Excerpt from Ancient Spirits

   
     "All right," I said, forsaking my well-modulated spiritualist's voice for the nonce. "Somebody had better tell me what's going on here. Has Stacy done something truly criminal this time?"
     I probably shouldn't have said that, since it precipitated a loud wail from Mrs. Pinkerton, but, as I've said more than once already, my temper wasn't awfully steady in those days.
     "She was picked up in a raid in a speakeasy," said Harold bluntly. "Drinking is illegal in the first place, but this time she managed to slug a copper as she tried to escape. There was quite a to-do before they finally got her under control and into the paddy wagon."
     "Oh, Harold!" sobbed Mrs. Pinkerton. We all ignored her.
     "Criminal assault against an officer of the law," said Sam in his policeman-like voice, which was very crisp and severe, "is a serious violation."
     "She punched a cop? What was the idiot thinking?"
     Another anguished wail from the chair. Again, we all ignored it.
     "She wasn't thinking. She was drunk," said Harold, rather baldly, considering we were in the presence of his mother, of whom he was generally quite considerate. I guess he was as sick of Stacy and his mother's incompetence in dealing with her as I.
     "She was belligerent and didn't come peacefully. After she punched the officer, she tried to run away. Then she kicked and scratched until another police officer managed to get handcuffs on her. When we finally got her to the police station, she kicked a police woman and knocked her down."
     "Good Lord. Even for Stacy, that's pretty bad," said I, not guarding my tongue as I should have done. After all, my living depended on idiots like Mrs. Pinkerton, and the more trouble her daughter gave her, the better off my finances would be. If you wanted to look at the matter from that point of view, which I didn't, mainly because Stacy Kincaid made me sick.
     "Oh, Daisy!" cried Mrs. Pinkerton. "Whatever shall I do?"
     Harold, Sam and I eyed one another for a moment, and then we all looked at Mrs. Pinkerton. Harold tilted his head to one side. Sam scowled. I decided it was up to me. "My suggestion is that you leave her in jail and not bail her out this time, Missus Pinkerton. She'll never learn how to behave if you keep taking care of things after she breaks the law and ends up in the slammer. She needs to learn to be responsible for her own behavior someday. She's no longer a child. And I still believe you need to place a telephone call to Captain Buckingham. If anyone in the world has any patience left for your daughter, it's Johnny Buckingham."
     Mrs. Pinkerton howled. It made an interesting change from wailing, although it was hard on the ears.
     "Exactly what I told her," said Harold. "You have to stop letting her get away with murder, Mother. Or one day, she might just think she can get away with murder."
     Wow, that was brutal. I was being ever so much more candid about Stacy and what I thought of her than I usually was, but even I, in my bad mood, wouldn't say anything like that to Stacy's poor mother, whom I didn't respect, but whom I liked a lot in spite of herself.
     "No!" cried Mrs. Pinkerton, horrified into shrieking her denial.
     "But yes, Mother. If you don't believe me, ask this nice detective here." Harold gave Sam a sugary smile.
 
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