Hook, Line, and Homicide

Paul Turner Mysteries (Volume 9)

Mark Richard Zubro

Minotaur Books

HOOK, LINE, AND HOMICIDE (Chapter 1)

"Dad, are we moving to Canada?"

Paul Turner looked up from his fishing tackle box. "We're going fishing like we do every summer," Paul told his eleven-year-old.

"But we're not moving?"

"Why would we move?" Paul asked Jeff.

"Because of all the antigay stuff." Jeff was restringing his fishing reel. He had his Zebco rod teetering on the arm of his wheelchair, the reel in his lap, and he was using both hands to pull on a new line.

Paul knew his son was referring to the antigay amendments in the United States Congress and the prohate amendments and referendums that had passed in many states. "Did somebody say we were going to move?" Paul asked.

"Well, no, but I read the news on the Net. I know some people have left."

Paul was glad his son read so much, but this activity tended to exacerbate Jeff 's seemingly infinite need to have questions answered. Paul did everything he could to reply to the boy's questions patiently.

"Do you want to move?" Paul asked.

"No," the youngster said, "I've got plans with Bertram to go to the aquarium after we get back, and I'm getting Mr. Faneski for a teacher next year. He's a good teacher. He has the honors kids do the coolest science projects. I want to try working with some gravitational anomalies."

"You know what gravitational anomalies are?" Paul asked.

"Yes, and I can spell it," Jeff said. "We aren't moving?" The boy could be relentless in his questions and his need for assurance. He was awfully bright, but he was still a kid.

Paul said, "Ben and I have no plans to move. This is our country. We'll stay here and fight if we have to."

"Are there going to be fights?"

Paul's older son, Brian, thumped down the stairs and breezed into the room. Paul sometimes wondered if the stairs would last until Brian left for college. "Who's fighting?" Brian asked.

"Nobody, right now," Paul said.

Jeff said, "We were talking about moving to Canada."

"With or without you?" Brian asked his younger brother.

Jeff said, "We were thinking of abandoning you on an island in the middle of the lake."

"No parents. No rules. What's the downside?"

Paul said, "No fast cars, no junk food, no adoring girlfriends."

"They'd flock to any island I was on."

Paul said, "Jeff wanted to know if we were thinking of moving because of all the latest gay-hate legislation."

Brian sat down next to his younger brother's wheelchair. "You need help with that?"

"I'm almost done. I've got a few hooks left to sharpen." Brian reached into the pile, pulled one up, and picked up a file. Brian looked at his father. "You and Ben don't talk about it much."

"Our roots and our home are here," Paul said.

"How come Ian is going with us this year?" Jeff asked. "Is he thinking of moving?"

Jeff was referring to Ian Hume, Paul's first lover, and still a good friend, and the best reporter for the largest gay paper in Chicago.

Paul said, "He's written a few articles for the Gay Tribune about people who have left, but I think he's going this year mostly because he hasn't had a vacation in a long time."

"He's never been fishing," Brian said. "What's he going to do up there?"

"Relax? Read a book?"

Jeff said, "He's gonna look weird if he doesn't have any fishing stuff."

Brian said, "He enjoys being weird."

Jeff said, "And he won't drive with us. He's flying in."

Paul said, "Teenagers and kids make him nervous."

Brian said, "Don't most people make him nervous?"

"Usually I don't," Turner said.

"If people make him nervous, how can he be a reporter?" Jeff asked.

Paul said, "He loves interviewing people, and he enjoys skewering them with their own stupidities. He just doesn't want to socialize with them."

"He's weird," Brian said.

"How often do I make judgments about your friends--"

Brian opened his mouth to answer.

Turner continued, "--and tell you about it?"

"Not often," Brian conceded.

HOOK, LINE, AND HOMICIDE Copyright © 2007 by Mark Richard Zubro.