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

Chapter 4 -- Three Phone Calls

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

"Sounds like destiny to me," said Elizabeth on the phone a couple of days later.  "I wouldn't mind seeing the house myself.  Sounds really nice.  Of course, if you're in too much pain buying it, snapshots would suffice."
"I'm thinking this is the place.  I can't think of another reason why I shouldn't--other than 'it was in the dream.'  Besides, the landlady is getting antsy about Meowzie being here."
The cat rubbed up against his legs, purring.  "C'mere, girl," he said, picking her up and holding her to his chest.
"Oh, I hear her.  She's purring, isn't she?"
"Yes, she is."
Meowzie sniffed the telephone receiver.  Mike held the receiver closer to the cat.
"Meowzie!" Elizabeth called, again.  The feline gave a closed-mouth meow.  Mike returned the receiver to his ear.
"I still can't believe this, Mike," she said.  "Our own Meowzie, there with you in L.A."
"I can't believe it, either," he said.  Meowzie jumped down from the couch and started sniffing around the apartment.  "I miss Betsy," he heard himself say.  "Why can't we do something about guys like Geoff?"
"I've been wishing, and praying, and talking to attorneys and the like, but there's nothing that can be done until the assailant takes action.  But I remember that day she called just like it was yesterday."
"She called?  About what?"

"She was upset when she called.  I'm thankful I'm a dispatcher, 'cause that's the way it needed to be handled.  But the further she got into the story, the more the mom started surfacing."
"I understand."
"Like I said, she was upset, and she asked for Bobby.  Wellll, why can't you tell me?  I'm your mom!  She kept insisting that she find Bobby.  Why? I insisted.  'He knows what to do,' she said.  'Knows what to do about what?' I exclaimed.  'Geoff,' she said."
"Okay, now the mom is starting to come out.  'What's wrong with Geoff?'  I knew he was coming out of rehab for his injuries, and thought maybe she needed some manpower or something.  'He's acting weird,' she said."
Mike shivered and pulled a jacket on.  He felt nausea washing over him, and laid down on the floor.  "I know what she means by that," he said.
"I would imagine so, after the hospital incident."
"But you were saying. . ."
"Okay, she said he was acting weird.  'What do you mean by weird?' I ask her.  'He touched me in a way I didn't like.'"
"Oh, my God!"
"I said the same thing.  'Don't you think you should go to your local police or sheriff and take out a warrant on him for whatever he did?' I asked her.
"'I wanted Bobby to be with me,' she said.  For that matter, we all ended up going to the cop shop with her."
"My head is spinning," Mike stated.
"This is a lot to digest in one fell swoop, too," Elizabeth agreed. "Apparently things had gone from bad to worse by the time he made California."
"You're not kidding."

"Geoff was a really nice guy before his accident, Mike.  I realize you probably hate him, but he was a fine, upstanding young man--and a good rider--before he got trampled."


"Yes, he got trampled when his mount slipped on some ice during winter night racing. . ."

"Night racing during the winter?  That's crazy."

"It happens.  He had to be flown to the trauma center in Lexington and was in surgery for what seemed like forever.  They had to replace a section of his skull with a plate, and he was never the same afterward.  The two had just gotten engaged that afternoon.  Such a shame."

"She never told me any of that," said Mike, feeling extremely dejected.
"She may never have had the time to."
"Something that important. . .she didn't have the time to tell me?" 
"I know it's upsetting, Mike. . ."
"Upsetting?  I'm just feeling very unloved right now."
"Oh, Mike, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you.  You're in shock right now.  I'll stay on the phone until you regain control if you want me to."
"Okay.  But why wasn't I told?"
"We all wondered if she had told you about that--and if she felt comfortable telling you about Geoff."
"I guess there was such a hubbub after Geoff came on the scene that she was paying more attention to trying to stay alive rather than give me any background on the situation."
"Not that there was a lot that anyone could do, Mike.  Please see it from that perspective."
"They could've kept him in the hospital or something, couldn't they?  Did he leave AMA or what?"
"Against Medical Advice?  I don't think so.  He was living alone in a dingy apartment in Louisville.  I saw the place--I think I would've gone crazy living there, too."
"Hate to cut this short, but I've got work in the morning," said Mike.
"I'll call again in a couple of days.  If I have news before then, I'll call."

Mike had barely hung up when the phone rang again.  Ham Harp.
"The owner accepts your offer, and is quite eager to get this property off his hands."
"We'll meet later to discuss the details.  I know you've probably got work in the morning."
"As a matter of fact, yes, I do."
"Day after tomorrow, then.  Ten a.m., your place?"
"Sounds good."

On the heels of that phone call, Damon Sparkhill rang.
"I've not only talked to my editor, but I also talked with Ophelia. . ."
"She never dreamed Geoff had anything nefarious up his sleeve--just thought it was some kind of special occasion for the jockeys or something.  She's in counseling for flashbacks now."
"Poor thing.  Hope she gets to feeling better soon."
"Yeah, me, too."
"But your editor?"
"He's smelling something fishy, too, and said it doesn't credit the sport to have something like this being dusted under the rug.  We're gonna talk to the Kentucky State Police and see if they can't get some of their detectives onto this."
"Betsy's brother is a Kentucky state trooper."
"Yes, sir.  Trooper Bobby Stanley.  Patrols Nelson County."
"Well, he'd have to recuse himself . . ."
"He already has."
"What's he had to say about this?"
"Nobody's talking and it's starting to look ugly."
"Let me think some more, Mike, and I'll get back to you.  This whole situation screams injustice."
"This whole situation screams insanity, if you ask me."
"Injustice usually involves some form of insanity.  Catch you later."
As Mike prepared to retire for the night, his brain seemed to go a mile a minute.  He fell asleep thinking of how much he missed Betsy, but felt assured that justice would eventually prevail.  He fell into a deep sleep as Meowzie curled up on top of his head, purring as she fell into her own slumber.

Yet, another dream segment comes to pass. . .