Soul Scout Chapter 38: Spinning wheels
“Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small. Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”
-- Friedrich Von Logau, “Retribution”
“I’ve heard that the wheels of justice turn slowly, but this is ridiculous,” Tate Saunders muttered under his breath while sitting in the lobby of the Superior Police Department. “Any slower and they’ll grind to a halt. Right now, they’re just spinning.”
“Yes, they turn slowly, but exceedingly fine,” Darren Lassiter countered gently with what he could remember from the famous poem. He chose to stand while still dripping wet from the night’s monsoon. “I know you’re concerned about your friend, but let the officers do their job. They will find her. It just might take some time.”
“Her name is Caisee. Caisee Pells. And she’s much more than just a friend to me,” Saunders replied, his head downcast. “I love her. I mean we’re friends, the best of friends, but I recently told her that I love her. Still waiting for an answer on that one.”
“I see,” said Lassiter, who already knew that information. It was pouring out of every thought the old street preacher was reading, like water being squeezed out of a sponge.
Lassiter was used to people telling him their intimate thoughts and feelings. People felt very comfortable around him; so he just chalked it up to being part of the unique gift God had given him. But even as Saunders was wearing his heart on both sleeves, he was still a mystery to him. During their short time together – a cab ride from Duluth, Minn., to Superior, Wis., and reporting the girl missing to the Superior police – most of Saunders’ thoughts were focused solely on her.
“Please be OK, Caisee. I love you.”
“I can’t lose you.”
“I’ll find you, Caisee. Wherever you are.”
But even in the midst of Saunders’ rapid-fire thoughts concerning Caisee, another character entered the stage.
“I don’t know if you disappearing has anything to do with Wakeman being on the run. I’m just hoping you found him and that you merely lost track of time and me.”
“Please, Lord, help me find them. I can’t lose both of them. They are my closest friends in the world.”
Who Wakeman was and his relationship to Tate and Caisee was thought-provoking, but Lassiter knew from past experience to wear mental blinders and hone in on what he believed God had set before him. He couldn’t afford to get distracted. Seeds don’t get planted while flying off on tangents, no matter how interesting they are. He definitely wanted to help his new friend find Caisee, and that might be a big part of God’s plan. But something inside of him screamed that Saunders was a lost soul in need of rescuing in a spiritual way.
“While we’re waiting to see if the police find out anything, why don’t we pray?”
Saunders looked up and scanned the waiting room. It was empty for the moment. Apparently the rain had scared off most of the criminals tonight. He nodded slightly.
“Sure. Anything to help Caisee.”
But as Lassiter moved closer to Saunders and put his hand on his shoulder, officer Brett Evans, the police officer who took the missing persons report, entered the room.
“We’ve had a couple of officers stop by the Perkins Restaurant where Miss Pells works,” Evans said. “They talked to several of her co-workers who verified that she worked her full shift last night and then left. Nobody saw her leave, however. And her car is not in the parking lot there. The officers then checked out your place. No car in the parking lot there either. The apartment was dark and no one answered when they rang the doorbell.”
“So what happens next?” Saunders asked.
“Well, there isn’t a lot we can do at this point. She could have driven to a friend’s house or her cell phone battery could be dead and she can’t reach you. There are many reasons why you two could have lost contact with each other tonight.”
“But she was supposed to be picking me up. It’s the only car we have. She wouldn’t ditch me like that,” Saunders’ voice seemed to rise in volume with each word. Lassiter put his hand back on his shoulder, a gentle cue to lower his voice.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Saunders,” Evans said, his voice calm and soothing, if not robotic. “My suggestion is for you to go home and get some rest. She’ll probably come home soon or give you a call. Then the two of you can have a laugh about you sending the police out looking for her.”
Saunders didn’t find Evans’ last comment funny at all, but he just nodded and turned toward the door.
“I’ll be happy to have one of our officers run you home, if you need a ride.”
“That’s OK, officer,” Lassiter said. “Tate doesn’t live too far from here, and it sounds like the rain is letting up. We’ll hoof it. Thanks for your help.”
Saunders was silent while they walked to his apartment. The rain had receded from a flood to a mere drizzle. The rain-drenched streets of Superior were mostly deserted, and the city lights cast a shimmering glaze on them.
Lassiter considered praying out loud for Tate and Caisee as they walked, but he sensed his troubled charge was so awash in his thoughts that he likely wouldn’t even hear the prayer. So, he decided to walk silently, too, and pray just as silently for God’s wisdom to help him in this situation.
As they approached the apartment complex, Saunders finally spoke.
“Well, still no car, which means odds aren’t very good that she’s inside the apartment either,” he said.
Lassiter hung back, unsure of what to say next other than good night. But he didn’t have a bed lined up for the night yet … what was left of it. Saunders seemed to sense that hesitation as he dug into his jean pockets for his keys.
“Hey, you can crash here if you’d like,” he said. “I’m not the best company, but I can offer you a warm bed and food for your trouble tonight. I appreciate you tagging along.”
Lassiter was glad that at least one mystery was solved. Maybe a revelation about Wakeman would come next.
“Thanks, Tate. I’ll take you up on that … we’ll see in the morning if those slowly turning wheels made any progress.”
“I think you mean spinning wheels,” Saunders replied with half a smile.
But as Lassiter approached the door, Saunders slammed it shut -- almost as soon as he opened it – without setting foot inside.
“Um, I think we need to call officer Evans again,” Saunders said.
Saunders pushed the door open again and flipped on the light, and what Lassiter saw inside made him gasp.
“Because it looks like a tornado just hit my apartment.”