An excerpt from…
A Story of Christmas Eve in Frankfort
By K. Patrick Glover
It was Christmas Eve in Frankfort, Michigan and The Mariner was empty but for me and an off duty cop named Dan Avery. Dan represented one third of the city’s police department and I, Nick Kellerman, its sole private detective. We were drinking Jim Beam and discussing the presents we had purchased for our respective girl friends.
My girl, Sasha, was only 19, and since I’m pushing 45, Dan’s end of the conversation included a lot of jokes about cradles and playpens. I took it in good humor, only occasionally threatening to spank him with my cane. In truth, the situation made me feel awkward, but Sasha felt it was perfectly acceptable so what did I know?
We were starting to come to the conclusion that neither one of us was very good at gift buying when Susie Vandrick, who worked in the flower shop below my office, burst in and started babbling about a body down on the beach. Dan calmed her down and the bartender brought her a cup of hot coffee. It took awhile, but we got what details we could from her. She said the body was on the beach, just off the turnaround at the end of the road. Dan and I threw on our coats and went for a walk.
The Mariner sat almost at the end of the main road and the only thing between it and the beach at Lake Michigan was a few condos and the turnaround. It had been snowing off and on for two weeks by then and the beach was covered in several inches of bright clean snow. A field of white broken only by the body lying in the middle of it. A single set of footprints, presumably his own, led from the turnaround to the body.
It was a male, probably in his mid-thirties, with broad shoulders and sandy hair.
“Any idea who it is?” Dan asked.
“No,” I lied.
The next hour was a flurry of activity. I walked out to the body and verified that he was really dead while Dan went back to his car and called it in. There was no blood, no visible injuries. I checked his fingernails and lips, smelled his breath. No obvious signs of foul play, could have been a heart attack or stroke. The ambulance showed up first, then the rest of Frankfort’s police department and least they were actually sober and on duty unlike Dan.
We backed off and let them take over. Dan went back to The Mariner to finish his drink. I went home to think things over.