.  I ended my debate over whether I should buy the fresh apple tarts or the fresh peach cobbler by grabbing both of them and placing them in my cart.  Hastily, I went in pursuit of the desired prey.

“Well if you must know Grammy, I think I’m getting a little burnt out at work.  A change of pace and scenery could be just what the doctor ordered.”

“I didn’t know you were seeing a doctor Charmin?”

“It’s just a figure of speech Grammy.”

            I popped my head around the corner and saw them both standing in the canned fruit and vegetable section fondling cans of tomatoes. I noticed that the canned seafood section was directly across from them.  As nonchalantly as I could, I sauntered down the aisle.  Maggie was the first to spot me.

“Ah Mr. Boyd!  Shopping for more bar clams are we?” she said with a wide grin and a little chuckle emitted from her mouth.  I hesitated a few seconds waiting for Charmin to turn around.  She didn’t.

“Well I thought I’d take a look and see what they have.  You know I’m an expert chowder maker don’t you?” I said wondering why I had spewed forth that last bit of information.  I wrote it off to being smitten with Charmin.

“So you think you’re a master chowder man aeh?  Well you’ll just have to invite us girls over for lunch and we’ll be the judge of that, won’t we Charmin?”

            You know how in some of those movies when one character steps into a vision and the lighting changes and some things get all fuzzy, while others zoom into close focus and the music gets weird.  It was nothing like that.  It was better, much better.

“Maybe we’ll have to.  His boasting sounds like a challenge to me.” Charmin said with her green emerald eyes ablaze in sparkles.  I hadn’t noticed how perfectly proportioned her face was until she finally smiled at me.  Weak in the knees and with a heart pounding at a frantic ‘disco’ beat; I hopefully wouldn’t flub the moment.

“Amateurs, boast. Professionals, create.  I accept your challenge ladies. I’m Boyd by the way.” I said extending my hand to Charmin.  The moment her palm touched mine, I felt the immediate onslaught of adrenaline pumping through me.  Stars sporadically popped in front of my eyes.  The contact was a mere moment but my sub-conscious was making a promise to itself never to wash that hand again.

“Charmin MaGuire, Mr. Boyd.”

“I know, I mean.  It’s actually Robert Boyd, but I just go by Boyd, anything but Mister.”

“I see.” Charmin said, her eyes looking through me, deep into my soul and making me feel inadequate.  What did she see in there that I didn’t know about?

“Well how about tomorrow afternoon then,” Maggie said taking control of the moment.

Neither one of us spoke for what seemed like an eternity.  She dissecting my very being while I awkwardly hoped I wouldn’t pass out.  Up until this formal introduction a few seconds ago, I had never seen Charmin stationary.  My whole concentration had been on those long striding legs.  God she was beautiful!  A little aloof too!  I liked that. 

“Tomorrow it is then.  Would twelve thirty suit you ladies?”

“Twelve-thirty is fine with us Boyd.”  Maggie said taking the liberty of answering for the both of them.

“Dress will be informal of course, though the chowder won’t be.” I added for no particular reason.  Sure I knew the reason.  Somehow this young woman was making me feel intimidated.  My male ego somehow could not accept that.  I reminded myself to make sure I gave my male ego a severe beating when we got home.

            The ladies bid me adieu and were on their way.  I stood there momentarily stunned trying to get my heartbeat back to normal, as I watched those long legs stride down the aisle and around the corner. Out of sight, but never out of mind.  Well this was it.  My reputation was on the line.  I scanned the shelves in front of me and to my astonishment saw four different brands of bar clams.  I studied the labels carefully and to my delight found that one was local, another from New Brunswick, one from Nova Scotia and the other from Prince Edward Island.  As usual my discerning pallet won out and I bought four cans of each.  Before leaving the store I stopped by the fresh fish and seafood department and picked up some scallops and crab for an entrée, as well as a couple of mackerel for my dinner.  Tomorrow was the day.

