There, in front of her, lying atop several spaced bales of hay or straw hard to tell in this light was a full sized truck cap, standing out white in the fading daylight.
The bales were covered with a blue tarp, flapping slightly in the cold, brisk autumn wind.
During the past spring and summer, in spite of all the rain, Amy managed to find a dry spot here and there in the city, but living on the streets was growing dangerous of late.
There was always someone a little stronger who wanted her spot and she was unable to do battle. She was getting too old and too tired and her body took too long to heal of late.
In the city last night to get out of the rainy weather, she crawled onto the bed of an old pick up truck and into a fairly clean dog box, pulling the small door shut behind her. Air came in through the unobstructed vent holes at the back, but very little cold and blessedly, no rain.
Wrapping her dirty blanket around herself, she fell asleep and even the start up of the engine and the motion of the truck failed to wake her almost a full week had passed since she felt safe enough to do more than catnap.
At the break of dawn, she finally awoke, cautiously opening the door of the box to find she was no longer in the city.
The truck was parked under a tree behind an old weather beaten unpainted house, with no lights coming from any of the curtained windows.
Squeezing herself out of the box, every muscle aching, she knew she would feel better when she stood erect and moved around a little, as the cold had settled in her bones. She
A dog barked, and he sounded close! She was afraid of dogs, and this one's barking might waken someone. May looked over the side of the truck. There it was, straining at its chain, a blazing eyed old lady eating monster!
Quickly, she grabbed her blanket and plastic bag, going to the opposite side of the truck. Jumping out, she headed down the driveway, dodging behind bushes on her way.
The dog was still barking as she reached the road a dirt road! Where the heck was she? Looking down, she saw the marks the truck tires made coming into the drive. She turned in that direction, mostly because there were bushes to hide her retreat down the road.
She walked all day, and as it grew colder, wrapped her blanket closely around herself, one hand holding her bundle outside the blanket. Damn, it was getting colder still! When she came upon a drive, partly overgrown, leading off to the left, she followed it, hoping for an abandoned building of some sort.
That was when she had spied the truck cap in a break in the weeds.
The wind seemed to blow a little stronger as she neared the cap, and she shivered. Looking under it, she saw no spider webs, no wasps nests. It seemed to have been placed on bales because the door at the back was longer than the sides. She found it was a good deal warmer under the cap, when she crawled in.
May was able to stand almost erect, and studied how the bales were arranged for a few minutes. By moving two of the bales, she could cut off all the wind. But to move more, she must lift the cap. She moved the two, standing them on end at the front of the cap, and could not have wished for a closer fit. There was still a small hole near the door, but she stuffed it with weeds.
She wiggled the blue tarp free from over the bales and laid it over the stunted weeds
under the cap.
It surely seemed a lot warmer now. Light came in the side windows, which had screens, and the small window in the door. Grasping the door handle and giving it a turn, it came open like a door to a little house.
She was tired and hungry from her all day walk, having eaten only several apples she
found under a tree. Although hungry and thirsty, she was out of the wind. She rolled up in her blanket and slept. Some time during the night, she pulled half the tarp up over her. Ah, that made it warmer.
This night's sleep surpassed the quality of last night's. There was enough straw mixed with the weeds under her to make her bed much softer than the wooden floor of the dog box, and having a tarp over and under her kept in her body warmth. When mother nature called, she went out into the cold, but hurried back, spread the tarp, and was just rolling up in her blanket when the
"Good Lord, woman, what are you doing out here?" A male voice interrupted her doze and the flashlight gleam blinded her,
"I was sleeping, and a fine place to sleep it turned out to be!" she declared.
"It was darned cold last night, not fit for sleeping out!"
"Ah, but much better than the night before when I slept in a dog box on the back of a
pick up truck!" Amy sounded proud of herself.
"Nonsense." Somebody's mother having to spend her nights like that! "Come with me, you're going to have some breakfast."
"And where would that be, and how do we get there, I see nothing out there," she replied, looking out the windows.
He opened the door and beckoned.
"Sorry, I have a natural function to perform, the sooner the better." she said, hesitant to follow him.
