Talk to the Hand
“Tell me again,” said Anne. “Why are we going to a craft store?” It had been a long night of fitful sleep, and now Bonnie had dragged her out of her hotel room before she could even have a cup of coffee.
“We need to talk to owner,” she said. “Nobody knows more about googly eyes than Archie. He’s the biggest independent craft supplier in the Bay Area. If anyone knows who bought those eyes, it’ll be him. Besides I have to pick up a few things. You know, kill two birds with one stone.”
“Just so we’re clear,” said Anne. “There’s no actual dead birds in there, right?”
“No,” answered Bonnie, “That’s a different store.”
Bonnie was about to open the door, but suddenly stopped. “Wait, there’s one more thing. He’s incredibly shy, so he’ll only talk to people through a ventriloquist’s dummy. Okay let’s go…”
Anne hesitated. “Umm…”
“What?” asked Bonnie.
“Wait a minute. How do we know he’s not the killer? He’s got access to googly eyes and there’s the creepy dummy thing. He could be Norman Bates for all we know.” Anne stabbed at Bonnie with an imaginary knife. “Eek, eek, eek, eek.”
“Archie?” said Bonnie, incredulous. “No, he’s a sweetheart. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” With that, she disappeared into the store. Anne shrugged and followed her in.
“Hey, look who it is.” Archie stood behind the counter. On one hand was a dummy’s as promised. The other hand held a portable vacuum which he switched off as the women approached. It was the dummy who spoke. “I haven’t seen you in ages. Come in, come in. Don’t mind the mess.”
“What happened?” asked Bonnie.
“Damn kids. Can’t keep their hands to themselves. One of them opened up a container full of glitter and then sneezed. Now we’ll never get it all cleaned up.”
“Well, glitter is the herpes of the craft world,” said Bonnie.
“You probably shouldn’t use that in the advertising copy,” said Anne. “I’d go with ‘It’s the gift that keeps on giving.’ or something like that.”
“Who’s your friend?” asked the dummy.
“Oh, sorry,” said Bonnie. “Anne, this is Archie and his friend Carlos. Guys, this is Anne. We’re being accused of murder together.”
“Wow, if I had a nickel for every time I’ve been accused of murder…” said Carlos. “Oh, wait. You’re serious.”
“Dead serious,” said Bonnie. “That’s why were here. When we found the body, the killer had placed two googly eyes on the victim’s eyelids. I’m hoping you can tell me who bought some googly eyes recently. They were the extra-large size.”
“That’s easy,” said Carlos. “There was only one person to buy the one-inch googly eyes in the past week. I’d never seen him in the store before, but I recognized him from his newspaper column. It was Gasparo Floyd, the food critic.”
“But that’s the victim!” cried Anne.
Archie stared up at the ceiling, an uncomfortable look on his face. Bonnie cupped a hand over her mouth and whispered to Anne, “You have to talk to the dummy.”
“But that’s the victim!” Anne repeated to Carlos with exactly the same enthusiasm.
“Sorry that I couldn’t be more help,” said Carlos.
That’s okay,“ said Bonnie. ”It’s not your fault. I guess I might as well get a few things while I’m here. Anne, why don’t you look around. I might be a while.“
Anne l browsed through the paint, faux fur, and bits of styrofoam with disinterest. The craft store had been a dead end, and they were no closer to catching the killer. But just when things were looking their worst, she found something that made her heart race and her eyes go wide.
To be continued…
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. Bonnie is the author of several books including The Star Wars Craft Book and currently writes for CNET.