Session 2, 11-29-11, After breakfast, shower, dressing, doing my hair, feeding the bird, washing dishes, doing some chores around the house, etc, I finally got back to work and wrote two more very first draft chapters. The first is very short. I wrote 2,284 words and my new word count is 39,226. I have to go help my mothering law, who is almost 90, get a new car now. (in a few minutes.)
Because of my hurry to get lots of words written and still have them be part of the real novel, I have JUMPED ahead to another crucial part of the story. I can write faster during the exciting parts. If you want to read the story in order, don’t read this yet.
Chapter (): Hit and Run [[Sunday]]
After Rune got a call from Performance Harley Davidson saying that her 1949 Indian was finally ready to be picked up, she asked Jody to drive her down there to get it. Jody said she had to go to the Carrousel Center Mall anyway, to pick up a new fleece at EMS. Bart, who had heard so much about the Indian and had never had a ride on it, wanted a short ride. Angel asked to come too—her Harley was in the shop because someone had vandalized it at the Motorcycle lot on (). Unfortunately, it was pouring rain and bitterly cold for early September. Yahoo weather had called it “near record cold.” Still, Rune wanted to get the bike and take it home, assuming the this early in the season, the weather would improve.
Angel, Bart and Rune dressed in extravagant raingear. They not only wore double raincoats, but rain pants and special gaiters for the legs and a helmet-liner neck-gaiter. Rune would have liked to have leathers, but she couldn’t afford them. The extravagant raingear was necessary for her fieldwork and useful for riding in the rain, whereas leathers would be too heavy for fieldwork.
Jody stopped with them at Performance Harley Davidson and came in while they paid for their repairs and admired each other’s bikes. Then she took off for the mall.
Bart was on his way to Thornden Park to collect samples for one of his projects, and perhaps for his talk for McHaggerty’s class. Angel said she would ride with them up to Thornden Park, and then she has to meet someone for lunch at Alto Cinco on Westcott Street. They rode side by side in the rain, the shiny new-looking late-model Harley and the old beat up vintage Indian. Angel and Rune were both grinning, catching raindrops with the grillwork of their teeth. Cars went by and splashed them with rooster tails and they kept on grinning.
They took I690 to I81 and drove along Genesee to Beech Street and up Beech street past Rune’s old apartment where she’d lived during the fiasco with Buck Harmon and up into Thornden Park. They rode a loop through the park and dropped Bart at the water tower. He wanted to go in the woods on the backside of the hill. Rune noted that place in the pouring rain, there weren’t very many gay guys waiting along the curved drive that served as a pickup and meeting spot. Normally, on a nice day, they strolled around the tower area strutting their stuff.
Rune and Angel rode a second loop around the park, and then rode over to Westcott together, Angel split off, heading left Westcott Street toward the Westcott “downtown” area, and Rune turned right on Westcott, planning to drive down by Barry Park to Colvin and then Colvin to her apartment.
She had only gone a block or two when a car sot out of side street and ran into her, knocking her into the gutter. The motorcycle landed on top of her. Her face was pressed into the icy water that flooded the gutter and she was choking. Her leg her hurt like mad. The car that hit her had slowed, and she turned her head and saw it as it sped off.
It looked like Larry Thompson’s old Ford Falcon.
Chapter (): Silas Eastman
Someone was lifting the bike off Rune, standing it up on it’s kickstand, helping her to her feet. Rune looked up. It was a boy, or a young man. He looked a lot like Bart, same thin body, same unruly hair, except his hair was blond, his eyes blue, he had no beard or stubble, and his skin was pepper with acne. The acne did not hide his cuteness. He was very cute.
“Are you okay?”
“I don’t know,” Rune said. As soon he asked if she okay, she started crying. Darn that she cried so stupidly easily. Maybe the rain would hide her tears.
The boy reached up and wiped her face with the side of his hand. At first, Rune thought he was wiping away tears, but then she saw his hand. It was covered with mud.
Rune stood up straighter. She hurt all over. She was soaked to the skin with icy water.
“I’m Silas,” the boy said. “Silas Eastman.” He held out his hand.
“Rune pulled the dripping wet glove from her hand and wiped it on her dripping wet pants, then again on a cleaner spot when she saw how muddy the pants were. She took his hand.
“I’m Rune,” she said. “Rune Carmichael.”
“I got the license plate,” Silas said.
“License Plate?” Rune asked, stupidly?
“Of the guy who hit you.”
“Was it Larry?” Rune realized she must be in shock or something. How would this stranger know who Larry was. “Did you see him? What did he look like? The guy driving? Did he have scraggly grey hair?”
“He was wearing a black cowboy hat and his face looked kind of smushed in.”
“Was he small, like kind of low in the seat?” Larry always sat low in the seat. He had long legs and a short body and a propensity to slump.”
“No, not at all, he was so big that his head looked like it was bumping the ceiling and he was already sort of hunched over.”
“Oh good, then it probably wasn’t Larry, but I’ve never seen anyone else driving a carlike that. I even thought I saw an ESF bumper sticker and a save he earth bumper sticker on the rear bumper.”
“Yeah, I saw those, too. Here’s the license number, do you recognize it?” Silas leaned over his iTouch and showed the number. It was an actual photograph of the license that read FAV 263. Rune had never tried to memorize Larry’s license number, but she had a sinking feeling it was his. It looked really familiar, including the rusted dent just above the plate.
“Are you sure it was a big guy driving?”
“Yeah, I got a video of it. Look, can you walk? I live right over there, why don’t you come in and have lunch with me and get dried out and I’ll show you the video.”
“Just then, there were sirens, and a moment later, the cops pulled up.”
“Someone called in a hit and run.” One of them said, gruffly.
