P.S.I. Part III -- Without Betsy . . .And Others

Chapter 15 -- The Geoff Papers

Chapter 1 -- Stomping, Snorting Buck
Chapter 2 -- Pele or Meowzie?
Chapter 3 -- "High Tide"
Chapter 4 -- Three Phone Calls
Chapter 5 -- The Fire Pole
Chapter 6 -- "She's Got You Spoiled, Doesn't She?"
Chapter 7 -- Heartbreak Hotel
Chapter 8 -- Kentucky Christmas
Chapter 9 -- Betsy's Estate
Chapter 10 -- Alone With a Madwoman
Chapter 11 -- "Why, Ettie, why?"
Chapter 12 -- Three Starbursts
Chapter 13 -- Weep No More, My Lady
Chapter 14 -- 'Betsy's Revenge'
Chapter 15 -- The Geoff Papers
Chapter 16 -- The "Wedding Portrait"
Chapter 17 -- Silence Requested

When Mike was ready for discharge, he was given a security escort.
"How'd they find out I was here?" he groaned.
Dr. Brackett got up in front of Mike.  "Please!  Please!  Back off!  Give him some room!  He's not taking any questions until he's ready to do so.  Those are my orders!"
Mike had no idea as to whose car into which he'd been loaded.  He just wanted to get out of the area and back home.  Dr. Brackett's orders of bedrest were welcome.  Mike had taken care of everyone else--now it was time for him.  An emotional explosion like what he'd just experienced took a lot out of a person and required rest--and fluids.
Back home, it was past reporters to his front door, and straight to his little room.  Cap literally supported him the entire time.  Once bedded down, Meowzie curled up on Mike's head, and her purring lulled him to sleep.  When he awoke a day and a half later, he felt somewhat better, but the blank area in his soul told him what was going on.
Cap was still on bereavement leave, and he heard Mike get up.
"Make sure you cover up," Cap advised.  "The press is still entrenched outside."
"Coffee," said Mike hoarsely as he pulled on a bathrobe.
"I'll have to make some," said Cap.  "I kept wondering when you were going to wake up.  You've been alseep for a day and a half."

A few days later, Bobby watched with disgust through the two-way mirror at the jail as Kate Papenfus was interviewed by Damon Sparkill.  The reporter had flown in from Los Angeles to do the interview with the thin, wiry, late middle-aged woman with permed blonde hair.
"Did you have Betsy murdered because she had a Derby contender?" Damon asked.
"Whatever gave you that idea?" she asked incredulously.  "That darned fool of a husband of mine was going to sink our entire life savings into the entry fee for the Derby!  Kept carrying on about how Betsy was going to put us in the winner's circle and make us rich."
"Stupid question, Mrs. Papenfus," asked Damon, his voice on edge.  "If you were so angry with your husband, why didn't  you have him knocked off?"
"Geoff came around about that time, having conniptions about Betsy dumping him because he was no longer able to ride. . ."
"That's a lie," Bobby said under his breath through clenched teeth.
"What else did he say about Betsy?"
"He was going to cap that fireman she was dating if it was the last thing he did on this Earth.  Ranted and raved about all the people he'd like to kill, including her."
"How did you strike a deal with him?"
"I was mad at my husband for all this Derby talk.  We were both griping about what was making us mad.  I felt better afterward, but he was about to blow something and kept going.  He found out about Betsy's stakes ride, and wanted to know if I was going to enter any horses.  I told him I had two I was planning to run.  After that, I don't know what happened."
"What do you mean, you don't know what happened after that?"
"Geoff walked off.  I just got on with my own business."
"But you did not have Betsy murdered because she had a Derby contender?"
"No, I did not.  I didn't believe Pop would actually run the horse.  Therefore, Betsy being the jock was a non-issue."
"Aren't you even the least bit sorry that Betsy was murdered?"
"Well, of course!  I'm absolutely freaked out that everything happened around my horses."
"You're more concerned about your horses than a young woman's life?  Or the fiance she left behind?"
"The only thing I knew about her was that she'd had some success on the track, but the trainers were not going to put a girl on their horses.  At least not at Morgan.  At least not until Pop gave her a chance.  Everyone was in such a state of shock at her murder that no one has really said anything or given any opinions about her."
"And they still won't complement her even after her death?"
"I've been in jail, Mr. Sparkill.  I've not heard anything."
"And you categorically deny that you had anything to do with Betsy's murder."
"That is correct."

