What’s in the bag?
“Let’s start at the beginning,” said the police detective. “What were the two of you doing in that alley?”
Anne rubbed her wrists from where the cuffs had chaffed her skin and took a sip of water from the bottle on the interrogation room table. “I was in town for a hairdresser’s convention,” she said. “You have to keep up with all the latest styles if you want to keep your clients. Anyway, they’re doing some fascinating new things with gel manicures…”
“Why don’t you skip ahead to the part where you’re walking down the alley?”
“You know,” said Anne, “even a hard-boiled, true-grit kind of man like yourself can benefit from a regular nail regimen.”
“The alley, Mrs. Wheaton.”
“Right. I was going to meet some of the girls from the convention for drinks, but I got lost. The street I was on was closed for construction, so I thought I’d cut through the alley and catch a cab on the other side. That’s when I found the body.”
”And I was on my way home from shopping when I heard a scream and went to investigate,” said Bonnie. ”That’s when I found her.”
The detective frowned. “So the two of you have never met before tonight?”
Anne and Bonnie looked at each other for a moment before they answered. “No,” said Anne.
“Nope,” said Bonnie. “Never.”
“And neither of you had ever met…” The detective checked the file in front of him. “Neither of you had ever met Mr. Gasparo Floyd before.”
Anne shook her head.
“I think I would have remembered,” said Bonnie. “Especially with a name like that. Who was he anyway?”
“He was a food critic for one of the local papers,” said the detective.
“Well, there you go,” said Anne. “He probably gave some hothead chef a bad review and paid the price for it. If there’s nothing else…”
She stood up to leave, but the detective motioned for her to sit back down. “Not so fast. We still have some more questions.”
Anne shrugged and sat down. “Look, Detective… uh, what was your name?”
“Detective Sergeant Grammar,” he answered.
“Okay, Detective Sergeant. This has been fun and all, but as soon as my lawyer gets here, we’re leaving.”
“Don’t think your famous husband’s going to get you out of this one, Mrs. Wheaton.”
“Actually he’s not that famous. He tried to charm his way out of a speeding ticket and almost got arrested for solicitation. It was all a misunderstanding. We don’t talk about it. He does have a very good lawyer though.” Anne mimed a pair of pistols and made a pew pew sound as she pretended to gun the detective down. He only scowled in reply.
“Please don’t point your finger pistols at the nice police detective,” said Bonnie.
“Oh, right,” said Anne, folding her hands in her lap. “Sorry.”
“In the meantime,” Grammar continued, “why don’t we talk about this.” The detective pulled Bonnie’s shopping bag from where it had sat out of sight under the table. He reached in and pulled out a small figurine which he slid across the table towards Anne. She flinched as it skidded to a stop in front of her, but Bonnie reached over and picked it up. It was a taxidermy mouse dressed as a pirate. She straightened the tiny tri-corner hat before setting him down on the table in front of her.
“It’s okay,” said Bonnie. “He’s dead.”
“How does it being dead make it okay?” asked Anne.
“Well… he doesn’t bite.”
“Great,” said Anne. “I’ll console myself that at least I didn’t get bitten by a mouse with an eye patch and peg leg when I’m dying from The Plague.”
“That almost never happens anymore,” said Bonnie. She turned the mouse so that it faced Anne. “I call him Pepper Jack Sparrow. Arrgh, matey! I don’t need a treasure map to find yer booty. Arrgh!”
“Are you two trying to make a case for insanity?” asked Detective Grammar.
Just then, a thin man with a wrinkled suit burst into the room. “All right, this interrogation is over. Not another word, ladies. Now, unless you plan to charge my clients, we’ll be leaving.”
Detective Grammar stood up and tossed the bag across the table. “No charges for now, but they are still persons of interest in our investigations. We’ll have to insist that both of them remain in the city for the time being.”
Bonnie snatched up the bag and stuffed Pepper Jack Sparrow back inside before following Anne and the lawyer out of the interrogation room. After picking up their belongings, they walked in silence until they were standing alone in the elevator. “I’m going to assume neither of you is a cold-blooded killer,” said the lawyer as he handed each of them a business card. “My advice is to go home and get some sleep. Don’t talk to anybody. I’m sure the forensics people will have this all sorted out in a day or so. Mrs Wheaton, you should call your husband at your earliest convenience. He was quite insistent on that point.”
“He must be freaking out,” said Anne. “I’ll call him right away.”
Once they had reached the lobby of the police station, the lawyer turned to face them. “Now, try not to get arrested again, I need my beauty sleep.” With a flourish, he disappeared out the front doors and into the fog.
“What an odd little man,” said Anne.
“I never was one for doing what I was told,” said Bonnie, “and I don’t trust the police to clear our names. I think we should investigate this case ourselves.”
“I don’t see how that could possibly go wrong,” said Anne. “I’m in. What should we do first?”
“Well, I need a drink,” said Bonnie, “and I know just the place. If we hurry, we can still make last call.”
“I like where this is headed,” said Anne. “Lead on, my new friend.”
The characters of Anne and Bonnie, while loosely based on their real world namesakes, are entirely fictitious. You can find more googly-eyed goodness at vandaleyes.net. Also, checkout this great video Anne did with Seamus, Marlowe, Sean Becker, and Steve Grubel for the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA.