Ruby's and Roo's Adventures in Austin, Texas - Continued - Chapter 3 (revised) and Chapter 4
Chapter 3 - (slight rewrite and continuation)
From Mount Bonnell, I drove to MoPac and then took Fifteenth Street all the way to IH35. I got caught at several lights and lost Julie on the way. I zigzagged over to eleventh street and Navasota Street where the main entrance to the cemetery was. Julie’s and Fielder’s cars were already parked when we arrived.
Rider and I jumped out my truck and raced inside. I wanted my dog and he wanted his prize. We split up looking for them. I went up the hill where all the famous people were buried and he went toward the area where the Confederate soldiers were buried.
When I got to the top of the hill, I saw Julie standing with Roo by a headstone halfway down. I rushed over and grabbed Roo’s leash. We checked the coordinate readings on our devices and decided we were in the right place. Of course, all around us were big fancy headstones, decorated vaults, and even large monuments and statues. Rider soon joined us.
Rider said, “Okay, genius, what do we do now?”
I said, “Well, look for what is out of place.”
While Rider and Julie were searching the area, I studied the headstone I was next to. It did not look like the others it was grouped with. It had an ornamental block on top of it. I stepped over to it and examined it more closely. It was made of granite and looked a little heavy. Not to be deterred, I wanted to it any way. On the count of three, I used two hands and pried it up and off from its crowning position. Walla, a hidden compartment was revealed. Rider and Julie rushed over. Rider pushed me out of the way and grabbed the canister.
As we studied the code to find the next coordinates, Roo ran down the hill a little way. She uttered one bark and then laid down next to a huge monument. I thought, yes Roo, dead person, lots of dead people. I plodded down the hill to her.
When I got to my very clever puppy, I petted her cute little head. She did it again. She barked once and then laid down. Uh-oh, she was getting insistent with her signal for a dead person. I let her lead me around the monument, and to my horror, Fielder was lying on the ground with a big bloody gash in his head. His gun was lying next to him. I searched for a pulse, but found none. Julie and Rider came around the corner of the monument and found me standing over Fielder. Rider and I both looked at
Julie said, “I didn’t do it. I am not a killer. Did you do it?” She eyed Rider.
Rider said, “Hell no, I was nowhere near here. Damn, we should have never left Pete out of this. He so crazy, he probably did it.”
I said, “We had better call the police.”
Julie said, “After we get the next coordinates.”
Rider said, “And after we’re gone. Here, figure it out.” He handed me the paper, and I did as he asked.
I said, “The next coordinates are going to led us to Republic Park in front of the federal courthouse.”
Great, I was frolicking around Austin with a possible murderer or two, and could also be pickup and arrested as an accomplice. I wished I had minded my own business.
After leaving the Texas State Cemetery, I drove my truck from the east side and into downtown Austin. We, me and Rider, the latter who was a possible murderer and now a fellow geocacher, were lucky, as the local farmer’s market was just breaking up. I was able to get a space just as someone else was leaving. We parked on the north side of the park, on Fifth street. Because many of the booths were still open and plenty of people were still around.
We entered the park by the east entrance, which faced Guadalupe Street. As Rider and I waited for Julie to find a parking spot, I saw my best friend, co-worker, and landlord, Susan Marshall, paying for a bag of organic vegetables at one of the stands. I had an idea.
Julie finally arrived with Roo. I took Roo’s leash from her. Roo sniffed the grass while I petted her cute little red and white head. Based on her own interpretation of the coordinates, Julie insisted that we follow her to the southwest corner, the opposite side of the park.
As we weaved through the crowd, we neared the vegetable stand that Susan was still standing by. Being an extrovert, a good quality in a public relations professional, Susan was happily chatting away with the owner of the stand. Susan was an attractive older woman and the young man was obviously taken with her, as most men were. He was making her laugh. Her tomato red lips were parted in a flirtatious grin. She blew him a kiss, picked up her bag, and turned to leave. I saw my chance and decided to put my plan into action.
I purposely bumped into Susan and knocked her bag out of her hand before she could say anything to me. As we both bent down and picked up the vegetables I whispered, “Call Rollie and tell him I need his help. Tell him to go to Threadgill’s downtown and wait for me, okay? Don’t act like you know me. These people are trouble.”
Susan said, “Is everything alright, Ruby? What’s going on?”
I said, “Please, I don’t want to involve you any more than I have. Tell Rollie there has been a murder at the state cemetery, too. I have to go.”
Roo nosed Susan’s hand for attention. Distracted, Susan looked down and could not resist patting Roo’s head. Roo and I made a great team.
As I stood up, I said in a louder voice, “I am so sorry, ma’am.”
Being quick-minded, Susan said, “Yes, thank you, for picking them up. Watch where you are going next time.” She smiled and nodded her head. A worried look flashed across her face before she turned away and calmly renewed her conversation with her admirer.
I was lucky that my sometimes-on and sometimes-off boyfriend, Detective Rollie Fourtier, was visiting me. My abode was actually a boathouse, which I rented from Susan. On doctor’s orders, Rollie was taking it easy. He was probably fishing on the Colorado River right now.
Before Rider could come back looking for me, I gently guided Roo away and hurried to catch up with our new friend-enemies.
We followed the straight concrete path to the corner of the park. Giant Great Oak trees, called Auction Oaks, stood before us. They were called that because this park was the site where city lands were divided up and auctioned off in eighteen thirty-nine.
The trees were magnificent. Two in particular had huge trunks. Large and long twisted branches stretched out in all directions. The lower ones seemed to defy gravity and hovered miraculously only a few feet above the ground.
While the others looked on the ground, I studied the trees for clues. Aha, I saw something that looked like a wire wrapped around a branch! It was so covered up with leaves, it was hard to be sure. I would have to enlist Rider’s help to get a better view.
I said, “Uh, Rider, could you lift me up onto your shoulders. I think I see something up in that tree.” I took my cowgirl boots off.
He glanced over at me and then looked up to where I pointed. He glanced over at me and then looked up to where I pointed. He sauntered over to me and bent down, so that his knees touched the ground. Looking me in the eye, he said, “Climb aboard.”
I swung one leg over one of his shoulders. As he offered them, I grabbed both of his hands. I swung my other leg over his shoulder. I was about to get my balance when he quickly stood up. I almost fell off.
I said, “Hey, watch what you are doing!”
We wobbled around until we got our balance.
Rider said, “You look little, but you’re actually pretty solid.”
I said, “I’ll take that as a compliment, whether you meant it to be or not.”
Julie said, “Come on, you two, get the canister.”
I said, “Okay, move closer, closer. Okay, I think I feel something.” I slowly slid my hand into the nest of leaves and touched a metal case. Using my other hand, I untwisted a wire, which released a canister. I grabbed the container and said, “I got it.” I was immediately put down on the ground by Rider.
Julie said, “Give that to me!”
Avoiding her, I turned away and opened the canister. I quickly removed the note and read the coordinates. Julie grabbed the paper from my hands.
Quickly, I used my GPS, which has a built-in map, to figure out the next location. I said, “Okay, you two need to go to the other side of the river. I think it is over there by the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.”
Lowering my voice to a whisper, I said, “And now, Roo and I will just slip away.” I turned to go, but I was stopped by a tall man and a dog. A very big dog. The kind with clipped ears and a clipped tail.
From behind me, another man said, “Not so fast, cousins.”
I turned around and saw a shorter man sidle up very close behind Julie and jab his coat pocket into her back, like he had a gun. Julie tensed up, and I automatically froze, too.
Julie said, “Now, Pete, calm down. We haven’t found any of the money yet.”
Rider said, “Yeah, nothing.” Rider took a step closer.
Roo gave a slow warning growl. The thinner and taller man moved up to our circle. He had a very muscular male Doberman Pinscher on a very thick leather leash. He held the leash tightly, as if his dog was ready to explode at any second. He pointed his pocket at me and said, “Who’s she?”
Julie said, “Oh, she knows all about geocaching. She is helping us.”
Pete said, “Cash, that’s what we want. So, hand it over.”
Julie said, “No, you got it all wrong. Aunt Eunice liked to geocache, g-e-o-c-a-c-h-e. The old lady gave us a set of geographic coordinates to go to. We are supposed to search for a hidden canister at each stop, so that we could obtain the next clue. Eventually, we are supposed to find where she left her money.”
Pete said, “A frickin’ treasure hunt? You gotta be kidding me! Blade, why don’t you persuade our cousins to tell us the truth.”
Blade said, “My pleasure. You all know Shark, right? He is named that for a reason. How about that the little fur-ball? Shark hasn’t had breakfast”
I bent down and swiftly picked up a snarling Roo. I held onto her with of all of my might.
Julie said, “You know, I would not lie to you lug-heads.” Julie stepped in front of us. I was touched.
Pete or Blade, or both, were great candidates for being the murderers. But, I was not going to exclude Julie or Rider yet. There was enough time when they were out of my sight for either of them to have done it.
Pete said, “You are all coming with me.”
Rider said, “Put the gun down, Pete.” With his hands in fists, Rider moved closer to Pete.
Still holding Roo, I turned away, and folded my body around Roo. I wanted to protect her from any potential gun shots.
Pete said, “Don’t move, Rider. I will shoot.”
Julie said, “Just do what he says.”
Blade patted his dog head and said, "Yeah, or Shark will take off your leg.
Rider restrained himself and took his frustration out on me. He kicked me while I was down on the ground with Roo and said, “Get up.” Leering at him, I silently plotted my revenge.
To be continued....