The Hawk Run Chronicles: Welcome Home

by Skippy


The usual...

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THE HAWK RUN Women's Golf League met once a week at the local country club. Refreshments always were served; very little business was actually discussed. The only time the women were serious was when they were playing golf. As league play would not begin for several weeks, this particular meeting was far from serious. Several of the women were deeply involved in a game of 500-bid. Others were focusing their attention on conversation. A few of them were pursuing romance and so were gathered near the bar on the pretext of obtaining snacks and/or beverages. Honoria Davis Masterson had just made arrangements to meet a fellow golfing enthusiast later that evening at the Lazy Daizy Motel out on state route 533 and was nibbling one of the four olives in her martini glass when she saw Patrice Huckabee advancing toward her. She looked around for someone to hide behind but wasn't quick enough. Patrice was at her side before she could make a clean get-away.

"Hello, Treece," Honoria sighed. "How are you?"

"Never better," Patrice smiled. "Are you busy? I'd like a private word with you."

"A private word concerning what and/or whom?"

"Concerning the property out at Cohasset Cove."

"Can't we discuss that right here?"

"No. As I said, it is a private matter. I don't want anyone getting wind of my plans."

"And shall I assume that you want this 'private word' right now?"

"If it's convenient," she nodded, smiling sweetly. "If it isn't, you can meet me this evening at the Lamplighter Lounge."

"I have plans. We'll talk now." Martini glass in hand, Honoria led the way to a vacant corner of the room. She sat down at a table there. "Okay. Let's have it."

Patrice sat down beside her. She spoke softly. "I want to buy that property. Everything from Lake Road to the water."

"It isn't for sale. Not at any price."

"If you refuse to sell, I'll speak to Demetria Masterson regarding your homosexual affair with Jennifer Schilling. I've had a private investigator following you for two months, dear. I have photographs and I have videotape. You sell Cohasset Cove to me for $250 thousand, I'll hand over everything incriminating." Smiling coldly, clasping her hands in her lap, Patrice sat back in her chair.

Honoria finished the last olive, and then finished the martini. "The property is not for sale," she repeated as she stood up. She leaned over, putting her hands flat on the table in front of Patrice. Her face was a scant inch from Patrice's look of bewilderment.

"Take your photos and your videos, and shove 'em up your ass, babe," Honoria purred. "And if you bother Demmie, I can promise you hell on earth." She went marching back to the bar, leaving Patrice in open-mouthed amazement.

FROWNING IN IMPATIENCE, Patrice glanced at her watch. She drummed her fingernails against the table wondering why she entertained the notion that Bert Yancey would arrive on time. The man was chronically tardy. She signaled the waiter to order another glass of wine.

Her drink arrived just as Bert came sauntering into the Lamplighter Lounge. He had on his dress uniform, though the tie was loosened and the hat was on backwards. He scooted into the booth where Patrice was waiting.

He yawned, scratching his cheek. "Sorry I'm late. I had to meet those state cops for lunch."

"That explains the food stains on your tie," Patrice snorted. "What did the state police want?"

"They had some questions about how I came to own that new condo. I told them I inherited some money from my poor, ol' granpappy," he laughed. He signaled the waiter, who hurried over. "Bring me a Seven-Seven, pal," he ordered. "And a bowl of those cheese things."

"Just watch your step, Bert," Patrice frowned." Don't volunteer information. Answer their questions, but don't embellish."

"Don't worry about it." He took off his hat and set it on the table. "So what did you want to talk to me about, Treece?"

"I thought you were going to explain the plan with that property out at Cohasset Cove to Maureen. I haven't heard from her, and I wanted to move quickly."

"Yeah," he nodded. "But see, we had an argument a couple nights ago. She isn't talking to me right now."

"An argument about what?" she frowned.

"She found out the I've been seeing Nona. She seems to think she's got exclusive rights to me, or something."

"We need that contact in that real estate office, Bert. Can you patch things up with her?"

"I don't think Nona would appreciate that," he laughed. "She's real feisty, that sister-in-law of yours."

"She's a whore."

Bert took hold of Patrice's wrist. "Now, you watch what you say about her," he said softly. The touch of his hand was far from gentle. "I like Nona. I don't care to hear her called names. Do you understand me?"

"Let go of me," Patrice grimaced, prying his fingers from her arm.

Bert relaxed back against the seat. "I know we need Maureen's help," he said. "And I'll patch things up with her, but you're gonna have to give me some time to do that. She's real mad right now. She'll cool off, though. She always does."

