The Cardboard Box
We were about half way to the downtown FBI Headquarters passing the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery when I swear to God, his Angels and his Mother that I saw Miles Reed kneeling on the side of the access road. My mind was playing dirty tricks on me again and this was one of the dirtiest of lately. Of course that was not Miles Reed kneeling in a cemetery anywhere anywho!
I blurted out with little forethought. “Cabby, turn around please. Take me through the access road of the cemetery we just passed, Thank you.”
My heart was racing; my eyes were pivoting back and forth trying to see past the taxi driver’s head, not to mention the hundreds of marble monuments. Each one trying to tell the world about its ownership of the person’s life on earth. Some had plants, others flowers, but most of all the headstones were grey, hard, and with no emotion of life just as the soul that laid at rest beneath each one. And then I saw him. It was a man in a brown suit with his back to us kneeling by a fresh gravesite. His hands were covering his face as though the world could not see him like a child hiding. The cabby slowed the vehicle to a near stop without me having to ask. He knew this was our destination. The air in that taxi reminded me of my cup runneth over with thick spiritual energies from the back seat to the front. And then we stopped in dead silence likened to the rest of the monuments there only we stood out in bright yellow.
It was Miles Reed. He didn’t even turn to look when I shut the taxi door. I could hear him weeping like a man lost in a sea of death for as far as the eye could see were tombstones. I didn’t know whether to turn around and leave or comfort the man who was nearly lying across the grave with his knees in the dirt and grass. My mind never could keep its thinking straight when there was a crisis. The good thoughts always came behind any reasonable deliberating. And so it was, my mouth opened and said.
There was no movement from the man in the brown suit only a momentary refrain of mourning.
“Miles. Are you alright?” I said.
The once handsome professional detective Miles Reed was now a shriveled up broken man trying to die alone in the St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery next to Pam Wilkerson’s grave. And then my brain kicked in. God who has a brain that needs kickstarting but me? Why in the name of God and all his Angels and Mother was this man in such deep grief over Pam? I mean they knew each other but not…… ? Oh boy did I have a serious case of the dumb ass goin’ on! No wonder he interrogated me at such length regarding Pam. They were an item for Jesus "Crisis" sakes. He loved her and she ran off with Jakey the fake Frenchman. And I was the one that let that cat out of the bag. And to think I was just passing thought Amarillo. Not-no-more! I was knee deep in the dirt right there with Miles Reed. There was dead silence for what seemed like an hour and then he turned to me and said.
“Get away from me. Get out of my sight. Now!”
Of course I responded as I never did what anyone requested if I thought I had a snowballs chance in hell, which this was, of helping.
“But Miles I can’t leave you out here alone in this condition.”
He came at me with a vengeance. The cabby opened the taxi door and let Duke out who was about to tear up his car after seeing Miles come at me. Duke jumped on Miles like a duck on a june-bug and down he went. It was no Sugar Ray Robinson match but at least Miles was not on top of me on the ground. Miles seemed to have temporarily lost his mind from grief. I had gotten Duke off him when he looked at me with the eyes of satan ready to attack again. I said.
“You stay right there or I will unleash this dog on you Mr. What has happened to you? I am not your enemy. I want to help you.”
I could see the anger leaving his face second by second. Seemed someone else had a problem with brain gears kicking in also. He had apparently lost the love of his life and did not need any help with the grieving process or so he thought. Never saw a man act like that in my life except once with my Dad. Scared me real bad. Miles’s face reminded me of the time my mother made my dad far out angry. One would think I could recall what I had done wrong but I do not to this day. She pushed and pushed him to defend her against the child that misused her, me. She made him so angry at her that he took off his belt and beat me mercilessly until I couldn’t breathe. Then she felt better and comforted me. Didn’t take a year in a psyche class for me to figure that mess out.
Duke’s continued growling at Miles left me questioning why. Miles had settled down so why hadn’t old Duke boy? Maybe Miles had settled down mentally but he was nevertheless back on the ground in silent mourning. I decided this was not my battle. His well did not have my name on it and was not my business to jump into and save this donkey. I would merely throw him a rope this time. I had had it with saving people at my own cost. Actually that made me the donkey ass and it was high time I handed over that label. I told Miles I would be at his house if he wanted to talk or needed anything. That the weather forecast was for heavy rain later that day. God I wanted to take him under my motherly wing and save him like I always did people. But I made myself walk away while oddly Duke turned around every few steps looking back to give Miles one last growl of intent none of which fazed Miles Reed in the least. Maybe it was the concussion I was told he received when in the car accident. God he shouldn’t be out there in that cold cemetery alone…..But then he felt he wasn’t alone. He felt he was as close to Pam Wilkerson as he could get. He looked like one of the dogs you see laying on its master’s grave after his or her passing. It was sad as hell for sure and possibly dangerous to his health.
Duke and I entered the taxicab in a much different manner than we had exited it twenty minutes prior. Cabby said, “Where to ma’am?”
I repeated we were to head downtown to the local FBI Headquarters. We had barely enough time to get there before they closed for the day. I laid my head as far back on the seat as possible trying to relax while Duke remained overly diligent to our surroundings the entire way. What had gotten into him anyway? When we arrived at the FBI building I decided we didn’t need the cabby to wait. God I had racked up a bill bigger than Texas that day besides the tip. That old boy made a killing off me. Humm, not so sure that was the time to use that word killing considering the people dead and fear of more to come before this mess was over.