***

            Vinnie was having the time of his life at ‘La Maison de Pêche et Chasses’.  This was not your average fishing and hunting store.  Vinnie was looking at types and makes of fishing lures he had never seen before.  There had to be over five hundred fishing rods in the store, and just as many hunting rifles.  He was pleased and a little surprised that the man behind the counter spoke fluent English.  He bought himself a top of the line Sergio Garcia spinning rod and reel as well as a Shimano rod and reel recommended for light sea fishing.  He took a couple of hunting pamphlets, paid for his fishing gear and was on his way back to the hotel.

            Frankie sat at a table on the sidewalk outside Café St. Pierre.  He was enjoying a coquilles St. Jacques and a side order of Calamar frits.  He was on his third beer when he decided to hit on the waitress he’d been ogling for the last hour.

“What time you finish work sweetheart?”  “Pardonnez moi monsieur?” The waitress who had originally spoken to him in English  with the cutest little French accent had suddenly switched to French.“When you finish work, you and me go eat,” he said.  

“Je m’excuse monsieur, but I have a boyfriend, no.”

“Well I’m not surprised.  A woman as beautiful as you should have many boyfriends.” Frankie spoke in a charming manner.  The waitress smiled.

“Merci monsieur.  Maybe you are right.  Perhaps another day.”

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Will there be anything else monsieur?”

“Yah, give me another one of these beers and the bill please.”

“Right away monsieur.”

“Your phone number would be nice also.”  The waitress raised her finger and smiled.

“Naughty. Naughty.” She said waving the raised finger.  Frankie laughed as she walked away.  He downed the rest of his beer.  While he waited for her to return with another, he noticed a gorgeous long legged women accompanied by a dumpy looking old lady coming up the street.  He stared and salivated.

“Well, I think you were anything but charming, Charmin.”

“What did you expect me to do?  Fall all over the guy.”

“No.  But you didn’t have to be so stand offish.”

“I wasn’t being stand offish or distant for that matter.”

“Well you could have fooled me. We don’t have to go tomorrow if you don’t want to.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Good afternoon ladies.” Frankie said smiling widely as they walked past his table.

“Blow it out your ass!” Charmin said matter of factually as the ladies kept walking without breaking stride.  Frankie shrugged his shoulders and laughed.  He had to admit it.  This place wasn’t so bad after all.  The food was great, so were the local beers and the ladies.  When the waitress brought his beer and his bill he smiled at her and said.  “I’ll see you tomorrow then sweetheart.”

“Sylvie.”

“Sylvie! What a beautiful name for such a gorgeous woman.  I’m Frankie.”

“Frankie.” The way she said his name turned him on big time.  “A demain Frankie.” She said walking back into the restaurant.  He over tipped her and swallowed his beer in two gulps.  He got up and slowly swaggered back in the direction of the hotel.  If he hadn’t had four beers and been thinking with the brain between his legs, he might have noticed Lloyd Jenkins on the other side of the street putting groceries into the back of a pick-up truck.  Lloyd, a.k.a. Boyd; was concentrating on his thoughts of Charmin and lunch tomorrow.  He felt no paranoia and was totally at ease.  He had for the moment anyway forgotten his past and why he was here.  A beautiful woman can do that to a guy.

***

“Blow it out your ass!”  Maggie said, finally catching up to Charmin, who was impatiently waiting for her at the truck. “Was that absolutely necessary Charmin?  After all, he was just trying…”

“To be an asshole Grammy.  And you’re right.  It wasn’t necessary.  But it sure felt good,” she said smiling and doing her best to suppress a laugh. 

Her Grandmother shook her head and smiled also.  Charmin wasn’t usually so brazen.  It had to be her pending decision about moving home was weighing heavily on her mind.  It had to be that?  Charmin knew that she was a ball of nerves because of her decision, but that wasn’t all of it.  There was something about this Boyd fellow that was very appealing, yet disturbing to her at the same time.  He made her a little nervous and that was unsettling.  She could tell by the way he looked at her that there was more than just lust in his eyes.  Lust was something she was used to seeing every time a man looked at her.  No, there was something else.  Whatever it was, she didn’t need to deal with it right now.

