“Thank you for letting me join you,” Jerry said as he slid into the seat across from Jacob.
Looking around the packed restaurant, didn’t have a choice, Jacob thought, but instead he said, “Your welcome,” then pretending he didn’t remember his name, “Jerry?”
“Yes, I don’t think I caught your name yesterday.” Jerry still wore the same flannel shirt and blue jeans as the day before at the train station.
“Nathan,…” Jacob hesitated. Was it necessary to give the last name or was that too much information. He always knew when a suspect was lying because they would inevitably give too much information, it sounded made up. He finally decided that the last name was not too much information, but now would it sound like a lie because he didn’t give one. He hated lying.
“Oh sorry,” He chuckled for effect, “Collins. Nathan Collins.”
The biscuits arrived in a small cast iron skillet and covered with white gravy and big hunks of sausage floating in it. The gravy wasn’t from a package, Jacob could tell that. It was more the color of the coffee mug than white.
“The biscuits are a great choice,” Jerry said.
“They look great.”
The biscuits were so tender and flaky that the fork fell right to the bottom of the biscuits and gently touched the plate. Jacobs mouth began to water at the thought of the biscuit hitting his empty stomach.
“So why you here?” Jacob asked as he shoveled the first bite into his mouth.
“Eating,” he said frankly.
“I mean with the flyers.”
“The police say she probably ran away.”
“So that’s why you were at the train station too.”
“Two places that are easiest for a fifteen year old to get out of town. The wait staff and clerks here already said they haven’t seen her but I hope that maybe one of the truck drivers that come through here has. Just keep hoping.” Jacob glanced at the photo on the flyer once again.
She was a very beautiful girl that reminded him of a punk rock version of Taylor Swift. She couldn’t have been more than ninety pounds, and she had black and red streaks under her blonde hair which was pulled back in a ponytail as she sat on a tire swing.
“What would it cost?”
He caught Jacob with mouthful of biscuits, as he tried to swallow he felt his throat close around them, forcing the deliciousness to make an unwelcome home there. Finally the biscuits made their way his throat and into his stomach where they were nearly as uncomfortable for Jacob. He could feel them churning, nerves settling in. The last thing he wanted to do was lose the breakfast all over the table. He had never even contemplated that the question was coming. “Excuse me?”
“To find her.”
“I’m sorry. I’m not sure that I follow you.”
He chuckled, “Dt. Collins I think you do, and I don’t have any more options.” Gayle arrived and sat a cup of coffee in front of Jerry.
“On the house Jerry.” She gave him a sideways smile and patted him on the shoulder. As Gayle left the table Jacob quickly came to the conclusion that apparently she only disliked him.
“I’m not a detective anymore Jerry.”
“All the more reason to make some cash.”
“I have a job, and I’m not staying in Pine Bluff. As I said yesterday, I’m only passing through so I don’t see how I could be of much help to you.” Jacob scraped the last of the biscuits from the bottom of the plate and dumped it into his mouth. “They really are great biscuits.”
“Told you.” He took a swig from his coffee.
“Did you sleep last night Jerry?”
“No, how did you know?”
“Same clothes. You came straight from the station.”
“Yep. See that’s why I need your help.”
Jacob pushed the skillet toward the edge of the table and took a swig off of his coffee. “How long has she been missing?”
“Just under five months.”
“Jerry, I don’t want to take your money.”
“If you find anything at all it will be worth it.”
“That’s the problem, Jerry, I think if I find anything, it wont be what you want me to find.”
“No-” he leaned back in his seat and the screech from the vinyl of the booth cut through the air. “Don’t say that.”
Jacob didn’t like saying it anymore than Jerry didn’t like hearing it. But at the same time he knew it had to be said. He felt it the first time he saw the picture and he felt it now.
“I’m not saying that I’ll take the job because the fact is as soon as I can get out of this town I’m gone. But I will find out what the police know and see if I think they are on the right track and I’ll let you know. That’s the best I can do for you.” Jacob watched as Jerry’s face looked like a little kid running down the stairs on Christmas morning to find that Santa Clause had came in the night. “That is the best I can do. Do you understand that?”
“No ‘Please stay one more day’, no ‘I’ll pay you more’,” he said as he stood, picked up the unread newspaper and threw down a twenty onto the table. Jacob was tipping the for the food because the service was shit.
Even though Jerry said that he understood Jacob knew that by this time tomorrow Jerry would be in fact saying something of the sort. And Jacob also knew that he would eventually break Jerry’s heart. “Get a cup to go, looks like I need to find a room.”
The highs came high but the lows came lower than Charles could ever have imagined. For him it had gotten to the point that if he wasn’t on stage he was in the pits. Way down in the fucking pits. Nothing beat being out on that stage and looking out into the crowd, seeing the audience singing along to something that he had poured his heart and soul into. Feeling the kick of the drums and thump of the bass bounce through his body and rattle his very core, the raging applause (real applause, not the lazy fake applause) when he finished an up tempo song. Or his favorite, the tears to that fucking “I’m Sorry” song. It had meant something when he recorded it but the feelings had nearly all faded now.
As a matter of fact the only feeling that Charles had at the moment was to get home and get to bed, it had been a long night. It was always a long night when they played Blue’s. What made it even longer was that Rainbow was there. He chuckled to himself as he did nearly every time he thought or said that name. Raymond wore the name like a badge of honor. Charles had called him that when he was two. He couldn’t say his brothers name and one day it came out Rainbow and it stuck.
- New Man Part 5 Biscuits and an Old Friend (hughiegibson.wordpress.com)
- New Man Part 4 Escape by Dawn (hughiegibson.wordpress.com)