He was right. Lamaar, like Disney, had started out as a small animation house. Rambunctious Rabbit, Slaphappy Puppy, McGreedy the Moose, and a shitload of terminally jolly characters had captured the public's heart and transformed the little cartoon studio into a global entertainment company.
Today Lamaar made movies and TV shows, owned music and toy companies, operated hotels and a cruise line, licensed cartoon characters, and was traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Familyland was just one small piece of the corporate pie.
Terry recapped the highlights of his last two trips to Familyland with Marilyn and the girls. He made sure to give me some tips on how to get back-doored,' which is theme park jargon for entering a ride or attraction without waiting on line. Apparently, his ability to buck the long lines and get the VIP treatment at Familyland had made him even more lovable in the eyes of the four women who already adored him.
We don't like to talk about a case before we get to the scene, so Terry segued into the upcoming college hunt for the twins, who were juniors in high school. He never once mentioned how expensive it would be, which if you know Terry is just like him. He was just a button-popping proud Dad, who wanted the best for his girls. We were discussing the merits of applying for early admission when he pulled onto the off ramp. The arrow on the sign for the main entrance to Familyland pointed right. Terry turned left.
"They said don't go to the front gate," he told me. .
"We're going to the admin building on Happy Landings Boulevard. They want to keep this investigation low profile, so try not to look like a cop."
That's the nice thing about Terry. Sometimes he lobs out a straight line for me to take. "Okay," I said. "I'll leave the donuts in the car."
Terry gave a little chuckle, which from him is a rave.
I, in turn, bowed to thank him for the set-up line. Sometimes homicide can be a lot of fun.
Copyright Marshall Karp 2006. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Macadam Cage.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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