June is an exciting month. Just ask young people because they’re ready to have a summer break. The school year is different now, and especially this year with many school closing earlier than normal because of covid virus revenging the world. When I was growing up, we didn’t start a new school year until mid-September, and we finalized our school year the second week of June. It isn’t that way any longer but now you’ll have more time to enjoy another of our stories. This one Jack wrote, and I think you’ll like his main character, Paul Savage. Here’s Part 1.
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,” the tall gentleman 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 scuffed 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.
Part 2 Follows Next Month…