"My bathroom is at your disposal. Right this way." He took several steps toward what looked like a big mound of dirt, three steps down, and there was a door, which he opened. "Welcome to my underground home." He stood aside so she could enter.
The warmth hit her in the face, engulfing her. It wasn't dark, light seemed to come from all over. There were no shadows. She stood with her mouth open until he mentioned the bathroom, then she was right at his heels.
It was lovely. There was a sunken tub, a shower, with the stool visible through an open stall door. There were no shadows here, either. She pushed him out and closed the door. As she did, she caught sight of herself in a mirror on the back of the door a nearing fifty woman with hair snarled and filled with straw and other dirt, in rags and pieces of clothing, faced her.
"Oh, God," she thought. "This low in three weeks!"
The young man's voice filtered through the closed door.
"I'll get you some clean clothes. The towels are behind the closet door with the shampoo and bubble bath."
"I have clean clothes in my duffle under the cap." She called back.
Several minutes later, she was shampooing her hair in the shower, the rest of her already pink from the heat and the scrubbing. The shampoo smelled heavenly. She braided her long hair quickly, letting the braid hang down her back.
In clean jeans, tee shirt under a sweat shirt, clean socks on feet thrust into worn shoes, she opened the door. Nothing had ever smelled so good! What was it? Coffee? That was easy. Waffles and sausage took a moment longer to identify. A full plate was on the table beside a cup of steaming coffee when she approached it.
"Please sit. You look great. After you eat, you can tell me all about why you're here. But eat first."
She ate, slowly, savoring every bite, every sip of coffee, the tangy syrup, the rich waffles. She ate herself into a warm, rosy glow! How sweet life was at this moment in time. She didn't want to remember the past, she just wanted to melt into this second, savor it forever. Finally, full to the bursting point, she pushed her plate away, moved her coffee cup into its saucer, and gave a long sigh.
Her host filled her cup for the third time and sat down opposite her.
Looking him squarely in the eye, she asked, "Have you ever been conned? Really conned? To the breaking point? Past the breaking point?"
"Nope, and by the way, I'm Tom Kiting, and every thing I have, I've earned."
"And I'm Amy Wittaker, everything I had I earned. The con lady never labored a day in her life, but she sure worked me over GOOD!"
"Marjorie McAddams, or that is what she called herself."
"What was Marjorie's con?"
"Let me start at the beginning. I had a beautiful – well beautiful to me, daughter Lydia. My husband and I raised her the way we were raised; to be honest, to help those in need, to trust in the Lord, and be hardworking. It started out fine. Lydia was a worker. She worked hard to make good grades in school. Her friends were nice kids, they all grew up together, went to a good school in a nice neighborhood, their parents were all still together when the kids graduated. But, like most youngsters, they couldn't wait to try their wings. Lydia got a modest scholarship to the State college and several of her friends enrolled with her. They all came home on holidays and vacations. It was a little lonely at other times, so we looked forward to the kids being around. Our house was a big one, four bedrooms. We weren't poor, we welcomed our daughter's new friends as well as the old ones.
"Marjorie was one of the new friends. She was an inquisitive young lady not too worldly, I thought. But she fooled me. She would drop questions that were none of her business in a way that you couldn't refuse to answer, like where do you bank? Could I get a check cashed there without inconveniencing you? Does the bank require funds on deposit before you can get a free checking account? We never held back on general information. The questions seemed harmless enough.
"Lydia and Marjorie both began jobs with the same company when they finished college. Lydia had a designing degree, Marjorie one in business. Marjorie worked in personnel, Lydia for the design engineer. Soon, they were in an apartment together; whenever Lydia came to visit at home, Marjorie came, too. We always made her welcome.
"Lydia bought a used car, on time. Once or twice, Marjorie borrowed it to make overnight trips, Lydia told us. She made no effort to help with the insurance nor upkeep, and only took the car when the gas tank was full. Several times I overheard Lydia remark that they did sell gas at other than their neighborhood station on her, Lydia's, charge account. Marjorie always apologized and said she would catch up on pay day. But I never asked if she had.
"Six months or so after they moved in together, my sister-in law passed away. She left Lydia a small inheritance, and Lydia bought a new car.
