After an exceptionally fretful night I arose in a somewhat confused state. I can still recall the first thought that came to me because it was as strong as a train wreck at a crossing gate. Who was Pam with in that black and silver truck Tom and I followed the night before? I was going to get up, shower quickly and go see her at the restaurant to find out. While showering I began to wonder if she would be expecting me? Whether she even knew it was me following them and lest I forget, shooting at them? I also wondered if it might not be time to “drop a dime” and talk to Granddaddy about this fine mess I had once again drove right into.
I put on my best pink rhinestone studded western shirt, along with my white shorts, pink boots and headed for the restaurant. I nervously arrived to find someone other than Pam seating people. I asked where I could find her and the reply shocked me. She had taken a leave of absence and the person replacing her was not aware when she would be returning. I simply remained there with my mouth so totally open for so long a bug could have found itself a home for sure. The new manager shook my arm vigorously while asking me if I were alright. I snapped out of it laughing as though I had not looked like I had seen a ghost or was having one of those silent seizures I had heard people can have. And then I told her I needed to see Tom for a minute. I shall never forget that moment in all my life as the woman informed me Tom just never showed up or gave a proper notice. Once again I almost fainted on the spot.
“Lady, are you okay??” she said as I sank into one of the red shiny leather booths with a blank stare on my face. “Can I call someone to come and get you?” she added.
Duke was gone, Pam was gone, and now Tom. Where was Tom? I had to get to his house and find out what happened. I had to get some help now and I knew it. Things were getting seriously out of any realm of normalcy. But then that had started the night before with gunfire. I recall the intense feeling of fear running through my entire being.
When I arrived at Tom’s, Shamika came running out of the house to meet me. She asked me if I had seen Tom. I told her no I hadn’t and that was why I was there. The motel said he just never showed up for his job this morning with no proper notice.
Shamika broke out in tears telling me someone came to the house that morning and after some brief discussion, Tom told her he had to leave but not to worry he would be back. I asked her what kind of vehicle he had left in. She said it was a black and silver pick-up truck. That is when I sank onto the cement curb with my head in my hands. Shamika sat next to me demanding to know what was going on. What had I gotten her father into? I responded with an apology and that I wasn’t sure but I was going to the sheriff’s office as soon as I collected myself. It was then I asked her if she could describe the man Tom left with. To think real hard because it was so important as well as I figured the sheriff would also be questioning her as the day progressed, I was sure of it. We hugged and I drove off toward the County Sheriff’s offices. But before I did I stopped at the motel and hid the ‘baby browning.” I wasn’t even sure it was safe anymore considering Pam probably had a master key to all the rooms. Upon arrival at the sheriff’s office and not long after, I was informed this was a city matter not a county and I was to go to the Police Station downtown. Now don’t you know I was excited about that considering the way my luck had been going Mr. Fuzz chrome dome intimidation jailer would be on duty. And then again maybe not as this would probably be a detective’s concern and not Mr. Jailer man’s duty. Nope this one went above his chrome dome all show and no go bald fat self.
I walked into that station proud considering my last entrance was through the back door in handcuffs. Danged if I was going to be intimidated by these men even one more time. I asked to speak to the person in charge. The Johnny Law at the desk looked up at me and simply said, “What is the reason you need to see someone here young lady?”
I looked directly into his seedy little brown eyes and said, “This is regarding a missing dog and a missing person.”
He laughed and asked me how long the person had been missing? I told him my dog had been gone now for several days and Tom since this morning. He snickered while telling me they didn’t handle dog catching services as well as a person isn’t considered missing for at least 24 hours. He was sure my guy would be coming back with the dog when we were over our fussing.
I put my fist on his desk which was taller than me while I told him this could be a matter of life and death and to get me someone to tell my story to.
Again, he asked me if I felt I was in any danger from the missing dog or my boyfriend.
I was getting seriously hacked off. I did my best to remain calm considering not doing so always got me in a world of trouble. So I took a deep breath and said, “Sir, I drove into your town as a guest passing through. I accidentally met an old man and his family down on their luck so my dog Duke and I stayed to help them out. I got a motel room, met the restaurant manager Pam whose friends stole from my car, and stole my dog, and then planted drugs in my car, I went to jail, got out, and now my friend is missing as well as my dog and the restaurant manager is also gone missing and I am scared of the black and silver truck and I am…..I am….
The fuzz man at the big desk stood up, came around the front of the desk and took me by the arm over to a chair where he gently sat me down and said, “You the lady the governor called about?”
I sat me up big and tall after he said that and I responded with, “Yes sir I am Julianna Rowe.”
He told me to stay right there, he would be right back. As I sat there waiting for God only knew what, I remember all I wanted to do was to stop all the noises in my head. Then I realized I hadn’t eaten since the day before. I had gone to the restaurant to find Pam and Tom that morning but when I received the shocking news they were both gone I forgot to eat.
