by Stephen D. Rogers
......I watched the cars speeding
around the rotary, paid special attention to ones that veered
off to head over the canal.
......Despite the "Cape
Cod Tunnel" stickers that locals bought to infuriate the
tourists there were only two ways off the Cape. Since I couldn't
see him going out of his way to take the Sagamore Bridge, I was
waiting in the IHOP parking lot at the foot of the Bourne.
......Smith was a red-headed
man who drove a white Chevrolet and if he was going to come this
way he'd do it in the next twenty minutes.
......He claimed to have received
Jesus but his wife suspected that any ecstasy he might be experiencing
had less to do with conversion to Christ than with an ex-girlfriend
......"Gateway to the Cape,"
my client had snorted into her coffee. "More like Gateway
to the c--"
A white sedan cut off my reverie as sharply as it did a rental
truck in a last ditch effort to change lanes before passing the
exit for the bridge. It wasn't him.
......The advantage of a rotary
was that if you missed your target you could simply circle around
and try again. People didn't though. They drove as if their first
shot was their last, using horn, finger, and unflinching bulk
as they risked all. To hell with the consequences.
......Across the road from the
restaurant was a State Police barracks. I'd never seen a trooper
posted at the rotary. In the time it took to write up a single
moving violation, five more occurred. Who could keep up with
......Another white car approached,
a young woman whiplashing enthusiastically to the song on the
I shifted in my seat.
......My client couldn't pinpoint
where the ex-girlfriend lived. Postal delivery was not a given
right in Wareham and the tramp used a P.O. box as well as an
......Why the suspicion?
......Her husband had been unusually
......"Maybe he found peace,"
......"He found a piece
all right." She reached for her cigarettes, her cracked
fingernail polish complementing the nicotine stains. "She
blew him once in high school and he's pined for her ever since."
......If the economy had been
better or my overhead lower, I would have passed. Domestic was
dirty. No matter how the investigation went, the client felt
shamed and I was the messenger who knew the truth.
......I much preferred background
work for human resource departments but no one was hiring right
now. Reminding myself that rent was due, I agreed to determine
whether her husband was lying.
She grinned through the smoke. "Then I'll really have the
bastard. He thinks his life is miserable now?"
Two cars entered the rotary. The second contained the husband.
......As he started up the approach
to the bridge, I pulled out of the parking lot behind him.
So Mrs. Smith had been right about her husband slipping religious
services. Bad choice. Church worked as well as an affair to get
him out of the house and it was less dangerous.
......Mid-bridge the Chevrolet
......I hit my brakes and the
driver behind me followed suit, white-knuckled and swearing in
Further back I thought I heard a crash but in front of me the
husband had climbed onto the roof of his car and raised his hands
......Some people found happiness
in attaining, others in letting go. My client was wrong after
all. Her husband had been going to church just long enough to
......As I grabbed for my door
handle he lowered his arms.
......I had one foot on the pavement
when he leaped over the safety barrier.
......I reached the walkway as
he hit the water below.
......Time returned to normal
and I heard the traffic again, drivers scrambling from their
© 2002 by Stephen D. Roger
From experience I knew I'd have no trouble breaking the news
to my client, writing the report, calculating the bill. The image
of her husband's peaceful resolve, however, that would haunt
I gripped the railing and stared down at the canal, cursing a
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