Monday, July 15, 2013

Beach Tale: "When We Were Middle Aged and Foolish", Second Installment

          This is the second installment of my serialized short mystery, “When We Were Middle Aged and Foolish.”  A new chapter will be posted every Monday for the next six weeks.  If you missed the first installment, click here to be taken to the page of what’s been posted so far.
          For those of you returning, a quick reminder when last we left our middle-aged amateur sleuths:  They were in the bucolic town of Sagucci Bay, and had a plan to dispose of the dead body they had just discovered in a stolen trash can…

 When We Were Middle Aged and Foolish
Installment Two of Eight

        Monica Lyn and I had shared our first bottles of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill on the night of her 14th birthday. That had been twenty-eight years, three months and six days ago. I still had a Jimmy Buffett lyric tattooed on my backside as a souvenir.
          In honor of my first visit to my hometown after a twenty-five-year absence, Monica Lyn had purchased a case of the beverage that more closely resembled cough syrup than cabernet. We each grabbed a bottle and, armed with a bucket of ice, headed for the back patio to figure out a plan. With her parents decamped to their mountain cabin for the summer (it was cooler there, and wasn’t plagued by tourists), we had the house to ourselves. In hindsight, it would have saved us a lot of grief if Mr. and Mrs. O’Neill had been around to talk us out of our simple (yet stupid) plan.

          As soon as it was nice and dark--and we were good and drunk--we donned matching pairs of yellow Playtex Living Gloves and hauled the trash can up the center of Fisher Street to Kitty Kline’s house. Our fumbling fingers dropped the trashcan more times than I cared to count, which required us to chase it as it rolled down the hill towards Sagucci Bay, which got us to giggling so much we had to slip behind Mr. Magoo’s (another nickname—for obvious reasons) lilac bush to relieve ourselves on at least three occasions. And, unbeknownst to either of us, it resulted in a trail of blood leading from Kitty’s curb straight back to Monica Lyn’s garage.
          Once we reached our destination, we parked the trash can in the small patch of weeds that constituted a front yard. It felt good to be rid of that body. “Time-a call-la police,” I sang while performing a sloppy Running Man dance move.
          “Sssshhhh,” Monica Lyn shushed me. “Don’t wake Mizzizzizz Kravitz.”
          Mrs. Kravitz (real name: Peterson) was the nosy body of Sagucci. Monica Lyn and I had bestowed upon her the nickname based on a character in the TV show “Bewitched” after she caught us sneaking out of Monica Lyn’s bedroom during the wee hours on a school night and the old biddy had squealed on us to our parents. Her generally accepted nickname was Mrs. Muffin--she baked the best blueberry muffins this side of the Mississippi—and lived two doors south of Kitty. Not a thing happened on this street without Mrs. Muffin/Kravitz knowing about it. She had been older than dirt when I’d lived on the north end a quarter century ago. Hard to believe she was still alive, let alone still poking her proboscis into everyone else’s business. I held a finger to my lips and repeated in a loud whisper, “Call-la police.”
          “Okey dokey.” Monica Lyn bobbed and weaved her way up the steps to Kitty’s front door.
          “Whatareyadoin’?” I whispered more loudly than I should have, given the circumstances.
          “Needda phone.”
          “Wherezhyur cell?”
          “I dunno. ’Sides, cops ’ud trace it back ta me.”
          I smiled and nodded at Monica Lyn’s criminal brilliance. “Jus’ don’t wake Kitty,” I cautioned.
          “Car’s gone,” Monica Lyn said, her Living Glove-clad hands twisting the door knob, to no avail. “Prob’ly out screwin’ someone else’s husband.” She stopped twisting and with exaggerated movements and crossed her arms under her breasts. “Now, if’n you were an SBCH, where wouldja hidda key?”
          We stood side by side under the porch light and surveyed the possibilities. “Flower pot,” I said, because that was the only thing sitting on the rust-stained cement porch. .
          Sure enough, tucked under a terra cotta pot filled with water-starved petunias we found a silver key that granted us access to Kitty’s home. I waited in the front room and counted the Chinese takeout containers (my comfort food of choice also) on the coffee table while Monica Lyn made the 9-1-1 call.
          Once the proper authorities had been notified, we skedaddled back down Fisher Street. Ensconced once again in Monica Lyn’s parent’s fenced-in patio, we collapsed on the chaise lounges and then proceeded to toast our success with a few more bottles of Boone’s Farm. Who’d a thunk that dragging a dead body around would be such thirsty work?
* * *
<<Be sure and check back next Monday to see whose body was in the trash can…>>

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