P.S.I.--An "Emergency!" Story

Chapter 7--The Video, The Ad, and The Interview

Home | Cast of Characters | Soundtrack | Chapter 1--"I Wanna Be With Her" | Chapter 2--As Mike Lay Dying | Chapter 3--The Three Clues | Chapter 4--A Bullet With Her Name On It | Chapter 5--"Beauty Doesn't Belong in the Ground!" | Chapter 6--Cassie Lou Remembers | Chapter 7--The Video, The Ad, and The Interview | Chapter 8 --The Perfect Wife for a Firefighter | Chapter 9--"Win It For Dixie!" | Chapter 10--Angel in Topboots | Chapter 11--"Don't Have a Stroke, Mike!" | Chapter 12--Waterloo | Chapter 13--Retail Murder | Chapter 14--The Mares | Chapter 15--Notes | Chapter 16--A Homecoming--Sort Of | Chapter 17--PSI Means What Again? | Epilogue | Author's Notes | Gemma's E! Vision in the Monastery | Guestbook

Mercifully, television and radio news about Brin was almost non-existent, as the Los Angeles Dodgers were World Series contenders, and a new Polish pope had been elected.  Mike didn't think he'd have to deal with being blind-sided by pundits.  He also didn't want to be at the house, so he reported in for work--routine and companionship possessed healing qualities.  Cap and crew were elated to have him back.

The shift had gone quietly until the close of the evening news.   Everyone was at the kitchen table discussing the World Series; Chet was cooking.  Mike felt the squiggle in his stomach, and the sensation of the hair on his neck rising.  Oh, what now?! he pondered.
"And in closing, from our sister station in Louisville, Kentucky, a tribute to the late jockey Sabrina Stanley-Stoker."
"WHAT?" he exlaimed as he headed for the TV.
The Bee Gee's How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? started playing.  Cap pushed a chair up under Mike, who plopped down without looking where he was sitting.
I can think of younger days       Mike & Brin's
When living for my life was        wedding photos
Everything a man could
want to do
I could never see tomorrow      Chief Steward Willis  
But I was never told about        with left hand on
the sorrows.                                 head, lower lip
                                                       twitched, in video
And how can you mend              Brin face down
a broken heart?                          on the turf course
How can you stop the rain        Sabrina's Posse
From falling down?                     in tears at track
How can you stop the sun         Brin holding up
from shining?                               KY Derby trophy
What makes the world               Mike & Brin in post-
go round?                                     Derby kiss

How can you mend                    "The Wail Heard
this broken man?                       'Round the World"
How can a loser                         Southland Derby jocks
ever win?                                    looking back at Brin
Please help me mend                Dr. Brackett, Cap, &
my broken heart, and               spaced-out Mike
let me live again.                        heading for limo at
                                                     the Committal 
I can still feel the breeze          Clip of Brin "breezing"
that rustles through the           a horse on the track
And misty memories of             Clip of Brin galloping
days gone by,                            on misty track
We could never see                  Silouette of tombstone
Tomorrow, no one                   and flowers with sun
Said a word about the             behind them
How can you mend                   Brin's family at the
a broken heart?                        Committal
How can you stop the              Crying fans on hillside of
rain from falling down?            KY 245 at cemetary
How can you stop the              Brin & Nellie at Belmont
sun from shining?                     finish line
What makes the world            Brin with bouquet of
go 'round?                                 roses, black-eyed
                                                    susans and carnations
And how can you mend           Mike bent over casket
this broken man?                     at the Committal
How can a loser                        Crying Welles & Williams
ever win?                                   crouched & embracing
                                                    at the Committal
Please help me mend               Wide view of
my broken heart                       the Committal
and let me live again                from tree showing
                                                    everyone leaving
Appearing next was a photo of Brin as a very small child, her father holding her with both hands at the waist, her left hand on her father's fire chief's helmet which she wore, followed by the various sympathy signs seen by 51's crew when in Bardstown.
Please help me mend              Sign over front doors of 
my broken heart                      county courthouse "MAY
and let me live again               SABRINA'S PERPS
                                                   RECEIVE JUSTICE!"
The closing picture was Brin in Gage's racing silks, standing with her left shoulder to the camera, arms crossed, downturned crop in right hand.  At the bottom of the photo appeared the words:

