The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418   Message #3794584
Posted By: Rapparee
09-Jun-16 - 09:57 AM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
She felt like she did that morning after the party at University. The one where she had...well, that didn't bear thinking about.

Breakfast arrived and the headline of the "Chicago Tribune" screamed "Reporter Shot In MF Tearoom!"

She found herself calm as she opened the plate of rashers, black pudding, tomatoes, and eggs. She poured herself a cup of the excellent coffee and continued to read while she ate.

"Hector Ballsworthy, British an upper class woman with a pet monkey...fingerprints and DNA analysis...police searching everywhere...anyone with information...Tearoom Manager very upset." The usual. Apparently she wasn't suspected, and Chongx would be angry by being referred to as a "pet monkey." She was also quite glad that ladies still wore gloves during an outing.

Finishing, she took the Beretta from her purse, flipped up the barrel and decided it needed cleaning. Pulling the magazine, she stripped the little gun as grandfather had taught her and using cotton swabs, tissues, the very hot hotel water and whatever else was handy did a thorough cleaning. Putting a drop of oil (intended for her personal shaver) here and there she worked the action and wiped off any excess. She pulled the trigger on the empty action, inserted the reloaded magazine, tipped up the barrel and placed one up the spout. The pistol when back in the handbag and the handbag back in the closet.

There was a knock. She threw on a robe and opened the door.

Two men in fedoras and trench coats. One pulled a leather folder from his pocket, snapped it open, and said authoritatively, "Chicago police. Detective Lieutenant Oliver. This is Detective Sergeant Friday. We hate to disturb you, but there has been a murder and we must ask you some questions."

She thought, "Chongx would say, 'Eat lead, flatfoot! I ain't feedin' you nothin'!'" Instead she quietly asked them to come in and offered to ring for coffee. They accepted and took seats in the sitting room. She was glad she'd shut the door to the bedroom, as it was untidy.

"You're Penelope Rutledge, a citizen of the United Kingdom, who arrived in town three days ago." It was a statement and she remained quiet. "Did you know a Hector Ballsworthy?"

"Yes, officer, I did. Or do. Has something happened?"

"He was gunned down in Marshall Field's Tearoom by a woman with a pet monkey late yesterday afternoon. It's in the papers."

"I'm sorry, but I haven't yet read the paper." It was true; several sections lay unread. "I didn't think very highly of Mr. Ballsworthy, as you may know."

The big cop smiled and said, "You hated his guts, didn't you?"

She smiled her most charming smile and responded, "I disliked all of him, but I wouldn't wish him dead in a tearoom." I'd rather with a stake through his black heart, at a crossroads, she thought, and it's simply too bad we did away with drawing and quartering.

The cop laughed and the other chortled. "Ms Rutledge, you were seen on the surveillance camera in Marshall Field at the time of the murder, in the company of a rather short companion. Would you care to comment?"

"Oh dear! THAT'S what that flutter was all about! Yes, I was shopping (and didn't find a thing) on the ground floor. There was a short person near me and I was afraid it was a purse snatcher or worse. That person fled when the 'ruckus' started and I very soon after. Can you believe that there wasn't a single Dior original anywhere in that store?" She played the surprised shopper to the hilt.

"I believe things like that are special order, Ms Rutledge," said Detective Friday.

"Oh! How gauche!"

"Ms Rutledge," asked Detective Oliver, "do you own a gun?"

"Why, yes. We have a number back home. Let's see: there's a Holland and Holland 700 nitro express double rifle (and a good one it is, she thought, ridding me of that cad Winston), a set of twelve bore Fabri shotguns, my father's Webley from the war, a Martini Henry a great-uncle carried in Zulu unpleasantness, my own 28 bore Purdey of course...."

"No, I meant here," he interrupted.

"Here?" she asked. "However would I get such a thing on the airplane? I certainly wouldn't put it in checked baggage! Besides, I wouldn't think I'd need a firearm in the United States. Am I wrong?"

"Oh, no!" said Oliver, standing. "Please let us know before you must leave town; we may need to contact you in the future with other questions." He and Friday moved to the door. "Thank you for the coffee; it was far better than we're used to." Oliver smiled and they left.

She locked the door and unsteadily moved to a chair and sat. She noticed a paper on the floor and picked it up. It was torn from a notebook and on it was scrawled "Balls: DNA rept.: reptil."

And she broke into a long, cathartic laugh.

(Stand by, folks!)