“Nancy and I have been really worried about you two. We tried repeatedly to call the house, but got no answer. I finally decided to call up there, and see if you’d moved. We’ve been sick with worry!”
“Ev, I’m so sorry. A lot’s happened since you left.” Deacon brought him up to date on the recent events. “We should have called, but frankly it was the last thing on our minds.”
“As long as the two of you are all right, that’s what’s important. I’ll let Nancy know. She’s been pacing and wringing her hands. I haven’t seen her this distressed…well, since Peter’s accident. She told me today that you’re as much a son of her heart as Peter was.”
Deacon felt himself tearing up. “I’m honored,” he stumbled over his words. “I don’t know what to say. You two have a very special place in my heart, Ev.”
“I’m a man of few words, Deacon, but I want to say that Nancy speaks for us both.”
Deacon couldn’t speak. He was unaccustomed to displays of emotion and he knew the conversation was making Ev uncomfortable too.
“Thank you,” he managed to say. “That means a lot to me.”
“Now, all that having been said, I wanted to share some information with you that I think might help out on this mystery of yours.” He was suddenly all business.
Deacon blinked at the phone then put it back up to his ear. “What have you found out, Ev?”
He could hear the self-satisfied tone. Everett was almost gleeful.
“Well, I got to wondering how someone could have gotten hold of those pictures of Pete’s accident. Then it occurred to me that the law firm that Kacy engaged would have had copies to submit for the judge to review. In fact, copies of the entire film footage, as well as stills, were filed with the state attorney’s office. Anyone associated with the case would have had access to those files.”
“But how would they end up here? Surely the guy didn’t have access to a California lawyer’s office.”
Everett tried to conceal the smugness in his voice. “It wasn’t a California office, it was in Florida. The movie was being filmed in the Orlando area. The accident happened in Orange County. I decided to look up the lawyers who handled the case for us. I think you might know one of them.”
Deacon’s heart skipped a beat. “Jesus, don’t tell me. Mr. Stevens.”
“Yup! Fergus J. Stevens, III, also known as Hannibal Hix.”
A protracted silence fell between them as all the pieces suddenly clicked into place. Stevens had been involved with the prior production. He had access to the photos of Pete’s accident. He knew the theater well, having been in the group for many years.
“Tell me something, Ev. In all your digging around, did you find any reference to Obamilmerl Corporation?”
Deacon repeated it more slowly.
“Come to think, that name does sound somewhat familiar. I’ll have to check my notes for you. Hang on.” He set the phone down and was gone for a minute or two. Deacon heard a computer start up as Ev picked up the phone.
“Had to get my laptop. I’ve got copies of all my information stored there. Here we go!” Typing rapidly, he searched through his notes. “Aha! Yes, there it is! It’s a fairly new company and hasn’t got a proper warm body address, only a couple of P.O. box numbers. One is Orlando, the other is beach side. Here’s something else interesting….” He paused for a moment.
“Sorry, was reading this again. I skimmed over it before because it didn’t seem important, but it does now, in light of what you told me. Oba-what’s its is involved in the expansion of Green’s Gym! They are aiding in the acquisition of property. And, get this! Steven’s old law firm is handling legal details!”
“Everett, I need you to contact Reyes. He needs this information.”
“Should I call him at this hour?”
“Call the station and leave a message. They can give you an e-mail address or fax number to send them all that you’ve discovered. He needs to see that immediately!” He gave Ev the number.
“You take good care of our girl, Deacon. I’m even more worried about all this, with what we’ve found out.”
“Me too, Ev. But by God I could kiss you!” He hung up so Everett could call the police.
Deacon tried to watch the end of his movie, but couldn’t concentrate. He sat with the end credits scrolling past him, the sound muted. The credits ended and he put the DVD away absently, hardly paying attention to what he was doing. He sat on the couch with his leg elevated, chewing on his thumb while he thought about everything Everett had told him.
Around four o’clock, Kacy woke up. Not finding Deacon beside her, she went into the living room and found him dozing on the couch with the TV on and no sound playing. She clicked it off with the remote and sat beside him. Deacon stirred, wincing when he moved his leg at the wrong angle.
“Hi, handsome,” Kacy kissed him lightly on the lips.
“Hi, yourself,” he muttered, holding her close.
“Been up long?”
“A few hours. I couldn’t sleep, I kept getting tied up in knots. I hate lying on my back all night. I’m a belly boy.” He chuckled.
“Pete felt the same way, he hated being caged up. It drove him crazy, anytime he broke something. He drove me absolutely insane too, because he wouldn’t ever stop doing! You can amuse yourself a bit better than he could.”
©2021 Dellani Oakes