Wakeup Trudy Trundal
October 1, 2012
The Christmas Angels
December 15, 2012
Wakeup Trudy Trundal
October 1, 2012
The Christmas Angels
December 15, 2012

The Case Of The Cement Socks

The dilapidated cuckoo clock on the naked office wall wheezed out a pathetic five cuckoos. Seven o’clock in the evening found Paul Savage hard at work. He had finished painting his inbox a dazzling cherry red, and now he applied the final touches—NASCAR stickers—around the edge, when a loud knock on the door shattered the silence.

“Don’t wear out your knuckles. The door’s open.” Paul placed the last sticker with delicate artistry.

A tall, neatly dressed man came in with a gorgeous woman holding his arm. Smells like Chanel No.5. Don’t know what she’s wearing. The tap of her stiletto heels echoed on the hardwood floor.

“Are you Paul Savage, the detective with the nose for clues?” he asked peering over the roll top desk sitting in the middle of the small office.

“You’re speakin’ at him.” Paul wiped his hands on his pants and stood behind the desk.

“I’m Clive Damon and I’m in the employ here of Mrs. Fannie Farkle.”

Fannie sashayed around the desk and held out her petite hand. “I’ve heard so many good things about you.” She had fire engine red hair and lips to match.

Paul gave her hand a manly shake. “You’ve heard about me? Well, all the good things are true, the bad things just vicious rumors. What can I do for ya? Sorry I can’t offer you a chair. I don’t have any. Give me that name again. I need to enter it into the computer.”

“Farkle, Fannie Farkle.” She took out her compact and quickly checked her perfect makeup.

Paul fumbled with the keyboard. “Phooey, I’ll get it later.”

Fannie sat on the corner of the desk and crossed her long slender legs. “I need to hire you to find my husband’s murderer.” She took a hanky from her suit sleeve and feigned dabbing her eye. “At least I believe he’s been murdered. The police don’t believe me because Reginald is always taking off to the far corners of the world without so much as a goodbye.”

“Why do you think someone gave him a pair of cement socks for his birthday?” Paul fidgeted with his pencil.

“It isn’t his birthday.”

“Just a poor attempt at levity.”

“Oh, Okay. This time my husband left without taking his laptop.” She uncrossed her legs. “He never does that. All his important information is on it.”

“Maybe he left in a big hurry.” Paul tried to remember Lesson 4 of his detective course on interviewing.

“No matter how big a hurry Reginald is in he never leaves the laptop.”

“You two have a major spat?” Paul squinted at the diamond locket dangling from her tiny alabaster neck.

“No, nothing like that. We might not get along that well but he wouldn’t just leave me.” She crossed her legs again.

“Okay I can understand that. So do you suspect anyone in particular?” Paul thumped the desk with his pencil.

“Lots of people don’t like him, but I don’t know any who want him dead. No one would have sent him cement socks. How can you wear cement socks? Isn’t that a bit uncomfortable?” Fannie looked puzzled.

“Precisely. What’s your husband’s work?”

“Don’t know for sure. He always tells others that he is in the import-export business.” Fannie took a box of Tic Tacs from her purse. “Care for one?” She offered Paul the box.

Paul took the box and tried to shake one out. He yanked on the top and all the tiny mints flew out on the floor. “No thanks.” Paul handed her the empty box. “Okay, I’ll look into your case.”

“Wonderful.” Fannie smiled. She and Clive turned and strolled toward the door. Paul watched the last wiggle until the door closed. That woman was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and a hundred-dollar bill in her hand. He plopped down in his swivel chair and deposited his black brogues on the desk. Something is rotten in Sweden.

Paul pondered the problem for some time leafing through Becoming a Detective in Ten Easy Lessons. He perused Lesson 7 when he observed the quote, “Remember to believe only half of what you hear and listen for what you don’t hear.” Huh, that doesn’t make sense. I’ll sleep on it. He leaned over to blow out the candle when the jangling phone startled him.

