Death of a Dreamer; The Conclusion… George E Davis (aka geedda)
If you have been following the life of Eben Wetstone, Amos Fieldâs fictional detective, you know he has helped Amos become a first class author. You also know Amos Field was killed while living on an island in the Pacific. In this, the final chapter, Eben Wetstone sets out to solve the murder of his… creator, but not all is as it seems.
Our storyÂ begins in the small town of Fairmount Maine many years ago. Ruth Field is going to have her first child. She is as big as a house and waddles rather than walks due to her condition.
Her husband Zechariah works at the T D Watson paper mill in Cumberland Falls.
âZack, you better come home,â Ruth dialed her husbandâs department at the mill. âIâm ready… hurry.â I was born four hours later at home with a midwife and an aunt attending to mother and baby.
I was born in a house just three doors down from Keeneâs Hardware; next door to Bickford Savings. My memory didnât kick in until I was nearly nine years old, and we had moved out to Route 4 where my father bought a dairy farm. The farm house was over a hundred years old, and I donât ever remember my father doing anything but working on one project or another, broken boards on the front porch, new windows for the upstairâs bedrooms, or replacing the boards in the hay loft. He spent his entire time off from his job at the mill building or rebuilding something. He had little time for his son and wife. He died at forty nine… I believe, from overwork, though Doc Miller said it was Congestive Heart Failure or CHF.
Mother went to work at the hospital in town as a nurse. She had her degree in nursing, but had preferred to stay home and raise her son, for which, I am truly grateful.
âAmos,â Mother said, âI have something to tell you. I am going to work starting Monday at the hospital. You are twelve years old, and the man of the house now since your father passed away. I will have to be able to trust you to come home, do your homework, and get your own supper. Can you do that?â
âYes Mother, I can do that… I will do it… youâll be surprised.â
âThatâs my boy. I love you son, and know this, we will, together, get through this rough time.â She patted me on the head, and we sat down to supper.
At eighteen and a new high school graduate, I went to work in the only place in town that was hiring, the paper mill. I had sworn to myself that I would never work in that awful place… the place I believed killed my father. Never say never. I worked on paper machine number six for two years. The job was monotonous; my two co-workers were slackers. Every Friday and Saturday night the two of them would sneak out, go up the street to Mickeyâs Dine and Dance and drink beer until fifteen minutes to quitting time. Then they would return in time to punch out and go home, or back to Mickeyâs for more beer, and I was left to make excuses for them if the plant manager came by while they were absent from their jobs.
It took only two years to determine mill work was not what I wanted to do the rest of my life. I had no education beyond high school, no skills other than sorting paper when it came off the rolls, but I did have ambition and aspirations to become a writer, another Hemingway or Steinbeck, maybe even a Hammett.
After four rejections from publishers, I realized my detective had to be his own man, not a copy of Hammettâs man, Spade. I changed a few habits and looks and came up with my protagonist, Eben Wetstone, a softer Spade, and Marlowe, but a smoker, drinker with hide tougher than a two dollar steak. I worked on Wetstone until I had him, where I felt; he would be an instant seller.
I pictured the publishers fighting over my manuscript, outbidding each other, and movie moguls scrambling to buy the rights to my characterâs story. These things never materialized. I received seven rejections the first six months of my remittances. I wrote, rewrote and rewrote some more until I thought I had Eben where he would win the hearts of the publishers, and agents would be calling me. This too never happened, only more rejections followed, and after a year I gave up submitting the novel and went back to work at the mill, back to old number six paper machine.
That summer flew by faster than a kangaroo with hiccups. I still did some writing at night after work. Mother had passed away a year ago, and I was now the owner of the property. Since I hadnât worked in a year while I spent my time trying to promote the novel, I had to sell the farm and move back into town to a smaller apartment.
I started dating again, a girl I had known for quite some time, Alice Kendall. Alice was a quiet, unassumingÂ person, agreeable and friendly. Alice was also thirty years younger than I. We were in love. We married six months later. She was patient, letting me spend hours working on a new novel.
