The #52weeks52stories challenge is supposed to be flash fiction… and today I’m posting the TWELFTH installment of my story!
What am I doing with my life?
The Devil You Know is going on hiatus. No, not sticking it in a drawer. I’ll work on it during July CampNaNoWriMo—tighten up the beginning, clean up errors and discrepancies and bring it to a whizbang finish! 😀
Check back here for updates!
#52weeks52stories: Week 22
Word prompt: cake
Word Count: 1226, Reading time – 2 minutes, 1 sec
(All links open new windows.)
Vincent Perreti never played a video game he didn’t want to master or saw a website he didn’t want to hack.
Had it not been for a savvy guidance counselor, the twenty-nine-year-old could have easily ended up on the other side of the law. But tough-love moved the street-wise tech-geek past juvie hall through college and onto the Marbury police force.
“I am amazed at the number of men named Mossford.”
Ending his phone call and turning back to his monitor, Myles Griffin chuckled. “It’s an old-world name from another era.”
“No, it’s a hillbilly name from the back woods.”
“Man, would you quit? What have you found on our guy?” Getting no response, Myles glanced over at his partner.
He knew by the mischievous glint in Perreti’s eyes and mega-watt grin the man had found a gold mine.
“Get this. Mossford Oswald Samuel Sievers was born to Benedict and Gracelyn Sievers 11 February 1921.”
Griffin frowned. “And?”
“Don’t you get it?”
“Mossford… Oswald… Samuel… Sievers. M-O-S-S. Moss. Who does that? Was it intentional? Were his parents wordsmiths? I love it!”
The thirty-two-year-old Griffin leaned backed in his chair, laughing. “Only you zero in on that kind of stuff. But Marks is coming in here soon and will want to know more than the man’s name was an acronym.”
Perreti smirked. “You never let me have any fun. Fine. Like I said born February 1921; entered the Air Force June 1939; and married Lindy Ellen Piquat August 1939. He was stationed stateside in Dover while that base was being built.” Perreti frowned. “I can’t access his actual service record… yet but looks like he didn’t get deployed until two years later after Pearl Harbor.”
“Do not hack that system. I’m still filing reports from your last data breach. We make the appropriate requests.”
Perreti pounded away on the keyboard, trying to gain access. “Yes, boss.”
“Vince? Don’t start. I’m not your boss, I’m the Forensic data lead, okay?”
“But if you’d taken that job with Google, I’d have the position, right?”
“I didn’t want to work for Google, I like being a cop.”
“Yeah, but you’re breaking your mother’s heart.”
“No need to remind me what a disappointment to my parents I am by being a lowly civil servant.”
“Oh, please. You could have my mom… who’s happy I’m on the outside of the bars.”
Griffin laughed. “Good thing we’re both confident men.”
Perreti feigned tears. “Speak for yourself, I need counseling.”
Both laughed while shaking their heads. Perreti pointed at Griffin’s desk.
“What did you find out?”
“Mossford and his kids were busy… breaking laws. Grifting, cons, scams, they were at it for years. No arrest record for Lindy, though, and nothing on a Gary Sievers.”
Vince opened another browser. “No one is invisible. No one. Even folks who live off the grid left a footprint somewhere.”
The two detectives smirked and spoke at the same time. “Unless they were never on the grid.”
“Please eat just a little, mom. It’s been hours since you’ve had anything besides coffee.” Joanie Case held out the deli-style turkey sandwich to her mother.
As though on cue, hunger pains roared to life in Sally Bennett’s stomach.
Joanie smirked, and Sally took the sandwich. She munched without thought, her eyes unable to leave the large double-doors leading to the surgery suites.
Two hours into the procedure, Dr. Weathers came out with an update.
“We’re still cautious, Mrs. Bennett, but it’s looking good. We’ve removed all the bone fragments and there’s no evidence they added to the injury. There’s no intracerebal, or brain bleeding. Swelling has decreased since his MRI, which is a good thing. We’re about to begin the delicate portion of the procedure—draining the fluid.”
Sally clutched her chest. “That sounds serious.”
“I have to be honest with you. No matter how much care and time we take, an ischemic or brain stroke is a possibility.”
He stood and leaned over Sally, squeezing her shoulder.
“He’s strong and a true fighter. Ted and I feel very good about this. Someone will update you again soon.”
The doctor’s words replayed in Sally’s head. “He’s strong and a true fighter.”
She smiled to herself as she crumpled the sandwich wrapper.
“I guess someone was hungry.”
She smirked at her son. “I didn’t think I could keep anything down, but my body took what it needed. I feel better.” She reached over and gripped his hand. “About everything.”
Carolyn returned to the waiting room from the hallway.
“The Red Cross cleared an early release from duty for Cheryl. She’ll change planes a few times but will arrive in Philadelphia tomorrow evening.”
Darrin frowned. “So, I need to meet her at the airport?”
“No, big brother, got it covered. Dave is packing as we speak. He and the kids will meet Cheryl’s plan and head on here.”
“I told Merri not to come. If she hears Dave is here I’m in for it.”
“Same here with Rick,” Joanie added.
Carolyn chuffed. “All of us and seven kids? Now is not the time for a family reunion.”
“It’s the perfect time.”
They all turned to their mother.
“We’re past the point of this disrupting our lives. Better we should all be together so you all don’t have to worry about how your absence is affecting your families. At least for a few days.”
Sally leaned forward in her seat.
“Your father would never admit this, but he loves being surrounded by his children and grandchildren. Having everyone here when he wakes up will be better than any medicine.”
Joanie slipped her arm around her mom’s shoulder. “You believe he’s going to be okay, ma? One hundred percent like before?”
“I’ll take any percentage I can get, but yes, your father’s going to be fine.” Her gaze returned to the double doors. “He has to be.”
The five detectives had chairs pulled close to Gavin Marks’ desk as they all listened to Michael Benchley, the current sheriff of Drexler, Delaware on speaker-phone.
“Haven’t heard the Sievers name in quite a while. Thought they were all dead except for Melville.”
Marks perked up. “Where’s he?”
“Vaughn Correctional in Smyrna… for second-degree murder.”
“Can you give us details? Sounds like we’ll be making a road-trip to Smyrna.”
The sheriff chuckled. “I can pull our local files and tell you whatever you want to know. But I have a better idea. Since you’re planning a road trip anyway, come here first. You’ll find out more from my dad than any file will tell you. He was a deputy and the sheriff back in those days and knew Moss Sievers and his family. Dad’s in his nineties but still sharp as they come.”
Gavin wanted to leap from his seat.
“Holland get started on travel vouchers. Gans, find out if you or Hill can go along. Griffin and Perreti, work on getting clearance for us to see Melville Sievers.”
He turned back to the speaker-phone.
“Will you be around this weekend, Sheriff?”
“If I want to keep breathing, I will. My wife’s birthday is Sunday.”
“Well, remember to save us some cake.”