Pauline Petit was not all that hard to find. Niles removed the wallet from Lute’s body as he laid on the deck. There was a credit card receipt for a motel in Stockbridge. Niles called Sheriff Spencer immediately and her arrest was made.
Tom Shepherd lost he realtor’s license. He was sentenced five years for his involvement.
Lucinda moved on. After all, she didn’t want the video of her performing for Ernie Appleton while in lockup to surface anywhere.
Lute’s wife recovered from the tragic loss of her husband and took over the insurance agency – within two weeks. Claims were paid faster and business increased.
Within a week after Lute’s death, the town council appointed Steve as the interim mayor until the next election. Steve accepted the appoint only after promised his mayoral duties would not interfere with his activities at the Harbor Inn.
Izzy reported on everything that occurred and received a great deal of acclaim. An offer came from a Portland newspaper, she turned it down. She said, “There’s not enough action in Portland to report on.”
The town council gave citations to everyone on the Brewster Harbor Police Department. Shortly after Steve was appointed interim mayor he found numerous irregularities in spending allowing Niles a $200 a month raise and Tom and Sid each $150 a month.
Three months passed. Niles gradually returned to his morning coffee routine, as if being accepted back into the herd. Everyone at the Harbor Inn forgave Niles. They understood there was nothing personal and he only wanted to solve a couple murders. They were happy to lend a hand, yet none overly pleased they spent a few sleepless nights thinking at any time they could be questioned officially as a murder suspect.
It was morning – an exquisite morning. A chill remained in the damp air. The sun from beyond the horizon to the east brightened Niles’ early morning walk from his house, past the quaint buildings of Main Street, and to the Harbor Inn. “It is good to see them in the light again,” Niles thought and smiled contentedly.
He crossed the street, unlocked the office, and started a fire. “Maybe I should buy an electric space heater,” Niles thought. “Nah, I’m giving a guy a days work by using wood.”
After the fire started Niles locked the office and walked to the other side of the street. He entered the Harbor Inn. He poured a coffee and walked toward the table next to the window looking out over the harbor where Steve sat with a coffee and newspaper.
“Mornin’, Mistah. Mayah,” Niles said and sat across from Steve.
“Drop the phony Maine accent and don’t call me mister anything,” Steve said.
“Anybody who gives me a raise, I call ’em mister,” Niles said.
“I’ll have it taken away at the next council meeting,” Steve said.
“Fair enough,” Niles said. “What’s going on in the world today?”
“Gas up, stocks, down, everything else about the same; all screwed up,” Steve said.
“Sounds like my kind of day,” Niles said. “Me – I got a city to save.”
“Exactly what do you do all day?” Steve joked.
“Slightly more than you,” Niles quipped. “Actually, there’s this online game of Clue, I play it with people from all around the world.”
“Somehow, I believe you,” Steve said.
“They’re having a convention in Paris,” Niles said. “Can the town send me as a representative? Expenses paid, of course.”
“Did somebody say Paris,” Charley said pouring a coffee. He sat with Niles and Steve.
Shelly walked out of the kitchen and poured a coffee.
“There she is,” Charley whispered loud enough for Shelly to hear, “the old ball and chain.”
“I heard that,” Shelly said. She sat at the table and gave Charley a gentle elbow to the ribs.
“Did you see that, Chief?” Charley said. “That’s assault.”
“Didn’t see a thing,” Niles said.
“Mayor, help me,” Charley said.
“She was demonstrating how to get a rebound in basketball,” Steve said.
The conversation continued like every morning with little variation. And as always, Niles noticed somewhere during the conversations Charley and Shelly would end up holding each others’ hand, sometimes for a moment and sometimes until they left the table. It was predictable and Niles always waited for it. He’d pause for a moment, no matter when it occurred. However, he would not let on that he noted it.
“Have you ever thought about how close love and loneliness are connected,” Niles said.
“Yeah,” Steve said.
“I thought it was love and hate,” Charley said.
“I mean, when you love someone and they aren’t around, that’s the loneliest you can get,” Niles said. He took one last gulp of coffee and stood. “Well like I was telling Steve, I got a city to save.” He placed his cup in the bin and headed to the office.