Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 10, 2009

“Dealing with Dymans” Chapter 12 Priorities Pt. 1

12. Priorities

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

Jack was in overdrive on his way back to Adair. He’d checked the road report from Tommy’s, the computer map and the highway cameras showed clear sailing all the way home, and sail he did.

Mental overdrive shifted him from his friend’s parting warning about how serious a threat Dougie was, to what he needed to do in that whole arena, to the Anastassakis conundrum, to whether or not Clee’s sleuthing would now have any possibilities worth looking into, to . . . He just didn’t have enough mental gears.

Jack pulled in to a rest stop. He needed to unload and load up. A pee, some coffee, and a tank of gas were required. He also needed to shift back into a slower mental gear, a gear that would allow him to carefully consider his options.

Back on the road, he attacked the most pressing problems first. He had called Leo Beauchamp the night before to ask him to have a look at the surveillance tapes. Leo had quickly agreed to check the tapes and promised to do whatever he could to make them unavailable if the need arose. Further, he had told Jack that he would review them privately at the very first opportunity to see just how revealing they were. Jack had also asked that Leo give Jeet a heads up. Borrowing a turban should hardly put Jeet in harm’s way, but Jack had vowed to take full responsibility for his actions, and to be extremely careful not to involve innocents. Thankfully, calling Leo had occurred before he and Tommy had gotten too far into the Californian single malt.

Clee, of course, was next. He had tried to call him last night as well but had to settle for leaving a phone message. Odd that Clee wouldn’t be home on a Sunday night. Where could that redheaded goof ball have been? J.J.’s Dew Drop Inn? Maybe more than one person was having a sleepover.

Jack’s cell rang. It was Clee.

“Hey, good buddy, got your message. You sounded kinda stressed, man. What’s got your knickers in a knot? What you left on my answering machine was pretty damn brief.”

Jack filled Clee in on his meeting with Tommy. He thought this revelation might cause some concern but Clee seemed to take it in stride.

“Geez, Jack. Whaddya take me for – all hat and no cattle? You asked me to ask about Dymans; ask some, shall we say, unsavory characters. I didn’t think he’d been coming late to Sunday School.”

“Okay, okay,” replied Jack. “Just wanted to remind you. Actually, when Tommy was telling me about potential parasitic, narcissistic, unscrupulous, unremorseful, cunning, deviant, abusive, . . .”

Clee interrupted, “Psychopathic is what you’re saying. I get it. I got it. And I’m on it. I appreciate your underlining it for me. I really do. I did a little asking around and here’s what I know so far.

“I only talked to two guys, gotta keep these things pretty close to the vest. Better safe than sorry as they say and I hope you’re doin’ the same thing. First snake in the grass I saw was Manny Buscetta, runs Raven Auto just outa town. I can talk turkey with him on account of an earlier connection we had in the, uh, automotive re-design industry. He’s one of those guys who walks the line between legit and not quite so legit. He lives in the back of his shop and seems to be there 24/7. But I digress.

“So I go out there yesterday morning right after church . . . just kiddin’ Jack . . . I go out there a bit before lunch and ask him about our mutual friend. He’s a sly old fox but I could tell right away that the name Dougie Dymans was ringing some serious bells in his belfry. Oddly, Mr. Buscetta was not particularly forthcoming. All of a sudden, I’m gettin’ treated like some redheaded stepchild. You know, not really accepted as one of the gang.

“He makes some big show of trying to place the name and then comes up with this brilliant, ‘Oh yeah, like in the jewellery store Dymans.’ Then he goes into this routine about how he’s been so out of touch lately and then swears a little just to remind me how manly he really is and then promises that he’ll look into it for me cuz we go way back.

“It was all I could do not to toss my cookies right there. What a pile of undesulterated crap! But I remembered what you taught me when I helped you before. Watch the eyes – don’t look like you’re lookin’, but watch the eyes. Feral would be the glint I detected. This lyin’ weasel definitely knows more than he was tellin’. Now that I put it into words, maybe there was somethin’ else. Fear? Yeah, I think Manny was scared. That comes as a bit of surprise.”

Jack appreciated what Clee had done, appreciated it, was worried even more that he had put Clee in a dangerous spot, feared that Clee’s judgment in going to Manny might prove an unwise decision. But he was also getting impatient. Clee’s habit of including every detail was hard to take.

Trying to hide the irritation, Jack asked simply, “So who was number two?”

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