Abbi Whitcloud, A Short Story
Abbi Whitecloud sat in the client chair across from me in my office in North Myrtle Beach. I was fiddling with my empty Sunset Investigations coffee mug and having an awful time concentrating on what she was saying. She looked so much like Jana.
"You have to be related to Jana Mashonee." I said.
"Jana who?" she asked.
I glanced over at the poster of Jana I had framed on the wall over my file cabinet. She looked, then shrugged.
I couldn't tell if she was kidding or not. She wore a one piece short black dress, the top covered by a denim jean jacket with some sort of Native American embroidery on it. Her calf length black and white high heeled boots tapped a soft rhythm to a song in her head that I couldn't hear. Her dark brown eyes followed my hands as I rummaged around on my desk for a pen.
"Can you start over?" I found the pen, clicked it and then slid a notepad closer and opened it. I wrote her name at the top of the page.
"There's no "E" at the end," she said.
"Bet that makes it tough to get anything monogrammed," I said. She rolled her eyes.
"Steve told me to just drop in, that I should talk to you before... Well before things get out of hand."
"So you and Steve are friends?" I asked. She didn't get that look most women get when Steve Eaglefeather's name comes up. I hate that look. I scribbled a question mark after Steve's name on my pad and wondered about that.
"He's gone to Memphis," she said. "On some sort of bail bond jumping thing, I think. Otherwise he'd take care of it. He said to tell you not to go all Ace Ventura on me."
She smiled when she said that and crossed her legs. Either would have ensured my compliance.
"Ace Ventura?" I asked. "Don't tell me you have a missing pet."
"T Rex is not missing," she said. "I know exactly where he is. Steve just wants you to go with me to reclaim him from my ex manager."
I scribbled T Rex and manager on my pad and waited for her to explain.
"I was working the Legends Theatre in North Myrtle four nights a week and this guy, Sheldon Getty, showed up after a show one night. After the Legends gig ended, I made a huge mistake of signing with him to represent me and ... What you know him?"
"We've bumped heads a couple of times, back when I was a cop." I said.
Getty was one of those guys. He was crooked as a black snake, sometimes violent and always one step ahead of the law. When I was working at the PD he had been involved in the meth business, ran some guns and girls. He was charged often but never convicted.
"My contract is up, and Sheldon is using T Rex as pressure to get me to sign with him again," she said and sat back down. "That is not an option."
"T Rex is your..."
"Beagle, a rescue beagle actually. I got him just before I left Texas." I saw a mixture of sadness, concern and pride cross her face and wondered about her back story.
"Let me make some calls,"I said. "find out where Getty is living these days...do a bit of surveillance and then..."
She slid her chair back, stood, slammed her hands down over my desk and leaned into my personal space.
"I know exactly where he'll be in fifteen minutes and he'll have my dog with him," she said. "Coming?"
Was there ever any doubt?
She was getting in her Jeep by the time I shoved my Chief Special in the waistband of my jeans, pulled my Longmire tee over it and got to the parking lot. The Wrangler was white and the black rag top had duct tape strategically applied to keep out the elements. The back seat had stuff piled in the floorboards and on the seats, part of it covered by a couple of blankets.
"Let's set some ground rules," I said after I climbed into the passenger seat and locked my seat belt.
"Sure thing," she said. She dumped the clutch, barked the tires, and jumped the curb onto Highway 17. "First rule: Don't criticize my driving."
I just shook my head and called Steve on my cell. He answered on the first ring as I put him on speaker.
"Eaglefeather," his voice rang out.
"Steve," I said. "I'm here with your girl Abbi and I got you on speakerphone. She's a bit intense, think you might calm her down?"
"Hey Songbird," Steve said. "Did JJ tell you that you look like Jana Mashonee?"
"First words out of his mouth," she said.
"He's a little obsessed," Steve said.
"You think?" Abbie said but she smiled when she said it.
The two talked a bit, the Jeep slowed to a reasonable speed, and then he wanted to talk to me. I took him off the speaker.
"Appreciate you helping her out," Steve said.
"She promised you she'd stay in the jeep and let me handle this." I looked over, watched her downshift and switch lanes. "Can I trust her?"
"She'll be fine," he said. "Later."
I hung up and then realized 'She'll be fine.' wasn't really an answer.
"I told him I'd meet him at the Municipal Park," she said. "We're going to be about ten minutes late...hope he hasn't left."
"He'll wait," I said. "Just let me handle Mr. Getty."
She nodded, checked her side mirror, and passed three cars in the median. I remembered the first rule and kept my mouth shut.
North Myrtle Beach's Municipal Park is twenty-five acres of prime real estate two blocks off of 17 and the subject of yearly, some times daily, political strife. Proponents want to keep it as a green space while others argue about the capital gains possible if it were sold to a development company. I'm not a tree hugger, but really how many mini golfs and tee shirt shops do we need?