Mrs. Papenfus had not been cooperating with authorities.  She had been claiming her innocence from the moment she was arrested.  Now her attorney was furious because Damon Sparkill had managed to get information from her that he hadn't.
Geoff was dead, so there was no information coming from him.  The two jockeys on the Papenfus horses were saying they didn't know of any one else involved in the race-fixing, but now prosecutors were going to interview the other racing teams, again.
The stewards would review the race tapes with the prosecutors, again, and try to see if any clutching hand movements on the reins indicated "failure to persevere." 

As Bobby stood in the lobby of the historic Madison County courthouse, awaiting not only his sheriff's office escort, but Damon as well, a man struggled to get into the courthouse door with a large box.  Bobby rushed to assist him.
"I need to talk to whomever is handling the Stanley murder case," he said.
Bobby took the man to the receptionist, who in turn called the sheriff's office.  The detective told Bobby he'd have to wait out there, until they learned more of what the man had brought in.
Damon was in a tiff with the Papenfus attorney, who didn't want the interview to be published.  Bobby already had the information he wanted.  It didn't matter to him one way or the other if the interview ever got published or not.  He was truly grateful that Damon flew out to do the interview, but Sparkill had been a fan of Betsy's also, and wanted to see justice done in the case.

"Bobby!  BOBBY!" called the receptionist.
Bobby sat on a bench inside the front door, and awoke from a nap he didn't realize he'd fallen into.  The receptionist was holding up the telephone receiver.  He hurried over to the desk.  "Make it quick, that's my main line," she said.
"Bobby Stanley," he answered.
"We were just wondering where you were," Elizabeth said.
"Some guy carried in a large box saying he wanted to talk to whomever was handling the Stanley murder case, so I'm hanging around to hear what it is," Bobby explained.
"Oh, my!  I wonder what he's got.  How did the interview go?  Did you get any answers?"
"Yes, and the answer is no.  Geoff thought she dumped him because he couldn't ride anymore."
"Oh, what garbage!"
"But she categorically denied that what happened happened because Betsy had a Derby contender."
"That's  a relief.  I'll phone Mike.  Try to ring us before you leave there.  Shall I keep supper warm?"
"No, don't bother.  I'll find something around here."
When he hung up, the receptionist told him of a deli across the street.  Once back from a sandwich lunch, the receptionist told him the detectives would contact him about the box's contents the next day, and he should go on home.  "Please call my family and let them know I'm headed back there," he said.  They promised they would.
From Richmond back to Bardstown would take nearly two hours.  He had work in the next day.  He needed a shower and a good night's sleep.  Once home, he found Chief fixing a flat on the trooper's patrol car.  "After what you've been through today, you didn't need to have to contend with that," said Chief concerning the tire when he was finished.
Elizabeth was home alone when the detectives called the next morning. 
"Bobby's out on patrol right now," she explained.
"Mr. Wellesley's landlord--a Mr. James--was cleaning out his attic, and he found some documents which lent some light to the case.  Just a collection of poems; letters written but never sent; sketches; diaries; photographs.  Mr. James said that Mr. Wellesley had asked him to keep the items in a box for him while he was in the hospital and going through rehab."
"Anything addressed to Betsy?"
"Almost all of it."
Elizabeth unconsciously let out a huge breath.
"I'm not sure if going through it would be productive for you, Mrs. Stanley," said the detective.
"Probably not," she agreed.  "Although Betsy's fiance would probably like to know about it."
"I heard about his dream.  My heart goes out to him."
"Wait a minute.   You said Mr. James had been asked by Geoff to keep the box while he was in the hospital and rehab?"
"That doesn't make any sense.  What was the subject of the documents?"
"Upset that she left."
"That was well after he left rehab.  She left him because he tried to assault her around certain body parts, if you know what I mean.  She said he was a completely different person after his accident."
"That's what Bobby told us.  Sounds like we need to talk to Mr. James, again.  And, based on the interview with Mr. Sparkill yesterday, Mrs. Papenfus is being released from jail."

"Who hasn't heard of the dream?!" Mike exclaimed.  "I don't think I want to know what's in those papers.  We all know why he did what he did."
"Maybe some day, Mike.  Maybe some day."
"That's a big maybe."
A few days later, they all watched as Betsy's Revenge conquered the Preakness Stakes.  Mike was prostrate with grief on the den floor next to the windows.  How was it possible to suffer so deeply?  His first conversation with Dr. Poe came to him--'I'm a shadow,' he remembered hearing himself say.  Cap sat cross-legged next to him, in case there was anything he could possibly do.
The Belmont Stakes was a month away, as was his birthday.  Huh, some birthday.  His girl was six feet under in Kentucky, and someone else was wearing her laurels.  The dream had her winning the Triple Crown, not someone else, on her mount.   Josiah Hague.  John Gage.

Some wedding present. . .