Randy Byrne was Cynthia's twenty year-old son from her first marriage.
She opened her purse and took out a picture of Randy Byrne and Jen.
Pumpkin looked at the picture of Randy Byrne, one leg up on a boulder, an I-own-the-world smile on his young face and Jen smiling at him with a look of love.
But here was twenty-year-old Randy Byrne, at the threshold of life, batting .362 with seventeen home runs, a slew of RBI's, and a glove that could stop a freight train, being offered the world!
It was just a silly game— unless of course, you'd played it like Randy Byrne.
Randy Byrne was joyously married with mother Cynthia in proud attendance, attired in her Radisson original dress.
I can't believe sweet Cynthia Byrne, hitting people!
She's tougher than Cynthia Byrne used to be.
The two had shared Dean's bachelorhood for fifteen years until Dean, an ex-Pennsylvania police detective married Cynthia Byrne seven months earlier.
And what Cynthia Byrne might have become in a different century, under different circumstances, without a David Dean beside her.
The uniformed guys downstairs had drawn lots to see who got stuck informing the next of kin, and since that time, speculation on the disappearance of Jeffrey Byrne had been the chief topic of conversation at the Parkside Police Department.
Jeffrey Byrne, age 38, of 156 Maid Marian Lane, Parkside, apparently drowned in the early morning hours of Tuesday, May fourth while on a business trip in Norfolk, Virginia.
According to sources at the Ocean Shore Motel, Byrne was last seen on his way to the beach shortly after midnight by Leo Sutter, a waiter at the motel.
When Byrne failed to answer a wake-up call the following morning, a clerk finally opened his room.
According to Detective Norman Hunter of the Norfolk Police Department, Byrne's bed had not been slept in.
He was the husband of Cynthia Cosgrove Byrne and the father of Randy Byrne, a Parkside High School senior.
Jeffrey Byrne was employed in a regional marketing position by The World Wide Insurance Company of Philadelphia.
"The son, Randy Byrne," Dean answered.
They were on the same team, only Cummings rode the bench and Byrne was the star—he played shortstop.
Dean spent a few minutes at his desk finishing up some routine paperwork before telephoning the alleged widow Byrne at 9:15, the earliest time he deemed respectable.
After offering his condolences, Dean asked if it might be convenient for him to come by and speak with Mrs. Byrne.
The Byrne address was on the east side of town, but as Dean had time to kill, he decided to drive west to what the locals called the beltway, a loop road around the city.
"My heart's in my mouth ever time it rings," she said and added an apology as she moved to answer it, just as Cynthia Byrne entered the room.
Years later Dean would think back to this first time he saw Cynthia Byrne.
Cynthia Byrne, in spite of reddened eyes and trembling nervousness, was a very attractive woman.
Mrs. Byrne, looking embarrassed at the confusion, suggested that she and Dean might be better off talking on the back deck.
Mrs. Byrne sat on the sofa and Dean took the chair to her left.
Cynthia Byrne explained, in nervous little spurts, how she had heard the news of her husband's disappearance.
Jeffrey Byrne had telephoned home in early evening, his usual practice when he was traveling on business trips.
Jeffrey Byrne asked about Randy's ball game and inquired about the mail.
Dean's eyes questioned and Mrs. Byrne clarified, The Mark Hopkins Hotel, in San Francisco—it was our little joke.
Both drank their coffee black and although both took a doughnut, Mrs. Byrne simply picked at hers, lifting the tiniest of crumbs with dampened fingertips.
Jeff Byrne had worked for World Wide for 15 years and seemed at least content with the work he was doing.
Cynthia Byrne handled the finances.
The Byrne family had finally scraped aside enough for Cynthia to go back to school.
Dean had already overstayed his visit, so with promises to return if he had any more questions and to keep in telephone contact, he took his leave, shaking Cynthia Byrne's hand and waving to Janice Riley, who was again on the phone.
And as Dean left Sherwood Forest behind, he had a strong feeling Cynthia Byrne wasn't telling stories.
But after two hours with Cynthia Byrne, he had to fight the inclination to take all of her comments at face value, thereby kissing off any degree of objectivity.
There was far more to learn about Jeffrey Byrne before he could report an informed opinion on the happenings in Norfolk two nights earlier.
Dean had used a less intrusive pad and pencil with Cynthia Byrne.
Does swimming alone late at night strike you as in character for Byrne?
What was it exactly Byrne did for World Wide?
Byrne was a day-to-day guy.
How often was Byrne out of the office?
Is that Byrne's desk?
Mayer's telephone rang and he excused himself to answer it, leaving Dean at Jeffrey Byrne's grey steel desk.