When Mike saw Sabrina's dates, he let out a cry, and started shaking violently with sobs.  Henry started howling.  Cap led Mike to the dorm, where the latter fell face down on his bunk, bawling.
"Harold must've had something to do with that, since the family photos were used," Cap said, sitting next to Mike, with a hand on his heaving back.  "I get the feeling they were meaning for that video to stay in Kentucky, and not be broadcast over here.  Let me call my wife and see what she can find out."
After Cap got up to go the phone, Mike sat up, put his elbows on his knees, and his face in his hands.  "I have no idea what her grave marker looks like.  They sprang on me that she was going to be buried in Kentucky.  And now this."
"I'll see what I can do about that," Cap promised.  "I know they weren't doing anything out of malevolence.   Why don't you go get some supper?"
Without a word, Mike went to the locker room, splashed his face with cold water, and returned to the kitchen.  Cap walked in a few minutes later and sat next to him, their backs to the TV.  Mike inhaled Chet's Irish Stew.  He didn't realize he was so hungry.
"Wanna do something on Friday, Mike?" Marco asked.
"I have rehab," Mike said with a stony voice.
"How's your heart?" asked Roy.
"It always hurts.  Or at least the space it used to occupy before it was obliterated hurts," Mike replied bitterly.
Ouch! Marco mouthed looking at the paramedics, who nodded in agreement.

Roy leaned over to Mike.  "I just thought I'd warn you that they're doing "man on the street" interviews about Brin, and they're likely to pop up at any time."
Mike nodded with his entire upper body.  "Thanks."
"Ah, I think she just fell off the horse," said a man on the TV.
"She didn't fall off that horse!" Mike growled as he stood up.  "My wife was MURDERED!" he shouted at the TV.
Jockey George Welles.  Figures.  What an idiot.  Mike sat back down at Cap's insistence.  A fireball welled up in his stomach, and he thought he'd lose his supper for sure.  He put a hand over his mouth.
"Miiike!" said the paramedics, getting up.
"Sit back," said Roy as he took Mike's wrist and put it against the man's chest.
"I'm okay," he protested.  "I've never liked that particular jock.  The man makes me ill."
Chet and Marco brought in the paramedics' equipment.  Mike looked puzzled.
"We have our standing orders from Dr. Brackett," they said.

The next morning, Cap was looking through the paper with a particular feeling of urgency that there was something he needed to see.  One of the sections seemed to almost open by itself to the back page.  A full-page ad declared in large print:
                          TO THE PERPETRATORS
                          OF THE MURDER OF SABRINA
                          HEAR ME, YOU CRIMINALS!
                          IF THERE IS ANY JUSTICE
                          IN HEAVEN, ANY EYE FOR
                          SUCH THINGS, MAY GOD
                          PAY YOU THE DUE REWARD
                          AND UNSTINTINGLY SHOW
                          HIS GRATITUDE FOR THIS
                          MOST MONSTROUS CRIME
                          YOU HAVE COMMITTED --
                          MAKING ME WITNESS MY
                          DAUGHTER'S DEATH,
                          FOULING A FATHER'S EYES
                          LIKE THIS WITH THE SIGHT
                          OF MURDER!
                          HAROLD STANLEY
                          FATHER OF THE LATE
                          SABRINA STANLEY-STOKER
                          Adapted from Virgil's Aeneid
Cap whistled.  You don't cross my brother, he thought.

The phone rang; Mike answered it as he came in the door.
"Sure, I'll be there," he said.  "Thanks."  He hung up.
Cap, still leaned over the table, supported on his hands, looked quizzically at Mike.
"The detectives are coming over sometime today," he said.
"Maybe we can get somewhere with the investigation," said Cap.
The detectives were waiting for Mike when he got home.
"Who killed my wife and why?" he asked when he met them on the sidewalk to the front door.
"Unfortunately, we don't have an answer to either question," said Mundelein.  "But the sooner we get started, the faster the case gets solved."
Once inside, the detectives studied the house.  "Brin built in these double doors in case she ever ended up using a wheelchair," Mike explained tearfully.  The double front doors opened into a foyer with a table under a large wedding photo on the left.  The living room was to the right, and was furnished like a colonial parlor, complete with fireplace.
The foyer opened directly into an area with cathedral ceiling--complete with fire pole--and angled kitchen bar.  Beyond that was the den area.  At the top of the open stairway on the right was the entrance to the master bedroom.   At the foot of the stairs was a hallway leading to other rooms of various sizes, to include a guest bedroom.
The detectives noticed that the double doors of the master bedroom were closed, and that an alcove on the other side of the living room wall held a single bed and small table with clock and Brin photo.  The closeup photo of Brin showed her in silks and in the saddle,  sans pixie braids and helmet.  She was looking to her left; her hair seemed to be blowing in the wind; and her right hand was in midair.
"Almost looks like she's preparing for a dismount," said Peaches.
The detectives heard sniffles behind them and turned around.  Mike stood silently, tears pouring down his face.
"We need to get started," said Mundelein.  The detectives moved toward the open area.  Mike walked over to the picture, picked it up, and held it to his heart as he walked to the den.  He sat in the recliner.  The detectives sat on the couch.  The house had an ocean view, but the blinds were closed.

