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Setting Friday Free (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 15

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DW is a veteran, a father, a husband, and a teacher. He's published 9 YA/NA novels thus far. The story you're reading might be next.

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"What are you doing here? Garrison demanded of the girl in his pool.

Friday replied, "What does it look like I'm doing? I've been waiting for you. Where have you been?"

"Not that it is any of your business," Garrison huffed out, "but I was on a date."

Friday frowned. "You were with Laurel, weren't you? I should have known. You're no better than your father."

Garrison blinked hard. When he opened his eyes again, he stared at Friday and demanded, "How do you know my father? He hasn't even been to this house in over thirty years."

"I know your father well, Garrison," Friday said with a malevolent grin. "Or I should say, I knew him. We were, uh, friends a long time ago."

"Phht!" Garrison snorted. "A long time ago, you weren't even born yet. Why are you lying about knowing my father?"

"Why don't you ask Freddie about me?" Friday challenged Garrison. "He can tell you all about me. It might be nice for him to reminisce about what we had and what happened between us."

Friday let go of the side of the pool and floated to the middle before swimming to the deep end, climbing out, retrieving her shift, and heading for the gate Garrison couldn't find when he looked.

"You should know I told the cops about you sneaking in here and using my pool," Garrison called out to Friday as she opened the gate.

"Good!" Friday called back. "If your father won't tell you about me, maybe the police will. They might even be interested to know what your father knows about what happened to me."

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Friday slipped through the gate before Garrison could utter another word. With shaking hands, he pulled his cell phone from his pocket and called the non-emergency number for the police station.

"Buzby Beach Police Headquarters," the person answering the phone announced. "How may I direct your call?"

"My name is Garrison Kaylor. I need to talk to Officer Mark Langstrom."

"I'm sorry. Officer Langstrom is unavailable at the moment. Would you like his voice mail?"

"Is there any way you can put me through to him?" Garrison asked. "This is important."

"If this is an emergency," the person who answered the phone said, "you should have called 911."

Garrison started pacing back and forth between the upper deck and the pool. "Yes, ma'am. I would have if this were that kind of emergency. But Officer Langstrom told me to call him at this number if it happened again."

"One moment, young man, Office Langstrom just walked in. Hold, please."

Garrison heaved a deep breath and waited for Officer Langstrom to come on the line.

"Garrison, this is Mark Langstrom. You told the desk officer that it happened again. Do you mean the girl showed up in your pool just now?"

"She was there when I got home from town," Garrison told the police officer. "Friday asked me where I'd been. She acted jealous when I told her I'd been on a date. Then she said I was just like my dad. How could she know my dad?"

"Where are you, Garrison?"

"I'm outside by the pool," Garrison told him.

"Go inside and wait for me," Officer Langstrom instructed the fraught teen. "I'm coming right over. We'll get to the bottom of this."

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Garrison's cell phone rang a few minutes later.

"Garrison, it's me, Officer Langstrom. Can you open the gate and let me in?"

Garrison did so, and in short order, he and the police officer were standing on the upper deck looking over the pool.

"How was she dressed this time?" the officer asked after Garrison related what had taken place between the boy and Friday.

"The same," Garrison replied, "in a white bikini."

"Show me where the gate is she keeps using to leave," Officer Langstrom requested.

Garrison started down the steps to the pool deck. "I'll show you where it should be, but if there's a gate there, I couldn't find it."

Officer Langstrom tried to be encouraging. "Maybe if we look together, we'll figure out where it is."

As they walked, Officer Langstrom reviewed what Garrison told him. "This is the fourth time she's showed up in your pool. Every time you've discovered her here, she's already in the water. You've never actually seen her enter the pool, only leave it. And today was the first time she mentioned your father. You said she called him by a nickname he never uses?"

"I don't think my dad ever gets called Freddie," Garrison said. "Anytime I've heard anyone call him Freddie, my dad corrected them and told them his name is Frederick - Not Fred or Freddie."

Officer Langstrom nodded. Garrison stopped and pointed to a section of the wall.

"The gate should be right here behind these bushes."

The officer examined the bushes, the ground around the bushes, and the wall behind the bushes.

"There aren't any footprints, and I don't see any broken ends or twigs on these bushes," Officer Langstrom pointed out. "There is something off about this section of the wall, though. Some of the cinder blocks seem to be out of sequence. They form a rectangle about the right size for a gateway. I guess there could have been a gate here, but there's not one now. How far to either side of this spot did you check?"