Dean assumed it was Jeff Byrne's son, Randy.
Next to it was a full-face picture of Cynthia Byrne.
"Hi," he said, "That there's Mrs. Byrne, Jeff's wife."
Dean was left standing there, Cynthia Byrne's picture in hand, a report in another.
Did Byrne fool around?
You'd just have to know Jeff Byrne to appreciate it.
Further questioning revealed that Byrne had signed out a pool company car for the seven-hour trip to Virginia.
Besides, Jeff Byrne's health was good.
It was beginning to look more as if Jeffrey Byrne pulled a stupid stunt after a few too many drinks in a lonely motel, leaving a widow and a teenaged son to fend for themselves.
Byrne's on the payroll, right?
Imagine me giving Cindy Byrne a call and telling her she's cut off, at least until ol' Jeff floats in?
He also asked for and received Byrne's department personnel file.
Mayer promised to send the full file with Byrne's picture from the now near-closing personnel office, located in another building.
Fred's level of interest was sky-high when he learned Dean had been assigned the Byrne disappearance.
He ticked off the items he had learned about Jeffrey Byrne during the course of the day, as much for his own review as to answer Fred's rapid-fire questions.
Jeff Byrne is the last of the straight arrows.
There was nothing new on the Byrne case—just a comment to that effect.
Dean found himself able to predict for instance, it was time to visit Baltimore again, and a week or two later, Byrne would travel there.
Most trips commenced early in the week if the destination was closer, and Byrne was home by late Wednesday or Thursday.
Even though some of the destinations might have been more efficiently visited by plane, Byrne always took a company car, often resulting in very long workdays.
There were ten cities serviced by Byrne, all on the eastern seaboard, and his itineraries were detailed on practically an hour by-hour basis.
His mind pictured Cynthia Byrne, perhaps awake and alone with her grief, listening to Mother Nature's fury.
Because of his 10:00 court date, he asked Harrigan to contact Byrne's doctor and try to run down any additional life insurance the missing man might have purchased.
Dean saw no reason to trouble Mrs. Byrne with this nebulous sighting.
Harrigan was out interviewing Byrne's doctor and Rita's printed version of Mayer's interview was on Dean's desk when he returned.
Dean spent the remainder of the workday sorting reports and more closely reviewing the Byrne papers.
The job evaluations of Jeffrey Byrne in the personnel file surprised Dean, as they were considerably more glowing than the picture Mayer had painted of the missing man.
Dean also asked Mayer about the one day Byrne had been absent—a Thursday the fourth of March—about two months earlier.
Byrne just telephoned and said he wouldn't be coming in.
Mayer added that Byrne was back to work the following day, but made no reference to his absence.
Dean made a note to ask Cynthia Byrne about the incident.
The doctor had taken his sweet time seeing him, but had finally confirmed that Byrne was in excellent health.
The knee injury Mayer mentioned had occurred a year before and while it might have kept Byrne from jogging, it was no more than a temporary ailment.
Randy Byrne was in his usual place at shortstop, but the young man was much more subdued than the last time Dean had seen him play.
His mind kept thinking, not of Ethel, but of Cynthia Byrne.
Are you talking about the Byrne case?
He used to do some work for World Wide Insurance—where Byrne worked.
Did he know Byrne?
Does it look like Byrne skipped?
You mean where Byrne drowned?
If Byrne was tanked, they should have stopped him.
Why would they be responsible because Byrne acted like a jerk and decided to go for a midnight swim—drunk or sober?
"Mrs. Byrne?" asked Dean, somewhat surprised.
The ol' boys at the station are about split down the middle but we're not privy to Byrne's lifestyle and I suppose that's the key.
"I thought Harrigan was supposed to help me finish up this Byrne case," Dean protested.
"No sense of humor," Dean smiled to himself as he dialed Cynthia Byrne's number and congratulated his luck at being in Norfolk and missing the Wasserman business.
Cynthia Byrne answered in a tentative voice on the first ring.
Cynthia Byrne thanked Dean.
Dean detailed what he'd learned from speaking with Cynthia Byrne and meeting with Byrne's boss in Philadelphia and gave the detective a written copy of his interviews.
When Dean described Jeffrey Byrne's quiet life style, Hunter nodded in agreement.
Byrne would come into town, do his business, but that's all.
When Byrne came, no one got out of his chair.
Byrne's description was far too common to stand out but no one recalled a man hurriedly leaving the city in the middle of the night, Tuesday-Wednesday.
They had vaguely remembered Jeffrey Byrne from his repeat trips, but Byrne hadn't made much of an impression on anyone.
According to Byrne's expense file, his prior trip to Norfolk had been in late January and, earlier, in October of last year.
