October moon an eamonn.., p.1
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       October Moon - An Eamonn Shute Short Story, p.1
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           Tony McFadden
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October Moon - An Eamonn Shute Short Story
OCTOBER MOON

  An Eamonn Shute Short Story

  Tony McFadden

  Copyright Tony McFadden 2011

  Early, for Eamonn, was anything before 10:00 a.m. The 8:00 a.m. phone call that woke him, therefore, was not particularly appreciated.

  “Shite!” He rolled over and picked up his mobile phone, squinting at the screen. “Bloody private number my arse.” He flipped the phone onto the floor and attempted to rejoin his dreams. Sweet, sweet dreams.

  And gave up after twelve seconds. “Jaysus!.” Beep-beep-beep, beeeep-beeeep, beep-beep-beep. The genius at Nokia who set the default notification for an incoming text message to the Morse code for S-M-S…well, Eamonn would love to have a nice quiet chat with him some day.

  And the phone was on the other side of his large bedroom. “Okay then. Back to sleep.” Eamonn pulled the down comforter over his ears and once again tried for sleep.

  Ten minutes later, pillow pulled snugly over his ears as he tried to block out the incessant ringing of the gawdawful mobile phone and he finally, reluctantly, unwillingly and with great discomfort, levered his large frame out of his extremely comfortable bed. It took another thirty or so seconds to find the phone, hidden as it was behind the laundry basket. “What can be so bloody important,” he muttered. “I mean, really. It’s barely daytime.” He checked the call log. Seven missed calls from a Private Number.

  He pulled a terry robe on to his 16 stone body and made his way to his balcony. He took a deep breath in through his nose, filling his lungs, held it for a few seconds, then slowly exhaled. He looked at the phone, then back through the sliding door at the kitchen. “Damn. I need a coffee and a biscuit before I do anything else.”

  He turned about face and headed back into his apartment, bee-lined to the coffee machine. An accomplished barista, his skills were wasted this morning. He created a short black – an incredibly thick espresso – and toasted a couple of English Muffins. He was making his way back to the balcony when his mobile phone rang again.

  He managed to dig the phone out of his deep robe pocket by the fourth ring. ‘Private number’, again.

  “What the bloody hell do you want?”

  “Eamonn?”

  “You’ve been calling my bloody phone for over twenty minutes now. Who d’ya think it might be, if not me? Who, might I be so bold to ask, would YOU be?”

  “Eamonn, it’s me, Nicky.”

  “Nicky?” Ah, this was worth waking up for.

  “Muniz. You know, from the bookstore? R&R? I know you know me. We’ve talked.” She tripped over her words, nervous. “I took your number from the customer files. I hope you don’t mind.”

  “Of course I know you, Nicky.” You interrupted a dream that starred you, he thought. “What’s so urgent?”

  “You’re the smartest person I know, Eamonn, right?”

  Ah, to have an ego stroked so early. Now, definitely worth the loss of sleep. “Well, I couldn’t possibly say, Nicky. I clearly don’t know all of the people that you know.” He paused and took a bite of muffin and marmalade. “However, that said, it’s likely that you are correct, lass. With what could I possibly assist you?”

  She sniffed. “My cousin is dead.”

  He pulled out a chair and sat at the small table on his balcony. “My condolences, dear girl. You must be shattered.” There was a sigh and a long pause on the end of the phone. “Nicky, are you okay?”

  “I haven’t seen him in four years. He married a woman that the family didn’t get along with and we lost touch with him. He was trying to reconnect recently, so this hurts even more.”

  “That’s sad, but I still don’t know how I can help you.”

  “It’s a long story, maybe I shouldn’t bother you.”

  Eamonn rubbed his eyes. “It’s not a bother Nicky. You have my undivided attention. Come over to my place for a coffee and talk face to face. It will be more satisfying for both of us.”

  “Thank you, thank you. I really appreciate this.”

  Eamonn gave her his address and told her to buzz him when she arrived. She informed him that she would be there in about twenty minutes, “…if that was okay?”

