The Alibi (A John Chance Mystery) – Chapter 43 Section V Mega Chapter 2 (part 3)

The Alibi – Chapter 43 Section V Mega Chapter 2 (part 3)

Seamus walked down Aer Lingus Flight 241’s jetway in a Hawaiin shirt, hiking shorts, riotous black hair against his roughened red skin, tablet tucked under one arm and phone in hand, all to the clacking of his Birkenstalks. He figured dressed like this he’d stand out easily enough for cousin Sean, who he didn’t see waiting for him.

“Probably getting me bags.”

The baggage claim carousel beeped and its red light began whirling as it vomited suitcases, backpacks, tightly bound battered boxes, and two baby walkers at his approach. He watched business people stand as the carousel brought their bags around, shifting from foot to foot, pacing but standing still, impatient to be off making money. Young couples stayed together, pointed, and laughed as they missed their luggage and watched it go around again. Parents left one to attend tired or excited children while they hurried after strollers, backpacks, gifts from the folks back home. One elderly couple struggled to get a large suitcase off the carousel and Seamus lifted it for them. “Let me help.”

The woman beamed. “You’re from Ireland. We just toured there for a week. Loved it.” She frowned as she looked at how he was dressed. “You don’t look like the Irish people we met, though.”

He exaggerated his brogue. “Ah, but you came over, to be sure, and had a crackin’ time.”

The woman’s smile returned.

“And don’t fret, missus. I got me Lucky Charms box, a red beard, green clothes, and a pair of shoes to mend and yay, a shilling in me purse to get by while I’m here.”

Both husband and wife scowled at him. The husband said, “Thanks for your help.” They turned and wheeled their suitcase away.

An exceedingly tall, elderly gentleman on the other side of the carousel from him didn’t pay attention to the traveling chaos. He smiled at children who gawked and pointed at him, dismissed parents chastising their children for being rude, and each time his face came up, he smiled at Seamus and nodded.

Seamus checked his watch. “Come on, Cousin. Traffic can’t be that bad this time of day. The morning’s just begun.” He called Sean on his phone. Voicemail. “Cousin, you know I came in Aer Lingus, right? You remember Aer Lingus? Your favorite airline? You always said it sounded like you’re going down on an angel?”

The carousel stopped gurgitating and people pulled, dragged, and towed suitcases, backpacks, bound boxes, and children to the buses and cabstands.

“Where’s me bags?” He looked around for the missing baggage office and the exceedlingly tall, elderly gentleman stepped aside. Seamus’ gymbag and travel kit sat beside him like exhausted travelers wanting a nap. The elderly gentleman smiled.

Seamus smiled and walked around the Carousel. “I think them’s mine, friend.”

The gentleman’s voice was silk on water. “Dia duit, an tOllamh O’Hearn.” He smiled at the shocked look on Seamus’ face. “I’m sorry, Professor O’Hearn, is my accent that weak? It’s been years since I spoke your beautiful tongue.”

“What’s this about? Where’s me cousin? Is he okay?”

“I’m told you and your cousin made a fascinating discovery. Or are about to. You’re here to confirm his findings, correct?”

“Who are you?”

“Forgive my rudeness. Introductions, of course. I’m John Willmette, Professor Emeritus, Investigative Forensics and a few other fields, Northeastern University. Call me Red.”

Red Willmette lifted Seamus’ gymbag and travelkit easily, walked to a security door, tapped a code, and it swung open. A middle-aged man in a non-descript blue business suit, revolver in hand, stood in what looked like a service hallway. He nodded and stood back.

Seamus stood at the carousel. Red Willmette turned to him and smiled. There were few people in baggage claim now and he heard the elderly gentleman speak as if they stood next to each other. “Please come with me. I don’t know where your cousin is. I’m here to help you find him and to learn a bit more about your incredible find.”

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