Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective.
- John Buchan
Two uninvited visitors have just entered the office of the Attic Investigative Agency a few days before the agency’s official opening. Dana has asked why they are there.
Lois Chalmers: Is that any way to speak to your boss? Right, Ray?
Ray (her husband) shrugs his shoulders.
Dana: Actually, Mr. Bevens is my boss for doing security at the Mini-Mall.
Lois: Very well. But don’t forget I’m head of the merchants’ association for the mall.
Bast: We know that. But why are you here a few days before we open? You were sent an invitation to the opening reception.
Lois: We wanted to check it out beforehand. Might be able to send some business your way.
Dana (chuckling): Yeah, right. More like protecting your interests. And what about you Ray? What does the Chalmers Shoe Store want here right now?
Ray shrugs his shoulders again.
Dana: What Ray? Cat got your tongue?
Ray points to Lois: It was her idea.
Lois: Oh for goodness sake.
Ray: We just er, wanted to see the place.
Dana: Very well. Bast shall we give them the pre-opening tour?
Bast: Sure. Why not? Let’s start with the reception area out in the hall.
Lois: Novel idea, reception area right at the top of the stairs. But an attic has less space. What does this door lead to?
Bast (rushes forward to the door): That’s my room. Not part of the agency.
Lois (looks around the hall): But good location near the office in case of an emergency. And even a washroom up here.
Dana: Well, as you said, it is an attic. Wouldn’t want clients to have to run downstairs to answer the call of nature.
Bast: Let’s return to the office.
Lois (points to a glass door): And where does this lead?
Dana (opens the door): The balcony.
Lois: Neat. On hot days you can shoot the breeze with clients out here. Better be careful they don’t jump over the railing.
Dana: Lois, really.
Lois: Just kidding.
After they go back inside, Lois walks everywhere in the office, touching bookshelves, desks.
Lois (peers over the monitor of Bast’s computer): Hmm.
Bast (leaps his six foot three inch frame over to Lois): That is confidential business.
Lois: Oops. Sorry. But that’s great you already have business.
Dana: Lois. Why did you and Ray really come here?
Lois: Oh, I forgot. I have a cheque for your last two weeks’ service at the Mini-Mall. Mr. Bevens said to bring it over.
Dana (holds out her hand): Thanks. Is that it?
Lois: For today. Ray and I look forward to your opening reception on Friday.
Lois and Ray Chalmers leave. As their footsteps are heard going down the stairs, Dana scratches her head.
Dana: What did she really want? She has never delivered my cheque in person before. I’ve always picked it up from Mr. Bevens’ office in the mall.
Bast (strokes his beard): I think she was checking out the competition.
Dana: Hmm. I think it was more than that. That woman is up to something. Better keep an eye on her at the opening on Friday.
More footsteps are heard charging up the stairs.
Dana: Christ. Who is it this time?
Stay tuned for next week’s post.
Meantime check out my books. The book at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile.
For those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And check out my updated web page at www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Scroll down to Sharon A’s Gigs to see where I will be appearing with Beyond Blood.
Sharon A. Crawford