Jason MacDonald disappeared after leaving on a business trip. The police couldn't find him. Now, Malcolm MacDonald has hired Blake Tanner to find out what happened to his son. Can Tanner reheat the cold case?
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I snaked my arm out from under the covers and slapped the top of the buzzing clock. I’d just used up the last of my self-imposed quota of hitting the snooze alarm. I poked my head out from under the blanket and looked into the hard stare of Max, my Rottweiler, sitting next to the bed.
“Five more minutes, Max,” I said and threw the blanket back over my head.
No sooner had my head disappeared, the blanket flew off the bed clamped in the jaws of the big Rott as he disappeared through the bedroom door.
I smiled when I got a loud baritone reply from somewhere in the house. The strong aroma of fresh coffee persuaded me to swing out from under the sheet. I sat for a moment on the edge of the bed before getting up and slipping into the robe that lay on the chair next to the dresser. Max sat on the blanket staring at me when I shuffled into the kitchen.
“Some friend you are,” I said as I poured the steaming black liquid into the white coffee mug next to the coffeemaker. I carried it to the back door where Max sat squirming and looking up at me in anticipation.
I’d barely unlocked and opened the door before he bolted outside to go through his morning ritual of flushing the rabbit from under the Lilac bush, chasing it across the yard, then crashing head on into the chain link fence as the rabbit scampered through it. You’d think, sooner or later, Max would figure out he’s too big to go through that fence. The rabbit stopped and sat down, looking back at Max.
I stood at the back door sipping my coffee and smiling, watching Max and the rabbit in their morning staredown until Max finally concluded the ritual by lifting his leg on the fence. He came charging back to the house, nearly knocking me over as he squeezed between the doorjamb and me.
I closed and locked the door and returned to the kitchen. I put my coffee mug in the sink and shuffled back down the hall to the bedroom. I took a quick shower and made the decision to forego a suit and put on a pair of khakis, a v-neck sweater and dug my loafers out of the back of the closet. After determining I was presentable, I grabbed my black leather jacket and returned to the kitchen.
I filled Max’s food and water bowls, unlocked his oversized dog door and took a minute to decide, then grabbed a set of car keys from the wall peg.
I hit the door opener, went down the garage steps and stepped around the old jalopy. I removed the cover from my new 1978 Midnight Blue Ford Thunderbird. I was determined to make this a good day.
I turned the T-Bird into the entrance of the parking garage and flashed my pass at the gate attendant.
“Mornin’, Mister Tanner,” said Nate Stokes with a big smile, waving me through the gate.
I drove up the ramp to the second level and settled the T-Bird into my assigned space near the stairwell. I lifted the cover from the trunk, slid it gently over my pride and joy, then made my way down the stairs and across the street level of the parking garage.
“Brought the good car this mornin’, eh, Mister Tanner?” shouted Nate from the window of his booth.
“Needed to give her some air,” I shouted back and waved as I left the garage.
I saw a break in the traffic, jaywalked across the street and stepped up on the curb in front of the First National Bank.
I reached into my pants pocket and peeled off a couple of George Washington’s from my thin wad of folded money and dropped ‘em in the hat of the old guy, dressed in an army fatigue jacket, that sat on a rug in front of the bank building.
Now, there’s been talk that this guy didn’t need the money, but whether he needs it or not, if he’s gonna sit all day on that hot pavement, I’m gonna give him a coupla bucks just for the effort.
He tipped his ball cap at me and I opened the bank’s glass doors and stepped into the outer lobby.
“Howdy, Mister Tanner,” said Sadie Hixson from her customary seat on the padded stool in the elevator.
Sadie’d been operating that elevator as long as I could remember and some of the old timers swore Sadie was the only operator that elevator ever had. I don’t know if I believed that, but I sure couldn’t dispute it either.
“How are you this morning, Sadie?” I said and stepped into the elevator after waving at the bank security guard.
“Fine, Mister Tanner, just fine.”
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