Well, of course, starring Eben Wetstone. Who else?
More rejection slips, more discouragement and all the more drive to put the finishing touches on my story. I wanted so much to sell this novel. I had worked hard, and I was finally satisfied itÂ will now sell. Well, it didnât, the rejection slips were now piled higher than a Bartlettâs Famous Quotations on the bookcase against the wall; I kept those pesky reminders in plain sight.
âEben,â it was the detectiveâs girlfriend and partner, Marcena, the prettiest girl in Fairmount. Blue eyes, blond hair, thin red lips and two dimples on either side of her mouth that danced when she smiled. She looked remarkably like Alice Field. âIsnât there anything you can do to help poor Amos write his novel? If he doesnât succeed… well… you know what will happen to us, donât you?â
âYeah, weâll be destined to black ink on white paper with no future, and no life beyond this story.â
Well, I took her advice and wrote the story for our creator, Amos.
âI hope you didnât scare him to death by appearing to him, Eben,â Marcena said.
âScared him at first, but he got over it quickly. I have found I can live in both worlds, Marcy. Itâs a grand feeling being able to go from fiction to fact in a matter of seconds, be heard, and seen by a human being.â
âIt sounds like you are enjoying your new life in the other world, Eben… think… you might stay over there someday… I mean, and not come back?â
âTainât likely, Honey. I couldnât leave you to fend for yourself, to collect dust and mildew on some forgotten shelf somewhere away from me.â Eben kissed his girlfriend and held her tight. âDonât worry, I will always come home to you, I promise.â
Tears filled Marcyâs eyes as she smiled. Her boyfriend, and finance was so sweet; he was the most handsome man in… in fiction, or reality for that matter.
For the next two years, Eben stayed in Fairmount solving crimes and dating his favorite girl, Marcy.
âMarcy, Amos has moved to an island in the Pacific Ocean, a small place. I heard his wife left him for a native boy half her age. Heâs in a state of shock; his money is no consolation. I have to go back and see him. Maybe I can be of some help… give him some encouragement.â
âYou will return wonât you Eben?â Marcy asked.
âOf course I will. I told you, I would never leave you… in fact; why donât you come with me.â
âDonât see why not, if I can go between two different worlds, I donât know why you canât.â
âHow long has it been since you were in Bickford, Eben?â She asked.
âTime here is different than time in the real world… letâs see nearly five years in human time I think.â
Yeah it was so many years ago I wrote that first story for Amos, the Pulitzer winner, the one that shot him to the top of the A-List, won him every mystery writerâs awards available.
Time marches on! Amos has gone, I have been on this shelf for five years collecting dust, and you know dust isnât good for an asthmatic.Â Then something incredible happened, someone bought the original copy of Amosâs book, Death of a Dreamer, ghost written by yours truly of course.
Wallace Middleton from Vermont came to Maine to settle his uncleâs estate. While he picked over his uncleâs library, he found the book. When he got to the hotel, he curiously began to read the story I wrote. It awakened me, and I appeared to Wallace Middleton, and offered him a proposition he could not refuse. I would write the story, make him a lot of money if he would stay behind in Bickford until I finished the book, and I promised to reveal Amosâs killer to him. because of his curiosity, he agreed.
Now here is the story I wrote for him in condensed form. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did in writing it.
Amos Field, writer, amateur sleuth, and murder victim. Amos at age seventy four died at the hands of a cruel person, a man who was jealous of his writing ability, his ability to make the world of fantasy seem as real as watermelon on the Fourth of July, or momâs apple pie.
Amos and his wife Alice moved to the Pacific, settled in and appeared to enjoy native life on the island where they landed months ago.
âAmos, I never knew how much fun this would be. I thought I would miss going shopping every day, joining you at all those book signings, and entertaining celebrities at cocktail parties. You know what, I donât miss that life at all, do you?â Alice asked.
