Crime Time (Chapter Eight, page 1 of 4)

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I can only describe the mood of our return trip as pensive. Little conversation took place as each of us kept our thoughts to ourselves. After leaving the town, we drove around the surrounding countryside in hopes Howie my spot one of the scenes of his other visions. He was convinced the locale was the same but the fields were not distinctive enough that he recognized anything. I was the designated driver again and once on the road Betsy closed her eyes but I doubt she slept. We all had for too much on our minds.

At six o'clock we pulled off the highway and found a family style restaurant in a small Maryland town. Over pie and coffee that followed a meat loaf dinner, Betsy asked the question on all our minds.

"What's next?"

Howie's hand shook as he raised his coffee cup. "I really want to pursue this, but I don't know how. It's like a gift I've been given and I'm supposed to do something with it and if I don't, I'm . . . I don't know what . . . sinning?"

Betsy took his hand in hers. "You have to convince Quinn to let you try again. I'm sure if he sees how important this is to you, he'll relent."

"I barely know him and you heard his feelings when we were together. I wouldn't know what to say."

Betsy turned to me. "You'll talk to him, won't you Ben? You're the only one of us who is his longtime friend. Neither Howie nor I really know him."

Talk about being put on the spot; my beloved set me up in spades. How could I decline without sounding like a total turd? Of course I agreed though I had no idea how I'd accomplish the task and dreaded even trying.

My acquiescence lightened the mood for the remainder of the trip as Betsy and Howie chatted as if future sessions were a faite accompli. I remained silent as they proposed new ways to determine time and location; methods to further prove Howie was immersed in scenes that had truly taken place. The lights of Washington finally came into view. We dropped Howie off at his hotel as he gushed his thanks. He would cab to the airport in the morning and return to California. Now at least Betsy and I had time together before I returned to New York Sunday afternoon. We took full advantage of our opportunity.

It was Thursday before I got up the nerve to call my friends. I first spoke to Martha, while not fully committed; I knew she was more sympathetic to Howie than her husband. Besides, I knew her far better than her husband. I settled in my most comfortable chair for a long conversation. After pleasantries I launched into a recap of our West Virginia weekend, detailing all we'd discovered. I emphasized how strongly Howie felt about resurrecting his sessions. Martha said nothing during my discourse, not helping my confidence.

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