Clyde’s eyes narrowed in a thoughtful way. “What about him?”
“He was associated with the Eastman gang,” Scooter responded.
“Was or is?”
“Was. He’s in prison in California right now, Roger Nightingale saw to that. Forrest Reynolds made sure he’ll never get out.”
“Karen’s son.” Forrest had learned a few years ago that Galen wasn’t his father, and Scooter respected his friend’s wish to not be called Galen’s son.
“How old is he?”
“About my age,” Scooter said, although Forrest was three years older. “Midtwenties.”
“Tell me about Karen. When did she go to New York?” Clyde asked.
“My mother could tell you more,” Scooter admitted. “All I know is the bits and pieces I’ve heard. Karen’s father owned the Plantation nightclub and was the richest man in the area for a time. He built the amusement park next to the nightclub when the resorts in the area were thriving. He also sent both of his daughters to school out in New York. When Karen returned...” Scooter shrugged, he really didn’t know all the details. “She might have already been married to Galen, or it happened shortly afterward. He was from New York. Karen’s father died a couple of years later and Galen took over running the nightclub. It became a playground for gangsters. For years. If it was illegal, you could bet Galen was involved in it.”
“Your mother and Karen were friends?” Clyde asked.
Scooter shook his head. “Yes and no. My mother claims they were friends before Karen went to New York, but afterward, after Karen married Galen, he wouldn’t let her have any friends. Other than Rose Nightingale. Roger had something to do with that. I don’t know what, but Forrest practically lived at the Nightingales’ home when he wasn’t down in the city at an all-boys school.”
“Where are Karen and her son, Forrest, now?”
Scooter was starting to wonder if he’d said too much, but it was all common knowledge. “They live at the Plantation in White Bear Lake.”
“I was so close,” Clyde muttered.
“Excuse me?” Scooter said.
Clyde waved a hand. “Nothing. Well, it is something, but I have to deal with Francine first, then I’ll tell you. You have a phone?”
“Yes, Scooter’s Garage in White Bear Lake.”
“I’ll call you tomorrow with an update.” Clyde held out a hand. “You have no idea how much I appreciate meeting you, Eric. But someday you will. I promise you.”
“I appreciate meeting you, too, Clyde,” Scooter said, accepting the man’s firm handshake. “I’m indebted for all you’ve done for me today.”
“Then we’re even.” Gesturing toward Josie, Clyde added, “Now you best get Roger Nightingale’s daughter home. No one followed us and no one will follow you. I made sure of it. I will call you tomorrow.”
* * *
Josie watched as Scooter and the man shook hands and then walked away from each other. The man went to the truck and Scooter strode toward her. She’d give anything to have been a field mouse hiding in the tall grass and listening to what they’d said to one another. It seemed to be a very serious conversation, yet they were both smiling by the end.
The stranger, who seemed oddly familiar, waved to her as he climbed into the passenger side of the big truck. She waved back at him and the driver, who started up the truck.
“Get in Dave’s car,” Scooter told her. “I’ll drive you home.”
“What was...who...” Recalling her promise and catching the way John looked at her, she flipped her question around and whispered, “What about your motorcycle?”
“Dac will drop it off for me,” Scooter whispered in return, picking up the car radiator. Then, loud enough for John to hear, he told Dac, “Drop this off at the station for me, will you? Along with my stuff in the back. I’ll catch a ride home from the resort with Maize.”
“Sure thing,” Dac said.
Scooter then shook John’s hand. “Always a pleasure doing business with you. Catch you again soon.”
The man replied and waved to all of them once they’d climbed in their vehicles, Dac in his truck, she and Scooter in Dave’s Chevy.
“Who was that man?” she asked as soon as they started down the driveway.
“Because he looks familiar to me,” she said, wondering if she’d seen him on the docks in Duluth at some point.
“You don’t know him,” Scooter said. “He just moved here from out east.”