Sara's Kitchen - Chapters Two & Three
An Original Composition
© By Drew A. Blanc - JKP
Sheriff Ham and his deputy Clarence were just finishing their lunch. Relinquishing the kitchen to her assistant, Sara sashayed her way over to them, always making an effort to greet her guests.
“So how was your lunch fellows,” pulling a chair up next to their table?
Mac Ham sat his fork down and wiped his sweaty brow with a napkin. He is a big man, demanding respect from all that encounter him. His enemies can be counted on one hand. Ham is well liked with a kind heart. The community of Little Springs trust him to be lawful yet objective. They make this known by voting him back into ofﬁce every election. Everybody knew and liked sheriff Ham.
“Fine Sara, tasty as usual.”
Clarence, tall and not nearly the girth of the sheriff, silent, nodded in agreement.
“Haven’t seen you law and order guys in here for some time? Anything new on that double murder at Doc Winchesters Sheriff?”
“Yes and no,” Ham cleared his throat. His deep voice was clear and resonated when he talked.
“Clarence here thinks your boy Jerry is some how mixed up in all of this. So we thought we would enjoy a plate of your homemade pasta and hoped you could enlighten us. Fill us in on a few things.”
Sara knew, like any mother love, that Jerry didn’t have a mean bone in his body. She also knew and felt he was indeed mixed up in this mess. It was that back East girl. She just knew it.
“Well I can try to Mac, but I have to tell ya, I don’t think Jerry would get involved with that kind of trouble. He mostly keeps to himself. Likes to read a lot and go fishing.”
“Ya, I know the boy. Knew his mother too. A real sweet lady. Trying to raise those children and havin’ that disease and all. Really got to hand it to her.”
Ham acknowledging his deputy, “see both Clarence and I think he left town with that attractive gal from back East. You know, the one with the blue blazer?”
“Sure, I know who you are talking about. She and her husband ate here a couple of times.”
Clarence decided he would participate in the conversation. “No, that wasn’t her husband Sara. That man was actually her twin brother. We know, because of the Dental records sent to us by the FBI. And some other documents forwarded to us from Toronto. He is definitely one of the dead John’s.”
Shocked she asked, “did you say Toronto?”
Mac stretched his legs.“Yep, Amanda and Brian D’Ivoire, other wise known as Amanda and Brian Ivory. Notoriously known as the Ivory gang. Use to be five in the group. All of them related to one another. Our two are known as the best brother sister scams act ever to come out of Canada.”
“Why would the FBI have the brothers’ dental records, she sat in amazement?”
“That’s a good question Sara. We wanted to know for several different reasons. Once we knew who they were, we need to reconstruct exactly what happened out at ol’ docs’ place. We needed to come up with some facts that would explain why two men, who didn’t know each other, ended up dying together. One thing we do know is that Jerry ended up disappearing the same time little miss beauty queen did.”
Clarence interrupted, “When exactly did Jerry work last?”
She thought for a moment. “Oh, it was the night the mayor had his birthday party.”
“The coroner says the time of death was somewhere between ten o’clock Wednesday night and one thirty the next morning. July 17 and 18 respectively. The deputy phrasing it like a question.”
She smiled, “well Jerry couldn’t have been involved. He didn’t leave here until almost midnight. The mayor’s party took us by surprise. I think they didn’t leave until a little after eleven. It was a mess. We had lots’ of dishes and cleaning to do and.”
Ham interrupted, “we know all about the mayor and his drinking party Sara. We are just trying to put the facts together, he leaned forward. See in reconstructing a crime we have to come up with some kind of time line that supports the facts that we already have. Are you sure that was the last time you saw him?”
She thought about it for a few moments. “You know, I did see him or actually his truck the next day at the liquor store.”
“Was that unusual for him? Buying booze? He struck me as good kid. Not one for parting and all, sheriff Ham responded.”
“Yes that does seem a bit strange. Jerry didn’t drink much. One glass of wine put him under the table. I did wonder what he was doing there?”
The Sheriff slid out of the booth and put on his hat. His Deputy followed. “That’s okay Sara. You have been a great help to us. We promise to come back and have dinner sometime soon. Don’t worry yourself. The kid is probably just off ﬁshin’ or something. He’ll show up sooner or later. That boy was born here and I believe it’s in his blood.”
“Have a good afternoon,” Clarence tipped his hat to her.
Sara watched them through her bay window as they left her restaurant.
They stood next to their patrol bronco in the light drizzle of the early afternoon. Clarence asked, “where to Sheriff? You reckon Jerry was buying something for the girl?”
“I say we head over to the liquor store and find out Deputy.”
The Wasatch mountains towering the Salt Lake City valley still had snow on their peaks. The Utah summer had been cool and wet like its neighbor Colorado. Jerry didn’t care much for big cities. They were too noisy and had way too many people for his taste.
