“We’ve got to get Murphy to a doctor!” Gregson shouted. “But the nearest hospital is twenty miles away!”

“I think Paul has a Doctorate in Philosophy—he’s the artist who paints demons,” Mac said.

“Not what I was thinking of—a real doctor.”

Madelynn took-off her belt, and put a tourniquet around Murphy. “I work in pediatrics—you boys are like children, so I might be able to help.” She started to suck the venom out, and Gregson got jealous.

“I’ll go back to the mansion and call emergency,” Mac said.

“Murphy, you’ll have to walk.”

“Okay.”

His face was black and white, but he got to his feet, anyway.

30 minutes later…

Something had changed at the conference. The women who paint nudes were still there, but their style was gone. They were in pajamas, gossiping. There was an emptiness, there.

“Georgia O’Keefe is missing!” Somebody shouted.

“Who?”

“Her paintings!” Karli yelled.

The truth hit Gregson like an unhappy woman. Mac wasn’t there, and his Ferrari was gone.

Gregson had suspected the women who paint nudes—he was going to handcuff them to the bed, in a game of twist-her, but now he had to beat Mac to the ferry. Gregson checked the schedule—Mac had timed it perfectly. Gregson got into Gertrude’s Mercedes and gunned the engine. The rain was coming down, like dogs, howling. There were taillights, ahead. Mac must’ve seen him—the art thief drove like a man possessed. Over the next rise, he took the trail toward the ocean.

“He should’ve read Wikipedia,” Gregson said to himself. “Horses miss their footing here and sink into the mire.”

That’s when it happened—Mac’s right rear tire lost traction. He hit the gas, but the Ferrari went under—the galloping horse vanished below the dirt.

“That’s a sunk cost,” Gregson said. “Now I’ll need to make-up with Madelynn, if she’ll take me back. X marks the spot.” He arranged some logs, close to where the Ferrari sank, and called the hospital.

“It’s a dog bite,” Gregson said. “We have a full-moon tonight. So, send help fast.”

The PI drove back to the conference. In a month, he would have a new Ferrari with a dead guy in it, millions of dollars-worth in paintings, and Madelynn’s heart.

Back at the Conference…

“Mac is the art thief,” Gregson declared. “Why didn’t I suspect him?”

“Because you have women on the mind, honey,” Madelynn suggested. “Are the EMTs coming? Murphy is growing hair on his chest.”

The sound of a chopper, cut the storm. “That must be them.”

“Just one question,” Karli asked. “Why did Mac kill my husband?”

“Your husband, being an art-appraiser, figured-out Mac wasn’t an artist. Those drawings didn’t belong to him. Mac had no choice, but to drop a chainsaw on a critic, take the ferry to the mainland, and seal his alibi by not being at the crime scene when the body was found.”

“Oh—you are a detective!” Karli said.

“PI—Retired,” Gregson corrected.

“You get a lot of action for a man who is retired,” Madelynn said.

“You want some action?” The women who paint nudes, asked.

“I have all the action I need, right here—a good friend, and a good woman. Hey Madelynn, don’t let me forget to drop-off Gertrude’s electric Mercedes.

“She’ll hang you by piano wire, if you give it back to her, as it is.”

“We can have it detailed, while we practice our painting.”

Madelynn smiled. “I love you, you big man.”

The End

2 thoughts on “Epilogue

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