Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 2, 2009

“Dealing with Dymans” Chapter 8

Chapter 8. Pieces of the Puzzle

Click the “start arrow” below to hear the audio of this chapter:

Jack thought he had done what he could to get the information he needed, or had set the information train in motion. He would have to wait and see if anything else surfaced. For now, he needed to think.

A pullout into a farmer’s field just three miles east of town was Jack’s sittin’ and thinkin’ spot. He used it fairly regularly, backing in so he had a view of the entire valley to the west. The city lay before him, too often hazy in the daytime, a panorama of lights at night. The landowner and other local residents had gotten so used to seeing his old blue half-ton that he hardly ever got a second look any more.

Earlier, he would have sat and smoked, and thought and smoked, but not any more. Not since Kate.

Within minutes, Jack had driven from his meeting with Big Jim and was soon settled in his spot – cell phone off, no music, heater on low, defroster only a hum. How did all of this come together? He reviewed his list of Dougie Dymans descriptors. It wasn’t an enviable one. What stood out were the “sharp cookie” and “you could see him, sure as hell smell him, but you couldn’t grab him” parts, and of course, the “scares me” part. Well, he didn’t scare Jack. Jack thought that sometimes he just wasn’t smart enough to get scared. He wondered if he should be smarter. He thought not.

Dymans had been a bad seed, one that had grown into a noxious weed. Maybe he was like the common tansy that grew in the ditch right beside Jack’s parking spot, an attractive looking weed that was toxic to livestock, and even to humans if ingested in sufficiently large quantities. Tansy was also a prolific seed producer. The first part fit – looks good but really isn’t. What about the prolific part? No mention had yet been made of a Mrs. Dymans; Jack just assumed that one existed. And if she did, would she be a trophy wife, thus fitting the stereotype? Would Dougie be the stepping out type, and would that be an area worth investigating? He thought yes.

Dymans should be financially stable. He’d fallen into the family business; it was old, established, offered quality, name brand products, and was definitely the “go to” place in Adair for those who could afford it. Could that be the problem? With the economy the way it was, were people opting not to spend their money on what Jack certainly considered luxuries? Was Dougie the captain of a ship that was sinking and he just wouldn’t admit it? Was he trying to prove something to Mommy?

As Jack thought, he made a mental checklist. He had never been one to need a pencil and a pad of paper; he just needed time to get his mind around things. And this bit of quiet time seemed to be working.

What about Dougie’s explosiveness? Was this a case of the best defense being a forceful offense? Was Dougie deflecting attention by upsetting people so much that they didn’t notice what might have been obvious if they didn’t get so emotional? What could he be drawing their attention away from?

An odd thought struck Jack. Deflecting attention. That was Tommy Mah’s forte. Now Dr. Tom Mah, forensic psychiatrist, but once just Tommy, the childhood friend who was a master of deception. Jack allowed himself this little side trip down Memory Lane. He had learned that allowing his mind to follow its random meanderings was often worth the journey.

He remembered the snowball fights that had gotten so much better after Tommy had shown him the “two ball get ‘em looking up” trick. You made two snowballs, one you secreted behind your back while you launched the other one high up toward your opponent. Typically, your victim would gaze skyward at the white satellite, momentarily mesmerized by this unexpected trajectory. While staring skyward, ready to avoid the plummeting projectile, you would pull your second snowball out from behind you –and WHAM, let him have it.

Maybe Dougie was deflecting attention by his obnoxious offense and demeanor and maybe he was drawing people’s attention away in some other fashion. But what didn’t he want people to notice?

He ran a jewellery store. What was suspect about a jewellery store? What had his friends complained about at coffee – not being able to have a ring cleaned, a repairable watch that Dougie’s store said couldn’t be fixed, an emerald in a loose setting. What had his own experiences with jewelers been? Kate had always wondered aloud how a person knew if she got the same gem back after leaving it with a jeweler? She didn’t know how to tell a precious stone from costume jewellery. Maybe there was something nefarious, some form of the old shell game going on. Jack had one more question that needed an answer.

It wasn’t part of the Dymans’ puzzle but what about the clerk? Jack felt responsible for her dilemma. Hell, it was totally his fault. What could he do about it? Item Next on his list was to make some calls and see if there was another job out there for her.

He sat and stared. Was that all? He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. No, there was something else, something that had popped into his head just moments earlier, something that had appeared and then gone to sit in a corner. Tommy, Tom – he was a psychiatrist. Dougie had been called a “sicko” and he was indisputably an enigma. Who better to understand the twisted mind than Dr. Thomas Mah? Tom was in the capital, the City as most here called it. He would have preferred a face-to-face but decided that a phone call was a reasonable start. Not likely to find Tom around on a weekend, Jack added “Call Tommy first thing on Monday” to his growing list.

Satisfied with his progress, Jack knew he had something much more tantalizing to turn his attention to. Dougie Dymans could wait; Jennifer Anastassakis could not.

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