I think this may have been my favorite case so far, though I've only had a few. It was evening when my smart phone buzzed to life on the end table next to me. I was watching a television show while I scooped popcorn from a bowl. Wiping my fingers on my jeans, I snatched up the phone to read the text message.
Mr. McCormick, I was hoping to hire your services for a very important and personal matter. It's in regards to my son whom I haven't seen in years. I was hoping you could help me find him.
I quickly responded, saying I would be happy to meet up. We agreed on a coffee shop downtown first thing the next morning. When I arrived the following morning, I wasn't sure what to expect. It occurred to me then that I had failed to ask the person's name. Now I would have no idea who I was waiting for. It was a bit sloppy, but what can I say. I'm still figuring this detective business out.
It didn't matter, however, as the client ended up meeting me instead. He was a large man with a full head of hear and a gleam in his bright blue eyes. He looked older than he actually was, his skin beginning to tighten and wrinkle like old leather. He licked his lips nervously and approached.
"Mr. McCormick?" He asked, proffering his hand.
"Please, call me Ethan." I replied, taking it.
We sat down at the table and ignored the other patrons as we got down to business. "My name's Carl." He said. "Like I told you on the phone, I haven't seen my son in about ten years. I wanted your help to track him down."
Pulling out my notebook, I said, "I'll do what I can. Tell me everything."
"Sure. I was married to a wonderful woman, beautiful and bright. She was the light of my life. We had a young son together and had a wonderful life watching him grow. When he was about eleven years old, things got a little rough for me. I had lost my job, my parents died, and a host of other problems struck almost at once. I didn't cope well. I started to drink.
I started to drink so much that it got in the way of my relationship with Stacy. Which, of course, put a strain on my relationship with my son. Anyway, things got worse as I spiraled downwards. Stacy tried to get my friends together for an intervention but I stormed out in anger. Eventually, I become unbearable. We fought, sometimes in front of Blake, I'm ashamed to admit. To keep a long story short, things got a little violent one night and Stacy took Blake out of our home and I never saw them again."
He sighed and sat back in his chair. I continued to write notes in my notebook as he did.
"I think she moved out of state and I was served divorce papers soon after. At the time, I blamed her. I refused to sign. I got angry. I drank more. And I lost even more. My house, the job I was barely holding on to as it was, all of my friends. It was a living nightmare. As the years went by, I started to clean up my act. I went to an AA meeting and haven't looked back since. I wanted to prove to Stacy I was worthy of seeing my son again. I couldn't bear being away from him for one more minute.
Then the unthinkable happened. Stacy was killed in a car accident. Blake was all alone. Of course, he was an adult by this time and I think he moved away. He didn't know where his father was and he probably didn't want to see me. I reached out to family members, but never learned where he was. Now, I just want to find him. I want to show him I've cleaned up and I want to make amends. It'll be his choice. If he never wants to see me again, I'll understand."
The man's story was a sad one. I had to give it to the man. Most people wouldn't have owned up in that situation but he had. He was doing whatever he could to rekindle his relationship with his son. I agreed and went about my work, looking for his son.
The hunt for Blake was not an exciting one. I spent most of the time on phone calls, checking with local records or family members of Blake. I had to lie a couple times to get the information I needed. Finally, I got an address. It turned out, Blake had moved to Miami only a few months prior. I'd like to think he was there looking for his father.
In the end, I was able to arrange a meeting and the two men sat down together. I haven't checked in with Carl, but I'd like to think they worked things out. After all, the last thing I saw after I left the two together was the warm and welcoming embrace Blake gave his dad.
Evan Bond, author of To the Wolves and Death Can Wait, is a thriller/suspense author. When not writing, he can be found hiking or camping in the beautiful state of Florida.