"Marjorie borrowed it, was in an accident, the car totalled and Marjorie spent some time in the hospital. She came out in a wheelchair. Her lawyer sued Lydia's insurance company. Marjorie moved out into an apartment with wheelchair ramps. She sent Lydia the moving bill and the bill for first, last and security deposit. Lydia, who felt guilty because Marjorie said the car's brakes were defective and caused the accident, paid them.
"Lydia, now that she had no roommate, felt the pinch in her budget, and her visits home lessened.
"But my husband, Jack Wittaker and I, now that Marjorie was gone, felt free to visit, and when we did, we saw that Lydia's cupboards and refrigerator were never bare when we left. Jack stopped at the gas station where Lydia had her account, paid her 'up to date.' Lydia was always grateful.
"During one visit, Lydia received her charge card billing. She gasped when she opened it, and only when her father insisted, did she hand it over to him.
"Over $500 in one month, for clothes?" he gasped. "Child, do you need all these clothes?"
"I didn't buy the clothes, Daddy, Marjorie did!"
"How did Marjorie get your card?"
"I don't know, Daddy, but all you need is the number."
"I can't, unless I am paid up to date, and she always runs it up past what I can pay!"
"Let me have your card, dear. I'll handle it. Do you need another card?"
"No, I got that one when I got the car, we had planned to travel weekends."
"Jack got on the phone, went to the nearest bank handling the card, paid the balance and had the teller run the card through the shredder and told her no further charges would be accepted.
"The insurance company settled for the loss of Lydia's car. She and her father picked out a small economy model at a very reasonable price.
"We went home feeling we really had helped Lydia.
"Two weeks later, Lydia was found dead at the foot of the stairs leading to her apartment. Her death was ruled accidental. But her apartment was thoroughly ransacked. It was impossible for us, in our grief, to sort everything out. We just put all her loose things in big boxes, shipped them home, gave her furniture to the Salvation Army, and went home to mourn.
"Jack didn't make it through the winter after our loss. His heart gave out. Loneliness closed in on me."
"After a Sunday afternoon at the cemetery about a week later I arrived home to find a strange car in the drive. It was Marjorie. A very sympathetic Marjorie, who invited herself into my home.
She took over the kitchen, commiserated over my loss, and before I knew what was happening, things that would change my life were occurring.
"I just couldn't seem to recover from my double loss. And somehow, during my worst time, Marjorie obtained power of attorney to help arrange my affairs. It seemed so much easier to just let her handle things.
"The cars needed new licenses, and at the time, I was dreadfully sick, the flu, Marjorie said, so why not just sign this and I'll get them for you. I signed.
"The tax bills came. Marjorie made out the checks for me to sign, explaining that every piece of property needed a separate check. I signed four. There was always something new to sign, and I did.
"Four months after Marjorie came to commiserate, she left. Evidently, she had remained packed. I took a nap at three every afternoon, awakening around four. On the day Marjorie left (in my car), I did not awaken until after six and Marjorie was gone.
"The refrigerator was empty, as were the cupboards. I took my purse and went in Lydia's car, which was in the garage, to shop.
"At the cash register, I found my check book was gone. I had only three dollars and some cents. My credit cards were gone. I picked out enough food to spend the three dollars very, very little, and walked back to the car. There was a policeman standing by the side of the car it seems the plates were out of date.
"I broke down, asked to be taken to the police station to tell my story. The officer took me. The Captain cluck clucked, took me to the bank, where I cancelled the missing cards and found my checking account contained only the interest for the past month, credited to my account that morning, and only $l000 remained in my savings account what was necessary to maintain cost free checking. I was shown my signature on the necessary papers to clean out the accounts. It looked like my signature.
"I called an old friend to get a ride home. She was aghast. Her son dated Marjorie. She would see the story made the rounds so Marjorie would be personna non grata with her former friends. "At home, I was determined to get back on my feet. I started going through Jack’s and my personal papers. Nothing seemed to be where it should be. Deeds were gone, investment papers were missing. Jack handled all our finances, but I went over papers with him enough to know whom to call in case we needed cash, it was all in the files. The files were also missing.
"The full horror of my plight hit me. I sat down in a chair and despair, black and frightening, closed in on me.