I didn't get diddly-damn from a one of 'em. This guy Byrne was so ordinary, talking about him put me to sleep.
Hunter opened the drape, painting Jeffrey Byrne's sparse belongings in early afternoon sunlight.
A suit jacket and pants were laid out across the bed, and underwear was dropped on the floor next to it, apparently discarded by Byrne when he changed to his bathing suit.
I even read the list to Mrs. Byrne over the phone.
It contained 78 dollars, a half-dozen credit cards, a few business cards and two pictures, one a duplicate of the desktop photo of Cynthia Byrne and the other a grade school picture Dean assumed to be of Byrne's son, Randy.
It was dated Monday, the day before Byrne's disappearance.
His last day was Friday but he stuck around because Byrne was coming down from the head office with his last paycheck.
The office confirmed he and Byrne went out to have a drink or three, just the two of them.
He was the last person to spend any time with Byrne.
I'd like to hear how much Byrne had to drink.
As to the booze, Byrne only had two beers here with dinner.
It doesn't fit with Byrne's lifestyle.
According to the time-stamped dinner receipt, Byrne had dined on fish, and had two beers as Hunter had remarked.
Before leaving, Hunter showed Dean the beach across the road where it was presumed Jeffrey Byrne took his last steps on land.
Hunter pointed out where Byrne's things were found but Dean learned nothing from the excursion.
He was interested but perplexed about the March date when Byrne was excused from work—without his wife's knowledge.
They're going to hold a memorial service for Byrne at the Catholic Church.
So, that's when we stake it out and spot Byrne!
I told Mrs. Byrne you were bicycling.
Dean was sure Fred simply wanted to meet Jeffrey Byrne's wife and had suggested Cynthia Byrne come by the house for her husband's belongings.
Mrs. Byrne will probably just come to the door anyway.
He assumed Cynthia Byrne was a few minutes late, but when he descended the stairs, there she sat, opposite Fred O'Connor, who was decked out in an elegant blue pinstripe suit complete with pocket handkerchief and bow tie.
Mrs. Byrne was dressed in a black jersey dress with a single strand of pearls around her neck.
Mrs. Byrne's son drove her over but the lad had an engagement so I suggested she join us for dinner and allow us to drive her home.
Fred made a professional recovery with the help of a gulp of lemonade as Dean continued to address Mrs. Byrne.
"Café Richard is a pretty swank place," Fred said, rising and refilling Mrs. Byrne's glass from a crystal pitcher Dean hadn't seen since his mother died.
Dean ignored his stepfather and instead pointed out Jeffrey Byrne's belongings and suggested Mrs. Byrne might want to check them over before signing a receipt.
There was total absence of mention of the disappearance of Jeffrey Byrne, Dean's trip to Norfolk, or any real-life matters for the entire evening.
It was still early when the group left Café Richard, but to Dean's surprise Fred suggested Dean drop him off before taking Cynthia Byrne back to Sherwood Forest.
Cynthia Byrne held out her hand and said, with what Dean hoped was at least a hint of reluctance, I guess I won't be seeing you again.
Evidently it was Randy Byrne.
Randy Byrne was dressed in jeans and sweater and seemed at ease around adults, more so than most his age.
Randy Byrne managed a smile but a fool could tell he wasn't buying.
Why wait to find out about Jeffrey Byrne's little escapade?
Dean could not tell from the writing if it compared to the signature Jeffrey Byrne left on the many expense forms Dean had reviewed—it was only a scrawl.
Dean described his conversation with Randy Byrne and detailed his reason for visiting the Whitney Motel.
Just that maybe Sherwood Forest wasn't heaven for Mr. Byrne after all.
Then he added, Maybe I'll look up this Ridner kid and ask him if the car was still there when he finished, but I'm just checking it out because I promised Randy Byrne I would.
Just because Byrne might have gotten a quickie two months ago doesn't mean he faked his drowning and skipped.
Like maybe Jeffrey Byrne was just stupid enough to drown himself—half-drunk or sober.
You may be right about Byrne not showing up at his funeral next week.
Do you think Byrne skipped?
He wants to close up that Byrne case unless you've found a real good reason to keep it open.
I get to clean up the crumbs on the Byrne business and you get to play chauffeur for the federal guy—take him up to meet your old football buddy.
I've got a couple of last minute things to check out on Byrne....
Dean asked Harrigan to work up his end of the report on the Byrne matter and make a few last minute return phone calls to neighbors, just to dot the I's.
While the case might be officially closed, Dean felt an obligation to Randy Byrne, as well as his own curiosity, to follow up the March fourth Whitney Motel incident.