“I’ll drive Grammy, if you don’t mind?”

“Be my guest dear.”

“Maybe it’ll help me to exhale a little bit.”

“Exhaling is good”

            Charmin walked the few steps to her grandmother and gave her a big hug and held it a long time.

“You know Monroe.  You’re just too damn agreeable sometimes.”

“Agreeable is good too,” she said kissing Charmin on the cheek.  “Now get in there and drive, before you have Grammy getting all weepy on you.”

The ride home was very pleasant.  Maggie was thinking about how much Charmin needed to have a little romance in her life.  Charmin was dwelling on all her previous disasters when it came to men.  What was it about her that attracted such shallow minded jerks?  Beauty and brains seemed to be too much for most men to deal with.

***

“Why don’t I believe you?” Peepers said looking deep into Johnny Daratzeo’s eyes.  Johnny shrugged his shoulders and said: “I don’t know boss.”

“How can they just disappear?  You tipped them didn’t you?” Pete Peepers Balermo said with knowing eyes.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “I swear on my life, I know nothing about it!”

“BULLSHIT!”  Johnny was sweating.  He didn’t figure it would be this hard lying to the boss.  He should have known better.

“I told them to sit tight at this safe house for a few weeks until things cooled down.”

“This is just total fucking bullshit Johnny and you know it.  First this Lloyd Jenkins

 

asshole just drops of the face of the earth and now, Frankie and Vinnie.  Do I look like a

 

fucking idiot to you Johnny?  Do I?”  Johnny could do nothing but sit and listen to

 

Peepers let off steam.  “It stinks in here Johnny.  You fucking smell it?  I do!  And I

 

don’t fucking like it?  You didn’t whack them.  They’re your flesh and blood God

 

dammit! You didn’t bitch enough about it.  You didn’t beg me to spare their lives. 

 

Where was the pleading before the bleeding Johnny?  Huh!  Where was it?”

Johnny forced a half grin with an I don’t know look.

“Get the fuck out of here before I do something I regret.  If I find out you had anything to do with this Johnny.  You’re finished.  I mean that my good friend.  Frankie and Vinnie show up alive, you’re dead.  Unless of course this Jenkins prick shows up dead, then I don’t care who’s alive, Capiche? “

“Capiche,” Johnny said softly getting up from his chair and leaving his boss’s office.                     Peepers knew he was bullshitting.  He knew that.  He also knew that he was buying some extra time for Frankie and Vinnie.

***

            Peepers and Johnny weren’t aware of it, but a young hotshot working in the D.C. district attorney’s office named Jesse Perkins was sifting through a paper trail that just might tie Frankie and Vinnie to Peepers Balermo.  Every cop knew that Peepers controlled the D.C. mob and had influence in other major cities.  Every time the Justice Department got close to making a case, evidence and people suddenly started disappearing.  This time that’s not going to happen, Jesse said to herself.  This time, she was in charge.  She’d heard all the stories of how the DA’s office was corrupted in the past.  She appeared to be one of those fresh faced and enthusiastic people out to change the world. Fact was she was nothing like that.  Not to say she wouldn’t like to accomplish it all, but unlike the others she was smart enough to realize that you can only do one thing at a time.  That is if you wanted to do it right.  She did.  It was personal.

***

   SIXTUESDAY JUNE 19, 2001

“I don’t know where he is.  I swear!”

“You gotta know something?”

“I just work with the guy.  It’s not like he’s my best friend or something.”

“That’s not what I hear,” he spoke raising his voice slightly.

“What did you hear?  Tell me.  I’d like to know.”

“I think I’m the one who’s supposed to be asking the questions here,” Detective Warren Bryant said with raised eyebrows.

