I was dog tired. I had not really slept for 24 hours and I was dragging. I fell asleep on the couch in the living room at the McElroy’s house. I guess someone must have put a cover over me. I did not realize that it was 3 o’clock in the morning. All of this happened so fast, that I was beyond confused. When I awoke the next morning, I could smell coffee. I got up and went to the downstairs bathroom and washed myself as best I could. Steve had lent me some pajamas to wear. I went into the kitchen and Steve and Paula were sitting at the kitchen table. They asked me how I was doing. I told them that I was tired and worn out, but had some things to do immediately.
I asked if I could borrow Steve’s cell phone again. The first person that I called was Margaret. She was very distraught. She had called our daughter in Seattle. It must have been a difficult decision. In reality, it was a call that told my daughter that she did not have a place to live. The same thing would have been true of my son Jonathan. He was still in high school and was planning on graduating this year. I told Margaret that I would get on the stick and get someplace for us to live temporarily.
After gulping down the coffee, I called the police and told them everything. They asked if they could come over and speak to me. I asked Steve and Paula and they agreed. The police had already gotten wind of the fire which was now described as arson. They did not know that two men had tried to kill me.
I then called our insurance broker and informed him that our house was no longer alive and that I needed a place for my family to stay, while we were without anything. They said that an adjuster had already been out to the house and determined that a replacement would be needed. Since I already had contents insured, that would also come into play.
I now focused my attention on the disappearance of Sam Ellis. Today was the day that he would officially be labeled at missing. Whatever forces that were available could now be deployed. I might even discuss his absence with the police when they arrived. Steve had called his contact in the Governor’s office. I should get a call from the commander of the state police any time now.
Two plainclothes policemen pulled up into the McElroy’s driveway at about 11:00. I guess the township had given them instructions to be very careful about what they asked me. They were generally very polite, but not very interested in what I had to say about Sam Ellis. Their questions made me think that they were just running out a string and anxious to get to someplace else. I did see them take some notes and kind of look at each other. I finally said to them, “Are you interested in why two people wanted to kill me by burning down my house and leaving me on the floor to die?” They both looked at each other and one said, “We do understand that you have gone through a trauma and we are trying hard not to put you through a wringer. We do understand that you were assaulted in your home and that the fire was set deliberately with you partly unconscious in the house.” “So” I said, “Why are you being so nonchalant about your questioning? You act as if what I say has no meaning in the scheme of things.”
They both shrugged their shoulders and looked at me as if I were a bit strange. I am not sure what their superiors told them, but it could not have been what I was expecting. “Look Mr. Wainright, our instructions were to ask you about the fire and the assault. We are not involved, nor will we be, unless asked, in the disappearance of Senator Ellis. He lives in Dushore in Sullivan County. Since Sullivan County does not have a police force, the state police will be doing the investigation. Our involvement in that part of what happened to you will only be peripheral.”
I was not sure that I really believed what the detective was saying. How could what happened to me be divorced from the disappearance of the senator. As I looked at Steve McElroy, I got the feeling that he agreed with me. The two detectives asked some pro forma questions picked up their notebooks and left, saying that they would be in further contact with me. I was kind of glad that they were going. I was getting angrier by the minute and I guess I showed it.
When they left, Steve looked at me and said, “Chet, there is something going on here, that seems very strange. Why would local police not be on the lookout for a missing person, especially one with statewide recognition? Don’t state police send out bulletins to all police forces across the state notifying them of a missing person?” I thought so too. Is it possible that there is some force involved in all of this that has some control over what is happening? As Alice would say, “This is getting curiouser and curiouser.”
I thanked Steve for allowing me the use of his phone. I was anxious to be able to get a hold of some car keys, so that I could do some things independently without relying, or actually bothering, Steve.
I called the dealership from whom I had bought the car and got them to understand what I needed. Since I did not have a wallet or any other identifying pieces of paper or credit cards, it was nice of them to cooperate. They told me that they could give me a sort of master key for my key fob, until they could get the one that was specific for my car. They warned me not to drive too much without a license or registration (which I always kept in my wallet).
Steve drove me first to the dealer and then to my burnt out house to pick up my car. I never realized what would happen if I did not have everything that was in my wallet. It was time to make another bunch of phone calls and visits to the DMV.