Sunday, February 3, 2019

A Gift Foretells the Mystery

On Friday the information from the hospital arrived. Al read through the papers and signed the release form for his medical records. He walked the two blocks down to the post office and dropped the envelope into the outgoing box. He walked back to the office and found Gracie, on the phone, as usual. As he walked past her on his way to his desk, she waved for him to stop. Motioning to the phone, he turned and came back to her desk. He heard her say, “All right Bill, I’ll tell Al and I’ll talk with you soon.”

From the snippet that Al heard, Gracie had his attention. When she hung up he asked, “What was that all about with Bill? Something I need to know?” Gracie said, “Bill called to say they found the remains of an elderly man in the river about two miles downstream from where you and Ray were. The coroner said the man died of a severe blow to the back of his head. And, it would be consistent with a victim falling backwards and hitting his head against a large rock.” Al said emotionless, “I guess that pretty well answers that mystery at the river.”
That evening, while Al and Gracie were in the dining room Gracie gave Al a brown paper bag. “Open it up.” she said. “I ordered this more than a month ago. Folks from the mail order company never heard of us. Seems like some people don’t even know we exist up here. I wanted to get it for you a while ago. Well, anyway, here you go.” Al looked with surprise at Gracie.

Al sat with the paper bag on his lap. He opened the paper bag and then pulled out a plastic bag. As he looked into the clear plastic bag, the brown paper bag fell to the floor. As he pulled out a natural brown leather portfolio his smile brought an instant smile to Gracie.

Gracie said, “I can’t have you going to council meetings and other important appointments carrying around just a tablet of paper, can I?” Al was motionless for a moment and then pushed back his chair, bending over he gave Gracie a hug. He said, “Thanks, I have never had a leather case, and this is beautiful, and my favorite color.”

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