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This We Share (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 06

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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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The first thing Mark did when he got inside his condo was send his buddy at the Buzby Beach Police Department an email. He first met Randall, now Detective Sergeant Mercer, when Randy was a rookie cop new to the BBPD. Mark had just purchased the townhouse, and Randy stopped by to check out the report of a break-in at one of the older units.

The break-in turned out to be a misunderstanding between a husband and wife. He'd forgotten his keys and, not knowing she was home, broke a window on the back door to gain access to their unit. The wife heard the noise and called the police. Randy was dispatched.

Mark, hearing the siren and seeing the blue lights, had walked down to see what was going on. After things were cleared up, he and Randy got to talking and, being about the same age, would hang out when Mark visited the beach. Randy had tried and failed on several occasions to match Mark up with a local girl, and while many of them were nice, and Mark had dated a few of them, he'd wind up being deployed, staying away for weeks or months, and the relationship would die of neglect.

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In his email, Mark explained that he had no reason to suspect the guy in the Malibu of being up to anything other than his odd driving behavior. Still, he attached a description of the driver and the pictures of his car and license plate for Randy to check out when he got the chance.

After sending the email, Mark went into his bedroom, planning to change into a pair of swim trunks. He glanced out his window - it overlooked the front lawn of the complex and had a view of Eleventh Street beyond - and noticed the burgundy Malibu parked across the road. He decided that enough was enough and went out his front door, intent on confronting the guy in the car.

The car's driver, who had been intent on watching Cybil's place, turned and looked towards Mark. He immediately started the Malibu and would have driven off but for the traffic on Ocean Street. Mark approached the car at a jog.

The driver rolled down the window and yelled, "I don't know who you are, but you better mind you're own business!"

"You're the one following me around," Mark called back. "And I want to know why."

The driver shook his head, confused, and then said, "You ain't the one I'm following, mister. Now, leave me alone and mind your own business."

Mark was standing in the middle of Eleventh Street, right next to the car now. The driver of the vehicle brandished a pistol.

"I told you to mind your own business," he warned Mark.

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Not taking kindly to being threatened, Mark quickly relieved the man of his pistol, nearly breaking two of the man's fingers in the process.

The man cursed at Mark, but before Mark could do anything more, there was a break in traffic on Ocean Street's southbound lane. The man floored his accelerator and leaped into the opening, leaving Mark standing in the middle of the street holding the pistol.

Mark ejected the magazine and cleared the round in the chamber. Upon examining the cartridge, the retired soldier noticed it was a blank. Mark shook his head in disbelief and pocketed the pistol. Then, turned toward the townhouse complex, waited for a car turning right onto Eleventh Street off Ocean Street to go by, and returned to his unit. This time, he sent a text to Randy letting him know what happened.

Randy sent a reply telling Mark to stay home; he'd be by in a few minutes.

Mark waited on his front steps for Randy to arrive. The detective pulled into the semi-circular road in front of the townhouses in a gray Dodge Charger and stopped in front of Mark's unit. He got out of the car and started in on Mark before the retired soldier had a chance to stand up.

"You've been retired one whole day, and already you're accosting law-abiding people in the streets and stealing their guns."

Mark laughed. "I didn't steal his gun. He handed it to me and drove off before I could give it back. Do you know who the guy is?"

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"Mark, my friend, you have disrupted an investigation being done by the well known and much-despised private investigator Wilbur Hinkle. Hinkle works for a sleazy divorce attorney over in Wilmington. I have no idea why he's interested in you."

"Did you see the email I sent you?" Mark asked. "I have a feeling Hinkle's interest is in a neighbor of mine. More specifically, in my neighbor's teenage daughter. He was leering at her in the perviest way the first time I spotted him."

Randy rubbed his chin and nodded his head. "There have been rumors for a while that Hinkle has a very disturbing taste in girls - the younger, the better - but nothing's ever been proved."

"Is there any way you can find out why he's 'investigating' my neighbor?"

"Sure," Randy said. "I'll give him a call and let him know I found his gun right where he dropped it and tell him he can come by the station and pick it up from me if he brings proof of ownership. Of course, you'll have to give me his gun."

Mark said, "It's in my pocket. I'll bring it out slowly and carefully. There's no point in getting shot over a pistol full of blanks."

"It's a good thing you have your concealed carry permit," Randy noted. "Otherwise, I might have to arrest you for unlawful carry. Wait a minute, did you say blanks?"

Mark nodded and held out the empty pistol, a .25 caliber semiautomatic with one hand. I the other he held the magazine, which now included the blank round he ejected from the chamber. Randy took the pistol, the magazine, checked that there was no round in the chamber, and placed both on the front passenger seat of his car. Mark had already cleared the weapon, but he didn't say anything. He'd have done the same thing in Randy's shoes.

"I have to get back to work," Randy said as he walked around to the driver's side of his unmarked car. "I'll let you know what I find out from Hinkle."

"Thanks, Randy. I appreciate it. If you can get a kitchen pass from Gretchen sometime soon, we should go fishing before it gets too hot."

"We'll do that," Randy promised. Then he slid behind the wheel of his Charger, closed the door, and was soon on his way back onto the wild streets of Buzby Beach.

© 2020 DW Davis

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