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Boat of the Moon

Boat of the Moon

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Boat of the Moon

171 pagine
2 ore
Nov 21, 2018


Violent murders have been occurring in the neighborhood around Neal’s church. Even though the police have arrested a suspect, a chance meeting with local resident makes Neal think that they may have the wrong man. Neal and his friend investigate the crimes independently from the police. Neal is conflicted about whether to befriend his suspect. The man needs help, and maybe Neal can provide it, but Neal also uses information he gathers from the suspect to work towards convicting him. Neal is going through struggles that make him doubt his own actions. 9 chapters, 42,000 words. Eleventh in the Neal Harris Series.

Nov 21, 2018

Informazioni sull'autore

Selmoore Codfish is not really a fish, but a chicken. He’s hiding because celebrity would show that he is not actually funny, just faking it. If the public knew Mr. Codfish’s identity, they would demand that he be funny all of the time. However, he would prefer to remain a dour, grumpy person. Funny people don’t get respect but are thought of as special or different. His friends and associates appreciate his dry seriousness and they shouldn’t be let down by humor.

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Anteprima del libro

Boat of the Moon - Selmoore Codfish

Boat of the Moon

By Selmoore Codfish

Copyright 2018 Selmoore Codfish

Smashwords Edition

* * * * *

Table of Contents

Boat of the Moon

About the Author

* * * *

Chapter 1

Sunday evening, I parked at the corner of Distel and Lyon streets. I got out of my car and looked up at the sky.

The sun had set an hour ago. The moon was a waning crescent. It sat on top of the trees as if it was a boat on the waves. The moon appeared to rock as the branches swayed in the wind.

I didn’t realize how close my destination was to Mrs. Malczewski’s former home. I could see it two houses down on Lyon. The street was comprised of 100-year-old two-story houses on small lots.

Mrs. Malczewski had been a member at St. Donna. I’d talked to her a few times over the years.

She was murdered in her home a few months ago. Apparently, her body was badly mangled. It took dental records to identify her corpse. The newspaper had said that the Elmtown killer was responsible. He or she had killed at least seven people in this part of the City over the last several months. I didn’t worry about walking here at night because all of the victims had been women over fifty years old. Of course, the killer wasn’t the only risk being in the City, but I usually did fine by just keeping my eyes open.

Our church was where Distel reached a dead end at the main road. The pastor was getting old. He could no longer carry out many of his duties. That was why I was at Charlene Goudy’s house. She’d filled out an inquiry card when she was at church this morning. It was customary to have a courtesy call after a card was filled out, but our pastor was immobile.

Some old ladies just wanted someone to talk to. I’d spent a couple evenings learning about their deceased husbands, and the names of their children and grandchildren. I had never met Mrs. Goudy and didn’t recall seeing her earlier today. Being so close to Mrs. Malczewski’s house, maybe they had been friends. I braced myself for hearing how she felt about the loss of her friend.

I went up to her address on Distel and knocked. There was no screen door. Right away I heard footsteps approach.

A man opened the door. He stood back from the doorway. He didn’t look directly at me. He was balding despite otherwise looking in his 30’s, and his ears stuck out from the sides of his head.

Is Mrs. Goudy here? I asked, thinking he must be her son.

He looked into the living room. He gestured towards the room as if I was supposed to enter, so I stepped through the doorway.

The room was cluttered. It had a couch, two chairs, and an end table. A pizza box was on the end table. Takeout containers were on a chair; rags, papers, and cardboard boxes were strewn about. The television was on. However, I saw no woman.

Had I misunderstood the man’s gesture? I faced him, but he didn’t seem surprised or angry that I’d come in. Instead, he looked into the distance.

I’m looking for Mrs. Goudy, I said. I’m Neal Harris. She was at church today, and I wanted to come say hello. Is she here?

She works, he said, he briefly making eye contact.

I thought that I should apologize and leave, but maybe this guy wanted to talk. He’d let me in, and I’d already made the trip to town.

As I said, I’m Neal, I said as I extended my hand. He didn’t say anything. What’s your name?

Noah, he said. We shook hands briefly, and I stepped in more.

Do you expect your mom to be home soon? I asked. He looked puzzled, and then after a moment, he shrugged. I got the feeling that he didn’t mind me talking to him. He wasn’t showing impatience and he didn’t usher me out the door. However, he wasn’t making it easy by conversing with me.

I’ve never met your mom, I said. I just wanted to meet her since she’d been to church at St. Donna. I was uncomfortable since I didn’t know what to say and was probably repeating myself.

Have you been to church? I asked. When he was slow to answer the question, I said more. Have you, Noah?

Yes, he said softly.

I didn’t want to sound like a pushy religious person. However, Charlene had come to church and filled out a card with her address. I’d keep making an effort unless I got a signal that I should leave. Yet, I didn’t want to sound inflexible. Grasping for things to say, I thought about my first time in church.

I am involved in church now, I said, and I went a lot when I was a child, but I wasn’t even baptized until I was three years old. I paused to see if he would reply. He nodded a little but kept looking mostly at the floor.

Church wasn’t a big deal in my family, I said. Noah nodded so he was listening. "My dad was a teen before he’d ever been there. Then one day, Grandpa said he was going there Sunday and asked Dad if he wanted to come.

I think it was partly because of my grandmother. She was a skeptic and openly told me so. I thought Noah might not understand fancy words, so I should be clear with him.

