A Time To Grieve
missing scene from the movie, Simon & Simon In Trouble Again)
first thing Rick Simon was really aware of was the noxious smell of burning
chemicals. Of oil, and gas, and several
kinds of cleaning solvents, and paint, and God only knew what else.
came out of his dazed state of shock when he felt his brother's hand squeeze
A.J. urged. "Rick, come on. We've got to get away from here. We can't stay here and breathe these
fumes. Come on."
looked up from his crouched position on the dock. A.J.'s face was blurred by the tears that filled the older man's
. ." was all the distraught Rick was able to mutter before turning to look
at the burning wreckage of the Precious Cargo once more.
A.J. grasped his sibling underneath the
armpits, unconsciously taking on the role of older brother for the moment.
Rick," the blond man urged again in-between coughs. He lifted his brother to a standing position
as fire and police sirens wailed in the background. "Come on. We need to
move away from here."
solicitously guided his brother up the pier.
Right before they stepped on solid ground Rick pulled away from
A.J. He straightened to his full
height, turned and met his brother's eyes.
shook his head. "Don't say
it. It wasn't your fault."
I'm the one who brought Mom here. I'm
the one who was paid to skipper the Precious Cargo--"
wouldn't allow his brother to blame himself.
Nor would A.J. blame him. They
were going to have a tough enough time dealing with the death of their mother
as it was. With this untimely and
violent passing of the warmest and most gracious human being A.J. had ever
known. A woman who, just by her mere
existence, defined the best of the word mother on a daily basis. Now Rick and A.J. had to be there for each
other. They'd have to help one another
through this devastating crisis. To do
less would dishonor Cecilia Simon's memory.
interrupted Rick's litany of guilt.
"None of this is your fault, Rick.
None of it."
Rick could finish his sentence the Simon brothers were pulled aside by two
police detectives. They were led over
to an unmarked car and asked to get in the back seat. They sat watching what was left of the Precious Cargo explode,
and burn, and smolder while A.J. answered the men's questions.
detectives exchanged glances when A.J. stated quietly at the end of their
conversation, "We believe our mother was being held captive on that
boat. We filed a missing persons report
to that effect two days ago."
look into it," one of the men promised sympathetically. "Our people will be searching for
the...remains of anyone who might have been on the yacht at the time of the
explosion. Depending on what they find
we may need your mother's dental and medical records in order to make a
looked over at Rick. The older Simon
was staring out the window as if trying in vain to remove himself from the
conversation that was going on within the car.
He hadn't spoken a word throughout the entire interrogation.
focused his attention back on the detectives.
care of getting her records here as soon as possible."
like you to follow us down to the station," the detective in charge
requested. "We have a few more
questions we need to ask you." The man paused and looked at the pale
silent Rick. He was fearful the older
Simon brother was going into shock.
"And I don't think this is the place to continue our
conversation. That is if you feel up to
driving. Otherwise we can take the two
of you and bring you back--"
A.J. shook his head. "I can drive
my brother and myself."
started to climb out of the car. He
stopped his motion when he took note that Rick made no move to follow
suit. He reached across the seat and
lightly touched his brother's arm.
ticked by before Rick finally turned to look at his brother. For the first time in his life A.J. saw Rick
Simon's eyes devoid of any emotion. The
familiar sparkle of mischief that was ever-present was gone. To be replaced by
nothing but listless, dull, washed-out blue.
come on," A.J. stated softly.
"We're going now."
turned to look out the window once more.
"I can't leave Mom, A.J."
squeezed the arm underneath his hand and swallowed back the lump that made it
almost impossible to speak. In a deep
husky voice thick with unshed tears he promised, "We'll come back.
But the police need to talk to us down at the station for a little
while. Come on. I'm going to drive us there."
long moment passed before Rick finally gave a small nod of his head. He opened the car door and slowly climbed
out. A.J. soon joined him. Rick wouldn't allow his brother to touch him
again as they made the solemn journey to the Camaro.