She added, "Leland Anderson's wife Marian says you're a schmuck for not solving the Byrne thing and causing her to lose her bet."
I talked to your Mrs. Byrne this afternoon.
Dean telephoned Cynthia Byrne next, but Randy answered.
Cynthia Byrne apologized for not answering the phone.
Dean had forgotten the waiter saying Byrne also wore a baseball cap when he left the room.
"I know," Cynthia Byrne said quickly.
They reminded Dean of Jeffrey Byrne, doing the same thing a week earlier.
Just as quickly, a picture of Cynthia Byrne began crowding his mind.
He'd be at the service next week and not to see if a missing man would turn up in veiled drag, but simply because Cynthia Byrne told him she'd be pleased with his presence.
Forget Jeffrey Byrne and forget his grieving wife.
The report methodically listed each person interviewed and what they said about Jeffrey Byrne.
Mayer's assessment of Byrne's true abilities were kept to a minimum.
There was a detailed itinerary of Byrne's movements and information on Byrne's health, finances, personnel records and lifestyle.
He included a picture of Jeffrey Byrne, recently forwarded from World Wide's personnel department.
It showed a good looking, much younger man, as Dean guessed it dated from when Byrne was first employed, 15 years earlier.
He did not mention the March fourth date Byrne was absent from work.
When he replayed his dictated first draft, the report seemed dry but the evidence produced an overwhelming endorsement that there was no logical reason why Jeffrey Byrne might skip.
Dean was knee-deep in a dream, trying to pull his Visa card away from Jeffrey Byrne, who was sitting on a cloud playing a harp, when his bedroom was suddenly filled with light.
According to Byrne's expense account he was in Scranton for two days just before he shacked up at the Whitney Motel!
Byrne was in Scranton on the sixth and seventh of April.
Rita typed the second expanded Byrne report, with only a mildly raised eyebrow after Dean explained more would be added later.
He had finished his portion of the Byrne report and the interviews he'd conducted with Byrne's friends and associates.
Dean made no mention to Harrigan of his promise of more detailed documentation to Cynthia Byrne.
Dean explained about his visit from Byrne's fellow employee and the young man's story about the possible girl friend.
"In connection with the Byrne case?" asked Winston, his interest piqued.
It was one of the branches offices Byrne serviced, that's all.
Byrne's that guy who was supposed to have drowned!
You think maybe Byrne might have swiped the dough?
Vinnie, this guy Byrne's life was as far away from yours as the Pope's from a whorehouse.
"What's the standing of this Byrne business?" he finally growled.
It was total nonsense to even consider the million-to-one-shot coincidence that Byrne was somehow involved with the missing money but his mind wouldn't leave it alone.
The Byrne case was closed but in spite of Winston's admonishment, the matter wouldn't leave his mind.
All he needed was a nice brick wall to halt the nagging speculation Byrne might have skipped—like a body or something equally definitive.
Three more telephone calls to Cece Baldwin were as unsuccessful as the first and Dean spent the rest of the evening poring over the Byrne file.
Jeffrey Byrne spent Tuesday and Wednesday in early March in Scranton.
Dean had no way of checking Byrne's mileage and if by chance he had detoured east on Interstate 84, probably 30 miles further, instead of taking the more direct south-easterly route between Scranton and Parkside.
Remember, Mrs. Byrne said Jeffrey wasn't much of a drinker.
If you're an honest, law-abiding guy, like everyone says Jeffrey Byrne was or is, why don't you just turn it in to the closest police station?
There isn't a lick of evidence to put Byrne anywhere near that dough.
If you're Byrne, why order the Parkside paper way back in April?
Byrne could read his own copy for at least another month.
Dean wished he'd brought the picture of Jeffrey Byrne that World Wide had recently sent but it remained in the case file at the office.
Fred stage-whispered to Dean that the sixth was one of the dates when Byrne was in Scranton.
But the description of Cleary is a dead ringer for Byrne.
But to Fred's mind, Cleary was Byrne, and nothing could dissuade him.
Dean introduced himself and told her he was interested in discussing Jeffrey Byrne.
"Jeffrey Byrne was..." he hesitated, "...a friend of yours?"
He saw you and Jeffrey Byrne having lunch.
Tell me about Jeffrey Byrne.
No one said anything about you and Byrne except Rudman and we can discount anything out of his mouth, can't we?
They're holding a memorial service for Jeffrey Byrne next week.
Once again there was no evidence to make Jeffrey Byrne's death anything but an accidental drowning.
That guy Byrne's body floated in.
The photograph of Jeffrey Byrne he'd mailed to Chip Burgess in Scranton yesterday had been unnecessary.
