I stayed in Ransom that summer for about another month, seeing Sally Ann off and on. We never made love again, and we drifted apart slowly without a murder investigation to hold us together. It turned out that we didn’t have an awful lot in common, and by the time I was ready to go back to New Jersey, our parting was not too difficult. She got married a few years after that and moved to a Dallas suburb where, as far as I know, she still lives today.
Her father is still the sheriff in town, but I haven’t heard about anything there in quite a while.
Francis Tompkins never went to jail. My grandmother told me that Lester Jr. went to bat for him and he got off on probation. He still works for the Macaboos and I think his son is just starting to help out with the lawn work. Earl Pernell was convicted of the murders of Lulabelle Mackenzie and her brother and sentenced to death. He has spent the last six years on death row in the Texas penitentiary, and one day I fully expect to read about his execution in the papers.
Lester Macaboo Jr. is semi-retired from the bakery business now; it has been taken over and expanded by his son, Lester III, who has turned out to be an astute Texas businessman. I get a Christmas card each year from him and his wife. They now have two sons.
Momma Millie died three years after I left that summer. I heard the funeral was quite a show.
I don’t know what ever happened to Coralee or Horace Monroe. My grandmother got sicker about five years after that and began to lose her mind. It was tough to deal with her long distance, and I went down to Ransom a few times to try to help straighten things out. On one visit she threw Coralee out of her apartment and they never spoke again. My grandmother died soon after that, and I didn’t make it to the funeral. I had my own family to take care of by then and I didn’t really want to see her in a coffin.
My time in Ransom is at an end now, I know, and the week or two I spent playing private detective that summer was more than a lark to me. I went back to New Jersey and finished college, then a few years out in the world of work left me hungry for something more than a nine-to-five job. I now have my own business, investigating, of course, and I’ve had a lot of unusual cases since that of Lulabelle Mackenzie. I’ll have to tell you about them sometime.