When Mitch Pembroke took the train to Bayonne to visit his friend, Kit Moran, over Christmas, he was only trying to get away from his domineering parents and their never-ending plans to end his bachelor ways. A little snow, a few carols and maybe a little harmless flirting with Kit’s sisters promised a pleasant change in atmosphere from the tense matchmaking of the Pembroke household. But the light-hearted visit takes a nasty turn when neighbors find Kit’s mother lying beaten and bloody on the sidewalk. With Mrs. Moran unconscious and Kit seeing red, it’s up to Mitch to help his friend secure a taste of yuletide vengeance.
The police arrived before Kit returned.
More accurately, one patrolman approached the front door and made it past Mrs. Corelli.
Mitch rose to greet him because it was the only thing he could think to do to help Kit. “I’m Mitch Pembroke,” he told the officer, “a friend of Kit Moran’s. Thank you for coming, sir.”
“No problem at all,” the officer told him. “I came as soon as I heard that Mrs. Moran was attacked. Where is the good lady? What seems to have happened to her?”
“She’s with the doctor now,” Mitch explained. “He’s tending her in her bedroom. Would you like me to ask Angie here to see if Kit and the doctor can come down to talk to you?”
“I’ll just do that myself, I think,” the officer said, and made his way up the main stairs.
Mitch wanted to follow, but did not. He sat back down and waited. A couple of minutes later, the patrolman returned. “Now isn’t that just the saddest thing you ever saw?” he asked.
“I haven’t seen her, sir,” Mitch answered. “Kit and Mimi had just picked me up from the train station when Angie told us what happened.”
“Did she now?” the officer asked. He turned to face the youngest Moran. “Tell me, Angie, were you there when the neighbors brought your mother in?”
“Yes, sir,” Angie said. “It was awful. Her face was all swollen and bleeding and they stole her purse.”
“It is a terrible thing,” the officer agreed. “Why was she out of the house?”
“She had walked to the store to get some extra food since we were having a house guest,” Angie explained. “I should have gone with her. She isn’t that young anymore.”
Mitch cringed at the implication. She’d gone out because he was coming to visit and been mugged.
Kit’s large frame filled the door to the kitchen. “I’m going to kill him,” Kit said.
“Now, now,” the officer said. “Let’s not talk like that.”
“I’m going to kill him, Tim,” Kit said again. “He beat my mother unconscious and I’m going to kill him for it.”
“Why don’t you sit down, Kit,” Mitch suggested.
Kit sat down heavily in the fourth seat at the kitchen table. His hands trembled with rage.
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