"First off, we've received a very interesting lead," started Mundelein.   Secondly, did your wife ever receive any calls in the middle of the night telling her how to ride?"
"Not that I know of.  I answered the phone when I was here.  The phone's on my side of the bed.  We had an answering service cover for her when I was at work.  She was a very sound sleeper."
"Answering service?" asked Peaches as she took notes.
"Yes, ma'am.  That was in case she did get any of those calls, the operators could remember more information about the voice, background noise. . . you know what I mean."
"Exactly," said Mundelein.  "So the answering service never reported any such calls?"
Mike shook his head.
"What was her schedule like?" asked Mundelein.
"She was up at 3:30 every morning, to get to the track by 4:30.  Works didn't start until 6am, when the track paramedics got there."

Mike looked imploringly at the detectives.  "Have you established a motive yet?"
"At this point, I don't want to jump to any conclusions.  Did your wife have any enemies at the track?"
"She may have had, but she never mentioned anyone with any particular antipathy toward her.  We were soulmates.  She would've told me if there was a problem.  I could tell if something was bugging her, and she. . ."
Mike started crying uncontrollably again.  He pulled her wedding ring hanging from a chain from under his shirt, and holding it in his right hand, held it to his forehead.  When he stopped for breath, he said haltingly, "She could practically read my thoughts."
Peaches and Mundelein looked at each other, fighting their own emotions.
"You mentioned that she was at the track extremely early in the morning, and that the works started at six," Mundelein stated.  "Why did she have to be there so early?"
"Women have to work twice as hard as the men on the backside.  She was doing grooming jobs for some trainers, before the morning works.  Then she'd become exercise rider and gallop for whomever would hire her.  If she was racing later in the day, she might've had a prep work with the horse.  After the works, she'd have to report to the jock's room if she was riding."
"You mean she still had to do all that even after winning the Triple Crown?  I thought she had earned her ticket to ride any horse anywhere in the world after that," asked Peaches.
"She still reported in early to show solidarity with her racing sisters.  She was the jockey queen--she just about had to."
"What time did she have to be in the jock's room?" asked Peaches.
"An hour and a half before post time.  I guess you know she had her own quarters across and down the hall from the guy jocks' room.  If she were riding in only the last race of the day, she had a very long wait, but she was sequestered, and could accept or make phone calls only in case of an emergency.  Interviews had to be pre-arranged with Public Relations."

"What did she do in the jock's room to pass all that time?" asked Mundelein.
"Do her 'homework'--reading the racing form charts to see what she was up against--read; take a nap; watch TV; listen to music."
"We took all of her gear and possessions from the jock's room.  Was she taking any classes outside of work?" asked Mundelein.
Mike shook his head.  "She didn't have the time.  Up at 3:30am, in bed at 7:30pm.  When we had time together, I was making sure it was quality time."
"Reason I ask is we found a psychology textbook among her things.  Had the name "V. Williams" in it."
"Oh, that's Rooster, one of the guy jocks.  She may have borrowed it for whatever reason."
"Did she have any problems with any of the guy jocks?" asked Mundelein.
"George Welles annoyed the heck out of her.  I can't stand the guy myself.  He actually said on TV today that Brin FELL off the horse?"

Peaches and Mundelein frowned at each other.
"How did you and Brin meet?" asked Peaches.
Mike had to gather his thoughts.  "She moved her tack to Paradise Park from Kentucky when Gage invited her to ride Nellie. . ."

Swoon. . .