“You can ask all the questions you want detective.  But I can only answer the ones I have answers too.  I don’t know where Lloyd Jenkins is.”  Kenny Daniel spoke those last words wishing it wasn’t true’ but it was.

            Lloyd had disappeared almost two weeks ago.  Kenny was his best friend; there was no denying that. The first day they met five years ago, Kenny was just a fresh faced twenty-one year old kid out of college with a communications degree.  He was one of those kids who thought he knew everything about everything.  They bonded immediately and trusted each other’s instincts explicitly.   It could have been because they were both wet behind the ears when it came to broadcasting.  It was Kenny’s first shot as a producer and Lloyd’s first as a host of anything.  Kenny should know where Lloyd was, but he didn’t.  That pissed him off immensely.  Then again, if he didn’t know, he couldn’t tell.  He would have preferred to have known and tested his lying skills, which were virtually non-existent.  Kenny could not keep a secret or an opinion to himself.  Whatever was on his mind at the time came out of his mouth in the heat of the moment.  Lloyd always thought of this as his biggest asset. 

“Well if you hear from him, call me.”  The Detective said handing Kenny his card.

“Sure first thing detective, as soon as I hear from him.”  Kenny’s smile told Bryant everything.  If this dude heard form his friend he would be the last to know.

***

           Mark Dube sat on the sofa in his living room watching the C.B.C. ten o’clock evening news with his wife Kathleen.  The news anchor was reading the headline:

“And in International news this evening, the double murder in Washington eleven days ago of Mayor Paul Turnbull and his bodyguard Jake Johnson may have had a breakthrough.  Prime suspects Frankie Daratzeo, the brother of Johnny Daratzeo purported to be the number two man of the Peter Balermo crime family is missing along with Vinnie Bentaveina.  The two men are believed to be the prime suspects in the murder.  Also wanted for questioning in the case is Lloyd…”

Mark quickly turned the television off.  His wife reacted accordingly.

“What are you doing?  I was watching that,” his wife said looking up from her book.

“Time for bed sweetheart,” Mark said standing up and yawning.

“It’s only ten-fifteen.  I want to watch the news.”

“Well watch this honey.”  Mark stood facing his wife and dropped his pajama pants.  Desperate times required desperate measures.

“You put that away!”

“Why?”

“I just got the kids to sleep”

“Perfect timing!”

“You think so?” she said smiling.

“Might as well find out?”

“Let’s go.”

           Mark followed his wife up to the bedroom.  He hadn’t planned on having sex this evening, but he wasn’t one who needed much coaxing.  He would enjoy what would come next, but also worry about what lay ahead for his cousin Lloyd.

***

Jesse Perkins took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes.  It was almost midnight and her office was the only one in the Justice Building with a light still on.  She had stopped studying the file on Peepers over an hour ago.  She’d been thinking about her late father Detective Brad Perkins who’d been killed on the job when she was only fifteen.

            It happened during an early morning raid at a warehouse on D.C.’s West Side.   The tip said the place was full of heroin.  Pete Balermo was a mob chief back then and didn’t come with the added moniker Peepers.  That would come later.  She had read all the newspaper and magazine reports a thousand times since it happened.  The bust went bad, the warehouse caught fire.  Three of the twelve police officers on the raid had died of smoke inhalation. Her father had been one of them.  Pete Balermo and three associates escaped without being seen.  No heroin was ever found and no charges ever laid.

            “Pete Balermo owes me.” Jesse often found herself thinking to herself.  “And when I finally do nail him, I’m going to let him know its Brad Perkins’s little girl who finally got him.”  Sweet revenge!  Oh sweet, sweet revenge.

**

robert-brewster's picture

Everyone who has read this book loves it.

About robert

Bob has been an actor and writer for over 30 years as well as an accomplished ‘voice actor’.  He has performed on film opposite Paul Newman, Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Samuel L. Jackson just to name a few.  He has voiced TV commercials for Air Canada, John Labatt...

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