Cory Wade is Missing

by Rick Beck

Chapter 3

Stand By Me

"You're still reading, Angus? Do you want breakfast or would you rather just read?" Mildred asked.

"Breakfast, my dear. I'm famished. I'm just going over a segment in the transcript where the mother is trying to describe her son. I wanted to get a clearer picture, but it's vague," Angus said.

"Vague about her own son?" Mildred asked.

"Absolutely vague. I'll go to his school to talk to the kids closest to him. They spent more time with him than anyone else."

"How old a child is it?" Mildred asked.

"Eighteen. He should be getting ready to graduate from Bishop's school about now, but he's gone. I need to find out why," Angus said. "The mother has no clue what happened."

"He's almost grown then," Mildred said.

"Close, but I get the impression he isn't grown up, just old enough to be grown up. I'll know more when I talk to the students who knew him," Angus said.

"Quite a nice school. I take it his family is well off," Mildred said.

"I haven't looked at their bank statement, but I'd say they are very well off, Mil. The kid probably has never been on his own before," Angus said.

"Then you shall find him and get him home," she said.

"I shall. Right after breakfast. Come over here so I can give you a big morning kiss, Mil," Angus said, standing up and putting down the transcript.

Angus called Wes to have his secretary, Peg, set up a meeting with Mrs. Wade. She'd clear the way for that interviews. There were questions he had for Mrs. Wade.

It was a good idea for Angus to meet Mrs. Wade. She'd be instrumental in getting Angus what he needed from the Wade house. Once in the house, he'd check to make sure there was no sign of violence. Eliminating the idea that Cory never left the house a live, was important. Once he did that, the next steps would be easier, and less dangerous.

Finding someone who didn't want to be found was easier these days. You started with their electronics, and then you found their social media posts. It was amazing how many people wrote everything down for anyone to read. It sure beat the hell out of knocking on doors all day, and getting them slammed in your face.

Angus would take it one step at a time in order to avoid backtracking and covering the same ground twice. His mother would know things no one else knew. It was the small things that often led to a missing person, and it could be a small detail that would lead Angus to Cory.

He was also sure, showing up at Bishop's School, private investigator's license in hand, he'd be escorted off the property. The advantage in sending your son to a prestigious school that costs mega bucks to attend, you get favors parents with kids in public school wouldn't get.

After talking to Mrs. Wade, the kids at Bishop's would fill in the blanks about Cory's everyday interactions. They would share stories about his routine. If there were boys Cory ran with, they could know something important they'd tell Angus, if he didn't push too hard or act too formal.

Angus pulled up in front of the U.S. Grant Hotel. He felt a bit awkward when he handed his car keys to a slim black kid in a uniform with U.S. Grant Hotel in gold across the pocket of the red jacket.

"Will you be long, sir?" the kid asked in perfect English.

"Less than an hour," Angus said.

"I'll have your car for you as soon as you come down," he said, taking the car keys.

Angus watched his car disappear down the street at the right of the hotel. He watched until the car disappeared.

Angus, being a Chicago cop for some years, understood, any time a black kid got into a white man's car in Chicago, the kid was most likely holding a gun.

Angus tried to shake off the idea he'd never see his car again. This wasn't Chicago, and the kid was engaged in honest commerce. Besides, he was too polite and neat to be a car thief.

Angus took the elevator to the top floor. He knocked on the door of Dolores Wade's tenth floor suite. With hat in hand he waited for her to answer.

"Yes," the impeccably dressed woman said.

The maid's outfit indicated she wasn't Dolores Wade.

'No limit to my deductive power,' Angus thought.

"I have an appointment to see Mrs. Wade. I'm Angus McCoy. I'm from her attorney's office."

"Won't you come in, sir. She's expecting you," the woman said, opening the door wide.

"Mrs. Wade, I'm Angus McCoy. Mr. Matthews sent me."

"Yes, Mr. McCoy, please have a seat," Mrs. Wade said, standing up as Angus entered the large sitting room."

