Romeo Jones Prequel: As a Deputy United States Marshal Fugitive Hunting in the Poconos

by Craig Hartranft on November 26, 2015

in Crime Fiction, Ideas, Starts, and Short Stories, Romeo Jones

Taking the Williams, she said, “You got any idea where he may be?”

“Quite a few actually. Worked nearly all of them yesterday and today.”

“And?”

“It seems in the last few years he hasn’t been inclined to keep close personal relationships in his hometown or the surrounding area. His mother hasn’t seen him in three years. His father, who she divorced after Ray graduated from high school, moved to Florida. Hesaid he hasn’t spoke to him in years either. He’s got a sister … ”

“Is it Angela, I think?”

“Yeah, that’s right,” Rome acknowledged. “She said she would never, and I quote, “Have that piece of shit loser around my home, never around my kids.””

“She say why.”

“Not really. I’m thinking he’s some child molester besides a being a petty criminal and wannabe bank robber. But she wasn’t all that forthcoming. Said, “I haven’t seen him, don’t know where is, and if you catch him, all the better.” Or something to that effect.”

“That’s some family drama,” Lois commented.

Rome continued, “There’s some friends he used to hang out with, guys he played semi-pro ball with in the ABE area. Not very helpful. They mostly got drunk after games. Porter has a few public drunkenness citations, bar fight assaults where the charges where never pressed , and one community service for stealing bats from a Dick’s Sporting Goods. I guess he had to buy his own equipment to play ball.” Rome paused for another sip of bourbon. “It appears that after the Allentown Archers organization folded, Porter disappeared from the radar, only to return later leading a life of crime.”

“What about Curt Constantine?” Lois asked.

“Never heard of him. Who’s he?”

“In high school, from ninth grade, they where inseparable. I think they were friends from elementary school. They did everything together. He played first base some times. He was second string, not as good as Porter. But they hung together like Penn & Teller. Some believed they used each other to pass classes, you know, get homework done and cheat on exams. Some thought they were gay.

‘”Guess you found out differently.”

“Guess so. But I remember some idiot, one of the computer geeks calling them the “queer ballplayers” at lunch one time. You get the innuendo?”

“I get it.” Jones chuckled.

“Two days later, he came to school with a black eye, busted lip, and walking with a limp. He looked like shit.”

“That doesn’t make them less gay, just means that they could beat the shit out of a nerd,” said Rome.

“Maybe so, but nobody called Curt and Ray Ray queers again.”

“Probably not,” said Rome finishing his first bourbon. “Any chance Constantine played semi-pro ball with Porter after high school?”

“Not that I know of, but I was away at college. Even when I was back in town, I didn’t often keep up with what had passed since graduation, certainly not anything to do with Porter. Why?”

“Just reaching for a connection.”

Lois Hawkins leaned back in the sofa with her drink. Rome stared at the unopened bottle of Williams, having second thoughts, when she leaned forward shaking her head.

“What? You thought of something. Maybe another person who knows him.”

“No. A connection.”

“What’s that?”

“One thing they loved to do together was fishing. Hunting too, but fishing more. Curt’s family, an uncle I think, had a cabin on Pine Lake. Maybe he still does. Porter used to talk about it all the time. Even at the Prom, he and Curt were talking about the lake and fishing. He even wanted me to go up there with him, with Curt and Audrey.”

“That Curt’s girl.”

“Yeah, but there are some who said that she was a shared asset.”

Rome liked this, and said, “So Curt and Audrey, are they still around somewhere?”

“Yeah. Absolutely. He works as a mechanic over at Gunderson’s Auto Sales and tends bar at Willie’s over on Ninth and Main on the weekends.” Lois thought. “Audrey, I think, is a paralegal somewhere, just don’t no where.”

“That can be found out,” Rome said again considering that second bourbon, again with second thoughts. “Those are some good leads,” he added.

“You think so?” she said.

“Definitely. I’ll need to sober up sleeping beauty tomorrow morning and take it to the fugitive task force. But, yeah, definitely.” Then looked more directly at her. “It’s getting kind of late. Any chance, you’d be willing sit down with us tomorrow. Maybe think through some more ideas, local connections. Let us pick your brain some more. ”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever you need. Maybe it will make up for being a dumb shit for trying to hook up with Harry “the Pervert” Anderson.”

“No worries there,” smiled Rome. “I’m guessing from Harry’s condition, you drove.”

“I did.”

“Can you meet us here in the morning, say eight.”

“Meet you and Mr. Cheating Dick?” She said standing up with some steadiness.

“He is my partner.” Rome rose as well.

Lois hugged her purse and started for the door. “How about ten. I like to sleep in on Saturdays and besides, Harry’s going to need some serious tuning up before he’s in any meeting.”

“That he will,” said Rome looking at the bedroom. “A long shower and lots of black coffee.”

“Should I bring some.”

“I’ll get it.”

She opened the door, but stopped to look at Harry, “Well. He didn’t get laid. But it looks like you’re still sleeping on the sofa.”

“Thanks for keeping it warm,” Rome said.

Her eyes measured his lean figure wrapped in jeans, a white cotton button down Oxford, and dark suit jacket. His short brown pony tail resting on the collar.

She said, “You could come home with me, Deputy US Marshal Romeo Jones. I’ve got a much nicer sofa”

“Not a chance.”

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