I took the notebook and hustled down to my favorite coffee shop so I could leach off their internet and do some snooping. I’d asked Carl for his Wi-Fi password back at the Coney stand, but he told me “I got it turned off, I’m on the Media Deprivation week of The Artist’s Way.” Jesus, everybody wants to be a writer these days. I might as well try my hand at it, once this case is solved.
After I picked up my double espresso at the counter I settled in with the notebook. The patio at the coffee shop was almost empty. I picked a spot I thought would offer the most privacy — furthest from the door, near the road and the parade of cars trailing by. A sour looking fellow sipping a latte parked himself at the next table. Shielding the pages with my hand, I opened the book.
Those words tumbled around in my head like loose coins in a laundromat dryer. I checked off what I knew about his Karen Fayeth dame. She liked chili-dogs and Stephen King, and from her picture I could see she had nice hair. Not much to go on, but up until four days ago she’d been writing in this journal every day. That sort of dedication has got to pay off, I hoped she could hold out until I found her. I had to locate the cabin, but where to start?
That’s when it hit me — another round of gas from the Coneys. I eased up on one butt cheek, and coughed to cover the sound. The sour fellow at the next table looked like he wished he’d taken another spot, but he just turned his chair around and put his hand over his nose.
“Damn diesel cars,” I muttered, waving my hand to clear the air.
I picked up my phone and logged onto Medium. If she was a writer, I knew chances were good she’d have a profile there. And yeah, there it was. Not only that, but right on her profile I saw the words “Find me at karenfayeth.com”
The link led me to her blog, and when I clicked over to her website, I discovered she’d grown up in New Mexico. In her journal she’d written she needed to get away, to a cabin in the woods. I only knew three things about New Mexico — Carlsbad Caverns, Hatch Chili Peppers, and Roswell. It was time for a road trip.
I jumped up from the table and grabbed the notebook. Hurrying back to my car, I made a rookie mistake, I didn’t look behind to make sure no one followed me from the coffee shop.
I had my hand on the door of my Honda when he grabbed me. Spinning around, I flung up my elbow but the guy ducked. My funny bone connected with his forehead instead, and I dropped Karen’s journal when my hand went numb.
“I’ll take this.” It was the sour fellow from the coffee shop. In one hand he gripped the leather-bound notebook. The other hand held an angry black pistol.
“Okay, I don’t want any trouble,” I said.
“Just so we’re clear, keep your nose out of this.”
The guy backed away, holding the gun on me the whole time, until he turned a corner and disappeared.
And now I knew two things — three things really. Karen was in serious trouble, I wasn’t going to stay out of it, and I wished I hadn’t had that second chili-dog.
Read Chapter Six -
Here’s Chapter Seven —
The link to Chapter Eight -
And Chapter Nine -
Thanks to Lon Shapiro for letting me join the fun, and Mark Starlin for tagging me. Karen Fayeth and P.G. Barnett you had great chapters to follow, can’t wait to see where John K Adams takes the story.