Dear Ted and Jody:
Today has largely been a fubar. I started to re wrap a couple of things Nancy got on QVC to return. That took over an hour as I kept getting incomplete information from the purchaser (notice I avoid blaming her by name here?) We finally got it done. Then Since I thought I had run out of one of my medications I called the mail order pharmacy hot line. I had tried to order the med online late November or early December. But keep running into computer glitches. It turns out the expiration date on the credit card they had on file had expired but the messages on line didn’t say that. Interestingly, I didn’t have to pay anything so the card was not at all important for the order—computers! I avoid calling them if at all possible. With my hearing aids and their music and robotic system, it is more than painful to get through to a human being. Even then—some people! It turns out, I actually got the meds, but since they changed how they sent them (now in manufacturers packages rather than in the pharmacy’s amber pill bottles) I got confused when I initially checked between an over the counter med I take and the prescription bottle. I am still waiting to hear back on this so I can tell them I made the mistake. I would call, but the pharmacist did not give me a call back number and you can image getting anywhere near the right person by calling the main number I have. With luck, she will forget to check back with me. I may be an idiot, but I sure as hell hate being treated as one. Given the way she asked me to look again, I suspect being treated as an idiot is in the cards if she calls back.
So, then I drive in to Castle Rock to mail the two returns. Nancy didn’t want to use the Toutle Post Office a mile away, as Toutle does not have the machines that give printed receipts once a package is scanned. Got to have receipts as proof of mailing.
Well I have been hankering for a Coney Island style hot dog. So, I picked up a package of hot dogs and hot dog buns when I was in Castle Rock. Turns out the recipe Nancy wants used requires two packages of hot dogs. So, trying to save time I went to the Toutle store for the second package of hot dogs. I got them home and only then looked at the “sell by date.” (See, I told you I was an idiot.) Ten days ago was the sell by date. So, back to the Toutle store looking at sell by dates this time. (Yes, they took the exchange.)
By this time the day has morphed into afternoon. Nancy, now using a cane has a free hand and can do things in the kitchen. So, I arrived home with the second package of hot dogs to find her finishing up a sandwich for lunch. I guess, that means the Coney Islands are for dinner.
I hope you had a better day than my morning.
Warmest regards, Ed
PS: I am attaching the next installment of the Amanda Saga
021 Edith Gunderson is Re-Interviewed
Fiction in 1205 words by T. Edward Westen, 2016
Edith Gunderson picked up her telephone and said “Millie, would you please brew up a fresh pot of coffee for the officers. Thank you.” She turned to detectives Batan and Philipson, “Would a conference room be more suitable?”
“I don’t think we will be very long, so why not start here. If we need more space we can move later.” Detective Batan said. “What we need to know is how close you were to Judge Belemany.”
“Professionally only, except when we used to smoke on the roof occasionally.” Replied Edith Gunderson. “Well, as you know, it has been illegal for people to smoke in public buildings for decades. However, public roof tops seemed like a stretch. The Judge assured me that smoking on the roof was not smoking in or near a public building. I guess he figured up was no longer publicly owned space. He told me, ‘they let airplanes, helicopters and the Goodyear Blimp up there’.”
Detective Batan asked, “So the two of you arranged to meet up there for a smoke and . . .”
“No, we arranged nothing. We met occasionally by chance up there. Nothing was arranged. When you went up to smoke, young man, you talked to other smokers, whomever they were. That is what smoking was all about. Besides, once the war against smokers was declared, they were your only friends when you smoked.”
“What I am trying to get to is how frequently the two of your got together.” Asked Detective Batan.
“On the roof, I would have to say a few times a week.” Replied Edith Gunderson.
There was a knock on the door and Millie, bearing a tray with a carfe of coffee, three cups, and cream and sugar came in. “Where do you want this Mam?”
Edith Gunderson pointed to the far side of her conference table. “There, Millie. Thank you.”
Millie left quietly.
Detective Batan asked, “I do not notice a smell of tobacco, fresh or smoked on or about you. How is that?”
“I quit some five years ago.” Replied Edith Gunderson.
“But you still met him on the roof?” Queried Detective Batan.
