Search Chapter 5 – Monday, 7 January 1974

Search is loosely based on a real incident. The incident remains, the story is greatly different.

Enjoy. And remember, it’s still a work in progress. These chapters are rough drafts. I’ve completed twenty chapters so far and it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.

Read Search Chapter 4


 

Search Chapter 5 – Monday, 7 January 1974

Jeri Weintraub watched the tall, thin girl in the long technicolor scarf, mittens, and matching knitted hat walk from a ruby red Monte Carlo into the Stop&Shop. “Couldn’t be.”

She grabbed a shopping list and her wallet from the passenger seat and followed. A couple of glances up and down the aisles revealed nothing so she went about her task; buying various feminine hygiene products for her Endicott Jr. College dorm mates. Once a week somebody drew the short straw and borrowed a college van to go shopping. If the trip was to nearby Liberty Tree Mall, the van would be full. But picking up tampons and pads at the north Beverly Stop&Shop? She was on her own.

She swung her cart down the Health&Beauty aisle and got out her list.

“On the rag, Weintraub?”

“Thompson? Stephanie?”

The tall, thin girl’s head poked around the aisle’s end cap. She pulled off her woolen hat and long, blonde hair fell down her shoulders and back. “Hey, Jer.”

“I thought that was you in the parking lot. You were out west, weren’t you? Working at a ranch? Something like that?”

“More like Camp Jesus for Wayward Daughters, but yeah.” She glanced at the list in Jeri’s hand. “Heavy month?”

“Buying supplies for my dorm. I’m at Endicott now. What are you doing here?”

“I got a job nannying a couple of kids in Wenham. How much time do you have? Want some lunch? My treat. You know about the Capri?”

“Heard about it during orientation. My boyfriend takes me there a lot.”

Stephanie’s right eyebrow lifted and she faked a German accent. “We have a boyfriend now, do we? You will tell us everything. Everything, do you hear? Everything!”

Twenty minutes later they’d placed their order for a large, extra cheese, well done, and were sipping Tabs in a dark booth at the back of the Capri. Stephanie toyed with her napkin, the salt and pepper shakers, the Parmesan cheese holder, and their straw wrappers, arranging, rearranging, then putting everything back in their original positions only to repeat it again and again.

She kept her eyes down, not on Jeri, and singsonged, “So what’s his name, what’s he like, does he roll over when he’s done, show me his sex face.”

“What’s going on, Thompson?”

Stephanie placed a hand on her chest and affected a southern accent. “Why whatever do you mean, Ms. Weintraub?”

“You’re pale, you’re breathing shallow, and you’re twitchy. You start doing drugs since I saw you last?”

Stephanie affected a Boston accent. “When did you become a doctah?”

“Since I started dating Gio. He pays attention to things like that. So what’s going on?”

“Gio, eh? The last boy you dated was a Javier. You got a thing for foreigners, Weintraub?”

“He’s not a foreigner and quit changing the subject. What’s going on?”

“You haven’t heard about my brothers?”

“Eddie and Tom? Are they okay?”

Stephanie’s eyes watered. She hung her head and whispered, “They’re missing.”

Jeri sat beside Stephanie and put an arm over her shoulder. “Sweet Jesus, Steph. When did this happen?”

Stephanie filled in the details, each point marked with a gut shaking sob. She clung to Jeri like a child seeking its mother’s breast.

“And the police know nothing?”

“Idiots haven’t done a thing in three months.”

The pizza arrived. Jeri shook her head at the waitress and mouthed, “Can we get that to go?” The waitress nodded and carried the steaming pie away.

Jeri held Stephanie and waited until her sobs were under control. “You mind if I tell Gio about this?”

Stephanie laughed through her tears. “I thought he was a doctah.”

Jeri watched the waitresses moving back and forth, other customers eating pizza, subs, pasta. She shook her head. “He’s…different.”


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