(This site is a crime novel in progress, set up to entertain post by post.  If you’re a first timer, please click onto They Had the Right to Remain Silent (1), in the Archives section to the left, and proceed right to Chapter (i).  Those of you following and up to speed, off we go…)
They Had the Right to Remain Silent
Richard S. Jachimecki
Chapter ( xiv )
     AMY HUNT SKIMMED THROUGH THE HEADLINES in the City section of The New York Times as the elevator made its way to her destination at the 55th floor. The teeming car stopped often, as passengers exited to their offices, commencing a new workday. There would be a handful left, by the time she reached her floor.
     Amy maneuvered into a rear corner, read her newspaper, and avoided the need to shift her place with the chime, door swish, and departures at every stop. The enclosed air was awash in the mixture of freshly applied colognes and parfums. Amy conjured thoughts of wild jungle cats roaming in a botanical garden. As the display beamed a lighted blue 55 above the door, Amy folded the paper and proceeded straight across the corridor to the glass walls of C C & Associates.
     She unlocked the door, turned on the overhead lights, and set her purse down on the Reception desk, to the right of the entrance. She gave a quick glance at the phone. Amy noticed its display flashed with four new messages.
     She then opened a door, on the wall behind her desk, to a kitchenette area. Amy dropped her paper in the corner of the counter, and the wall sensor activated the lights. She opened an upper cabinet, then pulled out a packet of coffee for the Bunn. She found her personal Garfield cup and dropped a bag of orange pekoe tea into it, then set them on the countertop. She loaded the coffee pouch into the maker’s top basket and turned the switch to ‘brew’, then placed an empty glass pot from the sink’s drying rack onto the warmer plate, directly below the basket.
     The boiling water started to seethe through the grounds when Amy heard the phone. Office hours were still fifteen minutes away, but she decided to answer regardless, as she got a restive sensation in the pit of her stomach, recalling the unusual amount of messages already left on voicemail.
     “Good morning, C C and…”
     “Amy?” the woman on the line broke in.
     “Yes… Elaine? Is Owen running late, he usually beats me…”
     “Amy, where is he?” Elaine’s voice quivered from a sleepless night of frantic fear- filled conjecture.
     “Elaine, I haven’t seen him since yesterday afternoon. I thought he was with, that is, I would think he would have called you. Have you tried anybody else?”
     “His phone must be off. It goes straight to his message. I’ve tried all the friends I can think of. I’ve tried the hospitals. You said he left early. Why?”
     “I’m not sure, Elaine. He talked about closing a deal. Maybe he went for a face- to- face?” she said, now trying to decide whether her boss was going to be in trouble with his wife or something had physically happened to him.
     “Amy, he’s pulled all- nighters at work before…”
     “Yeah, I know…”
     “But he’s always called me first!” Elaine cried out.
     “All right Elaine, calm down,” Amy hushed. “Owen drove in yesterday, right?” she asked.
     “Yes… he did,” Elaine answered, fighting back sobs.
     “Maybe call the on- board emergency service, to track the car’s location,” Amy suggested.
     Elaine’s breathing was more composed. “God, I forgot about that thing. I’ve never used it.”
     “It’s a starting point,” Amy encouraged, “meanwhile, I’ll call anyone on yesterday’s business calendar. I’ll let you know right away. Hang in there Elaine, it’ll be all right,” Amy tried to reassure.
     “Thank you, Amy,” Elaine said, still sniffling, “thank you.”
     Amy listened to the messages that had been recorded. All were from Elaine; two time- stamped the evening before and two this morning.
     Other associates filtered in. When the Crenshaw father and son arrived, Amy explained the situation. No one she had spoken to so far had any knowledge of Mr. Bradford’s whereabouts. The elder partner told Amy he would call Mrs. Bradford right away to offer any assistance possible. Amy called every contact Owen had scribbled into his planner for that week, with no positive feedback.
     Mr. Crenshaw came out of his office. “I’ve spoken with Mrs. Bradford,” he said, “she asked me to tell you their car is still in the parking lot here.”
     Amy stayed at her desk. Phone calls were answered on the first ring. She typed, filed and organized paperwork, then would tidy up the reception area. All the while, her eyes drifted to the wall clock, a constant reminder of time passing. She tried to convince herself Owen would need a loan for the peacemaking gift from Tiffany’s to calm this over, but her heart wasn’t buying it.
     Elaine called once more and neither she nor Amy had any news to share. By noontime, nothing had surfaced. The decision was made to notify the police.
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