Dolores Wade was immaculate. Not a hair was out of place. Her dress was a print that didn't come off a rack. She stood tall and straight, and she sat with absolutely perfect posture.

Angus could only guess what a woman married to Tony Wade was like. He knew better than to believe a hood's wife is an extention of her husband. Showing no signs of apprehension, Angus planned to be be thorough.

"Would you like a cup of coffee, Mr. McCoy?" Mrs. Wade asked.

"I would. I take mine black," he said.

"Sensa, two cups of coffee. One black and you know how I like mine," she said.

Angus didn't realize the maid was still in the room. She'd stood to one side, waiting for orders.

"Yes, ma'am, Mrs. Wade."

Angus watched her disappear through a door next to where she was standing at parade rest.

"I answered all of Mr. Matthew's questions at his office. I can't imagine what else I can tell you," she said.

"Mr. Matthews is an attorney. I'm an investigator. We look at the world differently, Mrs. Wade. I need to know more about your son. If you expect me to find him, I need to know what to look for. Knowing what he likes, where he goes, and where he's been in the past," Angus said.

"Please call me Dolores, Mr. McCoy. I will answer your questions. I need to go out at three, but that gives us an hour," Mrs. Wade said, sounding like she thought that was plenty of time to describe who her son was.

Sensa brought two cups of coffee on saucers she carried on a silver tray. She expertly put the cups down without a sound.

Angus was made suspicious that a woman Mrs. Wade's age needed a servant standing by.

"You're not from here, Mr. McCoy?"

"And I'm supposed to be the detective. Chicago, Mrs. Wade. I'm a retired detective from the Chicago P.D."

"You retired to start over again?" she asked and said.

"Start over with a pension backing me up and better weather to detective in. Being private means I get to go places cops can't legally go. And you're from New Jersey. We're both transplanted ourselves into paradise," Angus said with his chitchat smile.

He wanted to let her know that he knew who Tony was and where he came from. It would cut through the banter.

Angus took his coffee by the gulp. He needed a cup about this time every day, but he didn't always get one.

"Detective work is mostly boring, attention to detail. Going over a case until you see it from all directions. Reading and rereading what you've already read, hoping to notice something you haven't seen before. Which brings us to Cory being missing."

She became more alert, after her son's name was mentioned.

"I've read everything you told Wes... Mr. Matthews. To find someone like Cory, a kid, I need you to tell me about him. I intend to go to Bishop's School to interview his friends, but school and home are two entirely different places. Where do you think your son went?"

Dolores Wade spoke softly. She was careful with her words. He'd listened to the tape of her interview with Wes. She'd been less guarded with him, but Angus was a detective, and Dolores Wade had talked to detectives before. Her voice sounded more official.

At first, she spoke in short concise sentences, and Angus listened to her words. He took a small notepad from his pocket and jotted down a few things he noticed. There was nothing about Cory. Only how upset she was that he hadn't come home. She had no idea where Cory could be.

Angus let her talk about herself. She played the role of a mother without a clue as to what happened to her missing eighteen-year-old son.

When she was done speaking, Angus smiled. She suspected what her husband told her wasn't true. Image that, a man associated with the mob might not be honest, even with his wife. Angus didn't like the picture he was getting.

Angus was developing a picture in his head but it wasn't from anything Mrs. Wade said. Maybe it was from what she hadn't said.

"You waited from Monday evening, when you came in from a hair appointment, until Thursday morning to take any action concerning Cory being missing. Can you explain why a distraught mother waited that long to do something?"

"Tony, my husband...," she said.

"I know your husband. I was a Chicago cop at a time when builders were having difficulty getting their buildings built. Your husband came along and no more trouble," Angus said, like it could have been magic.

"I see," Dolores Wade said. "Tony thought Cory might be sowing his wild oats with some girl he met. He told me not to worry, and I didn't for a few days, but it wasn't like Cory not to call to tell us he'd be late."

"Late. I'd call four days a bit more than late," Angus said. "You often listen to your husband. Didn't you think Cory could be in trouble, in a hospital somewhere?"

