Chapter Nine

Tuesday, p.m.

The Missing Necklace

I called out as I opened the door.  “Hey, Guys, how’s it going?”  I whistled as I saw the destruction all around me.  I mean it.  Donaldson and Watkins had really torn that beauty shop apart.  Every station had its cabinet doors open and its curlers dumped across the floor.  Empty plastic and glass bottles of every size and shape filled the shampoo sinks to overflowing, and others that contained transparent liquids were stacked on the floor.  The base of the lounge sofa was upside down against the cash register counter, and the cushions of the lounge sofa and chair stood upright against the wall with their zippers undone and stuffing protruding.  “Good grief!” I exclaimed.  “You guys really did a job of it, didn’t you?”

“Isn’t it awful, Sheriff?  We’ve emptied dozens of bottles, and felt in every single cushion around here.  There’s no sign of any jewelry.  Whoever got it must have gotten out of here before you arrived.  Sighing, Donaldson leaned back in Trudy’s chair and closed his eyes.  “I’m absolutely pooped.”

I picked up a cushion, and automatically began to push the stuffing back inside.  “Go ahead.  Take a break, Jim.  Where’s Sam?”

“In the bathroom checking out the toilet.”

“Good idea.  How about the tanning bed?  Have either of you checked that?”

Sam walked in.  “We’ve checked all around it, M.J.  No sign.”

“Not around, Sam.  In.  Let’s go look.  I’ll show you what I mean.”

Both he and Donaldson followed me back.  As we entered the back room, I noted again the small timing knob a little above my eye level.  The pink curtain was tightly tacked to the wall, so no one could have reached out from inside to reset it.  I pushed the curtain up against the two walls, exposing the large monstrosity.  White powder coated the metal of the white lid and chrome handle as well as the Plexiglas.  The fingerprint fellows have already dusted it, so there’s no need to worry.”  Sam lifted the lid.  Eight long white lights ran the length of the lid and bottom.  A Plexiglas cover held in place by the metal rim protected the user from the lights.  There are extra bulbs in the closet, so it’s got to be easy to get into this thing to change them.”

The sight of the bed still gave me a shiver.  I told them both that Kit had been poisoned, probably by something absorbed through her skin.  I groaned, as I realized I’d made another mistake, one that this time could have been fatal.  Fortunately, they both already had on gloves, so I put on my own gloves before I slid the Plexiglas of the lid all the way back and pushed it up the three inches or so until the front side dropped into our hands.  Together we slid if forward and laid it on the floor.  I reached up between the lights at the end by the timing knob, and in only a couple of seconds more, we had retrieved the Sapphire ring and string of pearls.  “It wouldn’t have taken much extra time at all to lift the glass and slide these in,”

“It’s a shame you didn’t think of looking here before you had us trash the place, Sheriff,” Donaldson groused.  “Those poor girls are going to have a time getting this place back into shape.”

“Shut up, Jim,” Sam answered.  “At least she thought of it.  You could have thought of it yourself, but you didn’t.”

“All right, fellows.  Jim’s right.  I’ve been in this tanning bed, and I should have thought of it, but it didn’t hit me until I was leaving Doc’s.  If our murderer is also our thief, the safest place to stash the jewelry was right here under our noses.”

“You’ve been reading too much Ellery Queen, Sheriff,” Jim said.  They’d always kidded me about my habit of bringing in paperbacks to read on my breaks, or when it was my turn to run the radar out on the highway.

“Don’t knock it, Donaldson,” Sam retorted.  “We looked for almost three hours, and she waltzed in, and in less than five minutes, she had a handful of jewelry.  If that’s what you think we need, I’ll get us a whole stack of paperbacks from the five and dime.”

“No, thanks.  But what if we did take a tip from those guys, and clean up this mess, put the jewelry back, and catch the thief retrieving them?”

As he picked up the long piece of Plexiglas, Sam laughed his Santa Claus laugh.  “Right, Jim.  And they just walk right in and get them with one of us sitting under the hair dryer watching.  Don’t be ridiculous.”  The glass dropped back into place with a loud thunk.  “You’d better be the one, Sheriff.  Maybe you wouldn’t look quite so conspicuous with curlers in your hair.”

I held up one of my longer strands from the top.  It was still only about two inches long.  “I don’t know about that, Sam.  I think Jim’s hair might be longer than mine.  I pretended to look him over.  “I think his cheeks are a bit pinker too.  With a bit of lip gloss, and a good pair of pantyhose, he might make a pretty good imitation of a woman.”  As I joined Sam’s laughter, even Donaldson grinned.

“All right, all right, men.  Enough of this.  We’ve got too much work to do.  You won’t believe what else I found out from Doc.  Let’s get back to the office.”





About TeresaGPollard

Born and raised in Richmond, VA, I am a Christian Mom, Grandma, Sunday School Teacher, and now Author. My goal is to reach people with the Truth of God's Word and help them to apply it to their real world situations.
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