  “Certainly, Nicky. I have nothing else on this morning. I’ll see you soon.” He slid his phone closed and dropped it in his robe pocket. He smiled. Then slammed back his espresso and rushed through a shower.

  Hair brushed, cologne applied, he was checking himself in the mirror when the intercom buzzed. One last flick of his hair, a wink and a smile in the mirror and he walked to the security screen by the front door. He saw the vision of Nicky in the lobby, her glorious radiance almost blinding him. Yes, he was smitten. “Good morning Nicky. Take the lift – elevator, to the 72rd floor. You’ll need to enter code 3267 to get up here. I’ll see you in a minute.”

  His was the only residence on the 72nd floor, so the lift lobby (he still thought of them as ‘lifts’, not ‘elevators’) was essentially the foyer to his residence. He met her at the door. “Come in, come in. Coffee?”

  “Yes, please. Thanks.” She took in the apartment, slowly turning from right to left, ending at the wide balcony doors. “Wow. This place is beautiful.”

  “It is, thanks. But I only bought it. Your compliments are more suited for the designers, architect and interior decorators that did up this place.” He smiled. “So, coffee? Something a bit more specific than just ‘yes’. Would you like a latte? Cappuccino? Espresso?”

  “Oh, okay. Long black and a glass of ice water?”

  “Too easy. Why don’t you take a seat on the balcony and compose yourself and I’ll be there in a couple of short minutes.”

  He watched her step onto the balcony and look out over the Atlantic, the light morning breeze gently blowing her shoulder length auburn hair. She leaned her forearms on the balcony railing closed her eyes. As the light breeze washed over her he could see the tension leave her.

  A few minutes later he returned and startled her with a light tap on her shoulder. “Nicky? I’ve got your coffee and listen, back up a bit would ya? I’m not totally sure how sound those railings are. The first, and last, step is a wee bit hazardous.”

  Nicky smiled and leaned a bit farther over the rail and looked straight down. “I love heights. It makes me feel funny in the stomach. It’s thrilling!” Her smile wavered as she sat at the table across from Eamonn, a large steaming cup of black coffee and a chilled glass full of ice water in front of her. “I don’t know how to start.”

  Eamonn took a sip of his espresso. “Start from the top. Your cousin has died, and that’s sad, but why come to me for help? Shouldn’t the police be involved?”

  “Oh, they say he’s died of a heart attack. No investigation.”

  “So he’s older?”

  “By four years. He is,” she hesitated. “Julio was 35.”

  “Young for a heart attack. Was he unfit?”

  “That’s exactly my point Eamonn. He was in good shape. Before he hooked up with that psycho bitch we used to do a morning beach run together.”

  “So you were close? Yet he didn’t try to contact you for what, four years?”

  Nicky had a sip of her coffee and chased it with some ice water. “She was strange. How she got her hooks into him, I’ll never know. The last few months he’s dropped me short emails to say hi. We’ve slowly been getting back into regular communications. In two weeks he was going to come over for my birthday. That bitch killed him, I’m sure of that, but nobody believes me.”

  “Why, if as you say she’s got her hooks into him – I do like that turn of phrase – would the ‘psycho-bitch’ kill him? It’s not unheard of for a young man to have a heart attack.”
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  “I have suspicions, but nothing definite. Maybe she thought he was getting ready to leave her.” She sat forward in her chair. “I don’t know, but my gut is telling me she did. I don’t know how, but she did.”

  Eamonn shook his head and drank the remainder of his coffee. “I appreciate your faith in my intellectual abilities. However, I need a lot more information than this. A suspicion on your part and an uncharacteristically young heart-attack is not enough information.” He smiled at her. “Not even I am that smart. When you finish your coffee, then we will go to the ‘scene of the crime’.”

  “Where?” asked Nicky

  “Where he had the heart attack.”

  “Oh.” She took another drink of coffee. “That would be Mary’s house in Homestead. We really need to go there?”

  “I assume Mary is the, what did you call her, the ‘psycho-bitch’? Yes, we really need to go there. If she did kill him, it’s the scene of the crime, after all. Best place to start.” He leaned back in his chair and watched Nicky. He could watch her do anything, all
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