Just then a man in a brown suit came walking out of the back room with the Johnny Law front desk man and invited me to his office. I informed him I hadn’t eaten and was feeling quite dizzy and faint. He instructed the front desk man to get me some juice and a Twinkie from the office fridge. I apologized and thanked him as we walked down a dingy dark painted hallway to his small office where he pulled out a brown leather chair for me. He then sat behind his grey metal desk and introduced himself. Miles Reed Miss Rowe, now what can I do for you today? I told the detective everything that had happened since the day I drove into town. He leaned forward placing his elbows on his desk and looked at me with sincere consideration as tears streamed down my rosy pink cheeks and onto my pretty pink Amarillo western studded shirt all the while I was trying to eat the Twinkie and not choke from sheer upset. Detective Reed was a very gentle man who calmed me down rather quickly with his kind words. He informed me the force had been watching the Rice Motel as it had come to their attention there was probable drug trafficking going on. I sat up in my seat and with another mouth full of Twinkie and said that is what I had deduced was the culprit in all this mess. And did he believe me when I said I didn’t have anything to do with any of it. That someone had planted those drugs in my car. Detective Reed informed me the Amarillo Police force and Sheriff’s office were aware of that fact as well as they had been watching me since shortly after I went to the Palo Duro Drive in with Pamela Hawkinson. I recall sitting there eating that Twinkie feeling so young and stupid. I didn’t even know the last name of the person that had gotten me into all this box of misfortune as well as I had brought Tom and Duke into it also. Then suddenly I realized “the force” had put me in jail as bait. I sat up even taller, looked at the detective and spewed out that fact and called him out on it. Also raised my voice as to how awful that was to have done to me. The detective reminded me how lucky I was to have been watched over even though I had to go through a difficult stint in the pokey. They had to make it look real so the dealers wouldn’t kill me or anyone else involved.
“Kill me! Kill me?” I said.
“Yes maam Miss Julianna. We are not dealing with any small time local boys. This is a large drug bust we are working on. The Fed’s are also involved in this.” Now that I have told you some of the confidential FBI and local information regarding this case I must also inform you that we may have to put you in custody again for your own protection.
“Oh no! Not going to the pokey for any reason whatsoever Mr. Reed! No No No. I will take my chances on the outside thank you. I do have rights and you have already misused my freedom once sir. I am officially leaving now.” He pushed a button on his phone and when I opened the door to leave there was another Johnny Law waiting for just little ole’ me. I recalled backing up, turning around to face Detective Reed and saying, “Okay I give. What do you need from me?” He smiled as he revealed the master FBI plan to use me to catch the big drug dealers. Not the hokey boys at the drive in, but the dealers who had been pulling young kids into their trade. He also mentioned, again while grinning that I might want to hand in my browning for safe keeping. I went browning ballistic, talking a mile a second as to why that was not going to happen. I had to have some sort of safety mechanism close to me, not a cop car hiding a mile back. So after my ranting and raving for over a minute or so Detective Reed gave in to my keeping my gun in my car. Then I showed him the knife in my bobbie sock. We actually laughed together at that one.
I wasn’t allowed to leave for most of the day. The FBI had taken my hot rental car and hidden it away in an underground parking area specifically for this sort of situation. I really hoped after all the interrogating I would be given a different car to exit the premises. Danged if I would put up with that old chrome dome fat fuzz down in the jail area again.
Detective Reed was typing faster than I had ever seen any man type. As he re -questioned me, I answered and he typed. He had also ordered us an amazing dinner from the Big Texan Steakhouse down the street. That was the best part of the day so far because I can’t go without food very long or I get cranky and sad and every other emotion. I read somewhere it has something to do with the glucose in your blood going up and down depending on what you eat and the time of day. I always figured that is why the Mexican’s have siesta time at three p.m. every day. Their glucose has to be sinking so they set a time to sink with it. While I was daydreaming about the Mexican nationalities way of life and eating steak and fried potatoes, Detective Reed asked me to tell him everything I knew about Pam Hawkinson. I was so tired I couldn’t think for a minute or so. Reed could see the blank look on my face and he understood the reason why. He stood up, stretched and invited me to take a walk with him. I gave him the untrusting look as if to say, “I am not walking anywhere near that cell with you, no way jose!” He laughed and assured me we were simply taking a walk to get our energy back in check because we had been sitting way too long. I agreed. We did not talk business for fifteen or twenty minutes. We walked the building hallways, took the elevator to the top floor and walked out onto the roof where the sun was actually still shining brilliantly onto the black tar paper under our feet. Detective Reed had removed his jacket and tie earlier during the investigative discussion. As we stood atop the roof the sun fell on his auburn hair like glistening drops of heaven dancing all around him. He wasn’t a tall man but everything else about him was darn near perfect. He had been talking all day yet I never noticed his full lips and deep sincere bright green eyes. He was looking at me the same way I was looking at him. We were actually both drawn to one another in a moment in time having nothing to do with any investigation. I ventured toward him slowly like something out of the movies where the two people run in slow motion on the beach to a magnificent end all wrapped around one another. Is that what I thought would happen here? Yes that is what I wanted to have happen here. He was saving me from all the bad that had put me in the box. As I drew closer to him, the motion picture going on inside my head was a slow motion James Dean, Rock Hudson scene. That was precisely when Mr. Miles Reed turned and motioned for me to follow him back to the interrogation room. I knew he wanted the same thing I wanted but he took the high road and I as usual took the low road that always brought me trouble.
Back in the dingy handsome detectives office the questioning resumed. Once again he asked me to tell him everything I could recall about Pam Hawkinson. But somehow we got sidetracked and I never finished telling him what I knew until later. My mind was now centered on Duke and Tom.
I asked Miles if he thought I would ever find my dog Duke and my friend Tom and if he thought they were safe or maybe they knew too much and had been disposed of. And then the tears came like a storm from within that had been building for too long. Miles did not come around and comfort me by holding me, nor did he kiss me while my hot tears burned as they flowed past our locked lips. No he rather informed me of the safety measures taken to protect me. There would be an undercover FBI agent near me at all times. I was given a vehicle, and a special phone I was to keep on me at all times for communication and safety. It was some fancy Government Issue walkie talkie system. It did help me feel safer, but not safe. God this was a nightmare out of hell. I should have married Harper Rutherford back in Wisconsin and just been satisfied. Or I should have married Billy Connally, the Governor’s Grandson and lived with what was expected of me. I should have kept driving out of Amarillo and left old Tom…….