By Zeke Drummond from TO SKETCH A THIEF, the second book--after SKETCH ME IF YOU CAN--in the Portrait of Crime Mystery series by Sharon Pape
Howdy and a tip of my hat to the Killer Characters for graciously invitin’ me to speak to you good folks today. I’m Ezekiel Drummond, federal marshal for the Arizona Territory. You can call me Zeke if that suits you better. That’s what Rory calls me unless she’s gone and built up a head of steam over somethin’ I’ve done. At times like that she tends to use my full name, though I don’t rightly see what that accomplishes.
I imagine about now you’re scratchin’ your head and thinkin’ that I’m plain crazy, because Arizona’s been a state for better than eighty years now. And that brings me to my present situation. You see, I’ve been dead since 1878. In fact, if you care to visit the Old Burial Hill here in Huntington, New York you can find my grave marker with the date of my demise etched plainly in stone.
I was on the trail of a fugitive when I was shot in the back here in the parlor of this very house that Rory McCain’s owned for the past six months. I guess we’re sort of housemates and for the most part we get on okay. When we first met she had a hard time acceptin’ my existence in general and my presence in her home in particular. Once she got past that hurdle, she tried to persuade me to follow the light. But I made it clear I wasn’t goin’ anywhere until I knew the name of the coward who cut me down. Truth is, there’s more to it than that, but she doesn’t need to know that just yet. And I’d be much obliged if we could keep it between us for now.
At the time Rory moved in with me, she was a sketch artist for the county police and she still carries a gun. These days she’s what you folks call a “private investigator.” We even have ourselves a partnership – “Drummond and McCain.” I help her solve her cases, and in return she’s tryin’ to figure out who pulled the trigger that ended my life. I know it’s not an easy undertakin’, since no one from back then is alive today. Sometimes I suspect her only motivation in helpin’ me is so she can bid me a fond farewell. Of course “fond” isn’t always the best way to describe our relationship. I must admit that I do enjoy vexin’ her whenever possible.
Rory’s a spunky, little gal – too spunky by half if you ask me. She’s goin’ to get herself killed if she’s not more careful, and that’s not likely to help either one of us. In my time, a woman’s place was in the home, and I believe things worked out better that way. When I say things like that to Rory, she calls me a Neanderthal and some other things that don’t bear repeatin’. Maybe she’s right, ‘cause I don’t understand how the world came to be as upside down as it is today.
In spite of our differences, Rory and I were managin’ just fine, until she took on this new dognappin’ case. Even that would have been fine and dandy, if she hadn’t also gone and adopted the big, old mutt after his owner was murdered. Now don’t get me wrong – I had nothing against dogs when I was alive. I had my fair share of them as a boy, and they were more loyal than most of my friends. But ever since I cashed in my flesh and bones, dogs and I don’t get along. I imagine it has something to do with my lack of a cor-po-re-al body. Bet you never figured me to know a word like that. Anyway, dogs seem to take exception to occupyin’ the same residence with me in my present state. Which brings me to wonderin’ – how would you feel about havin’ me for a housemate or a business partner? You know – just in case Rory ever sends me packin’.
Well now, it’s been real nice meetin’ you. I’ll see you around.
Learn more about Zeke and Rory at SharonPape.com