While Dean was fully exonerated from any wrongdoing in the unfortunate affair, either Fitzgerald failed to agree with the determination or simply despised being judged wrong.
"If it isn't candidate David Dean," Fitzgerald said, not even trying to warm the ice in his voice.
God, it unnerved him to even consider telling Fitzgerald about the bones.
Dean handed Fitzgerald the photocopy of Martha's drawing and comments she and Cynthia had made.
Fitzgerald made no effort to take the offered paper.
Fitzgerald stared at it for a ten count.
Soon as this Fitzgerald guy calls with the details, we'll have a better idea of the time frame.
"We haven't heard from Mr. Fitzgerald either," Cynthia sighed.
Let's say it was suggested that Fitzgerald come over and give me a helping hand.
Dean held back the door and Fitzgerald brushed past him, turning into the parlor where most of the Bird Song guests were gathered.
"Maybe we should talk about this out back," Dean said but Fitzgerald was already in the room.
I'm Fitz Fitzgerald, filling in for the sheriff.
Fitzgerald paused, building the tension.
Everyone moved closer as Fitzgerald ceremoniously opened the box.
His question caught Fitzgerald totally off balance.
"Fitzgerald was a state guy over in Denver," Fred grumbled, as if reluctant to let go of his pet theory.
Randy, Martha, Fitzgerald, the Dawkins business....
I know I should be upset that Fitzgerald is running against you but I know his being in the race makes you want to run all the more.
"If Fitzgerald can find this place, so can I," he answered.
He knew at least Martha, Caleb, and Fitzgerald had come this far.
When they arrived, they recognized the spot immediately, not only from Martha's description but also from the disruptive markings, apparently caused by Fitzgerald when he recovered the bones.
Someone dropped it when they switched the bones for the ones Fitzgerald found!
He could lie and tell them he was a police officer or sheriff and maybe squeeze some tidbit of information about recently released mom Patsy, but surely Fitzgerald would find out and tank his election ambitions, if those aspirations weren't already six feet under.
He hummed, a feeling of mild accomplishment sandwiched between the failure to contact Martha and the trepidation of potentially being made a fool by Seymour "Fitz" Fitzgerald, sheriff candidate.
"Fitzgerald is a local, too," Fred answered.
His old man was a miner and lived in Ouray when Fitzgerald was a kid—a snot-nosed bully, I suspect.
Martha, the little girl who originally told us about them, described them differently from what Fitzgerald found.
While Dean could have officially requested Fitzgerald to pursue the matter, his past experience was beginning to teach Dean when to keep his mouth shut.
In the eyes of the Deans, it was looking more and more as if person or persons unknown did in fact take the original bones and switch them for the theatrical imitations Fitzgerald dragged out of The Lucky Pup mine.
Nor, for that matter, would have anyone else Dean could think of, Acting Sheriff Fitzgerald included.
But I thought you were positive it was Fitzgerald who switched the bones.
Fred said Fitzgerald lived here in Ouray and his father was a miner.
Besides, how would Fitzgerald know about the theatrical bones?
Acting Sheriff Fitzgerald was slipping two one-pint bottles of vodka into a paper bag as Dean was about to open the door.
"It's just a Coke," Fitzgerald lied, adding, "if it's any of your business."
Dean wondered if Fitzgerald might be a closet drunk.
But Fitzgerald had no honor guard, and no beads.
Acting Sheriff Fitzgerald moved out from behind the lights and strutted over to her.
Fitzgerald smiled and added, "Great job!"
Dean stood up and Fitzgerald noticed him for the first time.
"You've had a hell of a night," Fitzgerald said to her.
Fitzgerald moved too close to Dean.
Fitzgerald chased after him and grabbed his shoulder, turning him around.
Dean moved close enough to bump Fitzgerald but held his temper.
Fitzgerald didn't follow but called after him, "I still have to talk to you!"
Smiling Acting Sheriff Fitzgerald, dressed in his uniform, greeted Dean graciously as he poured charm on the ladies.
Fitzgerald listed a college degree, birth in Ouray, and nineteen years in law enforcement, the last eleven in administrative duty.
Fitzgerald drew first and stepped to the podium.
"I'm much more comfortable telling you why I feel capable of performing the duties than picking apart Mr. Fitzgerald," Dean said as he detailed his duties in direct police work and the experience he'd gained from them.
Fitzgerald hardly waited for Dean to finish.
"Let me give you an example of our differences," Fitzgerald continued.
Fitzgerald didn't look pleased.
Fitzgerald had no such compunctions.
Fitzgerald immediately called everyone's attention to her.
Then, Fitzgerald added, I understand Mr. Dean was in the area, too, though I don't as yet know why.
Fitzgerald glared at her.
Mr. Fitzgerald used up his time discussing his deputy.
The combatants left the room together, with Fitzgerald not even acknowledging Dean's presence.
Fitzgerald has some nerve suggesting otherwise.