Abbi pulled into the parking where a handful of vehicles sat under huge shade trees. I saw Getty sitting with a small beagle at a wooden picnic table down the hill and told Abbi to park at a spot overlooking that area.
I started to get out and Abbi grabbed my arm.
"Please, don't let him hurt my dog," she said. "He's the only family I have left, JJ."
"I got this," I said and put my hand over hers. Tears welled up in her eyes but she refused to let them fall. I got out.
Getty had been looking over some papers at the table, but looked up as I started down the hill toward him. He was dressed in grey loose fitting jogging pants, white tee shirt and high top Nikes. A skinny but tall guy, physically he always reminded me of Screech on that old 80's TV show Saved by the Bell. There was nothing funny about him.
When he saw me walking down the hill, and Abbi in the Jeep above us in the parking lot, he stood. Dropping the papers into a briefcase on the table, he shut the case, and pulled the dog in on it's leash. Then he jerked the dog up and walked toward me.
We met under a huge oak tree, whose branches swayed in the wind as a breeze picked up off the ocean.
"Lady wants her dog back, Screech," I said.
"Right after she signs with me," he said. "and don't call me that."
"This is not a negotiation, Screech," I put extra emphasis on the name. "I'll be happy to kick your ass, take the pup and leave you here whining like the junior league thug you are. In fact I'd prefer it."
I took a step toward Getty and he shifted the dog to under his left arm, pulled a switchblade knife from his baggy pants pocket and flicked it open.
The disadvantage to carrying a gun in a cross draw position, is the time it takes you to pull the darn thing if you need it. I got it out but hesitated.
"What, Justice?" Getty said. "You're going to shoot me... Over this dog?" His voice had risen a couple of octaves and I wondered if he might be snorting a little.
But he had a point. I couldn't justify shooting him over a dog. On the other hand I knew people who could and would argue the point.
"I could put one in your knee," I said.
"And I could cut this mongrel's throat on the way down..." he said and leaned back against the tree. "I can wait all day, Justice."
"I don't believe even you are sorry enough..."
Before I could finish the sentence, he positioned his knife under the dogs squirming belly and applied just enough pressure to make it squeal.
At that moment two things happened almost simultaneously. I heard a hornet buzz by my left ear and Getty's eyes took on a "Tom and Gerry" cartoonish look.
An arrow trapped the fabric of Getty's pants to the tree behind him about three inches below his crotch. I looked over my shoulder to see Abbi Whitecloud standing at the top of the hill, stringing a second arrow onto a massive compound bow. She notched the arrow, pulled it back and waited. Smooth.
"I believe I'd let the dog go, Screech," I said. "But just in case you're even stupider than I thought..." I took an exaggerated step to my right - out of the line of fire.
Seconds stretched in the silence that followed.
"OK,ok, ok," Getty said slowly leaning over to put the dog gently on the ground. It scampered by me and up the hill where his mistress waited, bow still drawn and ready to rock and roll.
"Abbi," I said. Her mind was elsewhere. I called her name again, but she didn't move.
"Shoot her Justice," Getty said. "Can't you see she's trying to kill me?"
I ignored him. "Abbi, don't do this..."
Her shoulders quivered, and then she slowly let the pressure off the bow, tossed her long black back and turned to walk to the jeep with T Rex running circles around her ankles.
Getty pulled at the arrow with both hands but had no luck getting himself loose. I started up the hill. When he called my name I turned back to face him.
"You're not going to leave me like this, are you?"
"You got a knife," I said. "Cut something off."
Abbi put the bow and arrow back under the blanket and got into the passenger seat. I put the dog on her lap and walked around to get into the driver's seat.
I backed the jeep out, turned back toward 17 and waited on Abbi to start the conversation. She didn’t.
We pulled into the parking lot of Sunset Investigations and I switched the car off.
“You’re pretty good with that bow,” I said. She shrugged and got out and put T Rex on the ground.
“Another three inches or so and Getty would have gotten a free vasectomy,” I said. The dog peed on three of the jeep's tires and I was glad my ‘Vette was in the building.
She reached back into the jeep and got the bow out.
“It belongs to Steve,” she said. “Give it to him when he gets back?”
“Sure,” I said. “You leaving town?”
“I’m playing a few gigs in New England next week, then a couple of casinos out west.”
She put T Rex in the passenger seat, walked around and got back under the wheel. I looked in.
“Thanks,” she said.
“Message for Steve?”
She fired up the jeep, shoved it into first and revved the engine.
“Yeah,” she said. “Tell him I said his bow shoots about three inches low.”
The jeep jumped the curb and she barreled down Highway 17 and out of sight.
Jana plays Abbi Whitecloud in this movie available from Amazon.
- The Dinosaur Experiment Official Trailer (2014) - Jana Mashonee, Lorenzo Lamas Movie HD - YouTube
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