Winch-Hunt Part 3

From Part 2

“Mr. Winch, I’ve been following the developments very closely from here in Indiana, but I can’t tell you much right now. This is bigger than both of us, and for what it’s worth someone may be listening to our conversation right now. I need to talk to you face to face. Mr. Winch, would you please be willing to meet and talk with me if I make the trip to Sandy Hill? This is really important and I’ll explain everything when I get there.”

“If this is bigger than both of us, how do I know you’re really who you say you are? Maybe you’re planning to take me out of the picture just like Ronald Barry. Maybe you’re a part of the prob . . .”

“Mr. Winch, What did you say? What do you mean just like Ronald Barry? You do know something, don’t you?”

“Yes – no – I mean, I, I don’t know what’s going on. Prove to me you are who you say you are.”

“Mr. Winch, call the Tribune. You can verify everything through them. You can see my picture and information on their website, but we need to get together as soon as possible. I’ll be in touch. I’ve said too much already. Thank you, Mr. Winch.” With that the phone was silent.

Tom was just getting ready to stop by the barber shop again when there was a knock at the door. Every neighborhood seems to have a nosy neighbor. Tom’s neighborhood was no exception.

Mrs. Camp knew more about the affairs of the neighborhood than anyone else. Most of what she knew came from second-hand stories and sometimes third-hand. She seemed to have taken a liking to the Winch’s from the very beginning; though at times she could be overbearing.

Mel, peeking through the curtain, saw her first. There she stood with her little straw hat – no doubt dating back decades. Her squinting, mischievous eyes peering through wire rims stared directly at the knocker on the front door while she impatiently waited, drumming her fingers on her somewhat matching straw purse. Tom tried to be as polite as he could as he opened the door.

“Oh, hi, Mrs. Camp. What can I do for you?”

“Uh yes, Mr. Winch. You’re here to start a church. Is that correct?”

“Yes, yes it is, Mrs. Camp.”

“Good, I want to be your first member. When do we meet?”

“Well, Mrs. Camp, you see I really don’t have anything planned right now. But there are some things we could discuss if you like.”

“Now look, my boy! Are you here to do God’s work or not?”

“Yes, but it’s not that simple. Mrs. Camp, have you ever done anything bad in your life? Ever told a lie? Ever steal a candy bar?”

“I don’t see how that’s any of your business, but yes, yes I have – when I was younger. I try to keep the Ten Commandments. It’s not like you would have a murderer in your church.”

“Mrs. Camp, I didn’t say anything about keeping the Ten Commandments – and I didn’t relay the question in the context of the church. Is something bothering you?”

“Yes. What if I were to die in the next five minutes. Would I go to Heaven?”

“That depends.” God cannot allow sin into Heaven. Sin is the bad things we do like lying or stealing a candy bar. The only way God can allow us into His presence is if we come to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Without Christ, we have no hope of Heaven. If we reject Christ, we accept the fact that we can never be in God’s presence. As much as Heaven’s real, so is Hell. God doesn’t want you to go there. That’s why He sent His Son to die for us – so we don’t have to. It’s what we deserve, but God in His love and mercy made a way for us to escape our deserved punishment in Hell. It’s just by trusting Christ, who took our punishment and our place and seeking to follow Him. Wouldn’t you really like to trust Him now?”

“Yes, I certainly would.”

“If you’re truly ready to turn to Christ with all your heart, then follow Him, make Him Your Lord, all you need to do is just ask Him. If you’re willing to repent of your sin, He’ll come in and make you a new creature. Mrs. Camp, now is the time. Won’t you ask Jesus to be your Savior?”

“Dear Jesus, I know I’ve lied and stolen candy bars. I guess you know that, too. Would you forgive me? I want to live for you and make You Lord of my life. Come in to my life and make me that new creature. Thank you. Amen.”

“Mrs. Camp, let me share more . . .”

“. . . Now Mr. Winch, are you going to start that church now? I have to be going. I’ve got a lot to do. Let me know when and where the first service will be held. Good-day.”

“Boy, Mel. That was easy! I wish it always turned out like that.”

“Well, Tom – when do you start that church?”


Tom headed down to the beach for a time of reflection and prayer. The blue skies and the smell of the ocean were two things that Tom came to relish about New England. Of course, the storms were always not far away. Tom began to think about the storm that took the lives on board the fishing vessel.

He wondered about those who died that night. Eternity is such a long time to not be in the presence of Christ. He hoped that somehow the men on board had heard the old, old story, and had the opportunity to accept Christ before the boat went down. Tom wondered about the men’s families. How were they coping with their losses? How could he minister to them?

As his thoughts developed, Tom naturally began to wonder about Ronald Barry, the hand, the size 13 footprint. What about this Jeff Hunt? How did he fit into the picture? Tom continued to pore over the questions in his mind. He was hoping for answers, but found none.

