Ginger Sands wanted me to murder her cousin. Had I drifted that far; was the abyss that near?
“So, you’ll do it?” Ginger said, leaning forward with a smile. “The fee is $200,000; here is a down payment, $50,000.” And Ginger laid a bulky envelope on my desk. She had come in to the office without an appointment.
My name is Cannon Raspberry and I am a private investigator. I work alone so I greeted Ginger when she rang my bell. She was mid-twenties, tall, blond, very striking, wearing a Burberry Trench Coat, which spoke of class and money.
It was a cold November afternoon and a light rain was falling. Outside the downtown Boise streets were empty, as if everyone was seeking inside warmth and comfort. I looked back at Ginger and smiled. I wasn’t sure how she had found me, or why she thought I would do the deed.
“I heard you are special.” Ginger said, as if reading my mind. “I checked around, made some phone calls, but I was vague about what I wanted; your name came up a couple of times, so here I am.”
Ginger told me that her cousin had abused her as a child, and he continued to abuse her. She wanted to be free, needed.someone to take care of her cousin, Mathew. It was delicate because they both came from the patrician Davis Clan. It would be best if Mathew had an accident. As a last resort, Ginger could abide Mathew’s random murder, a mugging gone wrong. As far as Ginger was concerned, it was up to me to make Mathew go away, then the $150,000 balance was mine.
I opened my desk drawer and gave Ginger a prepaid phone, which was good for a month. I held up mine and told her we only use the cell phones to talk if necessary and no more meetings. Once Mathew had gone to a better place, then I would contact her and arrange for the payment of the balance due.
Ginger leaned on my deck and looked at me. Her large brown eyes glittered. “When?” She asked.
"You’re in a hurry.” I replied. “Why’s that?”
She sat back with a sigh, wrung her hands, looking around my small office, the front of the apartment where I live at W. Franklin and Eighth Street in Boise, Idaho. Ginger dropped her head and muttered. “Mathew has made my life hell. It is time for Mathew to get his.”
I told Ginger I would first get to know Mathew’s routine and then decide what was best to get him out of her life…for good. She seemed pleased with herself and patted the bulky envelope with the $50,000.
“I am sure I will be satisfied.” Ginger replied, sitting back with a sigh.
We said our goodbyes and Ginger ran down the sidewalk to her BMW parked at the curb on W. Franklin. She did not look back and I watched as she roared away, a young woman in a hurry.
Why did I accept her money? One reason was the substantial fee, of course. Another was that I had been blessed with an uncanny intuition, along with ability to slow action by rotating my right hand. I could return the action to a normal speed by rotating my left hand. This oddity gave me the ability to intrude on people and they never knew I was there. A few months ago I had saved Nicky Durance’s life when we were having coffee in at Ketchum in Sun Valley. Her deranged boy friend Billy came into the shop waving a gun. I had frozen everyone in the shop, then took the gun away from Billy and returned to my seat with Nicky.
I then unfroze the scene and Billy was pointing his finger at Nicky. He looked around for his gun in confusion, and then Billy panicked and ran out into the street where he was struck by a Navigator SUV full of partying students. Nicky knew something odd happened, but she did not see me move. And the vanishing gun remained a mystery. Also, Billy was out of Nicky’s life forever.
I could use my power and intuition to look into Mathew’s life, see what was going on between him and Ginger. I needed to be sure that he truly was the scumbag that Ginger claimed. I did research and learned that Mathew was late 20s, had a BA from U. of Idaho and an MA in sports management from the U. of Colorado at Boulder. He was now working at the Boise YMCA on State Street.
I went to the Y and got a one month temporary membership for $60. I asked the perky information lady about a book on stretching and she took me in hand and led me to Mathew Davis, a tall, thin young man who greeted me with a warm smile. He gave me a couple of brochures, and then led me to the stretching area, showing me a large, stretch wall chart. Mathew was impressively friendly and thorough.
As we talked, Mathew suddenly looked away and smiled. I turned to see an elderly woman hobbling in on a cane and waving at Mathew, who excused himself and went to greet his client. Mathew also served as a personal trainer. He took her to the stretch area; I got on a bicycle positioned so I could watch them. Mathew was patient and encouraging; the lady clearly enjoyed his attention. On the surface, Mathew appeared to be a nice guy.
