Ring In the Dead

Ring In the Dead by J. A. Jance

Book: Ring In the Dead by J. A. Jance Read Free Book Online
Authors: J. A. Jance
one kind or another and planning their next illegal exploit.
    Rory MacPherson was at the wheel of our two-­year-­old police-­pursuit Plymouth Fury as we tooled around the streets of Seattle’s Central West Precinct. We were supposedly on patrol, but with nothing much happening on those selfsame streets, we were mostly out for a Sunday afternoon drive, yakking as we went.
    Mac and I were roughly the same age, but we had come to Seattle PD from entirely different tracks. He was one of those borderline juvenile delinquent types who ended up being given that old-­fashioned bit of legal advice: join the army or go to jail. He had chosen the former and had shipped out for Vietnam after (a) knocking up, and (b) marrying his high school sweetheart. The army had done as promised and made a man out of him. He’d come home to the “baby killer” chorus and had gone to work for the Seattle Police Department because it was a place where a guy with a high school diploma could make enough money to support a wife and, by then, two kids. He had been there ever since, first as a beat cop and now working patrol, but his long-­term goal was to transfer over to the Motorcycle unit.
    Mac’s wife, Melody, stayed home with the kids. From what I could tell from his one-­sided version of events, the two of them constantly squabbled over finances. No matter how much overtime Mac worked, there was never enough money to go around. Melody wanted to go to work. Mac was adamantly opposed. Melody was reading too many books and, according to him, was in danger of turning into one of those scary bra-­burning feminists.
    From my point of view, letting Melody go out and get a job seemed like a reasonable solution. It’s what Karen and I had decided to do. She had been hired as a secretary at the Weyerhaeuser corporate headquarters, but we had both regarded her work there as just a job—­as a temporary measure rather than a career—­because our ultimate goal, once we finally got around to having kids, had been for Karen to stay home and look after them, and that’s what she was doing now.
    In that regard, our story was different from Mac and Melody’s. The two of us had met in college, where I had snagged Karen away from the clutches of one of my fraternity brothers, a pompous ass named Maxwell Cole. Due to the advent of the pill, we did not get “in trouble” before we got married, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. My draft number came up at about the same time I graduated from the University of Washington, so I joined up before I was drafted. Karen was willing to get married before I shipped out; I insisted on waiting.
    Once I came home, also to the by-then-routine “baby-­killer” chorus, Karen and I did get married. I went to work at Seattle PD, while Karen kept the job at Weyerhaeuser she had gotten while I was in the ser­vice. It’s possible that Karen had a few bra-­burning tendencies of her own, but it didn’t seem like that big an issue for either one of us at the time, not back when we were dating. For one thing, we were totally focused on doing things the “right way.” We put off having kids long enough to buy the house on Lake Tapps. Now that Scott had just turned one, we were both grateful to be settled.
    Yes, I admit that driving from Lake Tapps to downtown Seattle is a long commute. That’s one of the reasons I drove a VW bug, for fuel economy, but as far as this former city kid is concerned, being able to raise our kids in the country rather than the city makes the drive and the effort worthwhile.
    I was raised in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, where I was one of the few kids around with a single mother. My mom supported us by working at home as a seamstress. Growing up in poverty was one of the reasons I was determined to raise my own kids with two parents and a certain amount of financial security. I had my eye on being

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