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  • Writer's pictureJames Sargent

An Unexpected Ally

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

Blog from California Redwoods, Chapter 11, “Eureka, the Clarkston Family, and the Investigation”

A double knock came to the door. Mickey watched while Chet opened the door, ushering in a well-proportioned man with copper skin who appeared to be on the far side of forty. Sloe-eyed and smiling, he had high cheekbones, a wide nose, and coal-black hair woven into two braids tied with leather strips. About Mickey’s height, the newcomer was dressed in a white shirt, tan dress slacks, and polished brown shoes. A beadwork necklace with blue topaz stones circled his neck. Mickey realized he was an Indian, although he knew nothing of the California tribes.

“Mickey and Patty, this is Lorenzo Goodfield …” Before Chet could finish, Mickey stepped forward and shook hands with Lorenzo, who grunted. The junior Clarkston continued: “Lorenzo is the chief cook here and a good source of wisdom. He’s a friend, and he knows people.”

Lorenzo acknowledged the introduction with a nod. “My friend Chet told me the two of you are collaborating on a new investigation of Missus Clarkston’s disappearance.”

His black eyes were bright, and a thin smile lifted the corners of his mouth. He spoke in a deep voice with the modulated tones and fluent vocabulary of a well-educated man. Crossing his arms on his chest, he seemed to enjoy the flickers of surprise on Mickey’s and Patty’s faces.

Chet was grinning. “I talked to Lorenzo before I drove to San Francisco, so he’s prepared. He met Casey Cisco several years ago, around the time Susie left home.” In reply, Lorenzo nodded.

His dark eyes were piercing. “We can search for Cisco, and we have our ways. I called my eldest son, Billy Hawkson. Billy served with the Marines in the Pacific in a unit of my people the white men called code talkers.” The smile flickered. “Billy is an excellent rifleman and tracker, making him a handy man to have.” Lorenzo’s eyes seemed brighter as he spoke of his son.

“My second son, Wolf Greenstone, served with the code talkers along with Billy. Wolf was wounded in the shoulder at Saipan in June 1944. He was honorably discharged two months later. My son is very good with all weapons, and if knives are required, he is deadly.”

Lorenzo’s features remained stolid. “Also joining us is my nephew, Larue Eagleman. Chet met him last summer at Redwood Lumber. Larue has served as trouble-shooter and bookkeeper for four years. A quiet man, he sees, hears, and reports, including to his uncle. Larue is an excellent shot with all weapons. He was exempt from the military draft to perform essential services.

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