I studied Mathew’s work schedule for a couple of days, then decided to talk to him when he left the Y, which was normally between 9 and 9:30 at night. He exited the Y and crossed the street and headed to his Land Rover SUV. He unlocked the door; as he was climbing in, I froze Mathew. I went quickly and reached in, unlocking the rear door. I got in the back, and then unfroze Mathew, who plopped into the driver’s seat. He was still for a few seconds as if trying to understand the pause.
I put my snub- nose revolver against his neck and he jumped, trying to turn, but I told him to stay still. He pleaded that I could take the car and his money, just let him out. I told Mathew to relax, that all I wanted to do was talk for a few minutes.
“Talk?” Mathew asked. Talk about what?”
“Your cousin, Ginger Sands, has hired me to kill you. She said you have intruded on her since she was a little girl, done some bad things to her. Ginger wants me to make you go away.”
Surprisingly, Mathew laughed and relaxed some. “Me? I’ve never touched Ginger. We are just barely civil with each other. Frankly, we can’t stand each other.”
“Then why is Ginger paying me $200,000 to get you out of her life? I asked.
Mathew whistled, then said: “Ginger wants the Trust money. She is also involved with a Cartel lieutenant, Ramon. This could well be Ramon’s doing.”
Mathew explained he and Ginger benefited from a complicated Davis Trust that provided monthly income to him and Ginger. If Mathew married, the Trust would be distributed immediately. If Mathew did not marry, then when Mathew reached age 35, the trust would be distributed. In either case the distribution went two-thirds to Mathew and one-third to Ginger. But if Mathew died, the entire Trust went to Ginger.
“We talking real money? I asked.
“Upwards of eighty-million, last time I checked.” Mathew replied.
I nodded. Now I understood my fee and advance. I explained to Mathew that I was impressed with his work at the YMCA; my instinct told me he was a good person. Problem was if I did not kill him, then Ginger would probably turn to the Cartel. I told Mathew that Ginger had agreed to give me a month to work out his departure. So we had about time to come up with a plan.
Mathew understood and told me one solution would be for him to get married, then Ginger would get her one-third of the Trust, more than twenty-five million, which might placate her and Ramon. On the other hand, Mathew could vanish. He could have his monthly income sent to a Swiss Bank, and he could relocate east, or to Europe. He needed time to explore other alternatives.
I agreed to let Mathew ponder the problem and that night I called Ginger, telling her I thought there was a way I could manage Mathew’s departure without any fuss. Ginger was pleased.
A week went by and I made an occasional call to Ginger to assure her I was on the case. About ten days after I talked to Mathew, I was sitting in my living room with the morning Idaho Statesman and a strong cup of coffee. The headline hit me like a bolt of lightning.
According to the paper, Ginger Davis and an unidentified male had been burned to death in a log cabin fire at McCall, a resort town one hundred miles north of Boise. It was an old hunting cabin in the Lake Payette area. The cause of the blaze appeared to be a malfunctioning fireplace; the fire had totally destroyed the cabin, burning the two victims beyond recognition. Ginger Davis was known to be in McCall with a male companion. Final identification would depend on checking dental records.
I put the paper down and my blood ran cold. It was time for a workout at the YMCA. I showed up late in the afternoon before the after-work crowd. I saw Mathew assisting an elderly man; again Mathew was conscientious and attentive. I rode the stationary bicycle until Mathew was finished.
As I approached Mathew saw me and gave me a warm smile. “Looks like it all worked out.” Mathew said.” No one in Boise will miss Ramon. But poor Ginger; on the other hand she really was a bad seed. As far as I’m concerned you earned your fee. Truthfully, you probably saved my life. If Ginger had hired someone else, I might be toast today.”
“Odd how things worked out.” I replied. “The newspaper said it appeared to be an accident. Looks like you are off the hook.”
Mathew looked at me and his kindly brown eyes suddenly turned dark, almost black. He leaned forward, reminding me of a hawk peering down its sharp beak at some prey.
“Yes,” Mathew said quietly, and then added, cackling. “And now the Trust Fund is mine….the money is all mine!”