, Mystery & Detective
, Private Investigators
, Detective and Mystery Stories
, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.)
, McGee; Travis (Fictitious character)
"Which could have been his reason for not bringing you into it."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I don't know yet. Maybe he said nothing to her. Maybe she knows the whole thing. I have to talk to her."
"So call her and I'll get on an extension."
But when nine rings brought no answer, as we went back to our places by the hearth, Anna came in and said proudly that the kidney mutton chops she had were so thick, maybe she should start them now. I knew that with absolutely no trouble at all, Anna could balloon me-up to a mighty two fifty, and it would take me months to fit back into my clothes. When I said I hadn't planned to stay to dinner, she said with a kind of contemptuous sadness that if I hadn't stopped by, Miss Glory would have insisted on some cold cereal and a piece of dry toast.
With icy gin replenished I told Glory about the rest of my day. I pointed out the significance of learning that Fort had taken direct steps to improve the terms of Heidi's divorce. "He'd already started liquidating the previous July. He knew Roger was pretty well set. He knew then he wasn't going to be able to leave them anything, so he made sure Heidi got some security out of Trumbill's money."
"Which didn't exactly pinch Gadge Trumbill," Glory said. "He had an ancestor who homesteaded two hundred and forty acres. The Chicago Civic Center is right smack in the middle of it, and the old -boy believed in leasing instead of selling."
"Next item. Neither Heidi nor Jeanie brought up the Gretchen thing. And they had their Page 41
chance." "They never knew about that."
"Now to get back to Jeanie Geis. She was terrified, and then she lied about it. Why?"
"I think I can answer that, Trav" She explained that nearly two years back, when their eldest child was five, there had been an attempt to kidnap him. The boy, Branton Fortner Geis, named after both grandfathers, had actually been taken, but the kidnapper had evidently lost his nerve because after he had driven the boy all the way into the city, he
. had abandoned him in Grant Park near the fountain. The boy had been driven around for some time, because it gave his parents about three hours of terror before a park policeman took him in and he was identified.
"Since then it has been a thing with Jeanie. She takes the kids wherever she can, and doesn't let them out of her sight. She even got a pistol permit, and she spent hours and hours on the police range; and she's an expert now. Their home has all kinds of burglar alarms and floodlights, and their sitter is a retired cop. He has a license to carry a gun too, and he takes them back and forth to school. I think she goes a little too far. I don't think it's what you could call a normal childhood for them. Roger is just sort of... tolerant of Jeanie's precautions. I guess you can't blame her too much. But it's such a twitch with her, I guess that's the first thing that would enter her mind if you walked up to her and said you wanted to talk about money. You aren't exactly a clerical type, Mister McGee. You are huge and it is obvious you have been whacked upon, and you look as though you damn well enjoyed returning the favor."
"An obvious criminal type?"
"To - Jeanie, for a couple of seconds. Until her mind went to work on it, and she got a better look at you. ø Nobody would walk up to her in broad daylight with all those people around and say Lady I got one of your kids."
"So why did she lie later?"
"A white lie, dear, to avoid telling you what she thought you were. It wouldn't be terribly flattering. Besides, she's a little punchy about the precautions. She gets a certain amount of snide comment from the other mothers."
"It explains why the maid wouldn't unchain the door or answer questions. But, baby, it does not explain her earnest sales talk about let's all forget the whole thing. Why don't you take Glory to Florida, and so forth and so forth."
"How do you explain it then?"
"I don't know. When I get reactions I
Mavis Gallant, Mordecai Richler