As expected, Marsha began sobbing again when Chief Grady arrived at the Mayor’s office. She’d tried, unsuccessfully, to wheedle out information about her former boss.
“Oh, thank goodness you went straight over, Chief. Is he…was he...d-d-dead?”
“Now, Marsha, you know I can’t discuss police investigations with you. I’m only here to get your official statement. Since you called me, I need the proper paperwork to support my inquiry at the Farmington residence. You mentioned an email. I’m going to need a copy of that for the file.
“Oh, I don’t know if I should do that. I don’t think Dale would want me handing out copies.”
“Well, he isn’t the Mayor anymore,” Marsha insisted when Grady cast a curious look her way. “Saying ‘the ex-Mayor’ sounds so…I don’t know, pathetic; and he hated being called Mister Farmington. What else was I supposed to call him?”
“Honestly, it doesn’t matter to me what you call him but you’re obstructing police business by withholding that letter. I’m sure you don’t want to impede official police business, do you?”
“I’d need permission from him, unless he’s dead, of course.” Marsha slyly hinted, hoping to have her curiosity satisfied.
“Well, I guess I can just talk to Bill Sterling since he’d be your boss now with Dale resigning. I know he’s here, I recognized his car in the lot. Go ahead and let him know I need a quick word. I guess that means he’ll find out that you were faxing resumes on company time and tax payers’ money. Sounds a little like stealing if you ask me.”
“No, there’s no need to bother Mr. Sterling, Chief. Here’s the copy you need. I’m sure you have plenty to do without wasting your time here. Have a good day now.”
Grady chuckled as Marsha shuttled him out of the office as quickly as possible.
In the privacy of his vehicle, the chief was able to review the letter of resignation. The most notable quality, other than citing the council for his untimely death, was the abundance of misspelled words and grammatically incorrect sentences but, at least, Dale had the presence of mind to keep it brief. Bottom line: I quit, you suck, I’m going to kill myself and it’s all your fault. Grady shook his head in disgust. What a waste, he thought grimly. Mayor Farmington hadn’t always been his favorite person but he hated the thought of people showing so little respect for the life they’d been granted.
His next order of business filled the pit of Grady’s stomach with dread. Dale Farmington’s closest relative was still his wife, Sylvia. She needed to be notified of her husband’s death but, given her already fragile state, it needed to be handled the proper fashion. Upon arrival at the hospital, Grady met with Dr. Garrett and they agreed that they would relay the news together. Surprisingly, she took the news without the need for additional medication. She cried and admitted she would need time to grieve but, thanks to her therapy, she did not feel the urge to harm herself. Both Chief Grady and Doctor Garrett praised her for working so hard in therapy.
“That reminds me,” Grady added as he wrapped his arms around Sylvia in a warm, friendly, embrace. “I saw your interview last night, Sylvia. Sharon and I are so proud of you. You are one of the bravest women I’ve ever had the privilege to know. It’s an honor to call you my friend.”
After meeting with Sylvia, Grady headed to the opposite end of the wing to room 908 to visit Poole. He felt guilty that he hadn’t had the chance to visit for a little while but it was doubtful that Doug had any comprehension of time. Much like his last visit, Poole was completely unresponsive; blindly staring off into the void. His grandmother, Rose, had been dozing in the chair by Doug’s bed but she was genuinely pleased to see Chief Grady again.
“It’s so good to see you again, Chief,” said Grandma Rose as greeted him with a hug. “I was a little afraid we might not get the chance to say goodbye. My children have decided that it’s not safe for me to stay here anymore. Some development company bought my house and we’re transferring Dougie to a facility near my oldest boy’s home in Vermont. It’s a landlocked state so I guess we’ll be safer there. You know, I’ve spent most of my life in this community. My husband bought the property before we wed. As the years went by, we built on additions and remodeled. After my husband passed, I swore I would live here until the day I died. It’s a funny thing, Chief, do yourself a favor and don’t get old. All of the sudden, your children will decide they know more than you and they plot and plan behind your back. Next thing you know, your house has been sold and you’re being bundled up and shipped off to live with your know-it-all son and his moody she-devil wife.” She sighed wistfully and shook her head. “Sorry about that, I shouldn’t have dumped my woes in your lap like that. You’ve got more than your fair share as it is, Chief.”
“Ma’am, I am so glad I got the chance to say goodbye to you. You are an exceptional lady. I will miss both you and Doug. I hope he finds peace when he is far away from here and, perhaps, healing as well. I have a feeling that you’re getting out at the best possible time. I doubt this place will feel the same now that so many of our neighbors have left. It’s probably just my natural distrust of strangers but I suspect that the developer, the one who has been snatching up every piece of property he can get his hands on, has his own agenda. Somehow, I doubt it is the preservation of our community that he cares about so I think you’re probably better off in Vermont. It might break your heart to see what becomes of our once-beautiful community when it’s all said and done.”
Rose hugged the chief again and brushed a lone tear from her wrinkled cheek when he took Doug’s hand and shook it one last time.
***Be sure to return Monday, May 19th for the next installment of Ocean***