"Mr. McCoy, you're here about my son, not me. I did what I thought was best. I wasn't willing to wait for him to come home any longer. I contacted Mr. Matthews. What I did or didn't do is my affair. I did what I did, and now I want you to find my son."

"Yes, ma'am," Angus said, sounding contrite.

Mrs. Wade could not be pushed, and she'd definitely been asked impertinent questions before. He doubted she answer them that time either.

"Tony said he was just stretching his wings or some such as that. He just turned eighteen. Tony has been after him to be more of a man. Tony told me about how he went off for days as a teenager. He always returned home."

"You don't think Tony could have had a hand in your son's disappearance?"

"Tony was away. He wasn't supposed to be back until Tuesday. He came in just before I did on Monday evening. He said he didn't see Cory. The house was empty when he came home," she said without necessarily believing it.

"Mrs. Wade," Angus said.

"Please call me Dolores," she said in her sweet voice.

"Dolores, why are you living at the Grant Hotel? You are expecting Cory to return to your house?" Angus asked.

"I've been considering it for some time. With Cory gone, well, there's no reason for me to stay with Tony. I've thought about a divorce. It has nothing to do with Cory."

"So your husband doesn't see Cory as much of a man?" Angus asked.

"You've got to understand the world Tony grew up in. He had a tough childhood. He fought for everything we have. Tony is a man who started out with nothing, and he's a wealthy man today. He wants Cory to have the kind of grit he has. It's a hard world, and Tony wants Cory to be able to come at it head-on."

"You ever thought that Tony might have sent him off to training camp and not told you about it?" Angus asked.

"Tony is his father. He wouldn't hurt, Cory. You've got the wrong idea about Tony. He's tough but fair," she said, trying to sound convincing, but it wasn't possible.

"I see. I'm going to need some papers signed that will allow me to do the things I need to do to get some leads on where Cory might be. I'll need permission to get his phone, his phone records, and I want my computer expert to take a look inside Cory's computer. I'll need your permission to go into the house and a key to make entry possible. These are legal technicalities that must be taken care of before I can enter your house. You being present at the time of entry is the best way to avoid complications. You won't need to go in, just accompany us there. We shouldn't be inside for more than a half hour."

"But not while Tony's there?" she asked, showing the first sign of being afraid of her husband.

"That's how we will plan it. You'll need to advise us of the day and time when it can be done," Angus said. "I have no desire to have a run-in with your husband. Because I'll have my computer expert with me, she is not to be put in harms way. We hope to keep it quick and simple."

Mrs Wade listened carefully. She cited no objections.

"We don't want any trouble, Mrs. Wade. You can run everything I've told you by Mr. Matthews. I advise him of my moves before I make them. He'll be told the day and time we intend to go in, He needs to approve such actions," Angus said reassuringly.

"I know his schedule. I'll go along in my car, and I'll leave once you are inside," she said with authority. "Tony is out of the house for meetings twice a week. When you make your final plan, I'll advise you of the nights he has meetings. He often stays in town those nights."

"That's good to know," Angus said. "After I get a good look at Cory's electronics, I'll know more about what Cory was doing on Monday. Kids seem to put their entire lives on the Internet these days. I'm hoping he left some clues."

"He spends a lot of time in his room. I know he likes old movies. Those black and white film noir movies. I suspect he spends time on his computer. He doesn't always carry his phone. Most kids seem to have one growing out of their ear," Mrs. Wade said. "Cory's not like that."

"What else did he like to do? What did you do when you went out together? Is there a relative he's close to?"

"No, Cory kept to himself. He's at that age. Tony has an Italian restaurant he likes taking us to. Well, not so much lately. Tony has no family left, and my folks, well, they don't approve of Tony. We don't see each other. It's just the three of us. No relatives he's close to."

"What do you know about Cory's friends at school? Give it some thought."

"He's on the swim team, and he plays tennis. Those are the boys he spends the most time with. Cory is quiet. He doesn't have a lot of friends. None he brings home. He'll talk about another boy once in a while, but I don't know who they are or if they're on those athletic teams with him."

