Family Barbeque


               Summer 1985

               The Larsons, Maxwells and Doyles are having a family 
               barbeque.There is a trestle table of food on the deck. All of the
               women are in and out of the house, preparing for a meal.
               The men preside over a large brick barbeque in the back
               yard. Children are everywhere.

                              I have the potato salad ready.
                              Joanie, if sharon wants apples in
                              it, she'll have to add her own.
                              There's bowls of fruit in the
                              house where it's cooler.

                              It's the only way she'll eat any
                              form of potato. Her little friend
                              Carla puts apples in potato salad.
                              Maybe it's a portuguese thing. Her
                              father is the Portuguese
                              embassador to Canada.Carla is
                              such a smart little thing. Ten
                              years old and she can speak five
                              languages! Sharon, Carla and
                              Marjorie do everything together.
                              they're practically sisters.

                              Joanie, your twins Mike and Jim
                              and my twin Colin and Emily's
                              Danny, are in need of a bath.
                              They're building some sort of mud
                              and and clay fort down at the
                              bottom of the yard by the woods.
                              Colin and Danny are always
                              building something. Mike and
                              Jimmie are only seven, I'm sure
                              they're less help than hindrance.
                               The older boys always include
                              them in their activities, though.

                              Emily, do you have another cookie
                              sheet? Estelle is trying to teach
                              the girls how to make dinner
                              rolls.  Marjorie and Carla are
                              interested, but Sharon and Amy
                              act as though they're being

               Estelle emerges from the kitchen with a basket of rolls
               covered by a tea towel.

                              Marjorie and Carla have turned out
                              one pretty good batch. Sharon and
                              Amy's batch could double as
                              hockey pucks! Sharon just made
                              stuff up as she went, she wants
                              to be a writer. Amy chopped up
                              the dough into little bits, she
                              wants to be a surgeon. Those two
                              girls are  ten years old, and all
                              they do is abuse food. It looks
                              like Marjie and Carla are going
                              to be the only good cooks among
                              the girls.

                                          The men are stoking the fire with wood the boys have brought
               them. The barbeque is throwing off clouds of dark smoke.

                              We're going to have the fire
                              marshal out here if we don't do
                              something about this smoke. The
                              boys must have brought us wet
                              wood. we want barbequed
                              hamburgers, not smoked meat.

                              Talking about smoked meat, how are
                              you doing with the highway 16 fire
                              victims, Stuart?

                              That was crass, Kyle. The victims
                              are still human, regardless of
                              the state my lab gets them in.
                              Forensic evidence is the best
                              shot you have of convicting the
                              guy you have in custody.

                              Simon Humes has been seen at the
                              scene of several fires in the
                              last few years, but so have a lot
                              of people. There's something about
                              fires and accidents that people
                              are drawn to. There was never any
                              evidence that he might have set
                              any of them.

                              He was the one who was last seen
                              before the fire started in the
                              grain fields behind the barn that
                              burned. He lives down the road, he
                              saw the smoke, and he called the
                              fire department. He claims he
                              tried to put the fire out with a
                              shovel and dirt. He even dug a
                              ditch to stop the fire before it
                              got to the barn.

               The telephone rings at a distance, and Joanie comes out to
               the barbeque where the men are.

                              Your lab is on the phone, stuart.
                              Your lab assistant, Nathan
                              sounded really excited. I asked
                              to take a message, but he said
                              that you were to drop what you're
                              doing and get out to the lab now.
                              I told him I'd have you call him
                              back, but he said he needed you
                              at the lab. It seems to be
                              important, honey.

                              Nathan isn't the excitable sort,
                              so he must have found something
                              on those three bodies. I'm going
                              to the lab and find out what's
                              going on. If there's anything
                              that the police need to know
                              about, I'll call you, David.

               Stuart gets up and kisses Joanie.

                              I'll call you from the lab, to let
                              you know if I'll be home for

               Stuart leaves.

The End

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