“Just that once.” Said, Edith Gunderson. “I hadn’t shared a cigarette with Judge Belemany in five years. I hadn’t been up on the roof in the five years since I quit. Why would I want to put myself in to a situation where I might want to smoke? Indeed, I was surprised he wanted to meet up there. But, I figured he had a long day in court and wanted a smoke break and we could talk about the kid’s interest in the White Case up there as well as anywhere.”
Detective Philipson, moved to the far side of the conference table and poured two cups of coffee. The looked up and said, “How do you take your coffee Mam?”
Edith Gunderson replied. “One sugar please.”
Detective Batan took a notebook out of his pocket and flipped through he pages. He then said “You say your relationship with the Judge was professional, yet, you said when asked who your attorney was that the Judge has been your attorney for over 25 years.”
“Well, isn’t attorney-client a professional relationship? Asked Edith Gunderson?
Detective Philipson carried two cups of coffee and put one down in front of his partner and one in front of Edith Gunderson. He then moved back to the other end of the conference table where his cut sat.
“How often did you use the Judge as your attorney?” Asked Detective Batan?
“Once, eighteen years or so ago. It was a disgruntled father whose child was removed for physical abuse.” Replied Edith Gunderson.
“But, you say he was still your attorney?” Insisted Detective Batan as he picked uphis coffee and almost took a sip.
“Yes, He has a law office over on 32nd Street. I get a card from him every Christmas with the 32nd Street return address.” Replied Edith Gunderson.
Detective Batan put his coffee down and made a note on his note pad, He walked to the other end of the conference table and handed the note to Detective Philipson. It read ‘Get a warrant for the Judge’s 32nd Street Office.’ Detective Philipson nodded, put his cup down and left Edith Gunderson’s office.
“You also dealt with the Judge in your capacity as a Child Protective Services case officer.” Said, Detective Batan.
“Judge Belemany was the best judge for protecting children.” Said Edith Gunderson.
Detective Batan who was about to take a sip of his coffee instead asked. “How do you arrive at that conclusion?”
“He didn’t pull technicalities to send children back to their abusive parents like some judges did.” Replied Edith Gunderson. “I preferred to work with him whenever possible, for with him I knew the child’s interest came first.”
Detective Batan made a note and then perused Ms. Gunderson’s preference. “So, if you took a case before him you always got an outcome you expected?”
“Not always, but always the right one. He never sent a child back to a bad situation like some I know.” Said Mrs. Gunderson. “I never had a case before him where the child went home and then got abused again.”
“So, it was the correctness of his decisions, then.” Said Detective Batan.
“Yes” said Edith Gunderson. “And Judge Belemany always had his ear to the ground.”
Detective Batan raised his eyebrow. “What do you mean had his ear to the ground?”
“Over the years, there were a dozen or so instances where the Judge brought a potential case to my attention. Then when I looked into the cases there were questions about a child’s safety. So, I got the judge to sign warrants and go the children successfully removed from very dangerous and harmful environments. That’s what I mean.” Said a very determined Edith Gunderson.
Detective Batan looked Edith Gunderson in the eye. “Ms. Gunderson, can you make a list of those cases?
Edith Gunderson looked alarmed. “That would take some time. It isn’t as if we kept track of where we got our initial information about a case.”
Detective Batan scratched his head. “Well, I’d bet a dollar to a donut that the White Case from 20 years ago was one the Judge put you on to.”
Edith Gunderson got quiet. She cocked her head left and then right. She looked up “You know, I can see that little girl in the police station with the Judge talking to her that night before the mother finally came in. He may or may not have called, but he was there.”
“And that was before he was your attorney? Asked Detective Batan.
“Yes, it was.” Replied Edith. “It was the first time I met Judge Franklin Belemany.”
Detective Philipson came back in the room and gave his partner the thumbs up.
Detective Batan nodded to his partner and turned to Edith Gunderson. “We can use that list as soon as possible. I have a gut feeling the key to why he tried to kill you is linked to one of those cases.”
Edith Gunderson nodded and said “I will get right on it.” She finally picked up her cup of coffee and took a sip, ‘Damn, it is cold.’