âNo, I donât miss a thing. I love it here on the island… sunny every day, people are friendly and helpful. No rushing to meet deadlines, fighting with publishers, to maintain my stories as I have written them. I love this life… and I love you.â She blushed as Amos kissed her.
Two months later Alice was on a ship, with her native lover, they were steaming toward Hawaii, to spend the rest of their lives in Paradise.Â Like most dreams, there is only an element of truth in them, and one eventually wakes from their reverie.
Alice had triplets before her native boy lover left her for someone else. She was alone on the island of Oahu with three children and no job.
She would have tried to contact Amos; throw herself on his mercy. However, he didnât have a telephone, computer; any way of getting in touch with him. What goes around, comes around they say, or whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap, and she was reaping the results of her infidelity. She rued the day she ever left Amos.
Alice talked with the captain of a ship that was sailing toward the island she once called home. She begged the captain to let her go with him. He could drop her off on the island where Amos resided. She would serve tables, or do anything to get back to that island. The captain, feeling sorry for her, allowed her to sail with him. The children were not allowed to come with her. That was the condition, no kids, extra mouths to feed.
The ship was sailing on the tide at midnight. She did not want to leave her children alone, but she needed to get back to the island and her lawful husband. She would convince Amos to send for the children when she got to see him. She knew her husband would be willing to have her back, forgive her of the sins she had committed against him. Amos Field may be a little tight with his money… downright stingy, but he has a heart of compassion.
Leaving her three little ones with a friend on the island with the promise of coming back for them in a month or so, she kissed the children, patted each one on the head and told them to obey the neighbor, and behave themselves.
Alice was on that ship when it sailed at midnight feeling remorse for having ever left Amos, and for leaving her kids behind.
âHow long will it take us to get to the island?â She asked the captain.
âFour days, Miss. Now get into the dining room and start earning your keep.â He was a nasty man she soon found out. He drank heavily, and when he did, he came looking for her, lust on his mind. She managed to stay out of his way until he sobered, which was usually the following day. She brought him tomato juice for breakfast hoping to appease his anger. She didnât have to worry… he couldnât remember the night before anyway… just a blur.
Finally the ship stopped off the island, and she got in a boat that carried her to the shore. She ran down the beach to where Amos lived.
Who was that man sitting on Amosâs Adirondack chair? He was too young to be Amos. He didnât move as she came closer.
âExcuse me, son,â she said.
The young man pushed up the brow of his Panama exposing a pair of Foster Grants. âHello there Miss, What can I do for you?â He ogled her as a hungry wolf looks at a prairie chicken when he is starved.
âIâm looking for my hus… Amos Field,â she said.
âOh, that must be the guy who lived here before. He died a couple of years ago… somebody shot him.â
âAre you sure it was Amos Field?â
âNope… but the name sounds familiar.â
Alice was stunned to hear her husband was dead. Now what? Go back to Hawaii, or stay on the island? She had no money, and no way to take care of herself.
âHey Lady you can talk to the cop who investigated your… friendâs death. His name is Ronleau, Chief of Police on the island. Lots of luck.â He chuckled.
Ronleau was Henri Ronleau a French born ex gendarme officer. His demeanor was that of a disinterested bystander at a testing of a Hydrogen bomb.
âHelp you, Miss?â He asked.
âI understand you were the police investigator at the death of Amos Field two years ago. Is that right?â She asked.
âYes Madame, that is correct. It is still an unsolved mystery, but I believe the killer has left the island. We have had no more murders since… Monsieur Field.â
âDid you, or do you have any suspects Chief?â
âWe had one suspect, a, how is you English say… crazy person. He left the island right after the murder, and I think the killer went with him, if you get my meaning.â
âWhy havenât you had this… suspect returned to the island to face the court?â
âExcuse me Madame, but who are you?
âAlice Field, Amos Fieldâs… wife.â She wondered if her voice betrayed her feeling of shame.