"As I sat there, a small light seemed to go off in my head, my vision cleared, I stood up, went to the library to the set of volumes on diets, herbs, nutrition and health. Volume number two on nutrition was just a shell, with the copies of papers I now needed, especially the little black book, inside it.
"It was three in the afternoon, I would have to hurry. One by one, I called our investment houses, only to find the accounts had been closed out during the past weeks!
"There were several things in the false book that were not recorded elsewhere and a sum of cash, my sister's will, which granted Lydia her inheritance, one of Jack's insurance policies, paid up years ago; a set of keys to our deposit box, plus copies of birth certificates, and a packet of other papers I knew little or nothing about. I put everything back when I was finished going through it.
"After a light meal, I went to bed, only to toss and turn until daylight.
"The sun came up, bright and cheerful, which I did not appreciate. At 8:l5 a.m., someone knocked at the door. It was a uniformed officer from the Sheriff's Office, who, without any formality but to ask if I were Amy Wittaker, served me with an eviction notice. It seems I was being granted seventeen days to vacate the premises owned by one Marjorie McAddams, as was stipulated in a deed filed by her with the Court.
"Now with a few dollars at my disposal, I called a cab, took along the papers to Lydia's car and got it licensed. Then I walked to the police station, paid my fine, put the plates on the car, drove to a storage rental place, hired a moving company, rented a fairly large storage facility and made arrangements to move out the next day.
"If it had not been for the cash and papers in the false book, I would have been forced to move out and leave everything behind! As it was, I kept an old bed and mattress, moved them down from the attic to the first floor, hooked up an old refrigerator we only used summers when the house was full. (What a long time ago that seemed!) It stood on the enclosed back porch, and brought up a hot plate of vintage age from the basement.
"As this was no longer my house, it seemed, I turned on every light. Why worry about bills. In order to be ousted, the bills couldn't still be in my name. Or could they? I got on the phone. Aha, they were still my bills. I asked to speak to the manager and asked his opinion.
"We will transfer them over to the new owner as of the date the deed was filed, will that be all right?"
"Consider it done."
"I left all the lights on.
"When everything was removed from the attic, basement, garage and yard and the rest of the house, into storage, I settled down to wait out the seventeen days until eviction. The phone hadn't been disconnected, I was going to use that to engage a private detective to check on Marjorie
McAddams, from her date of birth until tomorrow, in duplicate.
"My clothes and possessions were reduced to two suitcases, and a bag for dirty clothing which I put into the car early on the morning of the seventeenth day. I got a vicarious thrill from leaving the place a mess with no curtains or shades, no throw rugs, just dirty paper plates and cups strewn around the rooms the mess usually left by evictees in the city, I heard.
"At six thirty, I drove off, after disconnecting the phone and tossing it behind the garage. I didn't even glance back. On the seat beside me was the false book and the file on Marjorie McAddams.
"At the storage facility, I got my keys, put the false book and the "Marjorie" file into a drawer in a dresser I had to crawl over boxes to reach, paid six month's ahead on the bill, which according to the contract, gave me thirty days' grace thereafter.
“I took Lydia's car to the park, took a long walk, pausing to let the darkness settle before going back to the car.
There were pillows and blankets on the back seat, my two suitcases in front, my money and keys secure in a belt around my waist, my purse beside me. I went to sleep, intending to sleep only until after dark, then go back to the house and if Marjorie were there, kill her. Or go back every night until she was there!
"When I opened my eyes, the car was moving. How long I had slept, I didn't know. But when I sat up, there was a loud yelp from the front seat, the car slammed to a halt, I hit the back of the front seat and was just getting it all together when the doors slammed on both sides and I was alone!
"I swore I had locked those doors! But hadn't Marjorie driven the car? Probably had a set of keys to it! Why hadn't I thought of that? Stupidity was costing me dearly!
"My suitcases! They were in the front seat. As I swung my feet to the floor, I found the smallest at the expense of pain to my ankles! The other was jammed between the back seat and front, dented in fact.
"It took me a while to extricate myself from the back seat, crawl over to the driver's seat and lock the doors from the inside.