"All the way to each corner," Garrison said. He leaned against the section of the wall with the odd arrangement of blocks. "There was nothing."

Officer Langstrom pushed against the out of place blocks. They didn't budge. "I don't see any way to open these. They are solidly mortared in here.

"Have you gone around to see what's on the other side of this wall?"

Garrison shook his head. "The property on the other side belongs to the Stanfords."

"Do the Stanfords use your wall as their back wall? If not, is there a space between the walls?"

Garrison continued shaking his head. "I have no idea, Officer.

Garrison and Officer Langstrom visit Mrs. Stanford

Officer Langstrom straightened up, stretched his back, and said, "Then why don't we take a walk and find out."

The teenager and the police officer went back through the house and around the outside of the wall guarding the Kaylor Estate until they reached the corner of the wall where it abutted against the shorter, thinner, less imposing wall surrounding the Stanford house. Officer Langstrom carefully examined the place where the walls joined.

"From what I can see, the Stanfords don't have a separate back wall. They just connected their sidewall to yours."

"You don't suppose Friday is living at the Stanford's house, do you?" Garrison asked after taking a close look at the juncture of the two walls.

"I've known the Stanfords a long time," Officer Langstrom said, turning to walk farther along the sidewalk toward the front of the Stanford's lot. "As far as I know, they don't have a daughter or a granddaughter. Both their sons live out of state, and if they have kids, which I don't think they do, Martha Stanford would have mentioned grandchildren; they wouldn't be your age."

"Then why are we going this way," Garrison said, pointing to the end of Kaylor Lane where it intersected Goldmann Boulevard.

"We are going to ask Mrs. Standford, very politely, if we can go into her back yard to look at their side of your wall," the officer explained.

"Good afternoon, Mark," Mrs. Stanford greeted the police officer at her door. "What brings you and - you're the Kaylor boy, right - what brings the two of you here on such a beautiful day?"

"Mrs. Stanford," Officer Langstrom began, "may I introduce Garrison Kaylor."

"Oh, I've known Garrison since he was a little bit of a thing and would come to visit his grandparents." She smiled at Garrison and added, "Your grandmother and I were quite good friends at one time. Such a pity, she died so young."

"Yes, ma'am, thank you," Garrison replied while wracking his brain, trying to remember meeting Mrs. Stanford in the past.

"Mrs. Stanford," Officer Langstrom began again. "Garrison and I are here to solve a mystery. We think one of the clues may be along the wall across your back yard."

Mrs. Stanford nodded and frowned. "You're looking for the old gate, aren't you?"

Garrison and Officer Langstrom stared at Mrs. Stanford. Garrison realized his mouth was wide open. He slowly closed it.

"Why are you looking for it?" Mrs. Stanford asked with an edge in her voice. "The old gate was bricked up thirty-some years ago. Ross had it closed off after what happened to my niece."

Garrison looked at Officer Langstrom. The police officer was staring intently at Mrs. Stanford.

"May I ask, Mrs. Stanford, what was your niece's name?"

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Mrs. Stanford shook her head viciously. "No, you may not. If you want to know what happened," she pointed a bony bent finger at Garrison, "ask his father. Though I doubt he'll tell you. He lied through his teeth when it happened and got away with it."

The woman slammed the door in their faces. Officer Langstrom and Garrison exchanged wide-eyed looks.

"Do you have any idea what she's talking about?" Officer Langstrom asked Garrison.

Garrison shook his head slowly. "We need to call my father. Whatever happened, based on how Mrs. Stanford reacted, was bad. It was awful."

"I'm afraid you're right, Garrison," the officer agreed. "Still, an incident that happened over thirty years ago doesn't explain why a young lady your age keeps showing up in your pool at unexpected times."

Garrison hung his head. "No, it doesn't. Maybe I imagined her. I did spend a lot of time alone this summer. Could this be some sort of weird trick my mind is playing on me?"

Officer Langstrom patted Garrison on the back. "I think the answer will be a much more practical one once we figure out what it is."

"I hope you're right," Garrison said. He turned and descended the steps and walked to the sidewalk, passing through the unsecured gate as he did so. Officer Langstrom walked with Garrison back to his house to retrieve his official police department bicycle.

"Are you going to call your father?" the officer asked the teen.

"As soon as I get inside and get some supper warming," Garrison told him. "I'll let you know what he says. It might be a while, though. My father won't answer his phone unless the caller is an important client. Me, I don't rate. If I'm lucky, he'll return my call in a day or two."

Garrison's story continues in Chapter 16

© 2020 DW Davis

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