She didn’t believe, I said, "until after they’d retired from farming, moved to town, and became widowed.

"Anyhow, I’d never gone to church. Then when my parents moved to a new neighborhood, one of my mom’s new friends encouraged her to try their place.

That wasn’t St. Donna. We lived in a smaller town then. I didn’t go to St. Donna until I met my wife. It was her family’s church. He shifted his weight from one foot to another.

What sort of representative was I? I was telling Noah about everyone that didn’t believe or care much for the church. At least I should tell him about the positives.

One of the good things about church is that you get to meet people, I said. For example, I knew Mrs. Malczewski. After seeing her house, she was sticking in my head. Was your mom friends with her? He considered the question for a moment.

Yes, he said slowly.

Oh…, I said.

No, she wasn’t, he said more quickly, interrupting me. He had changed his mind and that confused me. I thought of asking for clarification, but I didn’t want to sound difficult.

I had thought Noah looked and sounded depressed, and maybe that was because he was in mourning. Maybe he knew the woman.

Did you know her? I asked. You know she passed away? He looked at the ceiling for a second, and then shrugged. He seemed shaken the way he rubbed his forehead.

When someone grieved, it was often best to talk it out. I’d give him a chance to say more.

How did you know her? I asked. He glanced behind himself.

She was a neighbor, he said. I nodded to show my interest and to give him time to continue, but he didn’t. Eventually, I followed up.

Did you see her around the neighborhood? I asked. He shrugged.

Where did you usually see her? I asked.

When she paid me, he said so slowly and softly that I felt I had to lean in towards him.

You worked for her? I asked. He nodded. I guessed that he scooped snow. She was too old to do that herself.

Did you see her before she died? I asked. That was a stupid way to ask it.

…yelled…hit…, he said. He was mumbling.

How long before she died had you seen her?

His eyes were widening. Then he closed them and turned his head away. He started shaking his head in short spasms. It almost made me feel like he’d been the one to find her dead body. The other option was that he’d killed her. He’d worked for her, so he had to be on the list of suspects.

I decided to change the topic of conversation. He was uncomfortable. My attempt to help him grieve had had the opposite effect.

You should come to church some Sunday, I said. His head jerking stopped.

Church services are at 10 A.M, I said. Everyone is welcome. He seemed to relax.

I hope we talk again, I said. I didn’t really mean it, but it was my normal parting comment after one of these visits.

Okay, he said. That surprised me.

You want to meet again? I asked.

It is just like T.V., but in person, he said with an upbeat voice.

Okay, I said. I wasn’t sure if I intended to return. Good night. He nodded, and I moved towards the door.

Outside, I walked down Lyon Street. I stood in front of the former home of Mrs. Malczewski for several minutes.

Could have Noah really killed her? Someone had done it, and he’d known her. He appeared really shaken when I’d talked about her. Also, could he have any connections to the other victims? The responsible thing to do would be to follow up with the police.

I heard a crash behind one of houses. It was the sound of a trash can being knocked over. Suddenly, I was alert to my surroundings. I felt my heart rate go up. Could someone be watching me or following me? If I’d spooked Noah, I didn’t want to stand around in the open.

I stood still, hoping that I’d fade into the shadows, but there wasn’t much place for me to hide. I cautiously looked around me in the darkening night. The breeze rustled bushes. Could it be a person? No, it moved like the wind. I didn’t see any other motion. Maybe it had been only the wind that dislodged the trash.

I quickly walked back to my car. As I passed each house, I braced myself for someone to jump out from around the corner, but thankfully, I made it to my car. I locked the doors immediately.

I had the impulse to drive away. However, now that I was secure inside I made myself look carefully around once more. Then I started the car and slowly drove past the next houses as I looked, and then I went home.

* * * *

Monday morning I was at work. I knew Lt. Bartholomew at the City Police Department from previous cases. We didn’t see eye to eye, and he didn’t value my help, but he was my best contact in Homicide. I found his number and called. He answered right away.

This is Neal Harris at SRSIG, I said.

Oh, he said. It wasn’t an encouraging tone.

We met when there were murders at a church last year.

I remember, he said.

Anyhow, I might have information about the Elmtown Killer.

Oh? He suddenly sounded more upbeat.

I met someone that I believe needs to be checked out, I said.

We already have him in custody, he said. I had just seen Noah.

Did you pick him up last night?

Yes, he said. What information do you have on Johnny Ripper?

Who? Is that who you arrested?


I meant you should investigate Noah Goudy.

I’ve never heard the name, said Bartholomew. I don’t recall him being a trouble maker.

Oh, I said. I was a little relieved.

If Noah needs investigation, I’ll leave that up to you. He said it like a put down.

I see, I said.

Call me if you find anything, he said in the same tone.

Okay, I said and hung up.

I sat for a few minutes. I guess that I’d been too quick to judge Noah.

Work had been calm recently. Over the years, I’d dealt with many of our clients and straightened out their messes. Now most things were running smoothly.

Additionally, Opal was on long term medical leave. I didn’t know if she’d ever recover from her fall to be well enough to work. However, Bobbie and Earnest managed fine with the additional work load. Having her gone had the benefit of fewer disruptions throughout the day.

Earnest was supposed to be an account administrator, but he was more like an administrative assistant who could do accounting. I’d tried a few times to train him to take on more responsibility, but it never worked.

Now that work was easier for me, maybe I could teach him more about the overall process. I thought a contract renewal would be a good project for him because it had clear goals and measures of

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