âOh… I see. I need to tell you the judge on this island can not stay sober long enough to maintain a trial, let alone sentence anyone, Madame.â
âThen why do you keep him?â
âLet me explain something to you, Madame. On this island there is a ruling family, of which I am not a member. I am hired by this family to do what this family asks me to do, for which, by the way, I am handsomely paid.â
âWhat is the familyâs name then?â She asked getting exasperated with the chiefâs answers.
âBelieve it or not, American, Williamson.â
âAnd, where do I find these Williamson people?â
âAt the end of the island you will see a large three family home with a brick wall surrounding the entire property and a large steel gate with a security guard at the entrance. Visitors like to take pictures of the grounds, but no one is allowed entrance without special permission by Joshua Williamson the owner.â
âHow do… I get permission?â
The chief chuckled again. âNobody gets permission, unless you are chosen by M Williamson. He drinks at the hotel every Friday night. He usually stays… until he cannot walk, and then his servant carries him, literally, home to bed. If you are lucky he will invite you to his home. Few have had the pleasure of viewing the inside of the mansion, Madame.â
Alice, with no money, sat at the bar waiting for Williamson to appear.
âWhatâll you have Miss?â The bartender asked.
âI am waiting for someone… a glass of water would be nice,â she said. He returned with a crystal glass filled with sparkling water. Not her favorite, but she was, in no position to complain.
âGood evening Mr Williamson,â the bartender said to the gentleman who came through the door and sat in the booth on the right wall. The wall around the booth where Williamson sat was covered with photos of American celebrities in days of old. A Humphrey Bogart poster from The Maltese Falcon and one from The African Queen, plus a large painted portrait of Sidney Greenstreet hung in the center of the photos.
âGood evening John,â Williamson said. Joshua Williamson was not at all what Alice had pictured. He was tall, maybe six two, two hundred pounds. He was a handsome man in his mid forties she guessed. His suit wasnât off the rack at Goodwill, but probably tailor made by Brooks Brothers would better describe the clothes he wore. He looked at Alice and smiled.
âGood evening, Maâam,â he said bowing slightly at the waist. âNice evening, donât you think?â
She was so awed by the appearance of this handsome man, and gratified he would speak to her. Was it because she was the only woman in the lounge, or did she still look young and innocent as her native boy had said of her?
The bartender brought Alice a whiskey sour. âCompliments of Mr Williamson.â She waved a thank you; he smiled at her.
After the second whiskey sour a man as large as a grand piano came to where she sat., âMr Williamson would like you to join him maâam.â He made a gesture toward Williamsonâs booth.
The handsome gentleman stood while Alice seated herself. The alcohol was beginning to alter her mood… in a good way. He was even more handsome up close, a Greek Adonis beneath that Brooks Brotherâs suit she imagined.
âMy name is Joshua Williamson,â he said. âYou can call me Josh.â
âAlice…â She wasnât ready to reveal the true meaning of her visit, and if she had said Field, it would have ended the conversation.
âWell, Alice, what brings you to the island?â He asked.
She thought for a moment. âVisiting from… Hawaii.â
âI love Hawaii. I have a home there as well,â he said.
âWhere? What island?â She said.
âOahu,â her favorite island in Hawaii.
She waited patiently for Josh to drink a few more Scotches and water. His eyes were crossing, his speech slurred, and he was babbling like a brook. Now was the time.
âYou didnât ask me my last name,â she said.
âWharsh ish it?â He stammered.
âField, my husband is… was Amos Field. Ring a bell?â
âWait a minute.â He seemed to sober up. âAmos Field the writer?â
âYes, that was my husband.â
âDidnât you… er… run off with one of the natives? Excuse me for being nosy Miss Field.â
âAlice. Shamefully I admit I did. It was the worse mistake I ever made. I came back to beg Amosâs forgiveness and try starting over; my plans are thwarted with his death.