Jeffrey Byrne had finally put it all to rest by making his appearance on the incoming tide.
Leland wants you to go down there with Mrs. Byrne so she can identify her husband.
Someone already called Mrs. Byrne.
Cynthia Byrne was standing at the edge of her driveway when Dean pulled up.
Cynthia Byrne clutched the armrest firmly during take off and landing, reacting to each noise anew.
Cynthia Byrne looked worse with each passing hour and just before their flight was called, excused herself and went to the ladies' room.
Cynthia Byrne never opened her eyes and clung to Dean's right arm with such a tenacious grip he thought he'd be permanently scarred.
Cynthia Byrne was shaking so badly had he not supported her with an arm about her waist he doubted she could have made it into the building on her own.
"Yes," answered Dean, annoyed at the young man's lack of concern for Cynthia Byrne.
He grasped the handle of tray number six but, before opening it, glanced down at Cynthia Byrne.
But it wasn't Jeffrey Byrne.
He was sitting there a few moments later with Cynthia Byrne still unconscious when the attendant reappeared with Mr. Cole, a young intern, in tow.
When Cynthia Byrne finally stopped crying, she wiped her eyes on the corner of the red blanket.
What in God's name ever made anyone think this tub of blubber was Jeffrey Byrne?
Dean asked, still upset at Cynthia Byrne's unnecessary ordeal.
Byrne was the only recent missing person in the file.
Dean let Cynthia Byrne rest a while longer while he telephoned the news to Parkside.
It would have been much more convenient if the customer under the sheet had been Jeffrey Byrne.
Dean returned to the room where Cynthia Byrne was slowly returning to the world of the living.
The ghost of Jeffrey Byrne, who had spent his final hours in the same dining room, was nowhere in evidence.
Just then the third round of drinks arrived, apparently as a result of a nod to the waiter by Cynthia Byrne.
There in the blur of a passing auto and mirrored in descending waves of rain was the huddled figure of Cynthia Byrne stumbling across the parking lot toward the road and the beach beyond.
Suddenly a flash of lightening illuminated the crouched figure of Cynthia Byrne several yards away.
Dean could now see Cynthia Byrne was unconscious though her arms remained tightly about his neck.
He then carried Cynthia Byrne's limp but still drenched and shivering body through the connecting door to her bed and laid her on one of the towels.
Dean rubbed and blotted Cynthia Byrne's body briskly with the towel and wrapped her head turban-like in a smaller one.
Cynthia Byrne's breasts stood firm against the lacy fabric covering them and he draped a towel across her chest as he struggled to unhook her bra from beneath her comatose body.
Before returning to his room, Dean stopped to adjust the remaining towel beneath Cynthia Byrne's damp head.
Dean knew if he were honest with himself he'd admit he was tickled pink during those few hours that it appeared Jeffrey Byrne's body had been found.
His emerging feelings for Cynthia Byrne only added complications to the equation.
Had Jeffrey Byrne skipped or drowned?
Then why was it each time he was around Cynthia Byrne the question kept coming back?
As long as there wasn't a body, Dean could never be sure Jeffrey Byrne wouldn't jump out of the past and yell, "April Fool!" dragging Cynthia Byrne back to home and hearth.
Nothing, unless you count a tire patch kit and a half a receipt for $59.95, neither of which probably even belonged to Byrne.
Byrne probably needed a day off.
But some specter in his fitful half-sleep wouldn't even give permission for him to dream about Cynthia Byrne, sleeping restfully just yards away.
The sound of running water in the next room told Dean that daylight had finally arrived and Cynthia Byrne was up and around.
Cynthia Byrne needed a little time on her own before he barged back into her world.
Anyone would have known that tub of lard wasn't Byrne, Hunter fumed as he paced up and down the room.
He tried to appease the Norfolk detective by saying no permanent harm had been done and even Mrs. Byrne seemed to have made it through the ordeal.
Any word from Brunel—the World Wide employee who had the drink with Byrne?
Dean explained Cynthia Byrne's request for as much detail as possible in his report to help her obtain a death certificate.
When Dean returned to the motel, the adjoining doors were open and Cynthia Byrne sat on the edge of her bed with one hand holding a phone and the other with a wet face cloth pressed to her forehead.
With each passing day the possibility that Jeffrey Byrne's corpse might not be found became more realistic.
I haven't heard from the Burgess fellow yet on the picture of Byrne's you sent him.
So you called all the local dealers to find out if anyone named Cleary or Byrne or Corbin bought a new motor home?
You're making some broad jumps just because Jeffrey Byrne visited in the Scranton area.
It looks like it was Byrne's.
The other one was at Mrs. Byrne's place, out in Sherwood Forest.