“Office is closed. What do you want?” he asked.

“Hello, Mr. Savage. I have something important to tell you about the Farkle case. Meet me at pier 36 at midnight,” the poorly disguised woman’s voice whispered.

Just like the movies. The midnight trip to the docks trap.

“And this is not a trap.” The phone went dead.

Good. Ain’t a trap. May lose a few winks but this may be the break I need so I’ll hit the docks at midnight.

 

All was quiet on the docks, except for the faint bell of a buoy in the bay. The air smelled like a mix of regurgitated garbage and seawater. He parked his Chevy and got out, taking a deep breath while strolling slowly toward the building on Pier 36. Seconds later a black Mercedes screeched to a halt beside him. The passenger side darkened window lowered.

“Quick, get in.” The woman motioned.

It’s the fickle Fannie Farkle. He opened the door and jumped into the luxurious black leather bucket seat.

“I think I might have been followed.” Fannie adjusted the rearview mirror.

Paul looked around to see two headlights closing in on them. “I would suggest you see how fast this buggy can go.” Paul tightened his seat belt.

She mashed the gas pedal to the floor slamming Paul back in the seat. He looked back to see the headlights of the car following them grow smaller.

“Turn right here,” he commanded and Fannie quickly swerved to the right down the dark roadway between the dock buildings.

“I hope you know where we are going.” Fannie turned on the bright lights.

“I know this place like the back of my thumb. Who’s chasing us?” Paul strained to see where this road went.

“I think it’s Clive. I couldn’t say anything in your office but I believe he is the murderer. I think he is somehow involved in my husband’s gambling adventures.” Fannie gestured with her right hand.

“You didn’t say anything about gambling before, and keep both hands on the steering wheel, please.” Paul looked at Fannie. Why had she forgotten something so important?

“I thought I mentioned that. Maybe you just didn’t hear me.”

Maybe this was something I didn’t hear. “Anyways, sounds like the classic case of the butler did it—Lesson 4.” Paul flashed back to the study of Lesson 4 of his detective course.

“Less than four?”

“Never mind. Just thinking out loud.”

Paul saw the end of the road approaching fast. Fannie slammed on the brakes and skidded to a halt on the dead-end street. Two headlights stopped behind them. Paul heard a familiar sound. “It’s okay. Just an ice cream truck playing its jolly tune,” Paul opened the door. “I could use an ice cream sandwich.”

“Don’t do anything stupid,” a husky voice demanded from beside the truck.

“Hey, does that mean you don’t have any ice cream sandwiches?” Paul yelled.

“You really do have a nose for clues,” the man in the dark shadows laughed.

“Reginald, is that you?” Fannie got out of the car.

“Another good guess.” Reginald stepped out into the truck lights.

“I thought you were dead.” Fannie started to walk toward Reginald.

“Well, thanks to you I’m not.” Reginald raised his hand to keep her from coming closer.

Paul scratched his head. “Come again. I think I’m missing something.”

“I need to be dead, at least some people need to think that, and now you have fouled up my foolproof plan,” Reginald said.

“Sounds like your Reginald slipped out of his cement socks. Anyway, fair Fannie Farkle, sounds like this case is solved.” Paul walked around the rear of the car and bent down to tie a rebellious shoelace.

Another pair of headlights pulled up. A dark figure stepped out brandishing a weapon. “Thanks for leading me to the dead Reginald,” Clive laughed.

Paul slipped into the shadows. He reached into his coat and grabbed his 9mm…banana? Rats. I wondered what happened to that banana.

Clive aimed his gun at Reginald who made a headlong dive for the truck. Two shots rang out echoing in the canyon of buildings. Both bullets missed their target. Paul jumped on Clive from the side knocking his gun to the ground. Paul quickly retrieved it.

Pointing the gun at Clive, Paul summarized, “Now fine Fannie Farkle, your case is solved.”