Wolf



                                                    "WOLF"

                                                                               by Catherine Haenze

                                                                             25 years before our story:


     Meet Mr. and Mrs. Underwood standing at the entry to their newly joined church.
     Nice, pleasant Mrs. Underwood just beginning to show the pleasingly plump, grandmotherly type for which she would later be known. She's rather like a boy scout: trustworthy, loyal and brave. She knows and uses all the standard Evangelical phrases and jargon. Just the right word at just the right time. She means each loving word she speaks. Mrs. Underwood, Annie to her friends, well, that'd be everyone she'd ever met.
     Mr. Underwood knows them too. Mr. Underwood never met a friend he wouldn't deceive with a deception running so deep no one would ever be aware how false he was.

                                                     Late Saturday Afternoon

                                                              CHAPTER 1

     After Pastor Gillman checked with Susan Pace on the songs she had scheduled for the Sunday morning service, each went back the the work before them. Unknown to them a body floated calmly in the water of the baptismal basin. Susan played the closing crescendos of Sundays' opening hymn once more. They died and the room was silent. She looked quickly at her watch and gasped at the time. She pushed her loose brown hair back from her forehead and thought, No, not even time for one more quick practice of the opening. She carefully shut the cover on the organ locking it in place and turned to go. She was unaware that while she’d been practicing Jack Underwood’s body had been spreading thick, red coloring through tomorrow’s baptismal water. The blood slowed and stopped, congealing the the cool water.
     Rev. Roger Gillman of the Believer’s Choice Church made a decision that would ever change his life. Pulling his lanky Texas frame out of the too small chair, he walked toward the baptism basin to check the temperature.

                                                                   *******

     As Detective John Robert Floors walked into the burger place, an older Hispanic man made him think of his father, Juan Roberto Flores. His father always spoke his name with flair. He trilled his Rs and gave it the Spanish lilt. Juan Roe-ber'-tow Floe'-rays.

     John’s thoughts moved to the ongoing argument with his father. Tired of the endless corrections, he’d taken on Floors, and anglozied the rest. “Papa, our family has been in America for sixty years. I’m just an American. It’s time to be an unhyphenated American. The look in his father’s eyes was always the same, total non-understanding. He and his father only seemed to share one thing these days, their surprising height for Hispanic males. Somewhere in their background, there was pure Castillian Spanish.
     His thoughts were interrupted as the office tone sounded on the desk phone. “Detective Floors,” the man on the intake desk told him, “we just got a call from the Believer’s Choice Church. Rev. Gillman says there’s a body over there.”

     A body, in a church? Not in their little town. “Looks like that's where I'm going next. Sergeant, have Deputies Blunt and Porter meet me at there.”

                                                                          *******

     Roger opened his outside office door as he heard the police cars slew to a stop. Their flashing red and blue lights made strange patterns through the stained glass windows.
     “Reverend Gillman, to misquote that old show “Laugh-In,” I prefer our meetings over coffee. But, we got a call that you’ve got a body inside.
     Reflected in the mirror on the back of the hall door, Floors could see a man in his 40s who looked like everyone’s idea of a Texan: tall, lanky, blue-eyed and with a sun weathered face. In Roger’s case, though, looks were deceiving. He was from Maine.
     Roger shook the chief’s hand. Pulling his lanky Texas frame out of the too small chair, he had walked toward the baptism basin to check the temperature.

                                                                          *******
fix these two.  Maybe he was in the Burger place?
     As Detective John Robert Floors walked into the burger place, an older Hispanic man made him think of his father, Juan Roberto Flores. His father always spoke his name with flair. He trilled his Rs and gave it the Spanish lilt. Juan Roe-ber'-tow Floe'-rays.
     John’s thoughts moved to the ongoing argument with his father. Tired of the endless corrections, he’d taken on Floors, and anglozied the rest. “Papa, our family has been in America for sixty years. I’m just an American. It’s time to be an unhyphenated American. The look in his father’s eyes was always the same, total non-understanding. He and his father only seemed to share one thing these days, their surprising height for Hispanic males. Somewhere in their background, there was pure Castillian Spanish.
     His thoughts were interrupted as the office tone sounded on the desk phone. “Detective Floors,” the man on the intake desk told him, “we just got a call from the Believer’s Choice Church. Rev. Gillman says there’s a body over there.”

     A body, in a church. Not in their little town. “Looks like that's where I'm going next. Sergeant, have Deputies Blunt and Porter meet me at there.”

                                                                    *******

     Roger opened his outside office door as he heard the police cars slew to a stop. Their flashing red and blue lights made strange patterns through the stained glass windows.
     “Reverend Gillman, to misquote that old show “Laugh-In,” I prefer our meetings over coffee. But, we got a call that you’ve got a body inside.
     Reflected in the mirror on the back of the hall door, Floors could see a man in his 40s who looked like everyone’s idea of a Texan: tall, lanky, blue-eyed and with a sun weathered face. In Roger’s case, though, looks were deceiving. He was from Maine.
     Roger shook the chief’s hand. “Well, it’s been a short year since we moved into the parsonage. Maybe we can arrange that coffee another time.”