Ruthie Vytrznik was flat on her back, eyes closed, quite dead.
“Vi-Tris-Nick,” Robbie volunteered. “It’s Polish for ‘Troublemaker.’”
“She’s making trouble even when dead,” Marge Aaron said. “Ruthie Vytrznik was poisoned. She died of an overdose of onions.” Ruthie, it appears, is a vampire. Detective Elle Mentary arrives with three big men in trench coats. They go into Ruthie’s apartment and in just seconds - - -
The door to 322 opened and Detective Elle Mentary strode toward them. “What did you do with the body?” she asked, giving Marge a cold stare.
Marge looked confused. “We wouldn’t move it or touch anything! It’s a murder scene.”
Elle Mentary turned on her heels and motioned for
Marge to follow. Everyone else followed as well.
“She did not come out the door!” Robbie insisted. “We were watching the hall for Alphonso and Raven.”
“The windows are all locked from the inside,” one of the trench coats said, checking all three windows in the room.
Hadley leaned toward Robbie. “What was her middle name?
“Nosferatu,” Robbie whispered. “Vampire.”
Detective Mentary cleared the room. Dragging their feet, but not protesting out loud, the friends headed down the hall and into the elevator, headed for Alphonso’s office.
Geoffrey, the oversized Mastiff, met them at the office door. “He followed us in when we came for Ruthie’s records, and we forgot about him,” Alphonso said, reaching out to pat the big head that was level with him when he was on his scooter.
“He just turned three times and went to sleep,” Mary Rose said. “He didn’t care if you were here or not.”
They sat in the big chairs. Alphonso sat behind his desk. Geoffrey turned around three times again and lay down with his head on Mary Rose’s feet. They were all facing each other. Raven, the last to be seated, headed for Alphonso’s stylish wine refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of good chardonnay. Alphonso opened his desk drawer for his Crown Royal. Wiley gathered glasses and Raven poured. They all took a long sip in silence.
“She’s a vampire,” Robbie said softly.
“She was such a loner,” Hadley observed.
“Vampires don’t have friends,” Wiley said. “They’re always a pain in the neck.”
No one laughed.
“She ate onions,” Marge said. “Or onions were forced into her by someone who knew she was allergic to them before she was changed into a vampire.”
“IF she was,” Raven said. Robbie frowned at him.
“She never ate in the dining room or took part in activities,” Alphonso added. “Now the body is missing, and all the windows are locked.”
They were quiet for a time.
Goeffrey chased a squirrel in his dreams and farted.
In just a few minutes the door to Alphonso’s office opened. Detective Elle Mentary strode in, followed by the three trench coats.
“We have something,” Mentary said, looking at Marge Aaron. “I’ve heard about you Detective Aaron and admire your work. If you can clarify the meaning of the one clue we found, we’d be grateful.”
Trench Coat number one stepped forward. He was holding what looked like a small, ragged piece of thread.
Trench Coat One moved closer and held the ragged thread directly in front of her eyes.
Marge squinted harder, then reached up and touched the two-inch remnant.
“Dental floss,” she said after a second.
They all looked at her.
“I know how the body got out of the room,” Marge said, and she lifted her glass of Chardonnay to Dectective Mentary.
A Note From Joy
No One Crosses the Warden
In BOOB Girls II, Lies, Spies and Cinnamon Rolls. Mary Rose McGill, Sweet Catholic Girl, interviews a prisoner to find where, in a gangster’s mansion, a stolen microchip is hidden. Mary Rose poses as a mission church lady. Not hard for Mary Rose.
One of my friends, Karen, was the first woman warden of a men’s prison in Nebraska. I called for an appointment to see were Mary Rose and the prisoner would talk. Fine literary research.
I checked in at a big desk behind much bigger and more solid doors, was led between two rows of big desks manned by big men and came to even bigger and surprisingly beautiful wooden doors at the end of the rows of desks.
The warden’s office.
The receptionist opened the big doors.
It was like stepping into the movie The Secret Garden. All at once I was in a different world. There was a beautiful rug on the floor. The windows let in bright light. Comfortable chairs welcomed conversation. A long console held cookies and coffee. A massive wooden desk dominated one corner and standing behind the desk, the warden, who looked as if she should have on an apron and be holding a plate of the cookies.
Standing against the wall, between the big windows, was a beautiful tall black officer, in uniform, gun at her side.
Karen hurried around the desk and gave me a hug. We visited for a few minutes, then the tall officer led me to the visitor’s room. It was as spotless as all the other parts of the prison I had seen.
When we went back to the warden’s office, Karen announced we would all go to lunch.
“No thanks,” I said. I had other things I had to do. I did NOT want to go to lunch with a bunch of gang bangers!
Karen didn’t take NO for an answer She and another woman, dressed in business proper led the way. I walked with my tall, beautiful escort.
“What’s it like, working for Karen?” I asked.
“It’s great,” Tall, Black and Beautiful said. “She takes really good care of us, her staff, she cares for the inmates, runs a tight, good ship and has the respect of everyone in this building.”
We walked a few feet and Tall and Beautiful turned and smiled at me.
“And No One crosses the Warden,” she smiled.
We sat at a table by the cafeteria entrance. Inmates began to stream in. No orange jump suits, no obvious gang bangers. (As if I would know one if I saw one!) Inmates were dressed in khaki slacks and light blue shirts. They wore slip-on sneakers