“Some weird name, Oba-something or other. Never heard of it. Supposed to be some local people, but don’t nobody know who they are.”
Kacy rose suddenly, knocking her plate of food to the floor.
“What’d I say? Miss Kacy, are you sick?”
Kacy had gone pale, putting her hand up to her head. Cindy and Karmina were both on their feet, reaching out to her.
“It has to be, don’t you see? It has to be the reason. I told you it was the land!”
“We aren’t going to solve this on our own,” Deacon said with a sigh. “We should call Reyes and tell him what Karmina told us. I think he’ll want to talk to her.”
“I’ll call him,” Dino took out his cell phone. “Karmina, you’re a hell of a woman!” He leaned over, kissing her soundly on the lips.
“Don’t you be kissing on me, Mr. Dino, unless you mean something! Cindy, that man of yours has gone nuts!”
Dino placed the call. The policeman wasn’t in his office, but the officer who answered took a message and told Dino that Reyes would contact him immediately.
“We know why now,” Cindy said quietly. “But we still don’t know for certain who.”
“It’s got to be the creepy florist guy! Don’t you see?” Kacy could hardly contain herself. “His mum is in terrible debt since his dad left. He’s trying to help her out!”
“I don’t know. It’s just a little too obvious, isn’t it?”
Cindy was being pragmatic and logical, Kacy hated that.
“Well maybe sometimes it is the obvious person! The least obvious only happens in fiction! Why can’t it, for once, be the easy answer?”
“Because, Kacy,” Deacon said quietly, “nothing is ever that easy.”
“Next you’ll be telling me it was Mac and Dexter in cahoots! Oh, please! Why must you make everything so complicated?”
“We didn’t make this complicated, it just is.” Dino said quietly. “I’d like it to be easy. I’d like for it to be Obi, but I honestly can’t believe he’s smart enough to do this on his own. No, I think there’s more to this than meets the eye.”
“But you do think he’s involved?”
Dino nodded, patting her clasped hands with his. “Yes, he’s involved. I’m just curious as to who else is.”
“Dino, who besides us knew that the blueprints and set design were at the guest house?” Deacon had remembered that he’d wanted to see the plans.
“Wow, Deacon. I don’t know. It wasn’t a big secret. I imagine just about everybody knew that you were working on the set at home. The blueprints are a different matter. That I don’t know. Why is this so important? The place burned to the ground!”
“Because I think there was a secret way into the theater that we didn’t know about. I’m certain that whoever set up that fire, had a way in and out that was foolproof. We need to see the plans, and maybe we can narrow it down somehow.”
“How many of the cast and crew were involved in the production six years ago?” Kacy asked in a non sequitur.
Dino scratched his head. “I wasn’t directing the last show, and I wasn’t involved in the production at the time. The theater operated more or less independently with a board of directors who planned the programs, did the budget, etc. I can find out.”
“Who would know all that?” Deacon was interested now.
“Dr. and Mrs. Cooper would. They were on the board and were also involved in nearly every phase of the play.” He was already dialing his cell phone.
They were silent while he waited for an answer. “Hello, Coop? Dino. Yes, it’s tragic. We’re all fine. Oh, you did? I’m sorry. We’ve all gone out of town for a few days. We just needed a chance to get away. Listen, Coop, a reporter was asking me, earlier today, for some details about the last production. He wanted to do a comparison between the two casts, and maybe interview the different members. I honestly didn’t know who was involved before, so I told him I’d call you.”
He paused for a moment, then beckoned for a paper and pen. Cindy handed him a notepad and pen from her purse. Kacy read over his shoulder unashamedly.
“That’s fantastic, Coop! Thank you!”
“What did you find out, Dino?” Kacy asked excitedly.
“Well, the young people are all different, but the Lathrops, Hannibal Hix, Miss Wintergreen and Edgars are all the same. So that’s Coop and Mrs. Coop, Mr. Stevens, Eileen and Bill Weathersby. The actress who was playing Zenia before, moved the next year, and last I heard, is living in St. Paul. Mr. Masters died a couple years ago, so that narrows it down to those five.”
He tossed the list onto the counter, sighing in disgust. “I can’t see any of them doing anything this reprehensible. This is getting us nowhere.”
“Any of the crew the same?”
Dino shook his head. “No, the were all too superstitious to come back. After that fellow singed himself, none of them wanted a thing to do with the place. I just don’t see what the possible connection could be.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes