Search Chapter 13 – Sunday, 20 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 completed a rough draft of the entire novel on 1 June 2021, ~ 8:30pmET. It’s ~103k words, 42 chapters. I mention in earlier posts “…it seems I’ll complete the novel this time. We’ll see.”

It’s seen and done.

Read Search Chapter 12


 

Search Chapter 13 – Sunday, 20 January 1974

Harding met Morelli in the Augusta barracks parking lot. “Heard you had a busy night, Tobes.”

“Rollover on the interstate. Tire blew, they lost control. Folks had their seatbelts on, though. They got out alive. End of the dinner hour so there wasn’t much other traffic. And we got there quick. Passersby in both directions stopped at the next exits and made calls. Other folks put out flares.”

“You got artwork?”

Harding pulled a folder out of his inside coat pocket. “Right here. Giving them to the accident investigation boys. Hey, want a laugh?”

Morelli frowned at him.

“Not the accident.” He put that folder back in his coat pocket and pulled another folder from the other side. “The tow truck driver. He’s a piece of work. Asked if this was going to be in the paper. Wanted to know if I could get a picture of him and his truck in with the story. Hounded me like a son-of-a-bitch until I said yes.”

Morelli shrugged.

“Take a look.”

Morelli’s eyes popped. “He skivved down to his tshirt in last night’s cold?”

“He wouldn’t dropped his pants if I let him.”

Morelli shuffled 8x10s. “Truck’s not much to look at.”

“He’s registered with Gardiner. Something happens in the town limits, he gets a call, automatic.”

“Is he posing?”

“Yeah, said he’s a body builder or something like that. A regular Arnold Schwarzeneggar.”

“Definitely looks like it.”

Morelli tipped a photograph on its side. “You got a magnifier?”

Harding reaching into an outer pocket and handed over a Sherlock Holmes style lens.

“Mother of Christ.”

Harding stood beside Morelli and looked through the glass. “What? What is it?”

“His truck’s got vehicle plates.”

“Oh, yeah. He said he collects them from old cars, wrecks. Buys them from dealers through the mail. I didn’t know there was a market for that kind of thing. He swaps them out every few days. His rear plate is regulation, though.”

“Get his name?”

“On the back of each photo next to the date.”

Morelli flipped the photo over. “How about an address.”

“That’s in my notes. Lives in West Gardiner somewhere with a roommate. Todd something. Want me to look it up?”

“Please.”


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