THE WATCHMAKER—Book Three
The Final Chapter
Copyright © 2015 Lee Capp
Cover Design and Interior Layout by Laura Shinn Designs
All rights reserved—this book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.
The Reckoning is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination solely, or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as in any way real. Any resemblance to actual events, locations, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
I am very grateful to my lovely wife and eternal companion, Bea, and my late brother Dale (passed February 14, 2015) for their endless support and encouragement. Thanks to you both for your input, as well as bearing up under countless readings. Also many thanks for all the suggestions for improvement. Most, if not all, of your contributions were better than my own. This book, and indeed the entire series, simply would not exist without both of you. Endless love to you.
Thanks once again, to my good friend, Matt James Schutt—the spiritual ancestor of fictional watchmaker Matt McCabe, and as fine a young man as is likely to be found anywhere on the planet. To Matt and his lovely bride to be, Cassie Bruner, I extend my heartfelt thanks, and love to you both as well. As you go forward to new adventures and to a lifetime together, always know—my heart goes with you.
Thanks to you all. You’re the best—and it’s been such a pleasure to have traveled this road, in the company of those I care about.
Long Island City Athletic Club Arena
Long Island City, Queens, New York
Friday, December 17, 1897
The crowd roared as the blows fell, its bloodlust well worked-up. To a man, those in attendance (and it was mostly men) would likely have said they came for the art of boxing, or perhaps the science of it. Truth was, of course, it was about the blood. It was always about the blood.
. . . And the money. The smart money was on Creedon.
Creedon wasn’t having a very good night though. Fifteen rounds into a twenty-five round match, he was in real trouble. Round sixteen, and he couldn’t answer the bell. Bloodied, battered and bruised, it was over. Choynski, his manager, threw in the towel.
All of a sudden, Dan Creedon wasn’t middle-weight Champion of the World anymore.
The Kid was.
St. Patrick’s Day,
March 17, 2015
For the first time in nearly a month, it wasn’t a rainy day. Not that it was a sunny one either. The sky had been leaden gray all morning, and as afternoon gloominess settled in, it only became more somber. But it wasn’t raining—and that, here in the Pacific Northwest at the tag end of winter—was something worth shouting about.
My name is O’Brien. John Albert O’Brien, to be precise. Just Johnny to my friends. It has always been my fortune, throughout my life, to have good friends. Here, in my forty-fourth year, was no exception. I was on my way to see one now. Matt McCabe. Just a kid, so to speak. He was like a son to me. A son that just happened to be almost eighty-five years old.
To those who did not know him well, Matt McCabe might appear to be a callow youth, somewhere in the range of twenty-something. Twenty-two—again, to be absolutely precise. To the day. And he would never get any older. At least that was, until he solved his little “problem.” Actually, come to think of it, his really big problem. You see—Matt’s a time traveler—and he owns a magic pocket-watch. A pocket-watch with real attitude.
And a taste for blood.
And Callow? I’ve known a lot of men in my life—tough men. Men of action. Men who would make you dead quick if you got in their way very much. Matt McCabe was one of those, make no mistake—his baby-face notwithstanding.
I’m a writer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bragging. A lot of writers’ author great works; literary tomes, volumes of great artistry, beauty, pageant, grace, inspiration, and knowledge. Me—I write tawdry detective novels. About a guy named Jack McGuire. He’s a lot like me. Worn down. Kind of a loser—and, kind of a hero too—in an offbeat way. He carries a gun, and a badge. Without that, Jack would probably be a one-man crime spree—again, kind of like me. I used to carry a badge too. That was before I took a bullet in the spine and got pensioned off the force.
I still carry a gun.
Guess I forgot to mention. I’m also a private-eye.
And murder is my specialty.
Matt McCabe is my partner. I was on my way to his house now. He lives in a little western Washington town called Bellevue. In a modest house set back in the pines—near Phantom Lake. A modest house—for a small mansion. Matt’s a millionaire—many times over. The man has taste though. It’s not that pretentious. He has good taste in women too. Matt is married to one of the best looking, and incredibly nice ladies of all time. Her name is Linh, and she is an Asian beauty. And she’s pregnant, with their first child.
Linh’s a cop too. On the Bellevue force. The Bellevue Chief of Police is a cranky old guy named Howard Carter. He’s a friend and former partner, although we kind of have a history. Like we were once both married to the same woman. Although not at the same time of course. Her name was Janis and she left him for me. It put a strain on our relationship for a while, but we we’re all over it now. She finally left me too, but not by choice. She buried up in a Bellevue cemetery—a victim of cancer. I miss her every day, but I’m finally getting my life back in order. Clean and sober. Jan would have liked that.
She would have liked Maggie Moran too. That’s my on-again, off-again girlfriend. Maggie’s a keeper alright—but sometimes I think she may be just too smart for me.
I live in hope however.
My office-girl (or I guess I should say office-lady) is a tough old bird named Emily Hatcher. Late middle-aged. A peach. I know I couldn’t take her in a fist-fight. She’s recently widowed—but coping a lot better than I did. No sloppy-drunk routine for her. Emily’s the “eye” in my private-eye firm, which I lovingly call WE—or, Watchmaker Enterprises. An ex-IRS agent, she’s damned near a computer and personal-information gathering genius.
Without her I’m a one-eyed dick—and hey, nobody wants to see that.
Danny Pogobo is another cop-friend from the Mercer Island PD, and part-time investigator for WE. A native of Samoa, he’s about the girth of an extra-large palm-tree, and is not the kind of guy you would want to meet in a dark alley. Or even a well-lighted one, for that matter. A guy I know I could trust with my life—and have.
Larry the fish-guy is a sarcastic old SOB. I like that in a confidant and snitch. Sixty something. He works in a Bellevue big-box store—selling fish, of all things, and giving away for free, information, inspiration, logic, and good old-fashioned common-sense, which, as it turns out, isn’t always all that common anymore.
He’s a sounding-board, and worth his weight in gold—a couple of times over.
That’s pretty much my circle of friends.
Oh yeah—there’s a new one now. Joshua McCabe. He’s about forty-two or so years old. He’s the estranged grandson of Matt McCabe. Joshua blames Matt for letting his father, James McCabe—Matt’s son, that is—die. Yeah, I know—but you heard it right. It’s like the old baseball saying—you have to have a scorecard to know the players.
Joshua came back into Matt’s life at the first of the year, after a long absence. They’re getting along pretty well—so far. He’s either here to help Matt with his little problem—or to kill him. Matt and I just haven’t quite figured out which one it is yet.
Like I’ve said so many times—Matt McCabe’s life—well . . . it’s a lot like mine.
Welcome to my world.