"I've sent him for tennis lessons, and I hired a diving coach for him, but he's at that awkward stage. The diving coach thought he should stick to swimming. By that time Cory had lost interest in diving anyway. He doesn't talk much about school. His grades are excellent. He's begun to get attention from the California colleges. I'd like him to go to college in California," she said.

"Shouldn't he finish high school first?" Angus asked.

"He'll finish high school. He has two term papers outstanding and then he needs to take final exams. I've talked to the headmistress at school. She will keep his records open until Cory can finish."

"That's generous," Angus said.

"For what I pay to send him to Bishop's, it's no more than a courtesy," Dolores Wade said. "Mr. McCoy, don't mistake Cory for his father, or for that matter, me. Cory is intelligent, resourceful, and while he conforms to what is necessary to live in our house, he has as little to do with who my husband is as is possible. I've seen to that. My son is well educated and he's prepared to blaze his own trail. I've seen to that too. He's kind and gentle, and he should be with me. I'm sure you'll see to that."

"I will," Angus said, feeling like he should snap to attention.

"I won't ask you like me, and Lord know, few people like Tony, but remember this, my son is more child than man, and he's out there somewhere. He might be alone, hungry, and scared. I can't be sure."

Angus felt more respect for Dolores Wade, after her speech. She sounded more like a mother might sound if she didn't know where her son was. Angus understood. He also understood a boy like Cory shouldn't be on the street. There was a lot of evil on those streets, but there was goodness too. If Cory was smart, he'd find the good people, and in case he didn't, Angus needed to find Cory fast.

"The faster I get going, Mrs. Wade, the faster I get him home to you. I need you to call the headmistress at Bishop's for me. Clear it for me to interview the boys closest to Cory. In particular, I want to speak with boys on the athletic teams he was on. My showing up there cold will just cause more delays," Angus said.

"I'll do that first thing. I'll remove any obstacles to your investigation I have the power to remove. If I were you, I'd steer clear of Tony and his business. He can be a hard man. He is unpredictable."

"I plan to do just that. My concern is Cory. I no longer have any interest in gangsters or what they do, as long as they don't do it to me," Angus said, standing up. "Thank you for the coffee. I need to get moving. I haven't talked to my computer person yet. I'll need to make her aware. Might I remind you, Dolores, if you hear anything from Cory, anything at all, you need to contact me immediately."

Angus removed his business card from his pocket and handed it to Dolores Wade. I need you to sign these papers, Angus said, removing them from his inside jacket pocket.

Dolores Wade signed them every place Angus indicated he needed a signature. He returned them to his inside pocket when she was finished.

"I know the way out," Angus said, putting on his hat and heading for the door.

"Thank you, Mr. McCoy."

Sensa opened the door for Angus as he appeared in the doorway to the sitting room.

"Thank you, Sensa," he said. "That was a fine cup of coffee."

"Thank you," she said with a nice smile.

When Angus got back to the bottom floor and stepped out of the elevator, he saw the guy in the red jacket head for the right side of the hotel and disappear. Angus wondered if the kid with Rudy stenciled under the hotel's name had sold his ten-year-old Crown Victoria and was making his escape.

Not wanting to appear foolish, although in his younger days he could have caught the kid without much effort, he kept walking toward the front of the hotel.

His car made the turn from the left side of the hotel and Rudy brought it to where Angus stood.

Angus realized he'd be expected to tip the kid and he reached into his pocket and took out a five, handing it to Rudy, who looked down at the bill.

Angus thought for a second that the kid might give the bill back and say, 'You look like you need this more than I do,' but he gave Angus a nice smile.

"I'm a working stiff," Angus explained. "That's my food budget for the day."

Rudy laughed and waved as Angus drove off.

Angus McCoy thought like a cop, and at times like these, he wished he didn't.

Most folks were as honest as they could afford to be.

