After that my life returned to its normal pace. I went back to my writing. I was thinking about basing a story on my recent experience, but I wasn't decided yet. I needed some time to clear my head and reflect on what had happened.
I'd kept my eyes on the local paper. The cover up was a huge scandal. Fernandez was stripped of his badge and tried for obstruction of justice, while Tina was charged for Baxter's murder. Fernandez was found guilty and Tina confessed and settled for a lesser manslaughter charge. They were both sentenced to some time in the slammer.
Ferguson, who thought he was off scot-free, was sued by Rally J's for slander and during the investigation was found guilty of some other crimes that he had committed and was currently on trial for those offenses.
I'd stayed out of the case after that night in the alley, but still I was curious about what had happened to the others. One day I came across the note that had started it all. "Murder at Rally J's." My eye was drawn to it among the other scraps of paper in my desk drawer. It was like it almost glowed. I picked it up and looked at it, still wondering who had sent it to me, just like I still wondered who or what had been controlling my typewriter that day to send me the clues that I needed to solve the case. It was a mystery alright. But, unfortuntately, some mysteries just aren't meant to be solved.
After I closed up the shop for the day I went for a walk. I headed out towards Rally J's, just to take a look at the place and maybe stop in for a nightcap. When I got there the old sign was gone and the door was marked 'closed'. It looked like it was under renovation.
As I stood outside looking at the building a cab pulled up behind me and honked its horn. I turned around, but the honk wasn't for me. The door to the hotel opened and Barnett came down the steps toting a pair of suitcases.
"Hey there," she called out. She seemed surprised to see me at first, but gave me a smile. "Did ya stop over to say goodbye?"
"I didn't know you were leaving."
"Of course you didn't," she replied. "I'm leaving the city, headed back to Australia."
"What about the building?"
"It was taking up too much of my time and bringing me too much stress. My cousin's going to take over."
"I didn't think the business really suited you anyway," I shrugged. "So what happened to Rally J's?"
"Jenkins closed the place down. He decided the nightclub scene didn't really suit him either. He won a bunch of money from a lawsuit against Ferguson, so he decided to go back to school."
"Good for him."
"My cousin's going to be running the bar too, but he's redecorating it and giving it a different name. He's going to have his hands full."
"I bet. So are Gaby, Lenni, and Hector going to work for him?"
"No, they left when Jamal sold the place to put together an act. I think they're hoping to make it to Broadway someday."
"Hey lady, the meter's running," the cab driver reminded her.
"I know," she replied. "I'll just be another minute."
"Don't let me keep you," I said. "Have a good trip."
"Thanks," she said as I helped her with her bags and she got into the cab. "And thanks for finding out the truth about Jeffrey's murder. It's meant a lot to me."
She grinned from the opened door of the backseat of the cab. "You know, I've read a couple of your novels . . .So how does the story end for you?"
"About like this I guess," I shrugged.
"I'm sure they could find an extra seat on the plane if you wanted to come along."
"Nah, I think I'm going to stick around here for awhile. Keep up my writing, look out for trouble."
"You'd better. It always seems to have a way of finding you."
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
"Take care, Robby."
"So long," I said as she shut the cab door and it drove away.
I stood on the sidewalk a moment watching the cab drive away before turning to look back at the building behind me. That was it. It was over. Rally J's was gone and everyone else had moved on. And it was time for me to do the same.
I turned and walked on. It was back to retirement for me, but somehow I knew it wouldn't stick. Sooner or later another case would come across my path and I wouldn't be able to turn it down either. It was in my blood. It was my fate. I just had to accept it.
But until that day comes, I'll stick to writing my mysteries.