âI remember him. Too bad… nice guy.â
âDo you have any idea who might have wanted him dead, Josh?â
âNo, I can tell you one thing, it wasnât me.â
âThe chief of police Ronleau seems to have little interest in solving my husbandâs crime. He is absolutely indifferent to bringing this to a close.â
âYou must not be too hard on Henri, he is French you know, and Frenchmen are not the excitable type shall we say… too methodical.â
âI should think he would want it solved… would be a feather in his cap,â she said.
âI know,â but barely able to carry on a coherent conversation, âCan we continue this talk tomorrow… say noon at my home… you know where it is?â
She told him; she did, and he excused himself, taking the burly manâs arm, went out the front door leaving the equivalent a sizable tip, the equivalent of twenty dollars American, on the table for a tip.
Alice woke the next morning, sitting under a large palm tree, in sober condition. She had only two drinks all evening long, though Williamson thought she was as drunk as he had become. She strolled up and down the long beach until eleven forty five then walked to the Williamsonâs mansion.
âMr Williamson is expecting me. Alice Field,â she told the guard. He called into the house.
âLet her in,â she recognized the voice as that of the large man she met last night.
The thickset man met her at the door. âThis way Miss, Mr Williamson is on the rear deck eating lunch. He would like to have you join him.â
The rear deck was as large as two football fields end to end with an olympic size swimming pool, two tennis courts on either side of the gigantic pool, and a cabana that would dwarf a two car garage at the end of the pool.
âSit Miss Field, have some lunch.â The lunch consisted of cob salad, homemade cream of mushroom soup and Delmonico steaks, served medium with roasted potatoes. How can you turn that down?
She was extremely hungry, but didnât let on she had not eaten in two days. The lunch was excellent; the coffee tasted great, and the company, she had to admit, was charming.
He told her of his familyâs arrival on the island eighty years ago. His grandfather built the house; he had made his fortune in rubber. His father was an heir, and to Joshâs recollection had never worked a day in his life. Josh, on the other hand, was industrious, had a rubber manufacturing plant in Brazil, and a factory canning pineapples in Hawaii. The Williamsonâs were the only family on the island with computers, telephones and any other electronic devices made by man.
Alice remembered the house from two years ago. At that time there was no one living on the property; it was deserted. Joshua Williamson must have moved in shortly after she had left the island.
âDid you enjoy your meal, Alice? May I call you Alice?â
âYes… yes you may. It was marvelous… my compliments to the chef.â She felt like a queen, and obviously he treated her like one.
They met a couple of times a week to eat and talk. One Thursday evening after dinner, Josh proposed to Alice. The diamond engagement ring must have been four carats; the fire flashed like colored bolts of lightning when hit by the sunâs rays. It didnât take her long to accept his proposal; it beats living on the beach. They married a week later.
She was living like she had always wanted to live, in luxury, with no financial worries, free as a bird to wander anywhere she wanted, spend any amount of money she desired, and her handsome husband never complained. He had only one request, to go out, alone, on Friday evenings to connect with old friends at the hotel bar as he had done for the last twenty years. She had no problem with his request; it gave her a couple hours to catch her breath. Josh was one to smother her, not only with love, but with conversation, talking often into the wee hours of the night. She was an early to bed, early to rise kind of girl, but for his sake, she humored her husband.
She had been married only three months when one night Josh returned from his visit to the hotel barroom, drunk as usual and looking for romance. They went upstairs, and while he was undressing for bed, he said something that made her ears perk up like a German Shepherd in a junkyard full of intruders.
âAmos was a very nosey guy you know…â
âWhat did you say?â Alice asked.
âOh… never mind, Honey… letâs go to bed.â He immediately fell asleep on contact with the mattress.
The next morning Alice asked her husband what he meant by Amos was a very nosey guy. He looked surprised. âI said that? I donât remember saying that Alice. I didnât even know your husband… except from what I heard on the island grapevine.â
âI have to ask you a question Josh. Do you know who killed Amos?â
âYouâre asking me if I know who killed your husband? How could you even assume I had any idea about his death? I told you; I hardly knew the man.â
Alice didnât say any more, but neither did she forget what her husband said about Amos. It was while walking the beach in front of her house that the idea came to her. She wondered if her husband was really in the rubber business? Did he own a pineapple packing plant on Oahu? If he did, she had never heard of it, and she was very familiar with the fruit business district of Oahu.
