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Thursday, November 10, 2011

SHIFTERS 'R' US (3) - FREE READ


“You are such an ass,” Alfie grumbled.

Terry grinned. “And a mighty fine one too, to hear you tell it.”

With a dramatic eye-roll, Alfie crawled over his lover to get out of bed. “Why the hell you wait ‘til the last second to let me know we’ve got a new client coming in this morning is beyond me. I wanted to sleep in for once.”

“What’s the saying? No rest for the wicked? That would be you.” Terry laughed when Alfie flipped him off on his way to the bathroom.

Half an hour later the two men were heading to their office at the edge of the Highlands District. Terry was driving while Alfie scanned the newspaper for any articles of interest. At one point he muttered, “Glad we settled here ‘cause the rest of the country is getting slammed with bad weather.”

Terry glanced at the mountains off in the distance and nodded in agreement, thankful they seemed to catch the brunt of the winter snow, leaving the city generally dry, if not particularly warm right now. As he pulled the car into the miniscule parking lot he saw a man he presumed was their newest client pacing impatiently in front of the small old house. Their office was located on the second floor. The first floor, as did the house itself, belonged to a friend of theirs who ran an accounting business.

After parking the car, Terry and Alfie walked around to the front of the house. The man stopped pacing to look at them. “Mr. Reynard?” Terry asked, holding out his hand.

The man shook it, saying, “Indeed. You’re Mr. Caine?”

“Yes, and this is Mr. Katz. If you’ll come with us, please.” Terry ushered the man inside. Alfie stopped long enough to let the accountant’s secretary know they were there and then followed the others up the stairs to the second floor.

Once they were all settled in Terry’s office he looked inquiringly at Reynard. “I know the basics of why you’re here,” he told him, “but we need specifics as well of course.”

Reynard nodded, obviously from the look on his face marshalling his thoughts. “This will all be confidential, correct?” he finally said.

“Absolutely,” Alfie replied.

“All right. As I told Mr. Caine when I called I need you to find my son, Rémy, and bring him home.”

“How old is he?”

“He appears and unfortunately also acts fifteen. He is totally out of control. He ran away from home two weeks ago and we haven’t seen him since.”

“You’ve checked with his friends, other family members and his school to see if they’ve seen or heard from him?” Terry asked.

“Of course, and none of them have, or at least that they’ll admit to as far as his friends go.” Reynard twisted his hands together as he spoke. “Rémy’s friends are rather a motley crew as far as I’m concerned.”

Terry nodded, smiling. “I think most parents think that about at least some of their children’s friends. We’ll need a list of their names but that can come later. What precipitated his running away? Did you have an argument, a fight?”

“We argued all the time, about his clothes, his hair, his unwillingness to do chores. He resented our trying to tell him anything. But I didn’t think he would take off, I mean it was just the normal arguing. We went through the same thing with his older brother.” A spasm of sorrow crossed Reynard’s face. When Alfie asked, Reynard told them that his elder son had died after being hit by a car.

“He was in his fox form?”

“Yes. He managed to crawl to the side of the road and shift after the driver of the car continued on his way without stopping. We got a call from the State Troopers…” Reynard buried his face in his hands.

“I’m sorry,” Alfie said softly. “If you don’t mind my asking, did Rémy start acting out before or after his brother’s death?”

“After.” Reynard raised his head to look at Alfie. “It was why we put up with it for a time until he became completely uncontrollable.”

“They were close?”

Reynard frowned. “I suppose so. Rémy was much younger and looked up to Oliver, who put up with his hero worship while still trying to keep his distance.”

“Is there anything else you can tell us that could help us find Rémy?” Terry asked.

“Not that I can think of. His mother made this out.” Reynard took a folded slip of paper from his pocket. “She said maybe knowing what clothes he took would be useful.” He handed it to Terry.

“Definitely. She’s a smart woman.”

Reynard smiled. “She is; it’s one reason I chose her. Why she chose me..?” He shrugged slightly. “You’ll take the case then?”

Terry glanced at Alfie, who nodded, before he said, “Yes we will. We’d like to come by your house at some point to take a look at Rémy’s room if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all if you think it will help. I suspect there’s paperwork we need to deal with now.”

Terry chuckled. “Isn’t there always.”

Once they had finished and Reynard had written a check for the retainer and given Terry two photographs of Rémy, they set up a time when Terry and Alfie would visit the Reynard home and then the man left.  


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