The cloudy, rainy day captivated my mood perfectly. My assistant, Warren and his wife Genji, invited me over for a cook-out. I didn’t have the heart to back-out so I sucked it up and prepared some Pico de Gallo Dip that Loren taught me to make. Determined not to drink too much and knowing Warren would make sure I was okay to drive, I only took a couple of beers. I don’t mind socializing but being the only gay person at the party I knew conversation with his other guests could get strained as the day went on.
When I arrived I was surprised by the number of people there. Warren introduced me to some of his cop friends, and a few of the neighbors. Although his wife Genji is an Asian immigrant with limited English, she mingled fluently and made sure everyone was comfortable.
After I made the rounds I took a seat in the back-yard. As I sipped beer I couldn’t help noticing a Caucasian woman with a long brown pony tail roaming around. Fit and trim, dressed in blue pants and a nicely pressed white shirt no one reacted or made any attempt to get out of the way as she walked by. My heart raced as she came closer. I try my best to block spirits but every now and then they appear despite my best effort.
“You see me right?” she asked.
“There’s a man in the kitchen I need to get a message to.”
I shook my head no.
“You have to do this. He’s suffering.”
I took a swig of beer and looked away hoping she’d leave.
“That’s my partner. He thinks my death was his fault. I need to tell him it wasn’t. Can you do that?”
I didn’t know what the hell to do.
She ignored my hesitation and said, “Tell him that Tracy says his golf game sucks and he needs new clubs. It’s a personal joke between us. There wasn’t anything he could’ve done to change what happened to me.”
Realizing she wouldn’t leave me alone I got up and went to the kitchen. Several people where mulling around and I heard her say, “That’s him, the bald headed guy in the black t-shirt.”
I walked over and said, “Hi, I’m Jackie a friend of Warren’s.”
He smiled and replied, “Steve Lockhart.”
“Steve you’re going to think I’m nuts but I need to speak to you about something.”
“Okay, you alright?” he asked.
“I will be in a minute,” I said.
I led him into the living room and we both sat down on the couch as I tried to find the right words.
“I’m a detective and a psychic. I know this is going to sound crazy but I have a message from Tracy.”
His face flushed, “from Tracy?”
“She said your golf game sucks and you need new clubs.”
He appeared dazed for a second and then burst out laughing. “My God. Tracy?”
“She’s insisting on letting you know on what happened to her wasn’t your fault.”
His face grew dim.
She said, “Tell him that I’m okay.”
“She says she’s okay and doesn’t want you to suffer any more.”
Tears welled up in his eyes. “I’ve always blamed myself. We were investigating a domestic violence call and the situation got out of hand. The perp came from the kitchen firing shots before I put him down.”
“She says you were the best partner she could have asked for.”
“Thank you. This means a lot to me,” he whispered.
Tracy smiled and as she touched his shoulder she faded away.
Steve wiped his eyes.
“She’s gone now.”
He nodded and as we joined the others I wished I could let go of the guilt I feel about Loren’s death. For a few seconds I let go of everything and lost myself in the spectacle of fireworks lighting up the night sky.
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