A week later Josh was leaving for a three day trip to Hawaii to, supposedly, check on things at the pineapple factory. Kissing her husband, she smiled and wished him a good trip. He wasnât out of sight when she decided to do something she had never thought she would do, check her husbandâs office in the guest house where he did his business. She was home alone, Joshâs right hand man went with his boss to Hawaii.
The guest house was similar to the house she had grown up in back in Maine, a two story Victorian home with eight rooms and two baths. She had a key to the main house, but not his office.
The plush Oriental carpeting was red with gold fringe throughout the entire downstairs. The furniture was modern, two dark red recliners in the living room with matching sofa, a large mahogany coffee table sat in the center of the room, a silver tray with creamer and sugar bowl atop the table. The office was upstairs and to the right he had once told her. He had also asked her to respect his privacy and stay away from the office. She agreed to his request… until today.
At the top of the stairs she turned to the right and faced a large double door with brass handles and an ornate keyhole, minus a key. She knew her husband; he hated to carry keys around in his pocket. That meant the key to this room was hidden somewhere in this house, but where? She searched the entire upstairs to no avail.
She went back downstairs and looked in all the rooms. She was about to give up when , call it intuition urged her to look under the dining room table, and there taped to the bottom of the leaf was a key holder. She opened the box and found a key. This is it, the key to his office.
She went back upstairs, inserted the key in the lock, turned it and the door opened into a room so magnificent she was nearly blinded by its beauty and flashes of brilliant colors. The reds, blues, yellows and the bright red carpet on the floor that looked new, but had probably been here for years.
She searched the room for the key to his desk, and was ready to give up when she heard a noise downstairs.
The noise coming from the inside of her chest, the sound of her beating heart, was deafening. She waited, listened. She sneaked out of the room and peered over the railing, looking down on the top of the body guardâs bald head. He was talking on the phone to someone.
âI donât see it anywhere. I looked there, it isnât there I tell you. He mustâve taken it with him. Iâll call you later. Goodbye.â The big man backed up to the door, turned, opened it and went outside closing it behind him.
Wasnât he with her husband? Who was he talking to? She had to get out of there as fast as she could before he returned.
Back at the house she confronted the bodyguard. âI thought you were with my husband.â
âNo, just took him to the plane. He goes to Hawaii alone. The only time I go with him is when he visits his rubber plant in Brazil.â
I went upstairs to lay down and rest for a while. I fully intend to go back when I can, and look in his office. He is hiding something; she felt it. Who is this man she married? She immediately fell asleep, waking two hours later. She heard a car engine. She went to the window in time to see the Mercedes driving away from the garage, the body guard at the wheel. She knew at times when her husband was away; he went into town and played poker at the hotel with friends.
She rose up and headed over to the guest cottage; an opportune time to search Joshâs office. The door was unlocked, and she went inside and up the stairs. She again marveled at the brilliant reds and blues that met her eyes as she entered her husbandâs forbidden room.
After searching for half an hour, she discovered the key to his desk hidden under the runner by the open door. She slid the key into the slot; excited, yet fearful, she turned it to the right and felt the slight click as the drawer slid open.
There didnât seem to be anything but the usual desk items, pens, pencils, pads of paper, and an ink bottle. It is what she found after emptying the drawer that amazed her. Under all the items in the desk, and hidden from plain view, was a little trigger at the rear of the oak desk drawer. She pushed the mechanism and the false bottom slid away revealing several bundles of hundred dollar bills banded with rubber elastics, around fifty thousand dollars. Also, she found a folded eleven by eight paper. Unfolding the paper she found two names written thereon, Amos Field and Carlton Clayman, whom she knew to be her husbandâs body guard. To her surprise, Her name was written at the bottom of the note. There was a line drawn through Amosâs name and a date she assumed was the time of his demise. There was a date behind Carltonâs name; it was dated June 15; tomorrow. Did this mean the body guard was next?
