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Summer And August
JUNE 7 – 9:00 A.M.
MORGUE - CHATHAM, MASSACHUSETTS
BLOW TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD INCAPACITATED JERSEY ZAYRES,” said
Doctor Curt Shirlington, hooking his hands on the pockets of his
white lab coat. “At that point, Mr. Zayres either fell or a person
(or persons) unknown at this time jostled Mr. Zayres into the
dumpster. Impalement through the abdomen by means of a metal corner
protector, which had been disposed of during the latest round of
renovations at the Chatham Inn and Conference Center, is the
ultimate cause of death.”
“Impalement,” mumbled Celia Beale.
the opposite side of the stainless steel gurney, Curt noted the
manner in which the middle-aged woman, clad in black, scanned the
sheet-draped corpse. Her eyes locked on the tag that dangled off the
Special Agent Robert Pomoroy spoke up, “That’s right. Jersey Zayres
fell on a metal spike.”
Beale slid a sidelong glance at the angular young Fed. Intense eye
contact between the two ensued.
Celia Beale remains exceptionally stationary, thought Curt.
Although, I detected a slight furrowing of the brow. She utters nary
a word, simply gazes at Robert. Indeed, our Ms. Beale is aware of my
young chum directing the investigation of missing drugs at the Rehab
Center where she is a nurse. Jersey Zayres was the fence—that is
well known, according to Robert. Be that as it may, the FBI requires
hard evidence, he says. Knowing Robert as I do, I expect that he
will stop at nothing to acquire such evidence.
Pomoroy’s square jaw hardened, his eyes a camera photographing every
infinitesimal move Celia Beale made, every infinitesimal emotion,
which nobody else could even come close to discerning.
Beale blinked—though it was hardly a blink—once; and a second later,
she broke eye contact, peering down at the corpse. Her bobbed,
henna-black hair slopped forward, obscuring a major portion of her
face. Her voice came as a controlled stammer, “M-murdered?”
Pomoroy snorted. “Certainly appears that way.”
scrutinized the brash, bronze-toned Fed who stood a couple of inches
taller than the doctor. A navy blue
windbreaker, jeans, and white running shoes camouflaged a lean,
muscular, six-foot frame. Ah, yes, Curt reflected.
I do recall a time of being that vibrant, that brazen. Indeed, youth
is wasted on the young.
poor, poor Jersey.”
Beale’s moaning hauled Curt out of deepening retrospection. His
shoulder twitched—that’s when he noticed her hands cupping the
lifeless cheeks of Jersey Zayres. Don’t tell me the woman is
about to make a spectacle of herself by kissing the deceased.
However, Celia Beale did not kiss the lifeless cheeks of Jersey
Zayres. Instead, she let go and straightened. Cocking her head to
one side, she just looked at the corpse, her face unreadable. A
moment passed. She patted the naked left shoulder. Then her hand
began to drift—down the naked bicep—down to elbow—down beneath the
sheet that mounded as if a serpent slithering all but undetected by
an intended prey.
clasped his hands, struggling to contain outrage. Such action
borders on the perverse!
sheet flatted as her fingers spread out, bridging the lifeless hand
of Jersey Zayres. Once again, the sheet mounded as she clutched his
hand then towed it out into the open. She bent to kiss it, but
paused, her eyes narrowing upon the band of pale skin at the base of
the hand’s third finger. “Ring… Where is Jersey’s ring? He always
wears that ring.” Her eyes darted to the dead man’s ear. “And his
diamond earring… Jersey always wears that diamond earring.”
it easy, Ma.” Anxiety clouded the face of twenty-one-year-old Quincy
Beale as he rubbed her shoulder.
that is it, thought Curt, analyzing Celia and Quincy Beale.
Jersey Zayres sought the good life via illicit drug trafficking on
Cape Cod, perhaps intending to make it big so that at some point in
the future, he might retire to South Florida to run a fishing
charter business. Ah, yes, our dear Celia Beale—and perchance the
innocent-appearing Quincy—had it in mind to hitch a ride on Mr.
Jersey’s upward mobility.
Beale appeared taller now, having stiffened her
five-foot-two frame. No longer was she clutching lifeless
hand. Instead, her hands were clamped to her hipbones. Her black
eyes, sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel, were dissecting Quincy. Her
gaze shifted suddenly to the head of the gurney, riveting on
Detective Rodney Clement of the Chatham Police Department. Hostility
grated her voice. “What about Jersey’s wallet? I suppose that is
also missing? So who found my Jersey in that nasty dumpster anyways?
And where’s his clothes? What happened to all his stuff?”
Clement appeared unruffled, although splotches of red were beginning
to pepper his face. “We are holding Mr. Zayres’ effects until the
conclusion of the case.”
“Conclusion of the case,” echoed Celia Beale, her voice half an
octave higher than before. Her right hand yanked back her hair as
she zeroed in for a better view of the detective. Her gypsy eyebrows
ma’am.” Clement gave a casual nod. “At the conclusion of the case,
Mr. Zayres’ effects will be released to next of kin.”
“Jersey didn’t have relatives,” spewed Celia Beale, puffing up her
chest and jouncing her hands. “And you know what? Jersey was going
to marry me!” She wide eyed Quincy, nodding at him. “Isn’t that
young man shifted uncomfortably as his sunken eyes avoided hers.
Beal pursed her lips. Hooking her hands on her hips once again, she
sent the detective a full-bodied so-there nod.
Clement’s ruddy brow tightened.
much for detached professionalism, Curt thought. Indeed, this
situation is becoming volatile. He cleared his throat—loudly—the
way his English-born father always had when the youngster Curt had
erred—and gestured toward the exit. “Shall we continue this
discussion in the medical examiner’s office? Detective Clement, will
you be so kind as to direct the way?”
Curt leaned over to replace the sheet over the head of the corpse,
he noticed Quincy Beale take Celia Beale’s arm. However, she
remained steadfast. Curt could hear her teeth grinding. Quincy gave
a light tug. She squinted at his hand, then up at his tormented
face. What meager color the young man possessed drained swifter than
water in a low-flush toilet. His hand fell away. Her eyes shot back
to the sheet-draped corpse, thinning to mere slits. “Pearle did it,”
Quincy stumbled backward. “Ma! Don’t say that!”
exchanged silent astonishment with Pomoroy. They glanced at Clement
who was staring back at them, red splotches swarming his face and
neck. “Pearle?” mumbled the detective. Fishing a pencil and spiral
pad out of his shirt pocket, he struggled to appear unruffled.
Beale ignored the question, focusing instead on Quincy who was now a
light shade of green and seeming on the verge of vomiting. Her
insistence came in a low rumbling seethe: “Pearle did it, honey. You
and I both know it was Pearle that murdered Jersey.”
hands covered his ears as Quincy waved his head side-to-side,
cowering so much that his five-feet-nine stature seemed cut in half.
Clement tapped the pencil on the pad. Managing to portray a fair
amount of indignation, he insisted, “Ms. Beale. I must have the last
name of this Pearle individual you keep talking about.”
Beale glared at the detective. “Key! Pearle Key! Yes, that Pearle
was so horribly jealous of Jersey and me! That’s how come she
murdered my Jersey!”
please.” Moisture glazed Quincy Beale’s eyes. “You can’t mean that.”
Beale broke into a crying jag. “But she did, honey!” Celia Beale
threw herself across the sheet-draped corpse. “Jersey was going to
marry me! And…and Pearle didn’t like it at all. So she murdered him!
Pearle murdered my poor, poor Jersey!”