After a couple of miles on the beach, the lighthouse came into view. Tom quickened his steps. There was still investigating to do and with some daylight left, he wanted to get to it. He wasn’t exactly sure what he was looking for, but he knew he’d know it when he found it.T

The cell phone ringing his pocket shook Tom back to reality. It was Jeff Hunt. “Mr. Winch, this is Jeff Hunt. I just wanted to let you know I’ll be flying in tomorrow afternoon. I booked a room at the motel in town. There’s no need to meet me or to get together tomorrow. I want to get settled and go over my notes again. I would like to meet with you on Thursday though.”

“Look, uh Jeff. Is this really necessary? I mean, I don’t really know you. Let me put it to you this way. I don’t trust you.”

“Please, Mr. Winch. Give me a chance to explain everything. If after you’ve heard me out, you still don’t trust me – fine. But I’m going to get to the bottom of this if it kills me. Frankly Mr. Winch, it may. We could meet at a public place. Please.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll listen to what you have to say. But if I’m not satisfied that’s it, all right?”

Jeff, sensing the battle he was in for, agreed and hung up the phone. Meanwhile Tom continued toward the lighthouse when a strange feeling overcame him. For no reason at all, Tom felt as if someone was watching him. Slowing his pace he casually stooped over to pick up a seashell while looking behind him. Nothing. As he turned his back he saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. Someone or something had crouched behind a rock up on the sandy hill.

The last thing Tom wanted was for someone to see him snooping. But his curiosity was getting stronger. He headed toward the rock, not knowing what he would find. As he cautiously approached, he noticed a large footprint in the moist sand.

Unbelievable! The shoe had left an imprint in the sand – RB. These were some special shoes. Could it be they belonged to Ronald Barry? If so, how did he get sneakers with his initials emblazoned on the sole. That must have cost him a small fortune

How to Become a Private Investigator

Tom was finally ready to meet this man, whoever he was, and quickly, quietly, he jumped up on the rock. The Labrador Retriever darted out kicking sand all over Tom – no size 13 anywhere to be found.

Tom headed home. He had enough excitement for one day. He did, however pick up more information, maybe even a piece to the puzzle. Thursday would be here quickly. Just as Jeff planned to go over his notes, Tom decided to go over his. Where was all this leading? Tom didn’t have a clue. He was now reasonably sure that Ronald Barry had been on the beach some time earlier in the day. He was also reasonably sure that Ronald Barry was the size 13 footprint he had been chasing. Ronald Barry was Jeff Hunt’s step-brother. Jeff Hunt was coming to find his brother who was missing. Tom continued to piece his information together.

After all the analyzing, Tom’s only conclusion was that Ronald Barry was missing and just as Jeff had said, finding him would be bigger than both of them. For the first time in Tom’s PI game, he was getting nervous. What kind of trouble had Ronald gotten himself into? What kind of trouble were Jeff and Tom getting into? All the questions led to a sleepless night, and Tom awoke exhausted and frustrated.


“Tom, your coffee is ready. Cereal’s on the table. I have to go over to Mrs. Camp’s. She called yesterday while you were out. She has some questions, and I thought while you were out playing cops and robbers, I’d go over and try to help her. I’ll be back for lunch. Oh, and is there a date you have planned for the first church service? She’s really getting impatient.”

“Mel, it’s only been a couple of days, Give me a break.”

“I’m only asking because I know she’s going to ask. Tom she’s excited. You ought to be happy someone is responding. Right now she’s the only one that has interest. If you put her off too long, you might lose her too.”

“I know, I know. Tell her we’ll start soon. I just don’t know for sure when. We’ll start soon.”

“Okay, see you at lunch.”

Quickly Tom drank his coffee, inhaled his cereal, and dressed for another day of investigating. Storm clouds were already rolling in and if Tom was to have any time at all on the beach, he knew he had to leave soon. Grabbing the truck keys, he pulled on his jacket and started out. He didn’t have time for a walk today. He would have to drive.

Racing out to the vehicle, he felt the first drops of rain. Thunder echoed through Webster’s Cove. From a distance, the waves could be heard crashing against the rocks. Tom’s activities would have to wait for another time.

Now is the Time to Get It!

As he headed back into the house, the phone rang. Jeff Hunt was just checking in.

“Mr. Winch, this is Jeff. My flight just got in ahead of this rain. I’m at the motel. Could we meet for lunch tomorrow – say about 12:30?”

“The sooner the better, Jeff. I want to get this over with. And just call me Tom. Forget the Mr. Winch stuff.”

Was Tom softening? They were now on a first name basis. That thought was even surprising to him. Even though a certain level of trust was not yet present, Tom could feel himself easing up a little. Maybe he had finally come to realize that Jeff needed him – and that he needed Jeff. The only way to put the puzzle together was to share each other’s pieces. Truly, they needed each other and Tom was beginning to realize this.

“I’ll meet you tomorrow Jeff, at the Pit Stop over on Conway Boulevard. You think you can find it?”

“Yeah, sure Bro. I never go anywhere without my GPS.”

“Um, Jeff. Let’s not get carried away. First names are fine, but knock off this Bro talk. I’ll see you tomorrow."