On the reverse side of the paper, the name Eben Wetstone was written in large letters, with a notation that read; check him out.
The Mercedes was back, She could see Carlton from the upstairs window as he exited the black vehicle.Â Relocking the drawer, she put the key back under the runner and went up to the main house.
âCarlton, did you have a good time in town?â She asked.
âYes Maâam… thank you.â His smile said he had won some money.
âThatâs nice. I wonât need you for the rest of the day if you want to go back into town, or just hang out here, feel free.â
âThank you, Maâam, I think, if you donât mind, Iâll grab a nap.â
âGo for it, I donât mind at all.â
âI have to pick up Mr Williamson at six thirty tonight. He is coming home a day early.â
Alice had no idea her husband was coming home early. He hadnât called her. How did Carlton know? Before she had a chance to ask him, he said; âI called the boss while I was in town… on his car phone. He told me to tell you, and he said… he loves you.â
âThank you Carlton.â
âYes Maâam, youâre welcome.â
His early homecoming left Alice without another chance to go through her husbandâs desk in his office. For now, she was left with the mystery note she had found. Who was this Eben Wetstone… she was shaken to the core … Amos wrote about a detective, Eben Wetstone… he was a fictional character, his favorite protagonist. So why was his name written on that piece of paper? She remembered on several occasions hearing her husband talking to someone when he was writing that novel; at the time she thought he was talking to himself. It would be ludicrous to think Josh thinks Eben Wetstone is a real person.
As Alice rose from her chair, she startled to see a man standing by the rear door; his face hidden in the shadows of the late afternoon. He had a pistol in his hand. Was this the man Carlton was talking to yesterday at the guest house? Then she recognized the man as he stepped forward. Before she could ask him what he was doing there, he put two bullets in her chest. She fell to the floor clutching the arms of the chair, blood oozing out covering her dainty white hands staining them dark red. The last thing she heard was the voice of the man with the gun.
âTwo down, one to go. Goodbye sweetheart, love Josh. Oh, by the way, happyÂ anniversary.â The evil laugh rang in her ears as she went into eternity.
Carlton was laying on the bed in his upstairs bedroom when the door opened. He reached for his gun, but before he could shoot, the strange figure in the doorway fired two shots into his chest. He slumped back on the bed; Carlton Clayman was dead.
Josh Williamson called Chief Ronleau when he discovered the bodies. The Chief told Williamson it was probably a robbery; Mrs Williamson and Carlton were witnesses and had to be taken out. Probably someone they both knew. Josh Williamson was out of town at the time… the perfect alibi. In a week or so it would all blow over, and it would be back to normal.
Sitting in the bar on Friday night Williamson was visited by many well wishers, and he acted the part of the grieving widower and friend to an Academy Award performance.
âSorry, Mr Williamson for your loss,â one person said.
âSorry to hear about your wife and bodyguard, Sir.â
Outside one would think Josh Williamson was grieving, but on the inside, he was happy as a man could be; happy as though he had won the lottery, fact is, he had in a twisted sort of way. He no longer had a wife who wouldnât mind her own business, or a bodyguard who gambled too much, stealing money from him to pay his debts. It would be easy to get a new bodyguard, but a new wife was something a little more difficult. There were few women on the island that appealed to him, some too fat, some too old while others were downright ugly. Besides he had been married four times. Coincidentally each spouse died suspiciously. If he had hired anyone other than Henri Ronleau, he would be the number one suspect in his wivesâs deaths.
âLook Williamson, I hired on to do your dirty work, and so far I have seen no money for the last two jobs. Youâve got twenty four hours, or… well, it wonât be pleasant for you. Am I clear on that score?â The voice on the phone said.
