Fanshawe chuckled. "I want you to have the research people check something out for me. I want to know about a guy named Eldred Karswell-"
"Just...a guy. He drives an old black Cadillac," and then Fanshawe read off the vehicle's license plate number.
Artie sighed through a pause. "Got it. Not gonna tell me the deal with the guy-this...Karswell?"
Fanshawe smiled. "No. Just run a make on him because...well, because I'm the boss." Fanshawe didn't want to reveal that Karswell had actually been murdered, or at least killed, if the police were wrong. Artie would go ballistic... They would find out soon enough.
"I'm hearing you loud and clear...boss."
"Good. Just ring me on my cell when you've got it, okay?"
"Sure. Say, aren't you going to ask how things are going with all your astronomically successful businesses?"
"I don't have to ask, because I have the utmost confidence in you." Fanshawe liked Artie but he just didn't feel like talking right now. "Thanks, Artie. Take the office out on the company card tonight. Anyplace you want."
"A simple thank you will suffice."
"Uh, thanks, boss!"
"Yeah, sure, I-"
Fanshawe hung up, feeling satisfied in some inexpressible way. He couldn't imagine what goaded his curiosity about Karswell, but then there were a number of things he felt intensely curious about in Haver-Towne, things that wouldn't ordinarily pique him. It's because my life has changed now...for the better. I'm essentially retired; my managers run my businesses, so I need new interests, and with that he began to walk. He'd done lots of walking since he'd arrived, and he found that he liked it. It cleared his head...
He began to walk back toward the trails.
It occurred to him that police might still be around. I hope they don't think I had something to do with it... Still, he felt like a criminal returning to the scene of the crime. But he couldn't quell the urge to see the trails again, and the scenery off the most elevated of the hillocks. He didn't think for a minute there was a subconscious motive, the joggers, for instance. After what they saw today, they'll NEVER come back out here. Before he knew it, he was ascending the hillocks.
No surprise there, he thought when he saw that the trail where Karswell's body had been found was cordoned off completely with yellow tape. Only when he discerned that the police had left did he realize how unwise coming here might be. Whoever killed Karswell might still be out here...
But how likely was that?
At any rate, Fanshawe wasn't convinced it had been murder, missing wallet or not. The Wild Animal Theory seemed much more plausible; then someone coming along afterward (someone disreputable, of course) could easily have taken Karswell's wallet after the fact.
I don't know...
The sun was descending, drawing smoldering orange light across
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