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The Waiting Room

~ Chapter Eighty-Seven

BonBon's Leather Cuff

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The constable laid out young Jack’s clothes on his self-appointed table. He had sat at the same table since 1999, since his arrival in the Room. He had always performed his tasks at the table, wrote to loved ones at the table, and ate his meals at the table. And now, he was laying out important evidence on the very same table.

Next to the clothes, he added Glen’s Walkman. The young boy never left the Room without it, yet there it had been, on the bed. Discarded, forgotten.

What did it mean, Ichabod wondered.

He brought down his inspection goggles to get a closer look at the fabric, not knowing exactly what he was looking for. The tweezers in his hand expertly pulled at the material as he searched and inspected for a clue, any clue.

Crane was beginning on the football jersey when a rustle of a nearby chair caught his attention. He glanced up, but the goggles brought only a blurred image and he quickly pushed the instrument up towards his forward to greet his visitor.

It was Spencer.

“Yes, Commander?” Crane addressed him. “What can I do for you?”

“It’s Emily, sir.”

Crane gave the astronaut a confused look.

“Emily.” he repeated, nodding towards the radio at the bar. “We’ve been talking again.”

The constable turned towards the bar, giving a brief look to the radio that now sat silent. He vaguely recalled hearing static a few minutes earlier.

“I see, Commander. Very good. Nice to see you are making social contacts.” Crane replied, bringing the goggles down and returned to inspecting young Jack’s jersey.

“Emily tells me things, Constable. This morning she told me something I think you might want to hear. It’s a real peach.”

Ichabod straighten from his task, but did not remove the glasses this time.

“I am quite sure that your conversation with your radio pen pal is extremely interesting…to you…but as you can see, Commander, I am in the middle of an investigation and really must try to solve this mystery of Mr. Lantz and young Jack’s disappearance. So I must beg your pardon if I appear rude and do not want to be privy to your verbal exchange with your….what did you say her name was?”

“Emily, sir. But I really think…”

Ichabod held up his hand. “Please Commander. Another time, when I am not so busy.”

Armacost sighed and spread his hands out. “Okay, Constable. Your loss. I really think…” but the astronaut stopped talking as he noticed Crane was no longer listening.

“Fine.” he snorted and left the table, returning to the radio and began adjusting the knobs to locate Emily again. The static returned and those close by heard Spencer whisper, “He won’t listen to me.”

Crane was engrossed in his chore when he realized the chair was being occupied again.

“I told you, Commander, I am quite busy,” Crane waved his hand without looking up.

“It’s not the space monkey,” came Brasco’s voice. Crane shot up, removing the goggles from his head.

“Detective? My apologies. It is just I am busy with ….”

“Forgetaboutit,” Brasco shook his head. “I thought I should inform you of something, since you seem to be involved in these disappearances. Professional courtesy, so to speak, since this is your investigation.”

“Of course, Detective. Anything you have that can enlighten me would be greatly appreciated. Have you heard something? Did you see something?”

“Heard? No. See? Yes.” He nodded towards the other side of the room. Ichabod curiously followed the direction and turned to see what had caught Brasco’s attention.

At the table where she always reigned was BonBon. Most days were spent painting her nails or fixing her makeup, cooing to the men and flirting with boys. Today something new occupied her precious time.

She was adjusting and playing with a leather cuff, twisting it around over her frail, thin wrist, buckling and re-buckling to make it tighter, then repeating the action to loosen it. Occasionally holding her arm out to admire the new accessory.

Crane carefully put down the goggles and tweezers and walked slowly to the Cuban beauty. As he drew near he caught her attention and she smiled, crossing her long legs and tilting her face upwards, her eyes hooded in a seductive manner.

“Why Constable Crane, an unexpected pleasure. I do not believe we have had a chance to get to know one another. Just call me BonBon.” She held out her hand for him to take, giving a quick, knowing glance in DeMarco’s direction and taking pleasure in the Spaniard’s concerned look.

Crane took the offered hand and gave an official handshake. “Please to meet you, Mistress BonBon. But I fear my visit is not for pleasure. Strictly business.”

“Oh? I don’t know what you’re talking about.” she said demurely aware that Crane had not released her hand and found herself enjoying the softness of the Constable’s touch.

Crane brought up his other hand and tapped the cuff.

“May I inquire how you came to be in possession of the leather cuff?”

“This old thing?” She said pulling her hand away. “I found it, over there,” she nodded towards a corner table. “Finders keepers….isn’t that the saying, Constable? I found it , no one claimed it…it is now mine.”

Crane excused himself and found his way to the empty corner table. He found nothing on the table or on the chairs. But there in the corner, behind the table, he found the automatic rifle. He pulled out a handkerchief and lifted the weapon from the floor.

He then noted that Brasco was at his side and he immediately handed the gun to the detective. “Please take this, Detective. I abhor weapons.”

The Detective hoisted it, checked the chamber and found it empty.

“Ain’t this Lerner’s?” Brasco asked but already knew the answer. Crane nodded, searching the Room. “Well how in the hell is he going back to his Platoon without his weapon?”

Crane didn’t have an answer.


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