" I really need that arrangement with Sunset Realty. I had a plan to convince the owner to sell, but it didn't work out. I need Maureen's help to get hold of that property, Bert."

"I just said I'd handle it, didn't I?"

"How will you handle it? We don't have time to wait around for you to placate Maureen. I'm wondering if maybe you should pay a late-night visit to Masterson Real Estate."

"You know that my partners are all in jail now, don't you? I can't pull reports to hide things like that any more."

"So recruit a cop who isn't a convicted felon. How about Galen Miller?"

"Miller?" he laughed. "That moron? I'll get a couple of my nephews. They're always looking for something to do. How soon do you want it done?"

"As soon as possible."

"Is tomorrow night soon enough?"

"It'll do."

BERT SAW TO IT that the offices of Masterson Real Estate were thoroughly trashed. Computer monitors were destroyed, file cabinets were overturned, and papers and books covered the floor like a carpet. Obscenities were spray painted on the walls and windows.

When Honoria arrived for work that morning, she could do little more than stand in the doorway and weep in anger and disgust. Her hands shook as she fumbled for the cell phone in the pocket of her coat. Tears staggered down her face as she dialed the number for the police department. After reporting the crime, she took a moment to consider her next move. A security system complete with video camera had been installed only days ago. She retrieved the tape from the camera, and then went outside to sit in her car to await the arrival of the police.

"You wanted to talk to me, Chief?" Galen frowned. He paused in the doorway of Bert's office.

"Yeah," Bert smiled. "Come in here a minute. Shut the door. This is just between you and me. I don't want that nibby-nose Darnell eavesdropping." As Galen got situated, he loosened his tie leaned back in his chair. "The first thing I wanted to tell you is that I'm real sorry about giving you such a hard time over that girlfriend of yours. It's just I've got this thing about whites dating blacks," he shrugged. "Even so, who you date isn't any of my business. So I wanted to apologize about that."

Galen's frown deepened. "Well, uhm…thanks, Chief. Apology accepted."

Bert nodded satisfaction with this response. "Okay, then. On to the next thing I need to talk over with you. Now, you know I've got a whole shitpot full of relatives living in this area. Most of 'em are over near Nelsonville. I've got two sisters living down in Marietta, too. Both of 'em married with kids, both of 'em doin' real good for themselves. It's my sister Alice that I want to talk to you about. Alice has three boys. George, Richard, and Sam. Sam is the youngest. He's 16. Giving his parents a pretty rough time of things, lately," he sighed, studying the cigar in his hand. "I guess the boy's been in trouble with the cops down there more than once over petty vandalism shit. Got caught trying to steal a motorbike once, too. Just a wild kid."

"Yes, sir," Galen nodded, wondering where Bert was headed with his story.

Bert leaned forward. "That don't mean he's a bad kid, though. He's just got a wild streak in him He'll grow outta that. I done it, so did his father. So young Sam will grow up to be a decent, hard-working man some day."


"That business over at Masterson Real Estate. You and Conners handled that call, didn't you?"

"Yessir, we did."

"Well, don't take it no further."

"Excuse me?"

"Don't take it no further. Don't bother with any kind of investigation. One of the kids involved was Sam, and I don't want him in that kind of trouble. So I'm telling you to let it drop, Miller. Are we clear on that?"

"Well, yes, Chief, I do understand what you want. But you gotta realize that the insurance company is involved in this, and even if we don't investigate it, they will. Those boys did over $12 thousand worth of damage there, plus they took $1500 out of petty cash. If we let things slide, there are gonna be lots of questions asked. Do you really want insurance investigators having a chat with the folks up in Columbus right now, Chief?"

Red-faced with anger, Bert growled, "You just do what I tell you, asshole. Forget the investigation. Or do you want to lose your job here?"

"No, sir, I don't."

"Then I shouldn't have to tell you again to let it slide. Right?"


"Okay, then. And I expect you to come up with a decent story to tell that Conners broad when she wonders why you aren't working on the case. The matter is over and done with. That's final. You get back to work now."


Demetria Grant Masterson was a very wealthy and powerful woman. In partnership with her twin sister, Yvonne, she could claim ownership of half the town. She was highly respected and admired by the majority of Hawk Run's residents, and she took her role as a pillar of the community quite seriously. She had been keeping a close eye on the business dealings of Patrice and Lawrence Huckabee since their arrival in Hawk Run several years earlier, and so she was not surprised when Honoria told her of the conversation with Patrice. She made note of the information and went on about her business, confident that her daughter-in-law could easily handle the matter. Confident, that is, until the offices of Masterson Real Estate were vandalized.