"When I went to start the car, I saw the tank was on empty. All around me were dark tall buildings, the dim street lights seemed miles apart. The air smelled foul when I cracked a window. Where had they left me?
"I spent the night wide awake, scared half to death, ready to panic at the slightest movement in the shadows. Finally, I dozed off, and woke at daylight.
"From a middle class family with a daughter, a house, car, money in the bank, investments, to this! Two small suitcases, one gasless car, very little pocket money. I was alone in a very poor section of town. My God, did I deserve this?
"Marjorie," I thought. "Marjorie McAddams. Just as I rue the day you came into my life, Marjorie McAddams, you are going to be sorry you ever heard of the Wittaker family. I swear it, on my daughter's grave!"
"I took the clothes out of the mashed suitcase and sorted the contents of both down to all fit into one.
"I left the car, walking back in the direction I came, because the neighborhood ahead of the car looked worse. Maybe I could get a room somewhere.
"Just as my legs felt they were giving out, I smelled coffee. Bundles of rags and piles of cardboard seemed to come alive around me. Heads popped up, I passed people doing private things in public, doorways came alive. I fell in line with rags moving in the direction of the coffee smell. Soon their line joined one already formed. It seems the Salvation Army was serving breakfast on the sidewalk.
"When it came my turn, a woman filled a plate and a cup, motioned me inside to a long table with very little empty space left. She found room for me, sat me down, put the plate and cup before me, asked if she might safeguard the suitcase, and at my nod, went through a door and came back empty handed.
"The food was good, the coffee hot, the smell of the people around was almost nauseating. As soon as I was finished, I took my paper plate and cup to the waste barrel and went to find the woman to get my suitcase. She was still serving meals.
"I asked where I might find a ladies room, was directed back inside, found a room with four stools and no privacy and four sinks. Mother Nature overcame my reticence. I washed my hands without soap.
"I lingered until there were no longer lines of people outside the building. The Salvation Army lady found me.
"You don't look like you need us. Not just slumming, are you?" she asked me.
"No, but I will soon look like everyone else, if having nothing makes you look this way!" In a few words, I told my story. When I came to the car part at the end, she asked where the car was parked. I remembered a street name, and she looked at her watch.
"It's probably been towed away already."
"Towed away?" I responded.
"Every morning. Too many people living in old cars."
"But I just put new plates on it yesterday!"
"Then maybe we can save it. Come on."
"We ran to the S.A. van and I directed her. A tow truck was just backing up to it when we drove up. The SA lady yelled for them to stop.
"Not unless it's yours, Ma'am."
"Tell them it is. Here's the title. I'll sign it over to you." I urged.
"It will be ours. This lady owns it and is giving it to us. It just ran out of gas."
"Get it moving in five minutes, then."
"I unlocked the car. We got in. I told her I could move it a block or two, maybe. Which way?"
"They've already patrolled behind us. Turn around and we may have an hour to gas it up."
"The car started. I turned it and headed in a rush back to where the SA Van had first been parked, the van following me. I coasted the last twenty feet, but I made it.
"I'm Laura Kaull," the SA lady introduced herself. "Nice work."
"Amy Wittaker." I hadn't volunteered a name with my story, but it was on the title. "And I am serious about you having the car."
"You're still in pretty good shape, Amy. Want to give us a hand here. We can sure use you."
"For a while, I guess. But I need a place to sleep."
"The benches were too hard, I slept in my former car in an old garage, which had a stool and a shower, and the summer passed quickly for me, even though it seemed time stood still. This might have gone on forever, but a fire put the building out of the food business and the garage lost its roof. That was three weeks ago. The SA lady, Laura, was transferred and I was reduced to doorways until I crawled in the dog box on the truck."
"I'm a little disappointed," Tom Kiting grinned as she finished her story. "Attractive older women usually fall prey to quick witted handsome younger men."
"For the 'attractive' remark, thank you. For the rest, there wasn't time for a quick witted man to come on the scene. I think, somehow, we'd have been taken even if Lydia and Jack hadn't died."
"Lydia could have been pushed downstairs, you know." Tom said quietly.
Amy's face turned white. "And then her room ransacked? By Marjorie?"