© 2015 William Kovacic

More by this Author


Comments 12 comments

Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 11 months ago from USA- Florida

Bill I think I missed something. What led Jeff Hunt to Tom? He seems to appear out of nowhere.

I am enjoying this story.

*God bless Mel. She doing her best to keep Tom honest.

* Tom seems board with the ministry. Is it possible that this mystery is simply adding needed spice to his life? Tome is being distracted. Is he Justified. Will his discoveries be worth it? Suddenly some of the reasons for Mel's crankiness is coming into focus. Come on Tom lets get back to our calling.

Unless of Course Jeff Hunt is really her secret lover and Mrs. Camp is her accomplice sent to distract him from discovering the truth. Hmmm?

I guess I will have to wait until # 4 comes out.

God Bless

Aaron


lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hello again Brother,

Boy, you have a bunch of questions. I'm not sure Part 4 will answer them all. Hopefully by the end it will all make sense.

I introduced Jeff at the end of Part 2. Jeff is looking for his missing brother who was supposedly lost at sea, but he doesn't accept that explanation. Perhaps Jeff reaches out to Tom because he is a "man of God" and feels he trust him. Maybe because of their common mid-western background. Who knows? Make it whatever you want.

I reprinted his introduction to the story below. Hope it all helps. If not let me know. May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2016!

“Tom, someone called for you today,” Melanie said between stacking the dishes in the dishwasher. “He didn’t say who he was or what he wanted so I didn’t give him your cell phone number. He said he’d call back later.” Just as Mel finished her sentence, the phone rang.

“Hello, is Tom Winch available?”

Mel answered sounding a little unsure. “Yes he is. Just a minute. May I tell him who’s calling? . . . . Hold on, please.”

“Mr. Winch, my name is Jeff Hunt. You obviously don’t know me, but I believe you might be able to help me. I write for the South Bend Tribune and I’ve been working on a story. It’s a personal story. It deals with my step-brother, Ronald Barry. He’s been reported missing. I need to find some answers. They say he was lost at sea after a fishing accident. I don’t believe that’s the case at all.”

“And what do you want me to do? What makes you think I would know anything about your step-brother?”

“Mr. Winch, I’ve been following the developments very closely from here in Indiana, but I can’t tell you much right now. This is bigger than both of us, and for what it’s worth someone may be listening to our conversation right now. I need to talk to you face to face. Mr. Winch, would you please be willing to meet and talk with me if I make the trip to Sandy Hill? This is really important and I’ll explain everything when I get there.”

“If this is bigger than both of us, how do I know you’re really who you say you are? Maybe you’re planning to take me out of the picture just like Ronald Barry. Maybe you’re a part of the prob . . .”

“Mr. Winch, What did you say? What do you mean just like Ronald Barry? You do know something, don’t you?”

“Yes – no – I mean, I, I don’t know what’s going on. Prove to me you are who you say you are.”

“Mr. Winch, call the Tribune. You can verify everything through them. You can see my picture and information on their website, but we need to get together as soon as possible. I’ll be in touch. I’ve said too much already. Thank you, Mr. Winch.”

With that the phone was silent.


Abrushing1968 profile image

Abrushing1968 11 months ago from USA- Florida

Hi Bill:

I do ask a lot of questions. This is what I do when I read stories. I love to speculate while I read. It helps me fine tune my own story telling skills. Thinking of alternate plots lines is fun and it stimulates my imagination. Also I love to try and figure out where the author is going before I get to the end. In this case I have been speculating out loud for your sake. Having a bit of fun with you.

It s wonderful story.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Glad you're having fun, and even as I was reading your questions I began to think of all the different directions the story could take. I appreciate all the input, Ask all the questions you want, Hopefully they'll all be answered by the end of the story. We have a long way to go, my friend.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean

Bill, what a great story teller you are! Introducing the neighbor was very clever let we forget who Tom is and what he is about. Then you sandwich some salvation in there between the suspense. Admirable! Waiting for more.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi MsDora,

I try to include the salvation message in all my books. I never know who might be reading. Glad you were able to sop by. I hope this series isn't going to be too long. The challenge will be to hold people's interest the whole way through.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 11 months ago from The Beautiful South

Very good Bill; glad I could get here for this and I will read another one while I am up on the happenings and try to catch up. Will go back and share your first one so no one gets in the middle.

You really are a good story teller.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Happy New Year, Jackie. May this year be all you want it to be! Thanks for taking time out of the busy holiday schedule to check in, and thanks for the share.


Tamarajo profile image

Tamarajo 11 months ago from Southern Minnesota

My follow along is slow but sure. Good story Bill.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 11 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Bill

Curiouser and curiouser! I've got a bunch of questions too, but lets see where the story goes!

Lawrence


lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks Tammy. Take your time. Nobody's in a hurry around here. Hope you're having a great week!


lifegate profile image

lifegate 11 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Lawrence,

Feel free to ask any questions you want. but I may not answer them - at least yet! Thanks for following along.

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