Adventures of Cookie the Stray, Chapter 17

Updated on January 7, 2018
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Peg Cole is a self-published author who writes true and fiction stories and book reviews, along with nostalgia and how-to articles.

Travel Delays

Connie felt the tire blow out before the car started thumping.
Connie felt the tire blow out before the car started thumping.

Connie sat quietly in the back seat of the patrol car worried more about Queenie and the puppies than the fact that she’d been arrested. Details from the officer were sketchy but from what she understood, she had no doubt Jeb was at the root of this. The revolver the officer found in her travel case belonged to her estranged husband.

I should have tossed it off that last bridge we passed, she told herself. The good news was she’d never touched the gun. Her fingerprints shouldn’t be on it. She was sure of that. The closest she ever came to touching it was the night Jeb had been waving it around after a few beers. When he’d fallen asleep leaving the gun on the nightstand, she’d resisted the urge to hide it somewhere he’d never find it. But the part about the jewelry store bag found in her trunk had her puzzled. She’d never been anywhere near that store.

The deputy in the front seat spoke in hushed tones trying to find someone to tow Connie’s car to the impound lot. The designated tow service was busy on another call with no one else available to tow the vehicle. With the storm about to break it could be a couple of hours before he could pick up Connie’s car. He hung the microphone back on its dashboard clip with a sigh.

“And then, there’s the dogs,” he mumbled.

Source

She raised her head when he mentioned the dogs. Glancing at the other officer’s vehicle, something about the man in passenger seat struck a familiar note. Was that the same guy who’d passed in front of her car at the railroad crossing? She studied his quiet stillness and wondered what he was doing on the scene. Suddenly his car door opened. She watched him lumber toward her window at the back of the vehicle.

“Hey, buddy,” the deputy yelled. “You need to stay in the car.”

“But I know this lady,” he said.

“Step away from the window.”

Recognition dawned on Connie’s face at the sound of his voice.

“Rupert? She mouthed.”

Beechcraft Twin Bonanza

By Hornet Driver (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Hornet Driver (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Jeb's Getaway Plans

Jeb clutched the nylon bag full of loose diamonds, Rolex watches and an assortment of gold jewelry as he made his way up the stairs on the underbelly of the fuselage. He ducked as he entered the small cabin of the Beechcraft Twin Bonanza and carefully stowed his bag in an overhead bin where he could keep an eye on it.

The dual prop plane was old but in immaculate condition, designed to hold up to six passengers, but Jeb knew there would be no one else on the plane. He’d made sure of that with a generous price paid for the second leg of his journey to New York. Secrecy was part of the deal he’d made with the pilot who owned the plane. Once in New York, he would board a commercial flight under his new identity and soon be on his way to Morocco.

The wind was picking up speed sending bits of debris floating around on the runway of the small airstrip. The pilot watched a piece of plastic wrap itself around one of the chocks holding the wheels in place. Another large piece floated up circling around the craft held adrift in the wind.

The pilot zipped up his scuffed leather jacket and finished his final preflight checks under the cockpit. He watched the plastic bag float toward him as if it were weightless before wrapping itself around the left propeller blade. The crow’s feet around his eyes deepened as he squinted and tugged away the bag. He boarded the plane, retracted the stairs and locked them into place.

“We need to get off the ground now, if we’re going,” he told his passenger, “Before they put up the no-fly flag." He checked some dials on the console and added, “We can outrun this storm if we take off now.”