âYes, I will have the money for you at ten tomorrow morning. Come to my house…â
âNo you donât, We meet in public… at the beachfront motel, Skyliner at ten. Outside at poolside.â
âOkay, but you can trust me.â
âYeah, I bet… like you have me whack three people, and you could also have me killed. I donât think so. Skyliner tomorrow at ten.â The phone went deathly silent.
Williamson arrived at the Skyliner Motel at ten oâclock, went around to the pool, and sat in a chaise lounge to wait. Before he could get comfortable the man he had hired to do his business sat down beside him., He whispered, âDid you bring it?â
âYes,â Williamson said.
âHand it over,â the stranger said. He counted the money… ten, fifteen, twenty, eh… forty five thousand. Itâs all here.â
âI pay my debts Mr Wetstone,â he said.
âLooks that way. Order a drink and sit here, after ten minutes you can leave.â
The drink arrived, a Scotch and soda. Williamson sipped the Scotch slowly until the glass was empty. He now had to find someone who would take care of Mr Wetstone because he had insulted him. Williamson tried to get up from the lounge chair, dizzy, he saw two of everything. His legs wobbly, he was unable to get up. There was a sharp pain in his chest; then everything went totally dark.
âHeart attack,â the doctor said, plain and simple… it was the life he led.â No autopsy was ordered, and Mr Josh Williamsonâs body was laid to rest on his two hundred acre farm.
No one on the island missed the owner of the mansion at the end of the island. He was arrogant, snobbish and a plain jerk. Everyone knew he had ordered his wives killed, and collected their insurance, which amounted to, a million a piece
The Chief of Police put the file on the Williamson death, along with the murders of his wife and bodyguard, in the cold case files. Interpreted as the âI donât care if they never get solved, Iâm not going to spend any time working on them.â cases atop, the once leading cold case file, the murder of Amos Field.
Later those files lay in a cardboard box, in the attic, at the town hall on the small island.
Henri Ronleau returned to France to enjoy his retirement; there were no more Williamson family members left to pay his wages. The property soon fell into disrepair, and the islanders quickly forgot the murders.
Eben sat in Amosâs home in Bickford counting the money he had received from Joshua Williamson… for… services rendered. You see; Eben Wetstone had started out as a private detective, in the land of fiction, but through greed ended his career as a hit man, selling his services all over the country.
The only regret Eben had was killing Alice Field; she looked so much like his beloved Marcena. But then, in this profession, feelings can hold no place.
Amos Field may have had good intentions creating me, but characters take on a life of their own when left to move a mystery story forward. When a writer gets writerâs cramp, or memory fade, he can not think of a plot to finish his story. Well, as you can see, I helped Amos move his story along… I am the creator; you might say, of Amos Field, writer, Pulitzer winner and acclaimed author. All I can say is; Amos shouldnât have tried to take all the credit for creating me… after all I may be a fictional character, but I also can think for myself.
The headlines, in the island paper, read; Eben Wetstone, an unknown person of interest in the murders of Amos Field, Joshua Williamson, and Carlton Clayman is being sought for questioning. His name was found on a list in the Williamson home this week. Mr Wetstone appears to be a man cloaked in anonymity.
Does that surprise you? After all, I am a fictional character. I have returned to the world of fiction where I am respected as a great detective.
If anyone wants to find me, all they have to do is pick up a copy of Death of a Dreamer; The Conclusion. I am the main character in that book. And, who knows maybe I can make you a famous writer, as well.
You are probably wondering what happened to Wallace Middleton. Well, after gaining worldwide fame with his… my new book, and traveling the world signing copies; he has returned to Vermont where he remains on his two hundred acre farm, raising Angus beef for the Chicago meat packers and enjoying his sense of local celebrity.
A Disclaimer: Let me give you a word of advice, if you see the books, Death of a Dreamer I, II or the conclusion by Amos Field. Donât buy them; donât even take them out on loan from the library. It could be your undoing.
The End: Really The End this time!