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Thread: Chapter 5 - The Murder on the Moon

  1. #1
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    Chapter 5 - The Murder on the Moon

    In the painting, the planet earth is rising over the lunar horizon.

    Chapter 5
    In an effort to make the lunar pioneers feel more comfortable, a "sky" had been superimposed on the roof of the protective dome over each of the stations. It changed regularly, sometimes several times a day to replicate the weather conditions they had grown accustomed to on earth. This day, the "sky" was a deep blue, with a smattering of scattered fluffy white clouds overhead.
    Taking advantage of the feeling of the sunny sky, Chet walked down to the river, and found an unoccupied bench only a few feet from the water. There he sat down and using his communicator, he browsed thru the news covering both the moon colony, as well as that from the earth.

    An expedition ad left that morning to drill in a valley not far from Station 3. They were hoping to find some evidence of minerals that might be used by the colony.

    A school teacher had gone mad and attempted to lead her class to their deaths, out of the protective structure thru a safety lock. Fortunately, a woman working security in the area, spotted her, and spoiled the teacher's plan. The teacher was being analyzed by a battery of computer programs in order to see if there was any hope of restoring her mind to a state of sanity.

    Back on earth, a group of disgruntled citizens, urged on by a small but vocal political group, had been demonstrating for three days across the street from the White House. They were upset about the amount of tax money being spent on the moon colony, and wanted the program shut down immediately.

    A Washington correspondent reported that he had been given undeniable proof of a political plot that had led to the assassination of President John Kennedy in the 1960s. No information had been given as to when this proof would be made public.

