Chapter 1 Roger walks inside the deserted amusement park. He can see evidence of what was once considered a summer playground for families, and a place where teenagers flocked to for fun. The old haunted house is sti...
Roger walks inside the deserted amusement park. He can see evidence of what was once considered a summer playground for families, and a place where teenagers flocked to for fun. The old haunted house is still standing, the front entrance staring at you like a menacing tiger. The four person cars which took you through the ride are standing still, no longer able to transport unsuspecting passengers inside. Purple paint has peeled away from the outside of the cars. The steel wheels caked with rust, a result of being exposed to the salty air of the ocean nearby. A paper mache ghoul stands to the left, with its left arm missing.
Roger used to work here over forty years ago, operating many of the rides, eventually working his way up to general manager and then for a time as co-owner of the park. He is a little heavier now, around two hundred ten pounds, a far cry from his days when he used to roam the park. A cigarette hangs out of his narrow mouth, unlit, an attempt at quitting the nasty habit. His fu-manchu mustache is gray, matching the full head of hair on his head. As he moves towards the weed filled picnic area he notices the shiny object on the ground. Stooping over to pick it up Roger experiences a shooting pain in his back, a reminder of the bullet fragment that the doctor never removed during the surgery to save his life.
Cindy Williamson frantically dialed Roger’s cell phone number but couldn’t reach him. She left a voice mail, and then tried his office phone. Roger picked up on the second ring. The voice on the other end sounded familiar. Cindy is an old high school classmate of Roger’s, in fact they dated off an on for the better part of the summer in 1975. “Roger, I need your help”. “Are you still taking cases?” Roger wasn’t sure if he wanted to take on a case as he was about to go on a much needed three day weekend. “My daughter is missing” said Cindy. “She has been gone for over three days now”.
Cindy’s daughter Joanne is seventeen years old and has been getting into more trouble these days. She has been coming home later and later ever since she met Angie at work at Jake’s. “Roger, you must take this case!” “I will pay you whatever you fee is”. Roger thought about his pending weekend vacation. He planned to drive up to Wells Maine where he owned a cottage overlooking the marsh. It was his sanctuary, a modest one bedroom structure with the barest of necessities.
“Cindy, I am sure Joann is just chilling with her friends” said Roger. “When was the last time you talked to her?” “I received a text message from her two days ago” replied Cindy. “But I haven’t talked to her for three days”. Texting is the mode of communications these days. Roger could never understand why though, what’s wrong with the good old fashioned cell phone?
Roger sighed and told Cindy to meet him at the Crow’s Nest bar. They could chat over a Sam’s Summer Ale, or if Roger was really ready to unwind over a gin martini.
The noon time crowd at the Crow’s Nest was in full swing. All of the wooden barstools were occupied by sunscreen lathered men and women who were looking to escape the heat of the beach. Cocoa butter aroma was mixed with the odor of cigarette smoke as this seaside town of Merrifield hadn’t instituted a smoking ban yet much to the dismay of Roger who hadn’t had a cigarette in over three months. Roger watched for an open barstool as he waited for Cindy to arrive. It had been fifteen years since he last laid eyes on Cindy, but he was sure that he would recognize her when she arrived.
Roger thought back to their summer of 1975, one which had many pleasurable moments for both of them. Cindy was a cutie back then, brownish short hair which fell to the middle of her neck. She had deep blue eyes, a gorgeous smile, the result of wearing braces throughout her middle school years. Roger would melt whenever he saw her smile. She had one dimple on her cheek that Roger just loved and always let her know it. Cindy was petite, around five foot three, and a little dink toed, smallish breasts, and had a tight ass.
As Roger was thinking of her his cell phone rang. He answered and it was Cindy, calling from the other end of the bar. He hadn’t noticed her when he arrived as she had changed her hair color to blonde, but still short and she was wearing designer glasses. Waving to Cindy he hung up the phone and made his way to the end of the bar. She hopped off the stool and gave him a huge bear hug and a kiss on the lips. “Roger, it’s been years” said Cindy. “How have you been?” Roger thought it odd that her opening line had nothing to do with Joanne being missing. “What has it been, fifteen years?’ asked Roger. “Yeah” answered Cindy, “How time does fly”. Roger stood there behind the unoccupied barstool that was next to Cindy’s “Hop on!” motioned Cindy as she tapped her hand hard on top of the varnished bar. Good old Cindy had asked the bartender to place a glass of water at the empty spot to make it appear as if the barstool was taken.
“So what is this story about Joanne not coming home?” asked Roger. Cindy lit a cigarette, took a deep draw, exhaled then almost broke down into tears. “My baby has grown up too fast Roger”. “She comes and goes as she pleases, without even a hello to her mom”. I am afraid that she has fallen into the wrong kind of crowd”. “She works at Jake’s now, waiting tables and has hooked up with this bad ass girl named Angie”. I think that they may be involved in drugs!”