Chain of Fools

Chain of Fools by Richard Stevenson

Book: Chain of Fools by Richard Stevenson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard Stevenson
Tags: Fiction, Gay
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    Silkwood! Dan, we'd better make sure your mother is safe. Crewes-InfoCom would off an old lady if they thought she was going to interfere with their bottom line. They'll stop at nothing to protect their corporate profits."
    Dan didn't react to this. He just peered our way with his watery blue eyes. It seemed now as if they were no longer focused entirely on those of us in the room, nor was the mind behind them. Finally Dan said to Janet, "Tell me again what happened, and why you think these episodes were deliberate attempts to—to attack you. This Jet Ski run-over-attempt thing actually happened twice?"
    Dale nodded slowly and held up two fingers, and Janet described once again the attack the previous week and the attack a few hours earlier that had landed Timmy in the emergency room.
    "Now, who's this Timmy again?" Arlene said.    ■
    Dale said, "He's Don here's boyfriend. Don is a private investigator from Albany who we're hiring to clear everything up, including Eric's murder. We're giving him about four days to produce results."
    "You're a private eye with a boyfriend? How cool," Arlene said. "Are you bisexual?"
    Before I could reply, Dan said without hesitation, "I'm not sure that's such a great idea. I mean bringing in someone from outside."
    This was addressed to Janet and I let her answer it. "Why is it such a terrible idea? The police have made no progress at all toward solving Eric's murder. And if somebody is trying to kill me too, there's at least a good chance that the same person is behind it—or people. But convincing Ken Stone of that, or even the staties, is going to be tough with no real evidence to go on. And Don has an excellent reputation, according to Eldon, who's an old friend of Don's boyfriend."
    "How's Eldon doing?" Arlene asked.
    "I'm sure Don's C.V. is impressive," Dan said to Janet, dismissing my resume with a little wave. "But that's not my point. My point is, by bringing in someone who's outside the paper and outside the family at this sensitive juncture—someone who's going to take months just to gather background—you run the risk of having him going around stirring up people's suspicions and exacerbating an already tense situation without gaining anything positive. If there is some kind of plot against you or me or even Mom, we can hire a security service to protect us. If anybody asks why, we can just say Eric's murder freaked us out, and
    having protection for a while makes us feel more secure. Don," Dan said, looking me in the eye for the first time since we'd been introduced, "are you associated with a firm that does security work? If you and your firm could confine your work to guaranteeing the safety of Janet and myself and our mother for a month or so, that could be extremely useful to our family, and I think we might be able to do business."
    I was about to reiterate to Dan that I had already been hired by Janet, Dale, and Timmy to conduct a full investigation of Eric's death as well as the two Jet Ski attacks on Janet, and that Dan's view of the matter was interesting but of peripheral concern to me. Before I could, Janet, her face red and her neck muscles taut, laid into her brother.
    "Dan, if you'd quit being some kind of Osborne patronizing twit for one minute," she sputtered, "you'd think about what this apparent attempt to kill me really means. It probably means that Eric wasn't killed by a homicidal drifter but by someone in our family. Don't you get that? It's probably not InfoCom that's behind this at all. I mean, how many corporations, no matter how cold-blooded and greedy they are, actually put out contracts on people who get in the way of their expansion opportunities? Let's face it—what this is is probably more Osborne violent craziness. I have no idea who in the family might be doing it, and to tell you the truth, I'm trying hard not to think about it. But a skilled outsider is exactly what we do need at this point. Not a shopping mall guard, but

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