“Yeah, that was me.” Silas said. “I got the plate of the offending vehicle and a video of it. Look, she’s a little hurt and soaking wet, can we talk inside?” And without waiting for an answer, Silas pushed the bike across the street and down too houses and leaned it on its kickstand on the sidewalk to the front door. The cops backed up and parked in the driveway and they all filed inside. Silas put water on for tea. Rune peeled off her raingear and hung it on a hook in the entryway. She sat down and pulled up the leg of her jeans. It was hard to do, because it was so wet it clung to her skin. Her knee was a violent purple and the bruising was spreading down her leg. One of the cops leaned over and looked at it. When he stood up, Rune saw his name was Rob Wellington.
“Anything wrong with the bike?” The other cop asked. His name was John Harris.
“The foot-pegs on the right are both bent and there’s a big dent in the gas tank and some scratches and I don’t know what else,” Silas said.
“We’ll look at it on the way out,” Officer Harris said. “That leg looks pretty bad, you probably should see a doctor, should we take you to the emergency room?”
“I can walk okay,” Rune said, “it’s probably just bruised. If it gets worse, one of my roommates can take me.”
“We have to file a report; it’s required whenever we get called, whether or not you want to press charges.” Officer Wellington said. He added that last bit when he saw Run shaking her head emphatically. “It’s a good idea for insurance purposes,” he added, if you need to submit a claim, you’ll need the accident—anyway, it’s required.
The cops sat at Silas’s kitchen table and viewed the photo of the license plate. They viewed the video of the hit and run that Silas had taken. It began with the hit, showed the pause, followed by the run.
We just had a call,” Officer Wellingtong said.
“About a stolen car that fits that description,” Harris said
Wellington got out a pocket device and scrolled through a series of short entries, “here it is! Stolen from the Stop and Rob on () Street, one 1989 grey Ford Falcon (did they make them then, or should it be older ((research)) license plate number FAV 263. It was reported stolen by one Larry Thompson of 211 Raynor Ave, Syracuse. Several witnesses corroborate Thompson’s statement. Thompson was ticketed for double parking and leaving his engine running—he’d just gone in for cigarettes and lottery ticket.”
“Yeah,” said Harris, “and about twenty minutes later, the car was found parked behind the same stop and rob. Apparently, someone just borrowed it for a little while.”
“Yeah, just long enough to hit Rune here. Has someone got it out for you, Rune?” Silas asked.
“As a matter of fact, yes. This isn’t the first incident. But listen, you can’t call it a stop and rob, you’re police officers.”
“Why not? We’re human, aren’t we?”
“Hmmm, I’m not sure about that. One time, I was being beaten up, and two police officers just stood by and watched it happen. They didn’t even help.”
“You’re not serious, are you?”
“You bet I am.”
“The man was your husband. It was before they changed the law.” Wellington said. It was not a question.
“He kicked me in the face and belly. I was pregnant. I lost the baby. Your people let him kill my baby,” Rune said. “I almost died myself. I haven’t been very fond of you since.”
“Was it me or Officer Wellington?” Harris asked.
“Did either of us ever do anything to hurt you?”
“I don’t think so; not yet.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” Harris said. “Look, before we fill out this report, why don’t you tell us, off the record, why someone is trying to kill you.”
“Silas, do you have a Bible?” Silas disappeared and came back with a dog-eared King James.
Rune held it out in her two hands. “Do you solemnly swear that anything I tell you is totally off the record and will not be used against me or anyone else?” Rune asked.
“This is highly irregular,” Harris complained.
“Okay, fine, let’s fill out the paperwork for accident then, and you can leave.”
“All right,” Wellington said, putting his right hand on the Bible and holding his left. Harris followed suit, they swore not to sue anything against her or anyone else, and Rune told the two officers and Silas about the poisoning of the four professors at Cornell 13 years ago. Harris interrupted to say he didn’t understand what that had to do with the hit and run and Rune told him to let her finish. He told them how she’s been investigating that poisoning and another had occurred, Dr. Colin McHaggerty of the College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, an expert Mycologist and one of his teaching assistants were in the hospital. “And,” Rune continued, “It was an accident, it was an attempt at murder.”
“Furthermore,” she said, “this is not the first attempt to scare us away from investigating the poisoning.” She told them about the incident with the magic mushrooms at the Acropolis.
“We’ve heard no reports of that,” Harris said.
“We didn’t report it. I’m sure it was just us, to scare us.”
“Why didn’t you report it?”
“I don’t like cops. I don’t trust them. How did I know they wouldn’t bust us for using drugs? We were using drugs, but not by choice. Besides, we did tell Police Detective Brenda Crandall about it, and her supervisor told her to leave it alone.”
“Oh, we did here about that. Brenda was really upset, but Sergeant Fisher said that it was an accident and that there was no evidence of intentional poisoning,” Wellington said.
“How does he know?” Rune asked angrily. “He didn’t walk to any of us.”
“Apparently, he talked to several mycology experts at the College of Forestry and was told that accidents like that do happen with poisonous mushrooms. Several examples of recent poisonings were cited, including the one you mentioned,” Harris said.
“That was murder,” Rune said.
“Not according to the records. Brenda looked it up. She wanted to take the case, but could find no evidence to support her spending time on it.”
“Now you can see why I am frustrated,” Rune said, four people were murdered, two have suffered from an attempted murder, and I personally have been attacked twice, and you say that there is no evidence. Well, then, I am going to find evidence.”
“If someone is trying to warn you away, you should stay away,” Wellington said.
“If someone is trying to warn me away, they have something to hide, and I want to know what it is,” Rune said. “I have a lot to do, including homework, so let’s get that paperwork filled out so I can get to it. You guys are essentially useless, so I don’t want to waste any more time talking, let’s do what needs to be done now.”