Tom nodded. And Amy's hatred took a huge leap forward.
"God help her if I ever see her again!"
"What does she look like?" Tom asked. "Wait, describe her and I'll try to draw her picture."
"You're an artist?"
"So some say. Let's see how good we are."
While the morning passed, Amy scouted out a very passable lunch, and the face grew more and more familiar. At four, Tom called a halt.
"I've got a few things to do in town. You want to come, or stay here. I'll not be too long."
"No, Tom, you're being too trusting, just as I was. Don't ever leave anyone alone in your house. I'll go along or wait outside."
"In the cold? No, come along, I like company."
They spent the time with Tom asking questions about Marjorie and Amy taking notes. Tom was beginning to form a picture of Marjorie's character, as well as little nuances Amy kept remembering and noting under her picture, which they brought along.
Tom wondered if he would have been able to withstand a conn by Marjorie. She sounded, except for those 'little things' like a nice girl.
In town, Amy suddenly yelled "Stop" to Tom. "Why?" he wanted to know.
"Lydia and Marjorie had their pictures taken there." Amy pointed to a studio now some distance behind them. Tom turned the car and went back.
Amy introduced herself at the counter, saying her daughter had her picture taken there with a friend. The daughter was deceased, and she wondered if he kept the negatives of the girls, as the original was a gift for friends and Amy would give anything for a copy of the picture.
The proprietor searched his records. Lydia's negative was still on file. Marjorie McAddams had taken her negative. But yes, she could have Lydia's negatives.
Tom held them up, one by one, to the light. "Tell you what, why don't we have one of each made, my gift to you?" He asked Amy.
"I'd love that." She smiled gratefully at him.
When the negatives and pictures were finished, the clerk came out, smiling. "I've got a surprise for you. The photographer made a trick negative both girls, one in profile behind the other. Your daughter is behind the other girl. Look."
Tom took the picture. Almost exactly as Amy portrayed her, there was Marjorie.
"Hey!" he whispered. "I know that face. But it isn't any Marjorie! That is Faye. Faye Dearing. I know where she lives, right this minute! Come on, Amy, let's go."
But Amy stopped him. "Pay the gentleman, Tom, and ask him not to tell anyone."
"Or we will come back and bust the place up," Tom added with a grin.
"Okay, okay." the clerk rang up the sale.
Amy got in the car. "Tom, let's make a plan before we face her. I'd like to get even, if its possible."
Tom sat very still, not looking at Amy for a long time. "I thought I had forgotten her, but it's been there all this time. Oh, we'll plan, Amy, if it takes years. And we will recoup what she took, more so, we'll strip her bare and send her to jail. That is what we will do!"
Tom offered to drive her to Westwood where her things were stored, if she needed anything. Amy opted for a small village store selling apparel. In the privacy of a booth, she took cash from her money belt. She bought underthings, a man's shirt and a pair of ladies' slacks. A jacket. Her shoes were still in fair shape and she had others stored she could get later.
Amy wore her new clothes out of the store. She also combed out the braid and rearranged her hair. At 46, Amy looked 35. Her figure was slim, and she resumed her former good posture. It would not have done to appear attractive while living on the street.
Tom didn't recognize her until she opened the door and spoke. Then he jumped, startled.
"Amy? You look twenty years' younger. I'd have passed you on the street and never recognized you! But I sure would have looked!"
Amy grinned at him. She didn't know it, but that grin made her look twenty, Tom thought. And she had been living unprotect ed on the streets!
"Tell me about Faye Dearing," Amy asked, once they were back in traffic.
"Her folks lived across the street from us in Norwood when I was a kid. I wasn't paying much attention to girls while she lived there, but she was always around somewhere. There were whispers about the yelling and screaming going on at their house. "Family squabbles, my folks said. Keep your nose to home."
"My brother Cal was fifteen, I was about twelve when Faye Dearing first became a name. She had been dogging my brother and his friends and one hot summer evening, my brother was arrested for raping Faye Dearing. She'd gotten pregnant, it seemed. My brother denied it, denied he even knew Faye Dearing, except having seen her across the street and in the neighborhood."
