Thursday, February 22, 2007
The Woman at the Window
Constable Dassios flipped open her notebook. "So where did you say this, er, body was, Dinah?"
I pointed at the Dubuques' flowerbed, sprouting bright orange zinnias whose black centers seemed to be winking knowingly at us. "That patch of pink in the middle of them is no sprig of posies, Constable. That's Mrs. Dubuque's housedress. I haven't seen her here in weeks. Her hubby's bumped her off and buried her."
Constable Dassios chewed the end of her pen. "Hasn't been seen for weeks, huh? Let me have a talk with Mr. Dubuque."
Talbot and Pantelli were sitting on top of the fence between my house and the Dubuques'. Talbot looked quite pale beneath his soulful dark forelock; he'd got along well with Mrs. Dubuque. But then Talbot got along well with all adults. Pantelli, meanwhile, was crunching his way through a bag of popcorn. He'd microwaved it specially for this "entertainment," as he called it.
"Hey -- there's Green Eyes!" he shouted, pointing to the window.
The green-eyed babe stared out at us for a moment, then let the curtain fall in front of her face.
"She's why Mr. D. killed his wife. Dead," I added pointedly, because the Constable did not look as impressed as she ought to. A tiny doubt entered my mind. Should I have waited till Mother was home to call the police? Talbot thought so. He feared I was being impulsive.
Me, impulsive? Donuts, holey?
"I'll handle this," said Constable Dassios. She started to walk up the deck steps to the Dubuques' back door.
I shrugged at Talbot and Pantelli. Mr. D. and Green Eyes would simply deny any accusations. I would just have to take matters in hand, so to speak. Grasping the pink patch of cloth, I gave a yank --
And toppled backward on the grass. I was holding Mrs. Dubuque's trademark pink housedress all right.
But there was no Mrs. Dubuque in it.