The Joy of Life Through Nature By D.I. Jolly (Part 3)
Mrs Martha Jenkins had been a world class beauty in her youth, and even at 84 years old it still shown through her features. Specifically, Jones thought, when she smiled. There was an ease and grace about it that told him she had practised her smile and knew exactly how to use her charms in a way that made men notice. It also gave Jones the distinct impression that she was not where her son had gotten his brains from.
“Oh it’s so nice to have a visitor.” She said as he walked into the room. “And one I’ve heard so much about, I feel like I’m meeting a celebrity.”
She had stood as he got closer and extended her arms for a hug, which Jones obliged. He was there for work, and he suspected that she was not going to be an easy nut to crack, but still when a sweet looking old lady offered you a hug, you didn’t say no. It could be her last, after all.
“I don’t know what you’ve heard but I hope some of it have been good.”
She smiled again and gestured for him to sit down, which he did after waiting for her to sit first. Which, Jones noted, brought a different, possibly genuine smile to her face. He spotted a possible path into getting his questions answered.
“So,’ she said after a moment, ‘while it would be nice to believe you just came to visit an old woman out of the kindness of your heart, I don’t actually think that’s the case. So how can I help you Mr Jones?”
Jones’s own smile turned a bit practised and he leaned back in his chair.
“You are, of course, correct. And I’m sorry that I’m only here on business, but I need to ask you some questions about your son.”
She nodded thoughtfully but her eyes turned a little hard.
“What has he done now? I told him to be on his best behaviour at your bar Mr. Jones. But he can get so distracted sometimes, especially when there are pretty girls around.”
Jones studied her face for a second trying to not linger to long, but eager to see if there was a tell, a thread to pull on. Or if she genuinely believed that her son still worked there.
“The thing is, he’s gotten himself into a little bit of trouble with the police.”
Mrs. Jenkins gasped and suddenly leaned forward to take Jones’s hand, and her words came out fast and panicked.
“No, oh no, what kind of trouble? Is he alright? You’re going to help him Mr. Jones, aren’t you? That’s why you’re here? He’s my only boy and I don’t know what I’d do without him.” She bent over and put her head against their held hands as she gave them a squeeze. “You have to help him Mr. Jones. That is what you do now, isn’t it?”
Jones tried to stay loose as his mind began to race through a combination of what the right answers and the correct answers would be, and then said.
“Yes, I’m here investigating what’s going on to try and help him.”
She looked up and he saw that tears had formed lines through her make up.
“Why are the police interested in him? What do they think he’s done?”
Jones took another moment thinking, he wasn’t even supposed to know that Jenkins was in holding let alone share the information with anyone.
“He was… in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
She sniffed back her tears and blinked a few times, and Jones saw the wheels turning in her head.
“How can I help you?”
“I need more information, where he’s living currently, what jobs he has, who his friends are, anything that might be able to help me put some pieces together.”
The woman’s face twisted again, now more confused than concerned.
“His only job is working at your bar Mr. Jones. Or at least the only one I know about.”
Jones tried, but failed, to hide his own expression as the wheels in his head started turning and she narrowed her eyes.
“At least… I still get some money from your bar every month from him?”
Seeing the expression on his face stay the same, she turned to reach into a drawer and pulled out a small collection of papers and handed them over. Jones took them and started flipping through.
As early as that week she’d received payment from his bar, which was a problem as far as Jones knew he didn’t work at The Jazz Bar anymore, and hadn’t for awhile.
Jones looked up at the woman and didn’t even try to hide that he was searching her face for the truth, then after a minute said slowly.
“Can I keep these?”
She looked from his face to his hands and said with an unmistakable hint of fear in her voice.
“Yes, but Mr Jones, please, what’s the matter? What’s going to happen to my boy?”
“I’m not sure right now, but I promise, I am going to get to the bottom of this, and I am going to try and help him.”
Jones sat for a moment longer, in part to see what the woman would do, but also to give himself the space to think, to see if there was anything else he needed to ask her, then nodded, thanked her and left.