It was my fourth call of the night. I was already exhausted. I looked up and could see the faint full moon even though there was still daylight in the sky. No wonder everyone was a little Froot Loops tonight. Frakking full moon.
I crumpled up the empty bag of Fritos and tossed it on the seat next to me. High class dining. I fired up my sedan.
I met Dino at the crime scene. He descended on me as soon as I opened my car door. “You’re not gonna like this one, Boss. It’s as ugly as Lieutenant Ken’s shorts in there.”
I laughed at the simile. Ken was never going to live down that golf outing.
“Talk to me, Dino.” We walked toward the house.
“Burglary gone wrong. Seems like the perp picked the wrong granny. Blowtorch Bobby…”
I interrupted him. “Wait? The perp is Blowtorch Bobby? Ken’s CI?”
Dino nodded. “Yup. The same. Rather, the perp WAS Blowtorch Bobby.”
Oh, this just keeps getting better and better.
“What do you mean “WAS”?”
“Better just to show you, Boss,” he said as he held the door.
The home was decorated in kitsch and hideous 90’s wallpaper. It did look like Ken’s shorts.
Dino directed me through the dated home to the kitchen. Sitting at the kitchen table was a tiny woman dressed to the nines on an eight dollar budget. Her rings and baubles were clearly costume jewelry, but she made obvious effort to look completely put together. A beautifully hand-stitched linen apron covered her polyester Goodwill dress. The entire kitchen smelled like peaches. Judging by the measuring cup, flour, and unfinished pie crust on the counter, Blowtorch Bobby had interrupted her baking.
“Howdy, Ma’am. What’s your name?” I extended my hand to her.
“I’m Greta,” she said with that lovely, old lady waver in her voice. Her handshake was more like a touching of fingertips. “When are you going to let me finish my pie?”
“Very soon, Greta. My name is Sergeant Bensko. I just need to ask you a few simple questions.” I grabbed my notebook and pen and scribbled while she talked. “What happened tonight?”
“Well. This guy comes up to my front door. Now, I don’t open the door after it gets dark. That’s just not safe. Edna said there was a blue Ford going up and down our block lately, and I just don’t take chances. So he comes to my door and says he had a jury duty summons letter for me. Well. I always take my civic duties very seriously. I peeked out the window and he looked all respectable in his suit. So I opened the door. He handed me that envelope.” Greta pointed at a legal sized envelope bagged as evidence sitting on her kitchen table. “Then he just barges into my house like he owns the place. He slammed the door behind him. I think he was high. He smelled like the weed,” she spat with contempt.
I looked over at Dino. Dino nodded and said, “We did find a joint in his pocket, Boss.”
“Okay, Greta. Go on with your story.”
“So I was already in the middle of putting my pie together. And I didn’t appreciate him coming into my house like that. So I told him that I had business in the kitchen and he needed to leave. That’s when he pulled the gun from his pocket. I wasn’t scared. After 92 years, there’s nothing that boy could do to rattle me. So I just went into the kitchen. He followed me. So I grabbed a mason jar of my lemon curd and I whacked him right in the face with it. Just WHACK! Like that.” She made an awkward motion mimicking a pitcher throwing to first base. “And that glass just shattered everywhere. And then he fell down and didn’t move.”
The coroner had already removed the body, but the giant bloodstain and glass shards in the middle of her kitchen floor seemed to match her story. I thanked her for her time and left her my card. “If you ever need any help, Greta, I want you to call me as soon as you can, okay?”
The old lady smiled and said she would.
I left Dino at the scene to finish up.
I looked up at the full moon and prayed there wouldn’t be a fifth call.