"My folks wouldn't hear of their getting married, my brother a father at fifteen? They paid for an abortion."
"Faye was back in the neighborhood.
"My brother changed. He was no longer the pleasant outgoing person, the older brother I adored. Cal went around white faced, didn't eat, couldn't sleep. One night, he came into my room and said he couldn't stand the looks on peoples' faces any more. He swore he never touched Faye, seldom even spoke to her, and could not understand why she did this to him. I believed him, and suggested my friends and I snoop around to see what we could see. He refused to believe kids my age could do anything. Maybe help, I argued.
"Two weeks later, just as our spying began to pay off, Cal hanged himself. It seems Faye was pregnant again. This time, she chose Franklyn Dace as her impregnator. I was there when she accused him, and I told his Dad that she and her brother were seen by six of us kids, performing the sex act in their garage every Thursday when their folks went grocery shopping!
"Franklyn's father marched her home, me and Todd Brace with her, to tell her old man. Then it hit me, she murdered my brother with her lies!
"I got the boys together, six of us, not one over half her brother's size, and we got him down and almost killed him. Every time I hit him, I said, "This is for Cal." He spent time in the hospital.
"Later, not knowing he was a reporter, I told my story to an acquaintance, who printed it. Faye and her family left town the day after the paper came out.
"She's guilty of Cal's death, that of my husband, and may have killed my daughter." Amy said, shaking her head over their losses.
"Maybe more my brother died sixteen years ago. She could have been up to a lot more mischief in sixteen years."
"I think, if she has, I know about it." Amy told him about the private detective and the file she had yet to read.
"We'll get it tomorrow," Tom said. "First thing." Tom invited her to stay in his spare bedroom, adding that he liked her company, they had a project in common, and she was a darned good cook!
The private detective's file contained a copy of Marjorie's college records, where he got the names and dates of her parents' deaths, and found Marjorie McAddams, their only daughter, died in an automobile crash sixteen years ago with both of her parents. He did not know who this Marjorie McAddams was.
But Tom knew. She was Faye Dearing.
Tom remembered all the young people at his school, Faye included, were fingerprinted at the time a young girl was kidnapped.
On the pretext of needing information for a class reunion, Tom contacted an old school chum and once close friend who had participated in the beating of Faye's brother. He copied Faye's entire school record for them, and copped her fingerprint card.
Meanwhile, Amy got copies of Marjorie's death certificate, which showed she was killed on the same date Faye Dearing was supposedly killed in a house fire, along with her parents. Somehow, Faye became Marjorie. Tom visited Marjorie's tombstone, took pictures of it, which
dates showing when she died.
Newspaper files revealed the circumstances of Faye Dearing's death, enabling them to obtain a copy of her death certificate. Armed with those and a copy of fingerprints supposedly those of Marjorie McAddams from her place of employment long after the date of her supposed death, they searched out Faye's brother Raymond.
He was broke, in need of a job, and easily pursuaded that Faye was still alive, and perhaps responsible for the death of their parents. He was only too eager to help in Amy's revenge on Faye. With little fanfare, Raymond Dearing proved that Marjorie McAddams was legally deceased, that one Faye Dearing for years had been using her name (evidenced by fingerprints) and was also deceased (the date on her death certificate had been struck over and was easily misread) and he was her legal heir.
As such, in a matter of days, he cleaned out her bank balance. closed her checking, had
her car put in his name, returned Amy's house to her, informed the credit card companies of her
decease, shut off any utilities in her name, and quickly left town.
Tom and Amy took their evidence to the police to prove Marjorie McAddams was really Faye Dearing, a suspect in the killing of her parents and setting their house on fire to cover the fact.
When the McAddams automobile accident was investigated, the police found evidence of tampering with the brakes, but as no one, to their knowledge, benefited from their deaths, the matter was dropped.
Faye Dearing's adopting Marjorie McAddams identity may or may not have been just a matter of coincidence in the eyes of the authorities, but they would look into it.
Meanwhile, she was charged with two murders.
Tom refused to allow Amy to live alone in her house until after Marjorie/Faye was sentenced, insisting she remain with him.
By the time the trial was over, Tom had no intention of ever letting her go. Amy sold her house and remained with him.