As soon as Dean hung up, he telephoned the Byrne home.
But why the Byrne place?
Then Hunter added, They wanted to see the file on your pal Jeffrey Byrne as well.
Dean explained he'd promised Cynthia Byrne a report, detailed beyond the usual, in an effort to help her in obtaining a death certificate.
Any hint that we're looking at Byrne or anyone else as having taken that money stops the war and our leverage goes out the window.
He brushed off the idea it could be Byrne and justified his interest as only appeasing his elderly stepfather.
You sicced those gangster sons-of-bitches on Cynthia Byrne too!
Dean grabbed his coat, glad to be doing something that took his mind off Vinnie Baratto, Arthur Atherton and the fact he and Cynthia Byrne were items of interest to some very nasty people.
Cynthia Byrne called saying he needn't be concerned about the burglary as nothing had been stolen and it was probably just kids.
Each time Dean put the Byrne disappearance to rest in his mind, another nagging item popped up to renew his attention.
He was already topping Jonathan Winston's list by even suggesting a connection between Byrne and the money.
The only decision he'd made was to do nothing until there was clear evidence tying Byrne to the money.
Randy and Cynthia Byrne were in the front row seated next to a white-haired lady Dean assumed was Cynthia's mother.
The Jeffrey Byrne Mayer eulogized was a far different man than Mayer had described in his Philadelphia office.
Unlike the priest, Mayer made no pretext that Byrne wasn't as dead as a Jacob Marley's knocker and, as Mayer described, was "walking the streets of gold with the angels."
He directed his words directly to Cynthia Byrne with a smile of sticky sweetness that made Dean want to pop him.
The service ended in 40 minutes with the priest extending an invitation for friends to return to Mrs. Byrne's home.
He turned on his heels and left, making Dean sorry he'd mentioned Ethel Rosewater to Cynthia Byrne in the first place.
Dean hadn't thought much about Cynthia Byrne's reaction to the ever growing possibility that her husband might be alive.
The next three days slid by, closer to the normal routine at both home and at the station than Dean had experienced since Jeffrey Byrne's midnight swim.
Strangely, Fred made no further mention of Monday night's revealing identification of Jeffrey Byrne by Chip Burgess.
He reported his visit to the post-memorial service gathering at the Byrne's home as uneventful, adding Cynthia's mother was "a real charmer."
While Dean hadn't heard from Cynthia Byrne, it didn't mean she wasn't on his mind.
He did mention his interview with Cece Baldwin, describing Byrne's relationship with the young lady as that of a compassionate mentor.
So why was he at the Byrne memorial service?
But he's gotten some wild idea about the Byrne case.
He was due at Cynthia Byrne's by 6:00, giving short time for a shower and shave.
The past few days had done much to improve Cynthia Byrne and she beamed with pleasure when Dean presented a bottle of wine, the same brand and year they were served at Café Richard.
He ran down the receipt that was found in Byrne's car.
Hunter showed the clerk a picture of Byrne but he couldn't identify him—it was too long ago.
Or maybe he'll find Cleary, learn he isn't Byrne, and put this whole business to rest.
And where'd Byrne get the money to buy them?
Who says Byrne bought them?
There's still not a shred of proof tying Byrne to Scranton, the money, or being alive.
You should have been at Byrne's house tonight and seen the warmth of that family.
It was my big mouth mentioning Byrne in front of Baratto that caused most of this problem but God knows what an open investigation would unfairly do to Cynthia Byrne.
Much as I still think Byrne is dead there are too many unanswered questions.
My read is you've got feelings for Cynthia Byrne, but not being up-front with her is like walking a tight rope on a windy day.
I'm not going to open this up—to anyone— and cause Cynthia Byrne years of doubt on suspicions, no matter how strong our feelings become.
Now, let's work on the premise Byrne didn't drown and start trying to find where he is instead of pretending he didn't skip!
Now, the way I see it, there's three ways to prove Byrne's alive—fingerprints, positive ID, or handwriting.
Until we can prove Cleary isn't Byrne, let's assume he is.
Byrne disappeared on May fourth, almost two weeks earlier.
You're Byrne and you've found the dough—more than you'll see in a lifetime.
Byrne was a loner and super cautious.
Maybe Corbin is just another name—a nom de plume—another alias for Byrne, just in case.
"Byrne could have a pocket full of aliases for all we know," Dean grumbled.
No activity was more natural than spending the day like this biking the Pennsylvania countryside—with Cynthia Byrne.
Jeffrey Byrne's wife was in far better physical shape than she had let on, and the pair managed 20 miles before finally calling it quits, not because she was tired, but because, as she said, her what-sis was so sore.
