Chapter 9


Kim Thinel



After such a hectic and eventful day, Woody was grateful for the evening clouds and thunderstorm that allowed her to literally take a “rain check” on the sunset cruise with, oh, what’s-his-name, oh, yes, Booth McMullen. Something about him seemed very familiar. She’d have to sleep on it, although she doubted she would get much sleep tonight – so much was going through her head. 


Fortunately she had a short drive from the Police Station back to the Marina to reschedule with Booth, dodging raindrops as they fell all around her. She welcomed the brief respite under the canvas bimini cover  on his boat Kelly, too.  But she had declined Booth’s offering of a drink and a seat to rest and talk about her meeting with Keene Eastbay.


Now that she had a moment to reflect, he had seemed quite eager to hear her story, maybe a little TOO eager. How did he know that she had “coincidentally” run into one of the premier defense lawyers in the Bay Area after her interrogation and resultant arrest?


 She still couldn’t believe it.  Her, Woody Kapok, arrested for the murder of Flora Belcher! It was her paddle the Lieutenant showed her, and it seemed to be marred with a congealed blotch of Flora’s blood and hair on it. She was present at the marina on the day of the murder. Could it have been only yesterday?


Artfully, and with the expertise of the seasoned professional lawyer that he was, Keene Eastbay had brought several aspects of the case to the attention of the police -- whose fingerprints were on the oar? And other inconsistencies -- and managed to prove there wasn’t enough evidence to hold her, so she was free to go. Free to go, that sounded nice.


          Woody pulled into her driveway and sat for a moment. Breathing.  The deep, cleansing breaths she had learned in those pleasant days in India. Her mind needed to be clear, to think and put recent events into order. Another thought came to her...Was it really a coincidence that this high-falootin’ lawyer “just happened” to be at the station while she was being booked? She definitely had to mull that over.


          Woody went inside her orderly, simply decorated, and extremely comfortable home. She sunk into her ultra-soft sofa and decided she needed to talk things over with a friend. Someone who knew her better than anyone. Her best friend, Knotty.


          “Hey,” Woody said after speed-dialing the number.


          “Hey, you!” Came the anxious reply, “Haven’t heard from you in a few hours.  How are you holding up?”


          “Aside from being interrogated and accused of murder, I’m fine, I guess, but I need to talk about things with you.  Can we have brunch tomorrow?”


          Woody caught her friend up with the activities that had transpired since they left the marina earlier in the day.


“Pretty lucky for you Keene Eastbay was at the station house,” Knotty remarked.


“Maybe a little too convenient, I’m thinking.”


“What do you mean?” asked Knotty.


“Have you ever met him?”


“No, but his name’s in the paper an awful lot.”


Woody explained, “Yes, I’ve seen him connected with a lot of the high and mighty, rich and famous in Tampa Bay, but he seems to be on the shady side. Don’t get me wrong, he does a tremendous job defending his clients, finding plausible explanations to provide just the right amount of reasonable doubt. The juries have to let his people go.”


“That IS his job, right?”


“And that is what I would want if he was my lawyer, but why me? Why was he there? Why did he introduce himself to me? I’m the antithesis of rich and famous,” Woody wondered.


“Let’s meet at  Café Alfredo’s around ten tomorrow,” Knotty said.  “I’ll call Skipper Bowline, too. She is always a voice of reason. Maybe Ibis Lagoon could join us, since she was there when you were doing all of your babbling after hitting your head yesterday. Ibis may be able to recall some things you said that might shed light on the situation.”


Knotty went on,  “The police are obviously barking up the wrong tree on this one. Unfortunately, given the evidence, who could blame them? We might just need to head up our own little investigation.”


Woody smiled at the thought.  The Windlasses were a tenacious bunch when faced with a challenge or adversity. Each woman individually had a talent, experience, or gift of some kind. Together, they could be quite a force to be reckoned with, especially when protecting one of their own.


“We just might, ” she agreed.    

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