The FBI director was summoned to meet Duke and I in Miles office. I wondered why the guard put us in there. Why not to the his directors desk. Anywho, in he saunters wearing his FBI three piece suit and fancy wingback shoes all spit shined by Pete the shoeshine boy. Pete did a darn good business setting up his chair in that building besides he always had a friendly smile for everyone unlike some of those men around there.
“William Ferguson ma’am, pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Likewise I am sure Mr. Ferguson.” I said. And then he remained standing until I sat which was customary for a gentleman to do in the presence of a lady. I sat, Duke sat, he sat, and then I went blank. I couldn’t think of how to tell that man Miles Reed was in the cemetery sobbing over Pam’s grave. Nor did I know how to ask him to let me off being under house arrest which didn’t seem to be enforced anyway. So we sat in silence for some time. Men can do that much better than women for sure. We usually give in with empty words vs none. Most women just seem to be born talking too much as well as most men seem to be born not speaking enough words. Someone told me that had been scientifically proven. It didn’t take a scientist for me to know that. And then I followed the scientific path and spoke up first.
“Mr. Ferguson, I just left Miles Reed in the cemetery in a less than good position emotionally and physically. I thought you should know. And furthermore I noticed I am not being pursued by any unmarked cars as I was previously. Also, I would like you to un-impound my vehicle so I have transportation other than your local taxi service as that is costing me way too much money sir. And I do not know if I am supposed to go back to Miles Reed’s home or am I free to roam your fair city of Amarillo?”
“Hold on, slow down Miss Rowe one thing at a time please. First of all we at the bureau are fully aware of Miles Reed’s location and situation.” I recall Mr. Ferguson was going to continue but I interrupted like I do a lot. Some people don’t mind while others are seriously offended.
“How in the world can you leave that poor man out there in the cemetery when it is going to rain buckets later today? As well as he doesn’t seem to be himself at all and……”
I was interrupted by Mr. Ferguson and asked to be quiet while he finished explaining some things to me to which I humbly agreed even though I would continue to interrupt him on a couple more occasions. Once my mind got into gear it was like a racecar at the speedway, off and running.
The director continued explaining to me that I could leave the building on my own without further FBI interference in my life. And yes I could get my vehicle back today.
I jumped off my chair like a school girl just got invited to Prom by the cutest boy on the football team. I was so elated I failed to ask any other questions. For example: Did you catch all the bad guys? No one left to shoot at my beautiful pink Cadillac, right? Can I go back to Miles Reeds house and get my things? And don’t you need to ask me any questions about the mansion and the murder suicide out there? Nope I was off the charts happy about my life getting back to normal. Why I had even forgot about Miles Reed sobbing in the cemetery. A young man was sent to gather up my car while I signed papers giving me back my sole custody of it. As I stood outside the door to the impoundment garage I remembered some of those questions I forgot to remember to ask. Where was I going to go? Did the Director know Pam and Jake were having an affair? Where were the rest of the drug dealers? Jake certainly wasn’t working alone. Oh God darnit! Nobody better fire off any bullet holes into my beautiful Pink Cadi or I will pull out my baby browning and we shall have us a shoot-out like the gunfight at the old OK corral.
Duke and I piled in my beautiful car and just sat there enjoying the feeling of being at home and secure. But it was not long before reality hit my brain like a Sandy Koufax fast ball! Where do I go? Miles Reed seems very unbalanced therefore I was not going to his house except to gather my things. I made the wise choice not to go back to The Rice Motel considering all the bad things that happened to Duke and I there. Not to mention one of the first people I met in Amarillo was Pam and she was dead. Not to mention the young drug dealers that stole my gun at the after the movie party. Not to mention someone like Jake stole my dog and my car. At least I think it was Jake but then he is now dead so I may never know.
I gathered my things from Miles Reeds home then drove through town on out to Tom’s place to fill him in on all that had happened since I let him off earlier. We sat outside in some old half torn lawn chairs and talked for hours. Shamika would join us off and on putting into our conversation some of her own theories. She said she thought maybe Miles Reed was one of the bad guys an idea which I threw to the wind until I recalled how Duke acted so out of sorts strange around Miles. Again I let it the inferences go regarding Miles being a drug dealer. Heck that was a waste of good energy to even think about. Sort of like “pissing in the wind.”
Old Tom would have offered me to stay with them but there was barely enough room for their family so I told them I would get a place at one of the many motels on the strip. And I was leaving now because I was starving too. We all laughed because I seemed to always be hungry.
I checked into the Coronado Motel, got us some good food, and settled into a very nice clean bed watching TV until I fell sound asleep. No wells, no haunted mansions, no drug dealers, no murders, no sobbing detectives, no lost dogs, and best of all my cool hog parked outside. Then, just sweet Amarillo, Texas sleep.
Next day I rang up Tilton Boyer to setup a time to go view the church we had discussed. It was just then I recalled that is what we were doing when we ended up at the mansion. How could I forget we were there picking up a key for the church. What the heck anyway? Who were we picking up a key from at that mansion? Tilton didn’t know Pam was there right? Or did he know Jake and did Jake and Tim own the little church property? Tilton had to contact someone to set up that meeting. My head was reeling. I couldn’t call Miles Reed due to his being out of the loop. Mr. Ferguson didn’t seem to care so he was off the list. The church was a secret gift for old Tom so I couldn’t blow my cover in that area. No one to call on but myself.
I hated Nancy Drew books. I was into boys while she was solving mysteries behind hidden stairwells. Yet there I was living an unwanted Nancy Drew dream.