After the trouble they had in Phoenix they hopped on the first bus out which took them North landing them in Sandy, a suburb of the city. Amanda’s blazer had to be abandoned way back in Albuquerque. The Massachusetts plates were stolen. Her brother had been the one to switch the plates back in Elizabeth New Jersey with an identical vehicle. Jerry’s truck never left the Colorado border.
Surviving on very little, the small time jobs they were doing paid for several hotel rooms and cab fare. Dinning out almost every meal’ they ate well. He was late as usual. It’s not in his nature to rush. Meeting at the downtown mall they would work the un-expecting tourists on Temple Square. In just a half and hour they could make a couple hundred bucks.
He tipped the cabbie thirty percent and entered the multi-level mall at ground level. Amanda always wore a disguise. Usually a wig and navy or dark green colored sweats. Transforming herself into a completely different person. Under the jogging outﬁt she wore leggings and a colorful tee shirt. In a matter of seconds, shedding the outer layer she became just another one of the masses. Sometimes she would wear different color contact lenses, but that slowed her.
Last Thursday in Provo, she was made. By the time the teenage store manager figured out what was going down, Amanda had removed the wig and sweats. Stuffing all of it in a brown shopping bag, she discarded it in a near by trash dispenser. Calm and yet still gutsy, she even held the door open for security as she casually left the premises. Jerry was amazed as well as intrigued.
He spotted her near the movie theater entrance. She was wearing the red one today. They never formally acknowledge one another. He would buy a ticket and get something to snack on. A few minutes later she would do the same. Once the movie had started, they would meet at the emergency exit. By that time she would have already disarmed the alarm. Sneaking out into a sparsely lit hallway, Jerry always exited out onto the street first.
“You’re late again, as she pulled the wig on tighter. You know I pick these times for a reason?”
He motioned for her to join him on West Temple. The street would lead them to their destination.
“You have been wearing that same tee shirt for almost a week. What am I going to do with you?”
He couldn’t remember the last time they did laundry. He always took a shower every day. Doing almost everything she said, his patience was wearing thin.
Amanda’s next job was the metal door. Using her chewing gum she would place it over the it locking mechanism’s opening so the outside door would not lock. They always came back the same way.
“I think we will take a little vacation after today and head for Las Vegas. Buy you some new clothes. Maybe get you a hair cut. How’s that sound Jer?”
He knew it wouldn’t be a vacation. “Sure why not, but I am still not wearing a suit.”
As they approached the southern entrance to the grounds, the Temple’s steeples came into view.
“We will see. Where is the camera hon?”
“I forgot it again. Sorry.”
“Wonderful, see that’s exactly what I am talking about. We are supposed to be a team. Work together and play like we are both on the same side.”
Staring at the sidewalk he knew she was right.
“Look at this will ya?” Amanda put on her sunglasses.
At the entrance of Temple Square there were four or five cops. They each had sketches of one female and one male. Jerry remembered the older cop with the thick mustache. The cop remembered his tee shirt, but not right away.
Quickly, they skirted around a city bus making their way back to the metal door on West Temple. Seconds later Marvin stroking his mustache remembered Jerry’s tee shirt. It had a unique design. Something southwestern. Maybe he was the same kid he had seen in Provo last week. Searching the crowd again he saw them running West on South Temple. Grabbing a few officers they headed in the same direction.
Catching her breath she pulled off her sweat shirt, “here take that damn tee shirt off and put this sweatshirt on. We have been made Jerry.”
Nervously, he did. “Did you remove the gum Amanda?”
“What do you think? Come on lets get out of here.”
Trying to not draw attention they walked briskly up the aisle as knocking sounds on the outside metal door could be heard in theater number two. . . .
Marvin rubbed his throbbing hands, hurting from all the pounding. “Does anybody know where this door leads to?”
“I believe this is the ﬁre exit for the movie theater,” a burly officer answered.
“Great, you two stay here and you, gesturing to the stocky cop, come with me.”
Marvin and Gus, the other cop, ran to the West side entrance off the downtown mall. Gus knew exactly where they needed to be. “Follow me Marv.” Being a movie buff, he had spent many hours in the downtown theater.
Approaching the concession stand, Marvin radioed for backup while Gus informed the manager at the ticket booth.
“Did you see a busty redhead and a guy in his mid to late twenties with a black tee shirt walk through here?” Out of breath, Marvin asked the usher and concession help.
No, they hadn’t seen anybody that ﬁt his description.
“The manager said four out of the five movie theaters currently all have features playing. The first to let out will be number four in about twenty minutes,” Gus informed Marvin.
