Magee Goes Trick or Treat – Chapter 4

Hi! Campbells world visitors! Here we are with our continuing story! I was not expecting this! Were you?

Curiouser and curiouser!

Stephen Halpert

Magee Goes Trick or Treat

Chapter 4

Dick Pride bounded into his editor’s, Charley Smiles office. “Got the photo, Sir. The police want us to run it as a missing person but I sense there’s something more than that going on.”

Charley Smiles grinned at his young reporter. He placed the print on a thick white pad, turned on the electric magnifier and moved it over the photo. 

He studied it, then looked at Dick. “What do you see?”

“I don’t think she had a clue she was going to die. Look at her eyes. They seem dazed.”

Charley nodded. “They do don’t they.”

 “Like maybe she was drugged. No one looks quite that serene when they’re at death’s door.”

Charley nodded. “Look at the base of her skull. Doesn’t it seem detached from the rest of her? And there’s no body showing.”

Dick’s eyes lit up. “Maybe she was decapitated. Murdered by someone in a crazed cult.”

Charley put his hand on his chin and looked at Dick. “I wouldn’t go suggesting anything quite like that to Tom Mallory unless you’ve got a smoking pistol and can prove what you’re saying beyond any reasonable doubt. Believe me, I know Tom. He’s a good friend of mine. He doesn’t think like you do. So you’d better be able to back up fanciful conjecturing with hard evidence.”

“But Sir, don’t you think that her turning up now right before Halloween might not have….”

“Of course it could,” Charley said. “But you’ve got to prove it, nail it down, provide that smoking pistol.”

“Yes sir. Thank you.”

Charley ran his hand through his thick white hair, took off his glasses, cleaned them with a soft cloth, and set them down on his desk. He looked at Dick with a serious expression. “And stay out of Tom Mallory’s hair. Don’t even go to the station while you’re investigating. Dig it up yourself and keep me informed.”

“I’m not quite sure where to begin?

“Take that picture and show it all over town. Schools, restaurants, churches, the library, anyplace people may gather.”

  He nodded.

“Again not a word. Break this story on your own. Shoot for The New York Times or The Washington Post.  Then you can move on to fame and fortune, write your own ticket. But in the meantime don’t be late filing the obits, proofing the paste ups, answering letters to the editor, and attending to your other weekly tasks.”

Dick Pride gulped. “Thank you sir. I won’t let you down.”

Charley smiled. “What else did you pick up?”

“I met detective Sippi Bopp. She invited me to her aunt’s party at the Inn this Saturday night.”

Charley grinned. “You’re going to meet Bea Bopp? We’ll both be there.”

“More than meet her I hope. I was thinking maybe I could do a series of interviews, and maybe she’d like me to write her tell-all biography. Not much about her in print.”

Charley chuckled. “I take it you haven’t met her yet?”

“No, but I will Saturday night.”

“I wouldn’t push her about a book right off,” he said. “I wouldn’t want her to think that you’re being opportunistic. Give it time to simmer.”

Dick wrinkled his forehead. “You think that’s wise, to wait that way?

“Yes,” he said wondering if an op ed on youth and impatience would spark any readership response.

Aunt Bea was in the guest bedroom soaking her feet when Sippi came in. “Everything all right?”  Sippi looked around to see if anything needed doing.

“I’m so glad you’re here.”

“That’s only because I’ve left my mother hen spectacles in New York.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well if I were noisy which I’m not, I’d ask what’s going on between you and Jones. Every time he acts nice you bite his head off. “

Sippi sighed. “Yes, I guess I do.” She shook her head. Memories flooded her mind, many of which she wished she could forget. “Me and Raven have history that started back on the coast during rehab. I thought we were pretty inseparable and I started entertaining thoughts that he was really the one for me forever.”

Aunt Bea chuckled. “That’s usually when everything goes up in smoke.”

“It sure did,” Sippi shook her head. “We were talking about moving in together, buying a condo and sharing expenses, though at the time both of us were independently wealthy.”

“How soon until he started looking around and flew the coop?”

“A few weeks–Raven always moves fast on or off the court. He’s got one of those minds that can keep three or four scenarios bouncing around in his head.  We were going to a New Year’s Eve bash put on by some of his NBA buddies. On our way over he told me to keep the car that he wouldn’t be needing it later on. Dumb me thought he was going to drink in the new years with his teammates but an hour after we got there he vanished.”

“Just like that,” Aunt Bea said. “No prior warning?”

Sippi nodded. Just like that.”

“Poor dear. As long as you know he’s not much different than most other immature men. Taking that step toward commitment is more than most can manage.”

“Yes,” Sippi nodded. “Raven’s immature. I knew that from the outset.”

“Not so much immature,” Aunt Bea said. “That boy will try to hold onto his youth till his hair starts falling out. Nothing any woman can do to wake him up either. He has to wake up himself.”

“What about me?” She said in a small voice.”

“Sippi you’ve hoed your own row since you were born. You’ve come into this lifetime with more awareness and wisdom than you know you have. And that can make for difficulties especially when you want to let your heart run away.”

“I learned my lesson,” Sippi sounded determined.

Bea shook her head. “I hope not. I hope you fall in love so many more times that you can’t think straight. Then when you’re really ready to throw in the towel he’ll come along and you’ll both know it. But trust Sippi. Trust the Gods of Love to look kindly upon you. Meanwhile it’s perfectly all right to see Raven Jones as Mr. Right Now. He likes walking Magee so let him. And you don’t even have to lead him on. That he’ll do on his own.”

Sippi smiled. “Somehow that doesn’t feel absolutely honest.”

Bea raised her eyebrows. “Why should it? But I don’t want to start discussing my twisting and turnings with men. We can save that conversation for another time.”

Sippi smiled. “Thanks Aunt Bea. “What you said makes me feel better, gives me hope.”

“Good thing,” Bea stood and hugged her. “You look so like your mother. She was dedicated just like you Sippi. That’s why she took her nursing skills to war. Your mother was determined to serve. And it cost her her life.”

“And you think I look like my mom?”

The phone rang. It was Chief Mallory. “Sippi we’ve got a problem. Grab Magee and get over here to the Inn. A kitchen worker wents to empty trash in the incinerator and discovered the headless corpse of a woman.”

(To be continued)

 

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