Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure Part 11, The Discovery

 *Author’s note:  This is part 11 of 13 parts, to better understand the contents it is suggested that you scroll back to the Prelude.

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Detective Jake Barnes was a burly man but moved lightly on his feet.  He moved through Rachel’s apartment like a scanner, taking everything in.  He had allowed  me to get dressed and step outside into the kitchen, but the consideration ended there.  No matter where he was, Barnes’ back never turned and he managed to keep himself between me and the door at all times.  I came out as he was sniffing a candle that had burnt all the way down to the bottom of it’s holder.

“Rachel never mentioned a husband… ” I began, wanting to maneuver towards the door as inconspicuously as possible, but not too close. 

“Ex…” he looked up at my reaction as he corrected me, “ex-husband.  Not that that matters now.  Where is she?”

“I honestly don’t know.  She picked me up last night and brought me here.  I woke up this morning and she had already left.”

“Picked you up?”  he grinned in disbelief.  I almost found it humorous myself.  A woman like Rachel didn’t need to pick up a man.

“Men flock to her like flies on a turd and you say she picked you up?”

I was getting a little irritated with the implication that I wasn’t worthy of a woman’s interest and was just about to say so when he added, “That’s just about typical of the bitch.”

I told him how I had been abducted and left out on the causeway.  How Rachel had just happened along and given me a ride.  Jake’s eyes raised a bit but he said nothing until I finished.  He questioned me about the van and the men driving it, why I had been at the courthouse the day before and what I knew of the men I saw him with at My Blue Heaven.  When I declared I didn’t know the men, his eyebrows raised again.

“Really?  Never seen ’em before?  Any of ’em?  Ever?”

Jack’s directness caught me off guard and I stammered a bit, which led him to raise up his hand to silence me.

“Okay, whoa! let’s back up here.  Those men were Cuban National’s, Castro’s elite guards.  They’re here investigating a human trafficking case.”

“Investigating human trafficking here? Why would they care who slips out of Cuba and who aids them?  I thought once Cubans reached the shore they were sanctioned by the U.S. government.  Besides, since when did we cooperate with Castro?”

Jake stopped for a moment, perhaps not used to one as outspoken as myself and I took a gulp of air while he mulled my logic.  Maybe I had impressed him with my knowledge of U.S. policy towards Cuban refugees or he realized he had already told me too much about something I had no business knowing.  I stood there nervously waiting for him to respond, then in my frustration blurted out a statement I would live to regret. 

“I saw the man they called Manolo at the Green Parrot Bar the first time I came to Key West.”

Jake’s features changed instantly.  “And when was this?”

“About six weeks ago.”

“What were you doing at the Green Parrot?”

Barnes’ direct questioning began to un-nerve me, I felt I was being cornered and knew no earthly reason why.

“I was with friends, we were tourists…”

“But you distinctly remember seeing Manolo six weeks ago at a bar you’ve never been in before?  Why?”

I knew I was stuck.  I couldn’t tell Barnes that a dead cop had directed me there as a preliminary to exposing his killer.  I stalled.

“We’d been up and down Duval St. and someone recommended we try the place out.”

“Who?  Who told you to go there?”

“I dunno, some guy had been talking to Keith and suggested we try the place out.”

“Keith?”

“My girlfriend at the time and I were traveling with some friends, Keith and his wife, Laura.  They’ve been to the Keys several times and were kinda showing us around.”

“Hmm… they’ve been here several times but never been to the Green Parrot before?”

“I guess not.”

Jake Barnes gave me the type of look one gives when they peek over their reading glasses.

“Look, kid… been on the force a long time.  I’ve got this sort of built in bullshit detector that I’ve developed and fine tuned over the years and I’ve gotta tell ya… something stinks to high heaven in Denmark.”

My adrenaline was pumping.  This big man looked like he was ready to bounce me off the walls and my thoughts were racing for some sort of defensive maneuver to get the focus off of me.

“What does all this have to do with you being here now?”

Jake drew his head back like my words were a punch to be avoided.  We stood there in that kitchen, squared off.  It was all I could do to muster up the courage to stare into that bulldog face of his and not flinch.  Eventually he relaxed a little, walked over to the bar that separated the kitchen from the living room and propped himself on a stool, the very one Rachel had tossed her jacket on the night before.  He leaned on the counter with those big arms of his and gestured lightly with his fingertips in the air, a flippant move like what he was telling me was off the record.  I hopped up on the counter across from him, my bare feet dangling in the air, feeling better now that he had seated himself.

“She called me last night.  I was supposed to meet her this morning, she didn’t show. Came and found you here instead.”

“She called you last night?”  I had been with her the entire time and knew she hadn’t called while I was with her.

“Yeah, probably while you were in the shower…”

I did a double take.  He chuckled to himself.

“I’m a detective, mister… saw your towel on the floor in the bedroom.  Besides, we were married once.  Old habits and all that… it’s been a while ago, but I still remember some of the details.”

“Okay… why did she want to meet you this morning and what does it all have to do with me?”

He leaned closer to me, a half smile on his lips.  Any comfort I had been feeling with Jake Barnes seated at the bar was rapidly evaporating.

“She said she’d located a killer and needed my help bringng him in.”

“A killer?”  I slid off the counter top and onto my feet.

“Yeah, ain’t that strange?  She said she knew who had killed her brother and wanted me to help arrest him.”

“Her brother?”  I was feeling faint, my knees wobbled and I leaned back against the counter trying to keep my balance.

“Yeah, her brother was a cop, too.  Rode bicycle patrol during his rookie year.  Everybody loved him.  Got killed a year or so ago.”

“Robert Jordan was Rachel’s brother?” 

Now Jake stood up, the color drained from his face.  My stomach churned and I felt I was about to retch.  He came around the corner and filled the path between me and the front door.

“Gee…  I don’t recall mentioning it before so… how did you know his name?”

I felt myself slumping to the floor, my legs buckling beneath me. 

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2 Responses to “Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure Part 11, The Discovery”

  1. Your Number One Fan Says:

    Great stuff! The plot thickens…

  2. chrisfiore5 Says:

    thank you, #1 Fan…

    I appreciate a good audience, stay tuned!

    peace.

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