Hard-Boiled Amateur Sleuth, Episode Five

Written by Mark Wm Smith

An overeducated, blue-collar cowboy, Mark Wm Smith grew up on along the banks of the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana. Raised by a long haul trucker and a bartending waitress, Mark learned the hard ways of the modern frontier, scraping life from the unforgiving high chaparral.

January 7, 2019

Murder at the Edge of the Orient, Episode Five

Logan and Sharon Pasfield lived on a quiet, overly lit street on Kadena Air Base in the shoe buckle of Okinawa Jima, bounded by the Philippine Sea to the southeast and the East China Sea to the west. A slipper of landmass, its heal built from volcanic deposits with a toe formed of coral, The Rock languished between oceans, like a misplaced Samurai retained to guard Japan from its apathetic Asian neighbors.

The rain had stopped. 

Their house, a single story of coral-based cement, sat in shadow. It was just after five a.m. Either Pasfield shed tears in the dark or he’d recognized the need for spending this particular night with a friend. Both tiny parking spaces were empty. 

I tapped on the front door with a timid knuckle before poking the bell ringer once. So many nights cruising by in the early days of my infatuation with Sharon Pasfield, peeking out of the corner of my eye with shameful curiosity. I tried the knob. It turned. 

I flicked on the lights and strode into the main living area. Boldness in the face of disgrace. A normal space, absent the expected extraordinaries of a company grade officer’s life. 

Drifted through the narrow hall to the bedrooms. Doors open. Beds made. Girl things in one. Boy things in another. It surprised me. Sharon’s libido wouldn’t account for this. Maybe a recent change. Possibly Logan’s choice. 

I started in Sharon’s space. She was my raison d’être—in this act, anyway. 

Shoes. Reminiscent of Imelda Marcos. Dozens of outfits integrated with the shrewdness of a Garanimals design engineer. An ordinary closet for an accomplished actress. Overdone for a woman whose major role totaled three-seconds in a Top Gun bar scene. At least two ensembles I recognized. Items that lured me in. Duped me.

Criticizing her post mortem curled my toes. Gave me the sensations of a jilted lover with a grudge. A guilty man on parole. It whipped up visions of her lifeless body with a bullet hole in her head. I shut it down and bounced out of the smothering space filled with her scent and captivating perfume. 

Searching Logan’s study felt safer. I found his desk meticulous. Every drawer laid out by an architect. Pens and pencils leveled the depressions. Files hung in a separate drawer with hand-stenciled labels showing receipts, bank statements, bills and household equipment manuals. I riffled them for a motive but recognized the futility in a second. Logan Pasfield, Air Force OSI would not leave motive in his desk drawers. 

I considered my role as his rival. My fingers traced the edge of the blotter. I’d never considered a desk blotter. Logan’s was dark and masculine. Robust. Placed with exactitude. My attempt to lift its thick mat failed. I continued toying with the edging while reviewing my rendezvous history with Pasfield’s wife. A slide show of her reactions during our time together popped up on the screen of my mind followed by moments of them together—their flare and pomp a local trademark. Had she considered me a man in the same way she saw her more accomplished husband, Capitan Pasfield, as his bastard son had labeled him?

The comparative exploration got snagged by a nub protruding from the seam. I pushed against it. The gap opened an eighth of an inch. I pulled it back to reveal a secret compartment. 

Just inside, the sharp edge of an envelope mocked me.

A tug liberated it. 

Manila in color. Five by seven. Thick with a metal clasp that pinched open with little effort. A stack of photographs. Two black and whites on top. Sharon and Jimmy chatting beneath a Hiragana street sign. A couple more in the middle. A younger Jimmy camping with his school age friends in what looked like the Blue Ridge Mountains. Another, on the bottom, a senior photo from the high school yearbook. A Xerox copy of a birth certificate. 

James Marshall Poole. Male. Single birth. January 1, 1979. Cumberland, Virginia. Father: unnamed. Mother: Mary Kay Marshall. 

A letter addressed to Logan Pasfield.

The Special Agent knew something about Jimmy and his father. Something he wanted kept secret. 

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2 Comments

  1. Beverlee

    The plot thickens. Hmmm, I must be missing something.

    Reply
  2. Laura Shanahan

    Very interesting. Can’t wait til I can read more.

    Reply

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