Demmie entered the dining room and paused at Honoria's side to kiss her on the cheek. Honoria, poking at her half-eaten breakfast, gave her a rather forlorn little smile.

"Now, what's that for?" she laughed, brushing a wisp of hair from Honoria's face. "You surely are not moping because Carl is in Texas."

"I'm very upset about the office."

"Yes, I can understand that." She patted her shoulder before taking her place at the opposite end of the table. "Do the police have any idea who might have done it?"

"The police are not investigating further," Honoria grumbled. "I was told that it was a dead end, there were no clues, and they don't have the resources to go all around the county investigating possible leads."

Demmie paused in the act of pouring coffee. "Who told you that?" she frowned.

"That new cop they hired. Maggie Conover. She was very contrite, and she apologized, but even so…"

"Did you speak to Paul Gordon at the insurance company?"

"Yes. He'll be in town today to take a look at the damages."

"Would you have any objections to my speaking to Helen Burke?"

"Why would you do that?"

"Because I smell a rat."

"A rat named Yancey?"

"Indeed. He helped the Huckabees get ownership of that property up on Bridey Gunn Road, he helped them get building permits for that convenience store across from the hospital, and I feel certain he is behind a number of other very questionable business transactions involving the Huckabees. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that he is responsible for the destruction of your offices."

"Do whatever you think is prudent," she shrugged. She ran a hand through her hair and sighed. "In light of your suspicions, I'm convinced that I did the right thing in withholding some evidence from the police."

Demmie frowned at this remark. "You can be arrested for withholding evidence, Honoria. What did you keep from the police?"

"I had a security system installed in the office a week ago. A system that includes a video camera."

"So whoever destroyed the office is on tape."


"Let me give this more thought. I'll let you know as soon as I decide how best to proceed."

SPAGHETTI NIGHT at the Irish Rose Tavern was guaranteed to draw a crowd. For $3.95, diners enjoyed salad, spaghetti, bread and butter, and a beverage. Helen was not a person who avoided good deals, and so she was in the Irish Rose waiting for her spaghetti to be served when Demmie Masterson came sailing through the front door. Helen gaped in stunned disbelief at seeing her there. In fact, the crowded tavern fell silent as the formidable Mrs. Masterson III advanced into the room.

Helen's companion, Jesse McGuinn, was apparently the only woman there not too intimidated to comment. "Switching religions, Demmie?" she smiled.

Demmie beamed at her in response. "I believe that I read somewhere that all women are lesbians in spirit. How are you, Jess?"

"I'm quite well, thank you, and you?"

"I'm in the pink, as we used to say." She rested a hand on Helen's shoulder. "I've been chasing you all over town since 10 o'clock this morning, Captain Burke," she smiled. "A little bird by the name of Lynnie told me that I might find you here. I do apologize for intruding into your evening, but it is important that I speak to you."

Helen dabbed a napkin against her lips and stood up. "This isn't the best place for privacy," she said. "Any suggestions as to where we might conduct this conversation?"

"My car is right outside. If you don't mind, we can sit in the car to talk."

"I don't mind."

"I assume you know that Masterson Real Estate offices were vandalized," Demmie began.

"Yes," Helen nodded.

"Are you aware that Honoria has been informed that there will be no further investigation of the matter?"

"I heard about that from Galen Miller. I'm sorry, Demmie, but…"

Demmie held up a hand to stop her. "I am not here to ask you to intervene. I'm here to tell you three things: One, I telephoned friends in Columbus, and I have talked to them about the destruction of my daughter-in-law's office; Two, I met with an investigator from the insurance company to provide information relating to the vandalism; and three, I have in my possession surveillance video from the offices of Masterson Real Estate."

"Excuse me?" Helen frowned.

"I have video tape of the crime. Actually, I have the original and three copies. Now, I certainly hope that this does not offend or anger you, Helen, but it is a question I must ask. Did Galen Miller and Maggie Conover willingly comply with Yancey's orders to stop the investigation?"

"No, they did not. They both spoke to me about the matter, and I had to tell them to let things play out. If you want either of them to talk to the insurance company or to the state attorney's office, I know they will cooperate."

Demmie nodded. "I thought as much, but I needed to be certain. Thank you for talking to me about this matter, Helen."

"Not a problem."

"One final question, then I'll let you get back to your dinner…How's the spaghetti here?"

"Well, now, Ms. Demmie," Helen smiled, "why don't you come back inside with me and find out for yourself."

"I thought you'd never ask. Lead the way."

Continued in Part 4.

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