    Arriving at Spillane's ten minutes early, Chet was surprised, and happily so, to discover that it was not one of those upscale eating places that so many celebrities preferred. He preferred small, intimate places that reeked of character, and served good food that most average people were used to having.
    It was one p.m. to the very second, when Rita Kerrigan opened the door and walked in. She smiled and spoke briefly to the owner, then walked over to join Chet. The waitress promptly brought coffee to the table. After tasting a sip, Rita asked, "Have you been here long?"
    "No, just a few minutes. Just long enough to take a good look around."
    "Mr. Garner, I do hope that you don't find it to not be up to your normal standards."
    He laughed and responded. "Are you kidding me? I was afraid it was going to be one of those overblown, overpriced places where they serve you dressed up food that tastes like it came out of a machine. This, is my kind of place. I feel right at home."
    After the waitress took their food orders, Rita asked, "Whatever drove you to become a cop?"
    "Oh heck, like a lot of things, stuff happens, and you find yourself doing something that you never really intended to do, I guess. I found it interesting. Seems like I always wanted to know the "why" of things, and I'd go crazy if I was tied down to a factory job, or stuck in an office all day. The freedom to follow my hunches and move about as I please, keeps me interested."
    "That's interesting," she acknowledged. Where were you born and raised?"
    Before he could answer, Rita had to answer two consecutive calls from her office. "I'm sorry. Please go ahead Mr. Garner."
    "I come from a little town in Arkansas that nobody ever heard of. The kind of place where everybody still waves and speaks when they meet. It's a place where nobody locks their doors at night. It's a great place to live, but what makes it great, makes it a place with very little in the way of job opportunities. So, when I finished school, I moved to Memphis, and worked my way thru several jobs until I finally got an opportunity to be a cop. As they say, the rest is history."
    A third call for Rita came in just as she started to speak. After finishing the call, she looked up. "Sorry about that." So, how is your investigation coming along? Have you got any leads that you can share with me yet?"
    Chet took a couple of sips from his coffee cup, then stared silently at Rita for a couple of minutes. Then he smiled. "You are good. Real good. A little chit chat, how are you doing, where did you come from, type of small talk, then bang!, out of left field, you sneak in the real question you came here for. Unfortunately for you, your reputation precedes you Rita. The word is, you are always on the job, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Always looking for a lead to the next story. Nice try, but you'll have to find a story somewhere else. Like I said, I'm mostly interested in getting back to earth."
    After they had finished their lunch and were enjoying coffee, Chet saw a man with a familiar face walking toward their table. He couldn't remember his name, but he knew the guy was a reporter. They had crossed paths on another case somewhere. His clothes looked like he had slept in them, and he was in definite need of a shave.
    He nodded at Rita. "Hi Rita. Now this is an interesting lunch. Rita Kerrigan, star reporter, interviewing Chet Garner, star investigator. What's the angle, if I might ask?"
    Rita put down her coffee cup with not a little irritation on her face. "Hello Sid. You will pardon me if I don't ask you to sit down. You look to be more in need of a bath and a shave than food, so I don't want to detain you." Looking at Chet, she said, "Have you met Sid Grabowski? Sid is a free lance journalist." The way she said "journalist," Chet got the idea that she didn't have much of an opinion of Sid.
    "Yeah, we've crossed paths before, but I couldn't remember his name."
    Sid smiled and said, "The killing of those three strippers in Reno about two years ago."
    "Oh yeah," Chet answered. "Now I remember, you were a pain the ass. Twice you promised to hold off printing some information that could have helped me get the killer quicker. Each time you lied and printed it right away. Because of you, another girl died. Now, I know why I couldn't remember your name. I wanted to forget everything about you. Mr. Grabowski, unless you want me to throw you out the front door, I suggest you get the hell out of here immediately."
    When Sid looked at Rita, she lifted an eyebrow and said, "Sounds like good advice to me Sid. You have never struck me as the rough and ready type, and the word on Mr. Garner, is that he is. So, perhaps you should go get that bath and shave. Your odor is about to make me throw up my lunch."
    Grabowski left right away. Chet and Rita left only a couple of minutes behind him. She led him to a place where the river flowed right through the grounds of a University. Students were scattered about, some in groups, some alone, all near the river. The ones that could not find a bench to sit on, were lying on the ground, either studying, or talking with companions. When a young couple left one of the benches to return to the University building, Rita and Chet took their place.
    "It's lovely here isn't it?" she asked.
    Chet shook his head and said, "Yeah, it doesn't take much trying to make you believe that you are back down on earth."
    "When do you have to be back at work," she asked.
    Looking at his watch, Chet replied, "In about twenty minutes or so."
    "What is your meeting about?"
    He laughed. "Ever the reporter, I see... Well, it's a course designed to teach me to work and play well with others."
    "Oh, I see. Well, considering your history, I would think this must be at least a five year course, if it's to have a chance of working."
    He turned his head slightly in her direction, letting his eyeballs turn toward her, and responded playfully. "Ms Kerrigan, you can go to hell. Go directly to hell. Do not pass go, Do not collect a damn dime."
    Rita touched his hand. "Yes, that was a cheap shot. I'm sorry, really I am. Altho you should know that I'm not buying your story. I don't know what it is, but my gut tells me that you are here on a case. If they have brought you in, it has to be an important case. That's all right, it's just a matter of time until I get wind of it. In the meantime, I'll be close by."
    Wrapping his hand around hers, Chet leaned closer to her and stared into her eyes. "Well, in that case, why don't you join me for dinner tonight? We can exchange theories on why I am, or am not on a case, and see where it leads."
    Rita smiled and removed her hand from his grip. "Mr. Garner, as you said to me earlier, "your reputation precedes you. Without a doubt, there are a great many women whose hearts go all aflutter when they look upon your face, who find your eyes to be captivating, and, are desirous of finding themselves lured into your bed. I, sir, am not one of them."
    As he watched her rise and walk away, he said quietly, "Not yet anyway."
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  2. #2
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    A great little painting dear Mike

    I will have to put some time away to read your work
    Treat Others as you wish to be treated

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mannafig View Post
    A great little painting dear Mike

    I will have to put some time away to read your work
    Truly appreciated, dear Amanda. Many thanks.
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  4. #4
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    BB...the plot thickens.. nice painting too I like the dark reds of the lunar landscape and hills... and cold black sky.. good job !

  5. #5
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    AND AND AND what happened next????? great story once again Barnburner
    Sometimes...I remember better with my eyes closed

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  6. #6
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    Powerful image! I'm afraid I'm a little behind with the story though ...
    Panta rei (everything flows)!

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