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Squatter with a Lexus by Tom Lichtenberg

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Genre/Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
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Squatter with a Lexus by Tom Lichtenberg
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Synopsis

Pearson Holmes disappeared a long time ago, leaving behind a potentially valuable safety deposit box. Freddy the Freegan is the first to stumble across the mystery, but soon a whole cast of characters are out to find the key and claim the treasure before time runs out and the contents are forfeit to the state. Who will solve the riddle of the Squatter with a Lexus?


Excerpt:

1.  Katie Parsons

When Katie Parsons received a letter notifying her that she had thirty days to present the key to the strongbox or its contents would revert to the state, she realized that either this was a mistake or else her ship had finally come in.

It was a mistake.

When she inspected the envelope she discovered that the letter was addressed to a Mr. Pearson Holmes. She had never heard of any Holmes outside of Sherlock.

"Oh well", she sighed. "easy come, easy go", and tossed the letter into the kitchen garbage pail. It sat there all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, and most of Friday, until her husband, Keith, finally took out the trash. Then the letter sat in the yard beside the garage for the rest of Friday, and well into Saturday morning.

It was retrieved by Freddy the Freegan on Saturday, June 23rd, at 11:47 A.M. That is when our story begins.

2. Lieutenant Mike

Going through people's junk mail wasn't his usual thing, but Freddy sometimes made exceptions. A man has got to pay some bills, after all, no matter how far off the grid he'd like to get. There's some wiggle room in the freegan ethics, and sharing information doesn't pose any major contradictions. He looks, he finds, and if he can make a little something on the side for sharing, it's all good.

"Those Parsons keep it clean", he tells Lieutenant Mike.

"They've got their reasons", Mike replies. He's got some sort of feeling about Keith Parsons. The information sharing goes one way, as far as he's concerned.

"I mean no scraps, no junk, no reusable anything", Freddy relates. "They've got some consciousness going on in there".

Mike speaks Freddy's language by now. There's been a history of sharing. Not usually a patient man, he lets Freddy ramble on. His coffee's getting cold as they sit there in the Main Street Diner. Freddy would like another slice of pie but Mike is holding out.

"So they got a disposal", Mike says, "come on. Tell me what you saw".

"Nothing", Freddy says, "they do recycling too. Someone drinks a lot of Gatorade and Red Bull. Or maybe one of them drinks the Gatorade and the other one the Red Bull. I could dust for prints and find out", Freddy chuckles. He thinks he's being funny. Mike doesn't even smile. He's staring at the cream congealing in his cup.

"What else".

"They get some junk mail", Freddy says, "I'm surprised they don't recycle it. Catalogs especially. What a waste. She likes furniture and gardening, I'd say. I'd guess they own the house because of all the mortgage re-fi junk they get.

Someone's getting old - they get a lot of cruise brochures and retirement shopping specials. And some other banking stuff".

"Banking?", Mike looks up. "Yeah, a couple of things". "What bank?" Mike asks.

"Fourth Fidelity was one. Hedgerow Funds the other. First was bogus, though. It wasn't addressed to them," said Freddy, handing over the mail.

"Oh?"

"Yeah, somebody Pearson, no, no. Pearson Holmes. Mailman probably mixed it up. Parsons, Pearson, easy. "

"What about the Funds?"

"Brochure. pamphlet. Nothing personal". "Damn". Mike is disappointed. "Nothing else?"

"Nope", says Freddy, wishing he had more to say. "The rest was basic trash. Paper towels, wrappers, peach pits - love that summer fruit, you know."

"All right". Mike gets up, peels out a twenty and throws it on the table. He's a very large man, barely squeezes out of the

booth. Freddy swipes the bill and sticks it in his pocket, nodding.

"Any time", Freddy says.

"I'll let you know", the cop replies, and walks away. Freddy waits until he's gone, then slides the cooling coffee over. Waste not, want not, he tells himself, as he calmly drains the remains. Thirty days, he thinks, only now it's more like twenty-five. Who the f**k is Pearson Holmes and where'd he put that key?