S&S S&S S&S
Simon brothers spent another four hours in the police station. In part to answer the remainder of the
questions asked of them, and in part to simply wait to hear as to whether or
not a body had been recovered from the wreckage. A.J. was praying for all he was worth that by some miracle of God
their mother would indeed be found safe elsewhere in Seattle. He couldn't imagine life without her and had
already caught himself thinking on more than one occasion, I can't wait to call
Mom and tell her about the latest mess Rick has gotten himself into. Not only did he manage to get himself conned
into skippering a stolen yacht, but now it's been blown up as well.
the situation wasn't what it was, A.J. would find the whole thing
hilarious...and so would his mother.
sometime during their four hour vigil Downtown Brown joined the brothers. He couldn't do much more than offer his
silent support and strength, but that was enough. Years of friendship existed between the three men making words
unnecessary. Town wouldn't have known
what to say anyway. "I'm
sorry," just didn't seem like enough in a situation such as this.
then Janet arrived. Janet Fowler
Simon. A.J.'s wife. A.J.'s soon to be ex-wife. There were tears in her eyes when she
entered the room for the mother-in-law she deeply loved and whose friendship
she had always treasured.
happened?" She asked of A.J. in a
breathless rush. "I was in court
and someone told me there'd been a terrible accident involving your
from her husband to the stone-faced Rick.
He hadn't even looked up at her as she'd entered the room. It was as if he wasn't even aware she was
present. She turned back to the
blond. "A.J., what
stood and ushered Janet over to a far corner of the room. Quietly he explained all he knew while Town
remained seated at Rick's side.
finished with, "We're waiting to
hear as to whether or not they find a...body amongst the wreckage."
could read her husband's thoughts just by looking at the devastated expression
on his face. "And you think they
will, don't you?"
swallowed hard. "I pray not...but
yes, I'm afraid they probably will."
ran down Janet's cheeks. She turned and
stared hard at Rick.
every time he shows up there's trouble?
I knew the minute he arrived no good would come
I don't understand why--"
reached out and roughly grasped Janet by the upper arms. He spun her around and in a strangled
whisper ordered, "Be quiet! Don't say anything else. None of us needs it right now."
jerked herself from her husband's hold.
excuses for him this time, A.J."
Janet’s voice grew louder with each sentence. "This time it's not some stupid little incident you can
laugh off. This time he managed to get
your mother killed for God's sake! When
are you going to open your eyes and see your brother for what he really--"
rose so swiftly his chair flew out from behind him and landed with a clatter on
the floor. Before Town or A.J. could stop him he was gone. A.J. ran to the doorway.
A.J. yelled to his brother's retreating back. "Rick!" A.J.
was halfway down the hall in pursuit when a detective hailed him from
stopped long enough to turn around.
knew it wasn't good news when the detective was joined by Town on one side, and
Janet on the other. Just looking at the
faces of his old friend and his wife told A.J. all he needed to know.
Simon," the detective said solicitously as he approached. "We found a body...a woman's body, amongst
the wreckage. And some
things...personal things, a wedding ring, and a bracelet, that may have been
your mother's. According to your
statement she would have been wearing those two items?"
closed his eyes to keep his tears at bay and nodded. Of course she would have been wearing those two items. She hadn't removed the wedding band in fifty
years. Just three days earlier would
have been Jack and Cecilia Simon's Golden wedding anniversary. Even though her husband had been dead for
thirty-five of those fifty years, the ring that symbolized their union had
never once left her finger.
the bracelet. Rick and A.J. had given
it to her years earlier. Back when
they'd been in business together running Simon and Simon Investigations. It had been 1984. Their first good year.
The first year they'd made a respectable profit. They hadn't spared any expense when they'd
bought their mother that bracelet for Christmas. Inscribed on the inside was the simple message, We Love You,
Mom. That was more than enough to
convey to Cecilia Simon a wealth of words left unspoken. She'd cried when she'd read it. The bracelet had been worn everyday of her
life since that time.
detective turned and headed down the hallway.
"If you'll follow me, Mr. Simon, I need to have you look at what we
allowed Town to lay a gentle hand on his back and guide him toward the man's
office. Nor did he pull away when Janet
linked her arm through his. They led
him to a chair across from the detective's desk, and helped him sit down as if
he was a ninety-year-old arthritic.
mere seconds A.J. was able to positively identify the ring and bracelet
recovered from the accident scene.
Later he would recall nodding with understanding when the detective told
him he was unable to return those items to A.J. at this time. He nodded again when the man reminded him
that they would have to make a positive identification of the body once the
medical and dental records arrived. So
of course there was always hope the woman found wasn't Cecilia Simon, but
naturally the odds weren't good.
laid a hand on A.J.'s shoulder as tears ran unheeded down her cheeks once
more. Town swallowed hard and saved his
own tears for the woman who was like a second mother to him for a later time
when he was alone in his hotel room.
stood on shaky legs. "Thank you,
Lieutenant," he said to the Seattle detective. "Please let me know what the final report from the coroner
says as soon as possible."
man nodded. "I will, Mr.
blond turned to his old friend.
