Murder On The Mind

Murder On The Mind

Murder On The Mind 15

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  Richard’s bank advisor was more interested in talking about trust funds than his murdered colleague. At my every attempt to change the subject, he’d jump in with some dull fact concerning loopholes and tax benefits Richard could enjoy if he’d entrust all his money to good old Ron. I didn’t much care for the man, and I suspected Richard felt the same, although he gave me a few sharp glances when Myers’s patience stretched thin. Eventually, I gave up.

  From the bank we crossed the street and headed for The Extra Point, a sports bar lavishly decorated with local sports memorabilia—especially the Buffalo Bills. I’d lived away from Buffalo for a long time, and although I still cheered for the team, I’d forgotten what they meant, not only to the city, but to all of western New York. Didn’t Richard say he had season tickets?

  Seated under one of Jim Kelly’s jerseys, we ordered lunch, and my physician watchdog brother actually allowed me to have a non-alcoholic beer. I could only look longingly at his glass of the genuine article.

  Over lunch, I filled Richard in on what I’d learned, leaving out my memory of meeting Sumner. He didn’t seem impressed.

  “Guess you didn’t expect all this when you invited me to stay with you.”

  Richard set down his glass. “No.”

  “I thought things would be a little less hectic, too.”

  “Except for this psychic stuff, I expected you to be a lot more belligerent.”

  “Belligerent? You mean like when I was a kid?”

  Richard blinked. “Why would you say that?”

  “It seemed to me I was constantly in trouble. How about when I bugged your grandmother?”

  He almost smiled. “Maybe. But getting you to talk was as hard then as it is now. In some ways, you haven’t changed at all.”

  I didn’t know how to reply to that.

  “Belligerent, huh? Like those poor souls in the brain-injury rehab hospitals?”

  “Jeff, I don’t think you understand how serious your injuries are.”

  The chip on my shoulder grew bigger and heavier. “I’m not sick.”

  “Look, don’t get angry—”

  “I’m not angry. I’m adjusting—slowly—to everything that’s happened to me. Let me do it my own way, okay?”

  “Okay.” He drained his glass. “Where do you want to go next?”

  “Public library. I want to check the birth announcements in old copies of the newspaper.”

  “Has it occurred to you that you’re going over the same ground as the police? What do you think you’ll find that they won’t?”

  “I don’t think they’re looking into the same things I am. Besides, they’re not likely to tell me what they know. By the same token, I’m not prepared to tell them what I know. At least not yet. Hell, Rich, I practically witnessed the murder.”

  He looked around, lowered his voice. “Then go to the police.”

  “How can I convince them when I can’t even convince you? And what am I supposed to tell them? ‘Uh, I have a funny feeling about this murder.’ They’d send me to a psych ward. Uh-uh, I can’t talk to the cops until I have some kind of hard evidence. Now can we pay the check and get out of here?”

  It took longer to find another parking space than to drive the two blocks or so to Buffalo’s main library. True to his word, Richard brought his own book along. A heavy medical tome with a long, boring title. He sat and read for two hours while I gave myself one hell of a skull-pounding headache and a good case of vertigo whipping through the microfilmed records.

  I ended up checking two months’ worth of newspapers for the names of children born the week before and after the January tenth date. I found three possibilities. John Patrick Ryan, Jacqueline Tamara Prystowski, and J. Matthew Walker. I hoped one of them was the Jackie I was looking for. Otherwise, I didn’t know what I’d do.

  I wrote down the names and addresses. Two of the announcements listed both mother’s and father’s names. The Walker kid’s did not. Not unusual these days.

  Closing my notebook, I found my very bored brother, and had him take me home.

  Nausea kept me from eating dinner. I took two of the pink tablets and waited for sleep, the only haven of relief from the headache.

  The memory of my only meeting with Sumner and the terror and horror I’d felt when touching that invitation kept circling through my aching head. I was onto something. I was going to find Matt Sumner’s killer.