Off the main road, five miles from Brewster Harbor a lane marked with a sign “Simpson Landscaping” wound through a forest. It ended at a house with a garage and two barns. Between the two barns, Wilbur Simpson operated a log splitter amid a pile of logs and a pile of split logs.
Wilbur saw Niles. He waved and shut off the gas-powered splitter.
“Niles,” Wilbur said, “What brings you out this way?”
“Cyanide,” Niles said.
“Cyanide,” Wilbur said, “like poison?”
“The only kind I know,” Niles said.
“I just came from Mid Coast Chemicals in Stockbridge,” Niles said. “You bought potassium cyanide two and a half years ago.”
“Is that a fact,” Wilbur said.
“That’s what their records say,” Niles said.
“Here’s a copy of the bill you signed,” Niles said handing it to him.
“That’s my vender’s number and license, “Wilbur said, “but that’s not my signature.”
“Have you ever had a need for cyanide?” Niles said.
“Never,” Wilbur said.
“Have you ever allowed anyone to use your license to purchase anything?” Niles said.
“No,” Wilbur said, “that’s illegal. I could lose my license if I did that.”
“Look,” Niles said, “If you did, I’ll see you get immunity.”
“Appreciate it,” Wilbur said, “but I don’t recall doing it and I’m certain I wouldn’t.”
‘Okay, Wilbur,” Niles said, “thanks. If you happen to remember anything give me a call.”
“Wish I could help you,” Wilbur said.
“Who’s that wood for?” Niles said.
“I don’t have an order for it yet,” Wilbur said.
“I live at 24 Main Street, yellow house,” Niles said. “Can you deliver a quart there tomorrow, west side of the house.”
“That’s a cord,” Wilbur said.
“I’m new to this,” Niles said.
“I suppose if I was in New York, I couldn’t find my way around on the subway,” Wilbur said.
“Take care,” Niles said. “After you unload the wood just come over to the office and we’ll settle up.”
Niles walked back to the Jeep. He opened the door. “Hey, Wilbur, one more thing; can you think of anybody who could have got a hold of your license and used it?”
“I’ve had two wives,” Wilbur said. “I wouldn’t put anything past the first one.”
Niles climbed into the jeep and drove back to Brewster Harbor.