By Uncle Mac from Sharon Pape's "A Portrait of Crime" series
Hi, I’m Rory McCain’s uncle Mac. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting any of you, since I was dead by the time the “Portrait of Crime” series began. But you may have heard Rory mention me. She and I have always had a special bond. I still pop by regularly to check on how she’s doing. Of course she’s not aware of my visits, and that’s just as well. These days she has enough on her plate dealing with the spirit of Marshal Zeke Drummond, who has steadfastly refused to depart the earthly plane since his death in 1878. After a rough start, Rory has adapted incredibly well to living with a ghost, an often irascible one at that. She even managed to figure out who shot him in the back, killing him all those years ago. Before my own untimely death, I’d tried to find out, but never succeeded. Can’t say that I’m surprised though; my little sidekick was always a bright, gutsy kid ready for any adventure I could think up.
My brother and his wife are good people, but not exactly impulsive or exciting. So I like to think I played a role in helping Rory to grow into the remarkable young woman she is today. If I sound a little prejudiced, it’s probably because she’s my only niece and the daughter I never had. I remember one night when I was babysitting – she couldn’t have been more than seven years old –it was ten o’clock at night and we both had a powerful craving for ice cream. Now it happens that ten was already two hours past her bedtime. But with our usual bravado, we threw caution to the wind and drove a half an hour to a place that’s famous for its homemade ice cream. We ordered big, old banana splits and devoured them. Boy, that was terrific ice cream, though I suspect a good part of the pleasure came from simply enjoying it with her. Yeah, we were a regular Bonnie and Clyde.
I can’t tell you how pleased I’ve been to watch her follow in my footsteps and take over the private investigating firm I started. With the marshal’s help, I’d built it into a well-respected business. It’s taken Rory some time to realize how valuable a partner Zeke can be, but hey, it’s not every day that you find yourself working side by side with a ghost. I can vouch for the fact that it’s not an easy relationship to manage.
From my vantage point here, I can see all the way from the past to the future and I know there are some startling twists and turns coming up in Rory’s life, but I’m confident she’ll work her way through them with her usual spunk. I’ll be keeping tabs on her along the way. We may inhabit different dimensions now, but that can’t change how much I care about her. And it never will.