“I’m good with that,” Jeb, soon to be known as Rick Bogart, told him. “Let’s go.”

~~~~

“Please let me speak with her for just a minute,” Rusty pleaded. “I’m sure there’s been some mistake.” The two officers glanced at each other. “Maybe I could drive her car to the station lot for you. I could even take the dogs off your hands.” Neither of them wanted to see the dogs taken to the pound.

Fat raindrops pelted the windshield blowing in horizontally. He considered the urgency of the situation. Despite the APB for the missing woman allegedly involved in a jewelry store robbery, the woman he had in custody had no previous record of arrests. Besides, she didn’t fit the bill for a hardened criminal and he’d seen his share of those in his time. He decided to take a chance.

“You can talk with her. But just for a minute while I listen in,” he finally agreed and opened the back door of the car where she sat.

“What’s going on, Connie?” Rusty asked.

“Oh, Rupert, I’m so glad to see you,” she gushed. “I’m sure this is just a case of mistaken identity.” Connie took a long look at the man she hadn’t seen in nearly a dozen years. He was thin but still had a youthful face. “Do you think you could take the dogs somewhere safe while I work this out, or at least until I can make bail?”

“I’ve got something I have to do first, but I’ll make sure they’re taken care of, if you’ll let me use your car.”

“Of course,” she told him. “Anything you need in the way of gas or food for them, I’ll pay you back. The keys are in the ignition.”

“Okay, that’s enough,” the deputy said trying to sound gruff. “We need to get moving.”

Rusty pulled the jack out the trunk and went to work jacking up Connie’s car. The officers had taken the velvet jewelry bag from the wheel well and zipped it into an evidence bag. The revolver, now unloaded, was placed in a separate bag locked in the patrol car. Connie’s clothing and personal items had been stuffed back into her suitcase resting on the ground next to the rear bumper. One deputy took shelter in the car with Connie while the other officer watched Rusty change the tire.

“Officer, take a look at this,” Rusty said. “The sidewall looks like it’s been sliced with something really sharp like a knife or a razor blade,” he said tossing the tire into the trunk. He pointed to an area that had a long, precise cut. “That’s not what a blowout does to a tire. It looks like this happened before the blowout,” he said, running his fingers along the cut. The incision nearly went through to the radial bands. The rest of the tire had ragged edges where it scraped along the asphalt.

“We’ll have our forensic team examine it,” the deputy said. He opened his own car’s trunk and told Rusty to put the tire inside.

“Now, let’s all get out of this rain and to somewhere safe.” He held onto his hat as the wind whipped it nearly off.

Jeff and Dolly watched from their box in the back seat as Rusty crawled into the driver’s seat. Queenie gave him a quick sniff on his hand and, satisfied with her assessment, settled back into the passenger’s seat as he started the motor. She stared out of her window keeping an eye on her mistress in the back of the vehicle that pulled around them to take the lead. The three cars formed a convoy as they headed north on the highway toward the town's police station.

© 2018 Peg Cole

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    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 4 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Chris, The dogs are safe. At least three of them, Queenie, Dolly and Jeff. The other four are still out in the woods. But Rusty hasn't forgotten them. Not to worry. Sleep tight.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 5 days ago from Missoula, Montana at least until March 2018

      Okay, I can sleep with that as a stopping place. And the dogs are safe. That’s good.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Dear Maria, Thank you. I'm glad that you like Rupert and his kindness as opposed to the bad to the bone Jeb. I look forward to seeing you on the next chapter. Love.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi MsDora, Glad you like Connie and her devotion to her critters. She is a true dog lover. I believe the police will get to the bottom of this case rather quickly. Thanks for caring.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 6 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Gypsy Rose, Hello and thank you for dropping in to read this chapter of the dog tale.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 7 days ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I agree with Tim, in that Jeb is a sleezy guy - your powers of character development are stellar, dear Peg.

      Now that Rupert is another story - love him and his gentlemanly ways. Doggone it, even Queenie agrees ... :)

      I think you know where I'm heading next! Love, mar

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 9 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi William, I hope your New Year is bright and filled with adventure. Thanks so much for catching up with the story.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 9 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Chance encounters can turn into important moments sometimes. I'm so grateful for your kind words about the story and thanks for coming by.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 10 days ago from The Caribbean

      Glad that Connie has Rusty in her corner. Hope it's not long before the case against her is solved. Like how you allow us to remember the dogs and her love for them.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 11 days ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Linda, Yeah, it's somewhat of a double-edged sword. She's under arrest, but the people following her will have more difficulty following her now. And then there's Rupert...who luckily loves dogs.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 11 days ago from Riga, Latvia

      Absolutely delightful and enjoyable.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 12 days ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Trying to get caught up after the holidays. I guess this was a good place to start. Hope you have a good 2018.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 13 days ago from Ohio

      I was upset that the officer didn't have time to drop Rusty, but now I'm glad. I really am enjoying this story!!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Despite the fact that Connie is in a police car, I'm feeling more optimistic now that she's met Rupert. I'm glad the dogs are being helped. As always, I'm looking forward to the next chapter!

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Verlie, Growing up I knew a guy who was named Rupert. He was a real character with fifties hair (greasy kid stuff and duck tail) and he rolled up the sleeves of his t-shirt. He hated that name, too. We called him R.D..

      I didn't even realize that the police officers were being nice. How great of you to point that out. Of course they were.

      Yep, down the line. I keep hearing the Traveling Wilburys singing that song. Loved it that you stopped by. It always lifts my spirits. Thank you.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      That makes my heart sing, Tim. It means I've got a character that is truly bad to the bone. Happy day! Gotta love those bad boys.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Bill, I am truly honored by what you said here. Thank you so very much. That means a lot to me.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Mary, Thanks for the empathy for Connie. You are smart. You would figure the best way out of that situation.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Shyron, I hope you're right about Jeb. Connie and Rusty have a few things to talk about, that's for sure. Glad to see you here today. Thank you.

    • snakeslane profile image

      Verlie Burroughs 2 weeks ago from Canada

      Rupert! Who knew? I hope Mr Bogart has a rough ride. I'm glad you made the police officer nice. That was a nail biter.

      Great images, great tunes. Great chapter. Looks like Connie and Rusty will have some things talk about 'down the line'. :)

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 2 weeks ago from Escondido, CA

      I don't like Jeb. If someone else wasn't flying I would say I hope he crashes. I hope everything works out for the pups.

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Jackie, Happy New Year and I've missed you, too. Thanks for the encouragement and for being so faithful in reading this series.

    • PegCole17 profile image
      Author

      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Frank, I really appreciate you reading this series. I feel as if you could shed some light on some of the issues here with your experience writing detective stories. Thanks so much for catching up with the backstory.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      I follow very few series because they require so much time and attention. I follow this one because it is that good.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hope she gets out of this. I don't know what I'll do in her position.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 2 weeks ago from Texas

      I am so happy that Rusty caught up with Connie and she has someone to lean on. Hope Jeb gets stormed down.

      Blessings my dear friend

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 weeks ago from The Beautiful South

      Hey, I have missed you Peg and the dogs! You could just go on forever and I would never tire of them!

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 weeks ago from Shelton

      how much can they take? LOL I'm really starting to get into your story am reading past issues and will be caught up soon so you know...:) Frank

    • PegCole17 profile image
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      Peg Cole 2 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

      Hi Flourish, I love your concern for the dogs! LOL. Me, too. I need that T shirt that says, "I don't care who dies in the movie as long as the dog is okay."

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 weeks ago from USA

      Take them to a safe place! They’ve been through enough, the poor dears!