Angus was surprised how easy it was to talk the headmistress, Angela Winthrop, into letting him use her office to conduct his interviews. It had taken him another day to have time to talk to the boys who knew Cory.

He started with the senior class in general, and the athletes from the swim team and tennis team were sprinkled amongst the senior boys.

By the time the third boy came in to be interviewed, each boy knew why Angus was there. This meant the boys took on a somewhat defensive posture, which required a bit more poise to get around.

Angus knew odds were someone knew something. Once he had a sense of that, he'd turn up the heat and see where it might take him. There were no rules on how often he came back to talk to certain boys, but school was out for the summer soon. Interviews would become a lot more difficult to arrange after that.

The other students called Cory studious. He spent most of his time reading and doing schoolwork. He wasn't a star on the swimming team. Cory had a better than average serve, but no backhand.

No one knew Cory was missing from school, which told Angus a lot. The teams had finished their seasons, although athletes trained year-round these days. In the off-season they ran, lifted weights, and swam laps to stay in shape.

A few athletes had to know that Cory was doing nothing to keep himself fit. Then again, Cory might be like a lot of high school athletes. They didn't think they could qualify at a collegiate level and they stopped training after their senior year of high school.

It was on the sixth interview that Andrew Johnston mentioned Cory along with Justin Parkson. It was nothing earth shaking. Justin was the school's singles champion in tennis. The coach asked him to coach Cory on his backhand.

This went on after the tennis season ended. It was the closest thing to a friendship that Angus heard about in the first day of interviews. He sped things up a bit in the hopes he'd get to Justin Parkson before the school day ended.

Most boys were suspicious of Angus. Curious about him being a private eye and wondering why Angus was asking so many questions about Cory Wade. He was fine the last time anyone remembered seeing him, but almost none of the boys could tell him when that was.

Angus interviewed over twenty-five boys the first day. It was getting late and Justin Parkson was still ten names in the future and Angus wouldn't want to interview him first thing the next day. He wanted to give the boy plenty of time to think.

Justin was the only boy mentioned when other students talked about Cory. It was the athletes on the tennis team that seemed to know the most, and Angus was anxious to interview him.

By the next morning, Angus picked up the pace of the interviews. He wanted to speak to Justin Parkson. The faster he got to him, the sooner he'd satisfy his curiosity. He needed to cover up the speed up in interviewing boys who weren't nearly as interesting as justin.

"They seemed like friends," was how one boy put it.

Angus used his evening hours after dinner to review the notes he'd taken the first day. While Cory came off sounding like a good student, no one knew much about him. He mostly kept to himself. He didn't make waves.

Angus knew not to expect anything or speculate on what he might hear. As a general rule he stuck to that policy, but he'd heard the name Justin Parkson mentioned enough that he was counting off the interviews until he got to the boy.

He usually could get some indication that a boy wasn't telling the entire truth. Kids, especially boys, hesitated when it came to talking about one of their own. They might know the truth but getting them to tell the whole truth was tricky.

"Cory is missing?" One boy asked as he sat down.

Angus hadn't started the interview when this gem greeted him.

It was meant to immediately dismiss the boy as someone who knew anything about Cory being missing, but Angus knew if he dismissed a kid that easily, everyone would know what to say to get off the hot seat.

"I sent a man to the electric chair once, and the first thing he ever said to me was, 'Shooter is missing? Go figure. What do you suppose happened to him?' I supposed he was murdered, and I was almost sure that guy murdered him by the time I called him in for an interview."

The kid turned a strange shade of purple.

"Not to worry, son. I'm collecting information. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. When we have no leads, school is a good place to start with a missing kid."

The boy sat wide-eyed as Angus asked him questions. His answers were short and concise. He didn't know anything about Cory Wade.

"He seemed OK, I guess," he revealed.

"You went to school with him, and you guess he was OK?"

"I go to school with a lot of boys. Besides that, we only had a couple of classes together. It's the same with most of the boys. I know a few, but beyond Bishop's school, I don't know them."

"I see," Angus said, not wanting to waste time.

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