It was an unforgettable day and Dean never once thought of the missing Mr. Byrne until mid-afternoon while they were taking a short break and Cynthia mentioned his name.
He remembered some of the comments of Byrne's World Wide boss.
That was exactly how Dean felt after he dropped off Cynthia Byrne at her empty house.
But being around Cynthia Byrne was worth all the aggravation of these mixed emotions.
If this is Byrne we're chasing, he's cautious as a clam.
It was Cynthia Byrne.
The last three days had slid by without anything unusual transpiring, at least on the Jeffrey Byrne matter.
Sunday was a sleep-in-late kind of day, followed by a Phillies game on TV and a few naps in between mental re-hashes of the prior late-night conversation with Cynthia Byrne.
I want to know why Arthur Atherton is interested in Jeffrey Byrne.
He felt a momentary tightness until he recognized Randy Byrne behind the wheel.
He remembered Saturday night's overindulgence in beer that made him far too loquacious with Cynthia Byrne, who incidentally had not called back.
Byrne came out for the moving-in party—the night the money turned up missing.
What was their opinion of Byrne?
I found out where Byrne bought the motor home.
The date was April 7—the date Jeffrey Byrne was in Scranton!
I managed to push the picture of Byrne in his face and he says the guy didn't look nothing like that and I should get lost.
Every time we're a whisker away from nailing Byrne, something crops up to slam the door in our face.
Like someone's playing with us, and not necessarily Byrne.
Maybe someone who wants us to think Byrne swiped the millions.
Someone is out there and for my money it's Byrne.
The annoying little details of the Byrne case were still squirming around in the morning, and in an effort to put one of them to bed Dean stopped by the Parkside Sentinel on his way to work.
He had nearly forgotten the young lady, the recipient of Jeffrey Byrne's kindness.
With all other thoughts lulled from his mind by the steady cadence of the wheels, he moved step by step through every facet of the Byrne case.
First, Byrne's strange day at the Whitney Motel and the date of his business in Scranton.
Then there was the apartment rental with Burgess's identification of Byrne, however tenuous, followed by the newspaper subscription and the motor home purchase.
Complicating the picture was Baratto's tip to the mob—probably via Arthur Atherton—that Byrne might be involved with the missing money.
He was Vinnie Baratto's attorney, so presumably Vinnie told him of his suspicions that Byrne might have taken the drug money.
Certainly his ties to Ethel helped, but Ethel herself knew little and Dean had never told her he was chasing down the possibility that Byrne was alive.
Nothing led Dean to believe she was more than someone befriended by Byrne but he was anxious to learn if this new phone message would change this opinion.
The one that gnawed at him, blocked out but begging consideration, was the possibility that Cynthia Byrne was somehow involved.
Perhaps Byrne was afraid someone would connect him to the theft, a fear that would be eliminated by his "death"—a fear that was turning out to be well founded.
Someone besides Dean and Fred was dogging Byrne across the country.
Perhaps it was just Dean's unsatisfied Thursday night urge for female companionship, but he found he wanted very badly to see Cynthia Byrne.
And there was no sign of Jeffrey Byrne, in person, in conversation or in spirit.
I'll tell you I have information where Jeffrey Byrne is and get you to meet me at 7:00 at Willoughby's.
Hells bells, why would they bop me on the head when all I'm doing is leading them to someone who's supposed to know where Byrne is?
While he knew he should report his suspicion of being bugged, he feared having to answer questions about his clandestine work in the Byrne matter.
They both agreed—Dean still reluctantly—that the money was one more indication that Jeffrey Byrne was among the living.
This convinced Fred the man was Byrne but Dean gave the item little merit.
"Listen," said Dean, with a handkerchief in front of the mouthpiece, "I hear you're looking for Jeffrey Byrne."
But I know where Byrne is and he ain't dead.
It was a day made for biking and in spite of his body problems, he gave Cynthia Byrne a call to see if she wanted to join him.
Randy Byrne answered the phone and seemed surprised to hear Dean's voice.
Jeffrey Byrne had contacted his wife and like a fool she was going off somewhere to meet the son-of-a-bitch.
The concerned look on Randy Byrne's face told Dean that Cynthia's action, while not of itself so unusual, was totally out of character for the boy's mother.
Dean felt ill at ease in Cynthia Byrne's bedroom, spying on her world, seeing the small rainbow of dresses hanging in her closet, sharing space with suits and shirts looking as if they were awaiting the return of Jeffrey Byrne.
But what made him most uncomfortable was the large four-poster bed Cynthia and Jeffrey Byrne had shared in love.
Cynthia Byrne asked to talk to Randy again and Dean returned to the living room, his head in a whirl.
