I headed back to the office and made some phone calls and worked on a couple of estimates. Later in the afternoon, I stopped by the local store and picked up a six-pack to share with Bill and the crew. I knew that all of them had worked very hard that day and they would appreciate a beer especially as the weather had warmed up and was in the mid 80’s. As today was Friday, I asked them if they would come in tomorrow and pull the forms off and seal the concrete. It shouldn’t take them more than just the morning to complete the work. They all agreed and I thanked them for their efforts for the day. It was not a huge project but was difficult and complicated and they had all performed very well.
That evening, I skipped my trip to the Bar. Instead, I took Jody out to dinner and we ended at the Royal for a couple of drinks to round off the evening. I chatted to a few of the people there as I was always trying to work on good Public Relations as I never knew who the next client may be.In my line of work, repeat customers were few and far between and often the repeat would be after several years. But, I got a lot of work from word of mouth recommendations and was getting pretty good at being the “Hail Fellow Well Met” type of person.
Jody too was good at mixing and mingling and would make her way around the tables and bar greeting friends and unknown people with the same amount of enthusiasm. Even the formidable Mrs Black was there with a woman friend, Sarah Lopez who I knew to have different sexual preferences, said “Hello” to us both as we made our rounds.
On the drive back home, we talked about the evening and some of the people we had met. “Did you see that woman Valerie was with”? Jody asked “She’s gay isn’t she”. I acknowledged that I believe she is “But what difference does that make. She’s also into horses so she and Valerie have something in common”. Little was I to know that eventually, Valerie, Sarah Lopez and Jody would have a lot more in common than I had first thought.
That night, whether it was because of a nice evening out, the couple of drinks she had consumed or that encounter between Valerie and Sarah Lopez, Jody turned to me in bed and opened her arms as we made long, slow and passionate love to each other.
The next day, bright and early, the crew and myself with the exception of Mike, gathered at the Office and then made our way to the concrete step project. We carefully took off the forms and loaded them and Matt and Harvey to returned them to the yard. Bill Smith with the help from Glenn and myself resurfaced the exposed concrete ad then sealed everything with a concrete sealer. On the following Monday, Bill would return with probably Mike to help him and they would start facing up the exposed concrete with the stone we had delivered to finish off the steps.
I asked if anyone had seen or heard from Mike but no one had since last evening as he had spent his customary time at the Bar and was still there when the other boys went home. I went to a pay phone and called Kathleen, Mike’s wife to see if he had made it home and was OK but when she answered, “No, he didn’t come home last evening and she had no idea where he might be”. “Let me know or have Mike let me know when you hear from him” and hung up. I was curious so I called the local Jail which was 5 miles away and made enquiries if they had Mike locked up there. Not getting any affirmative answers, I hung up and on an impulse decided to call Detective Alsup. He had given me both his house and office number and when I reached him, had no idea what may have happened to Mike. I thanked him and thought about it as I drove back to the office. As a last resort, I called all of the local hospitals but none had a record of Mike.