"Thanks for being here, Town.
I appreciate it."
ignored the hand A.J. offered him to instead pull the blond man into a firm
hug. A.J. had to bite his lower lip to
keep from breaking down in the arms of the only other man in his life besides
Rick he'd ever looked upon as a brother.
Town finally released him A.J. stated to no one in particular, "I have to
go find Rick."
reached out and lightly touched his arm.
please...come back to the house with me.
I don't think you should be driving right now, and I don't think you
should be alone. I'll make us something
to eat. We can talk if you want
to. Or you can lie down and try to get
was the first time since he'd moved out of their home in January that she'd
invited him to come back. Given a
different set of circumstances A.J. might have taken her up on her offer. He might have even considered giving their
marriage one more try. But any tries he
had left inside him had withered and died when she'd defiled Rick just twenty
minutes earlier. None of them had
needed her opinions. Certainly not
A.J., and especially not Rick. He would
never forgive her for hurting Rick like that.
Rick was hurting enough as it was.
He didn't need his sister-in-law driving the stake any farther into his
pulled away from Janet's warm hand.
"No," he shook his head.
"I have to find Rick. He
needs me right now."
almost opened her mouth to say, "Of course Rick needs you. Rick always needs you. His needs have always come way ahead of mine
on your priority list."
Janet was smart enough to know that now was not the time to bring up the old
argument that had caused a good portion of their marital troubles in the first
place. And if she was really honest
with herself, Janet would acknowledge those words weren't true anyway. They'd simply always been handy for the sake
of a good fight.
another word to his wife A.J. left the room.
He didn't know where to look for his brother but he'd start by the
water. Jack and Cecilia Simon had
always loved the ocean and the entertainment it could provide. They'd instilled that love in both their sons. In good times and bad Rick and A.J. often
found comfort on the water's edge. A.J.
was counting on finding Rick somewhere on Seattle's vast miles of shoreline.
And if he didn't find his brother there...well he'd just keep looking until he
did find Rick. Even if it meant
throwing some clothes in the back of the Camaro and taking off for who knows
where. A.J. might have been out of the
detective business for a few years now, but he still knew without a doubt no
one could find someone with the skill that he could...nor as quickly as he
could. There was no place on this earth
his brother could hide from him. No
place he'd allow his brother to hide from him.
need each other now, Rick, more than we ever have, the blond thought as he
climbed in the Camaro. I'll find you
and I'll help you in any way I can.
Just like I know you'll help me.
We'll mourn, and we'll grieve, and we'll probably wonder how we'll ever
live through this, but we will. Because
it's what Mom would have expected of us.
And neither one of us is stupid enough...or brave enough to go against
pulled out onto the street and headed toward the water. He knew of a little park...a nice quiet
place on Puget Sound that he and Janet had taken Rick and Cecilia to on a
picnic a few years back. Maybe, just
maybe Rick would be there.
minutes later A.J. stepped out of the Camaro, pocketed his car keys, and
scanned the park's well-trimmed landscape.
Within seconds he spotted his brother standing in front of a bench on
the water's edge. A solitary figure
grieving silently and alone for the mother he loved so dearly.
A.J. shoved his hands deep in the pockets of
his tan trousers as he studied his brother from a distance. He thought for a long moment of what he was
going to say to Rick, but soon discovered he had no magic words with which to
make this situation any less painful for either one of them. But maybe right now they didn't need words. Maybe right now they simply needed each
indeed, that proved to be enough. A.J.
sat down on the park bench in front of Rick, listening with both amusement and
sorrow as the older man recounted a story about their mother from their
childhood. When his story was finished,
Rick bent and laid his head atop his brother's so they could grieve together as
they looked out over the calm clear water.
brothers left the park a half hour later.
They went to the home A.J. was renting on the waterfront where they
managed to eat a few bites of dinner and get a couple of hours of troubled
two men were up and gone before the sun rose the next morning. They combed the streets of Seattle in
pursuit of clues that would lead them to their mother's killers.
Just like Cecilia Simon would have wanted
them to be.