A Finder's Fee

A Finder's Fee by Jim Lavene, Joyce Read Free Book Online

Book: A Finder's Fee by Jim Lavene, Joyce Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jim Lavene, Joyce
defer to him since he knows it better.”
    He was right. Gramps called us all into the kitchen, where he passed out slices of apple pie and mugs of hot coffee.
    I wasn’t hungry, but I felt the pressure of Shayla, Ann and Flourine watching me like it was some test of proving I wasn’t possessed. I took a big mouthful of the spicy apples and crumb topping then swallowed. It almost choked me, but I washed it down quickly with coffee before I grinned at my audience.
    “Now, I don’t know what was going on out there tonight,” Chief Michaels began in his usual semi-irritated voice. “I’m sure so many of Duck’s illustrious citizens weren’t out at this time of night simply vandalizing town property. So let me assume that our good mayor had a vision.”
    Of course, everyone was looking at me then. Not that it was a secret. I’d used my gift of finding things for the people of Duck since I was a child. I’d located hundreds of keys, wallets, earrings and watches. In more recent years, it was mostly missing cell phones.
    Normally, thinking about what my mother had called my “service to the community” relaxed me. It made me feel that I’d done something useful with my life.
    Not tonight.
    Ann looked skeptical—she hadn’t touched her pie, but no one was watching
her
. Shayla and Flourine still looked like they were ready to throw a net over me.
    Gramps and Chief Michaels had their patient, long-suffering lawmen’s looks on their faces. Gramps at least partially understood, because he’d lived with my grandmother, who was also a finder of lost things.
    Chief Michaels put up with it, even acknowledging my help sometimes, but he would never understand. He usually tried to ignore the things I told him until he couldn’t look the other way.
    Kevin and Luke smiled at me encouragingly. Luke wasn’t from Duck and had never had any traffic with the supernatural. I think he just liked me.
    Kevin understood, maybe more than Gramps, after working with Ann for so many years. I knew he hadn’t made up his mind about the possession problem yet. I could tell by the question in his eyes when we talked.
    Ann stepped into the silence. “Dae hasn’t been well. I’m sure one of us can explain.”
    “I appreciate that, Ms. Porter.” Chief Michaels wasn’t willing to share his show with her. “I’ll get around to finding out why you’re back in town later when I take your statement. Right now, I’d like to hear from the mayor.”
    I smiled at Ann, surprised that she’d tried to protect me. I might’ve once doubted why she’d done that, but I knew her better now. I’d been in her mind.
    I never dreamed when we first met that she’d be sitting at my kitchen table, drinking coffee and trying to defend me. It would’ve made more sense for her to try to kill me, at least in her mind. She definitely didn’t want to share Kevin.
    I realized I’d made the chief wait long enough. He wanted to hear my story. I took another sip of coffee and leaned forward to tell it.
    I was less than honest. The whole ordeal with my friends had made me a little sensitive on the subject of Maggie Madison.
    Instead, I explained about the dream that had led me to look for a historic artifact crucial to Duck history. I couldn’t lose with that argument. The chief knew I was crazy about finding things
and
Duck history.
    I didn’t go into a lot of detail. Chief Michaels was used to me trudging around the Outer Banks looking for items to put into Missing Pieces and the Duck Historical Museum. My story wouldn’t surprise him.
    “I didn’t want them to drill through it.” I tried to make it sound that what we were doing was the lesser of two evils. “Kevin—and everyone else—was helping me. We would’ve been in and out already, but we found the car.”
    Chief Michaels digested what I’d told him. “All right. I assumed this had something to do with your friends looking for you. You have to give some thought to letting people know what’s

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