“Good, lets set up right over there, pointing to a life size cardboard poster of an action film coming soon. When our backup arrives, give them a description of those two. Then you and I will take a looksie in each of those theaters.” . . .
“Amanda don’t you think we should leave? Whispering in her left ear, I mean like right now?”
Holding his right hand she gave it a little squeeze, “trust me on this Jer. We are going to sit here and watch this movie and leave with everybody else. They are looking for a redhead with a guy in a black tee. Not us sweetie.”
Jerry couldn’t concentrate. The plot was gibberish to him. Every now and then a police officer would come in and take a look around. Amanda squeezed his hand tightly as they both starred at the movie screen.
Fifty five minutes later the credits of their movie where coming to an end. Amanda laid her head on his shoulder and whispered, “Jerry we need to play like love birds. When we leave put your hands tightly around my waist. Whatever you do, don’t look at them. Ignore everybody and focus on me. Kiss me occasionally. Here lets practice some,” giving him a light kiss on the cheek, then softly on his lips.
Picturing different circumstances, he had fantasized about this for weeks. She was kissing him for the first time and all he could think about were handcuffs and jail bars.
With her feet she pushed the brown paper bag under the seat in front of her and stood up. Jerry took her left hand in his right. Stepping over empty popcorn and soda containers, they made their way to the bright light of the mall.
With wall to wall people, it was a mad house in the lobby. Didn’t these people have jobs? This was a weekday and mid afternoon. Navigating through them, out of the corner of his eye he saw them on the left. He decided to kiss her on the forehead, but anticipating him she met his lips with hers. Holding her tightly, heart beats racing they continued to the front doors.
The cop with the thick mustache stepped in front of them displaying his badge. Jerry knew they were busted.
“Hey folks, how was the movie?”
Amanda responded, “actually I don’t even know officer. We never get a chance to spend any time together. My husband and I are so busy now days. With two kids, a baby and both of us working, we have to sneak in a movie every now and then.”
Lieutenant Marvin Turner understood. He and his wife never saw much of each other.
Jerry held on tightly to her and just smiled.
“It felt like we were teenagers again. We kissed and giggled through the whole thing.” She kissed her just then made up husband on the neck.
“Good for you, Marvin's right hand produced the sketches. Have you seen these two? Possibly here or out in the mall? The female is a redhead.”
Jerry took them and handed them to Amanda. They both looked at the badly drawn sketches of themselves. “Sure haven’t, what did they do officer? This guy kinda looks like Jerry here, forcing a laugh Amanda smiled.” Jerry did the same.
Marvin expecting they were long gone, took back the pictures.“Oh they are just a couple we are trying to catch up with. If you see them please call me at this number, handing them his card. That is my cell phone number. You can directly reach me.”
“Sure thing,” Jerry nodded as he and Amanda exited the movie house.
Relieved, but wound up, they hailed a taxi. In the back seat he grabbed her and kissed her passionately. She responded enthusiastically. Their hearts beating rapidly they embraced each other. Again, they both knew their lives would not be the same. . . .
Marvin and Gus reviewed everything that had transpired over the last hour and a half. They had covered all of the exits. Posted men outside and in. Puzzled, they speculated on what was overlooked?
“Maybe they wore disguises’ Marv,” Gus suggested.
“Hum, that’s an interesting thought. Or maybe they were in disguise and ditched it when they came back through here. Check all of the bathrooms and trash can’s Gus.”
“Did you hear me Sargent?”
“With both ears’ sir, Gus abandoning his thoughts.”
Just then the usher approached them holding a brown paper bag. “Excuse me, the kid said with a hoarse voice. I found this under a seat in theater number two. I don’t know if it means anything.”
Opening the bag carefully, Marvin and Gus found the black tee shirt first. Then a pair of sunglasses, the bottom part of a green jogging suit, a couple sticks of gum and a red wig.
“Well I’ll be a son of a, Marvin reached for his radio. I just spoke with them. Get this stuff to the lab Gus. Have them check for prints and all the other usual stuff. Damn.” . . .
“Jerry where are you darlin'? I have been worried sick, Sara beginning to cry.”
Holding back his tears “Sara, I miss you; Sorry I didn’t call until now. I have been traveling around some. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Are you okay? You didn’t answer my question honey. Where are you calling from?” Wiping her tears with a dirty dish rag.
He was tempted to tell her, but he knew better. He had so much to say. So many things had happened in five weeks. He just needed to hear her voice. Badly he wanted to share with her the fact that he was in love, that he was living on a wing and a prayer and running from the law. Amanda was taking a shower and he felt it was time to check in with his mama love.
“I can’t talk long. I just wanted to hear your voice.”
He could hear her crying. He knew she probably was busy. It was six thirty. The dinner crowd demanded her attention.
