Gunning for the Finish
When Kurt Maxxon arrives at the Centralia Racetrack, he is confronted by a gun-wielding man with a wad of cash in his free hand. Inside the driver’s lounge, Kurt finds the body of local race driver Melvyn Hightower—shot dead—his wallet rifled. Kurt has no doubt the gun-wielding man did it—until they can’t find the dead man’s racecar. Who shot Melvyn Hightower?
Friday, September 8th
Kurt Maxxon, Early Morning
I thought I’d left the TV on again. Occasionally, when I fall asleep in my recliner, I wake up to the TV news. Voices had brought me out of my deep sleep, and, nearing consciousness, I suddenly realized I was in my camper—and sat bolt upright. I listened until the pounding started again. I heard voices yelling, “Mr. Kurt, Mr. Kurt, wake up, wake up!”
I slid out of bed and opened the camper door to look down at the wide-eyed faces of Joshua and Jacob. “What’s up, guys?” I asked.
“Ya gotta come look at Mr. Carlos,” Joshua said between gasps for air.
Very Early Friday Morning, June 25
It was only a matter of minutes, although it seemed like a lifetime for the army of cops to arrive. Moving in a surreal, time-warped world, I made a 50-cup pot of coffee in the kitchen area of the Driver’s Lounge, which was only a hundred feet from the crime scene—Rusty’s garage. Recalling Elaine Willowby’s murder at Masonville last year, I cranked up the air-conditioning and lit up the lounge. I expected the police to use the two pool tables to catalog evidence.
Even as the siren died down from the last squad car to arrive, the lounge had become a hubbub of activity. It was a convenient staging area for the police and crime scene people—as well as a cool and comfortable place for a break from the hot and muggy June night.
Excerpt from MASONVILLE
I waited for the police to interrogate me. The sun was getting higher in the sky. A few puffy clouds cluttered the edges, but the sky was mostly azure blue overhead. The day was warming up nicely and flowering trees gave the air a pleasant scent.
They’d left Elaine lying where I’d found her. In the early going I’d wandered outside the lounge to pace off nervous energy. I paced to where I might catch sight of Elaine, but stopped before I actually saw her. As time passed I became concerned that if they didn’t remove Elaine’s body soon, the odor would outdo the flowering trees. The police photographers had come and gone. The forensic lab people had marked and measured everything in the garage, but no one seemed to care about Elaine. Maybe they had forgotten about her.