His mind was awhirl with the pending confrontation, not to mention the magazine article with one more arrow pointing toward bicycling, the motor home, a trip west, the Rocky Mountains and Jeffrey Byrne, all rolled into one very plausible package.
More importantly, Cynthia Byrne was dead right in saying he had no business being chauvinistic in trying to protect this woman from his suspicions.
He fished around until he found his copy of the bicycle magazine he'd seen at the Byrne home.
He opened to the article and handed it to Fred, explaining how Jeffrey Byrne had circled the request for information.
We're not the only ones chasing Jeffrey Byrne and by the looks of things, they'd blow his head off as soon as spit on him.
He also mentioned the files missing from Rosewater and Atherton but was silent on Arthur's note to Cynthia Byrne.
Dean couldn't think of more than 20 names—Ethel Rosewater, Cynthia Byrne, David Dean, even Jeffrey Byrne, not to mention half of Arthur's gay friends and lovers and most of his ex-clients.
It didn't make him feel warm and fuzzy to speculate after the lawyer's letter to Cynthia Byrne.
He took the opportunity to casually pump Hunter on the Byrne disappearance.
Maybe Byrne said some words of wisdom you can pass on to the missus.
On Sunday, June 6, Randy Byrne graduated from high school.
While Dean was out of contact with Cynthia Byrne during the first two weeks of June, it didn't mean she was out of his thoughts.
It was as if this separation was by miles only, and not the great chasm created by the disappearance of Jeffrey Byrne.
While Fred had chatted amiably during the course of the two weeks, he confined his discussions to methods that might be used in finding and identifying Byrne, and never complained about having to remain in Parkside.
You gotta admit, it gives me a lot better chance of checking out the crowds for Byrne.
They had considered showing Jeffrey Byrne's picture to some of the bike tour workers, especially those volunteers manning the frequent rest stops where every biker would pass sooner or later.
They decided against it, cautious about frightening off Byrne if he should get wind of the search and realize someone was this close to finding him.
"What kind of physical shape do you suppose Byrne is in?" asked Fred as he eyed a gorgeous blonde in scarlet bike pants.
Without the specter of Jeffrey Byrne hanging over him, Dean could have enjoyed the festivities even more.
Dean still managed to pick out eleven riders he considered could possibly be Jeffrey Byrne.
The two men compared the cyclists' numbers each had listed as possible Byrne look-alikes.
None of the names sounded familiar, nor were the addresses in areas where Byrne was thought to have traveled.
The afternoon was a blur as Dean's mind alternated between the task at hand and the sobering fact that he might be within miles, or perhaps yards, of Cynthia Byrne's missing husband.
One minute he'd be drinking in the beauty of the countryside and the next feeling a wave of anxiety, realizing what had begun as a mild suspicion was close to culminating in a face-to-face confrontation with Jeffrey Byrne.
Aside from the anticipation of locating Jeffrey Byrne and the uncertainty surrounding it, Dean felt pretty damn good.
Much as Dean wanted to telephone Cynthia Byrne, he knew it wasn't appropriate—suicide was a better word.
I spotted the number right away and as soon as I saw him I knew danged well it wasn't Byrne.
In spite of his lingering and totally unfounded doubts that it was Jeffrey Byrne he was pursuing, there were far too many coincidences pointing to Cynthia Byrne's husband.
Later that evening, while Dean and his stepfather were filling their faces with apple pie and ice cream and feeling sorry for themselves about their lack of progress in finding Byrne, a young man strolled up to them with a smile on his face.
Both recognized it as the same headgear Jeffrey Byrne was reported to have been wearing when he crossed the road to the beach in Norfolk.
Fred prattled excitedly about the Parkside newspaper and baseball cap and how the two finds represented proof Jeffrey Byrne was alive.
Dean remained silent for a moment, and then asked how well he knew Jeffrey Byrne.
Was there anything unusual about Byrne's demeanor the afternoon the two of you were together?
He knocked off Byrne and took the loot.
I don't much like getting out foxed by Byrne, whether he's alone or with someone else, but if he's gone, I can't for the life of me think of what to do next to track him down.
Everything points to Byrne skipping.
It was unreal rocketing down this mountain, in pursuit of an unknown someone, one minute, surely Jeffrey Byrne, the next minute someone else.
Standing there, in the afternoon sun, with a look of shock on her beautiful face, stood Cynthia Byrne.
There was no sign of Cynthia Byrne or another car.
It was six weeks today since Jeffrey Byrne's disappearance and ever since, Dean's world had revolved around that happening like a long-playing record.
I followed Jeffrey Byrne and you followed David Dean.