Crying silently he chocked back the tears and carefully set the phone back in its cradle. . . . .
“Lieutenant Turner please,” his deep voice inquired.
“This is Turner. How can I help you?”
“Good afternoon. This is Sheriff Mac Ham of Little Springs Colorado. I don’t know if you remember me. We met several years back on that manhunt of those cop killers.”
“Sure do Mac. I have been expecting your call. Sorry I missed you this morning.”
“No problem. I wondered if you and I could get together sometime tomorrow and discuss the Ivory case some? I would be happy to drive over to Salt Lake.”
Turner heard Ham clear his throat. He knew Ham liked his cigars.
“Sure if you don’t mind the drive. Hell, we can talk right now if you like. I can spare a few minutes.”
“I would rather meet in person. This case hits kind of close to home if you don’t mind me saying. I have family in your valley. Wouldn’t mind seeing them.”
“Sheriff you are always welcome to visit. Still have that enormous appetite of yours?” Ham chuckled, “yep you could say that. Is that greasy spoon still in operation? You know the one run by that sweet gal Mitzi?”
“Uh huh, still there and I know she would love to see ya. I detected a little somethin' between you both.” Marvin snickered.
“She is my kinda gal Marv. I like um plump and sassy,” he roared with laughter.
The lieutenant has always liked the sheriff from Colorado. He could tell he was an honest cop. Intelligent, witty and a good sense of humor, Marvin looked forward to seeing him again.
“Don’t forget, the food is tasty too, Sheriff".”
“That’s what I am sayin’. It’s my kinda place. What do ya say, around eleven thirty sound okay with you?”
“You bet Mac. Drive carefully now,” as he hung up.
Both of them were not much for goodbyes. . . . .
Leaving Salt Lake City quickly, Amanda and Jerry headed for Las Vegas.
During the bus ride he was adamant with Amanda. He would never wear a monkey suit. No matter what. Eventually, she won him over. He could not resist her charms. They had become extreme lovers. Always hanging onto one another. The close call with the law in Salt Lake City had united them. It was inevitable in Jerry’s eyes. Amanda didn’t just need him for the game, but indeed really needed his trust and love.
They both decided to relax for a few days. Staying at the Mirage in the hotels bridal suite, Amanda and Jerry only left their room a couple of times. The second day she took him out shopping. Their first stop was the barber in the hotel’s lobby.
With a slick big city hair cut and some fancy clothes Jerry felt transformed. He knew it was him, but every time he caught his reﬂection in a store window or in a mirrored elevator he was stunned.
She promised he would only have to wear the suit when needed. The other clothes they bought made him look very cosmopolitan. With the few things Amanda purchased, they looked trendy and wealthy.
Amanda’s ever watching eye detected others that were in the game. She knew most of the tricks of the trade. Almost everywhere they went in the gambling oasis of the desert, she saw one or two playing.
“Jerry it’s too hot. Why don’t we enjoy the rest of the week here and then head for the West Coast?”
Adjusting his high dollar sun glasses, he reached for her hand across the table. “We hardly spend anytime out of the air-conditioning Amanda. I think we should just chill here for a couple of months. Why do you want to pick up so quickly?”
Amanda smiled. He had never used the word “chill” before. She knew her vocabulary was rubbing off on him. Emotions stirring in her heart she removed herself from across the table and sat next to him. Teary eyed she kissed him softly.
“Sweetie when I said hot, I didn’t mean hot like in the weather. I meant hot like in there are too many others like us here. I have spotted several other teams.”
“Why are you crying?” Jerry turning to face her directly. Gently wiping the tears with his finger tips.
“Because I know, I really care for you. You are the best thing to happen to me in a long time. I’m not crying. I am genuinely happy you and I are together. But I also know that it is extremely dangerous for us to stay here. We need to get legit for a while. Find us some real jobs.”
Surprised, he wondered what her pretty little head was thinking. Jerry had pleaded with her from the beginning to do that very same thing.
“Why the change of heart Amanda?”
She saw them at the cash register. Max and Alec. Two ex-members of the Ivory gang. Her cousins. It did surprise her a little bit, but it made sense for them to be here. Brian had told them to leave Canada and never come back or he would kill them himself. There was a third, but she knew old Shaky was doing time in Quebec.
Caressing Jerry’s legs she acknowledged Alec’s signal by clearing her throat. Jerry was catching onto the rules of the game and knew that his lover just gave a signal. They had used the clearing of the throat once or twice.
“Who are you signaling Amanda?”
Looking him straight in the eye, she thought about not telling him. Remembering how her twin brother Brian had died and all that she and her new love had been through, she spoke. “The two at the cash register are my cousins from Toronto.”
Jerry’s eyes met with Max’s. “I thought you were from Cape Cod?”. . .