Chapter 12 (A RIDDLE)
Wednesday arrived hot and humid.
The week between Christmas and New Year was neither here nor there in terms of expectations. The excitement and hub that came before the arrival of Christmas was halved. Even less than that. Presents were done and dusted, however, some New- years’ parties were trying to fill the excitement-gap. The topic at nearly all New-year’s parties was how and when to swore off all bad habits of the old year. And to SIN – so to speak – one last time before getting round to that “J-Lo body” “stop smoking” or “end the affair”. Some sins more serious than others, and yet, each and everyone wants to start the New Year with fresh beginnings. However, rule number one for all New-Year’s resolutions are: Always start on the 2nd of January, that way everyone can enjoy all their bad habits one more time: the last big eat, the final smoke, winding up the last beer ever – just this one final time before the New Year, and new me, really kicks in.
To quote Rita Mae Brown: “Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself!”
Mostly just talk and no walk for most, but it makes you feel better about yourself and the new beginning!
Of course, if you were born with brilliant genes like Monty, diet was one word you never use, and gym was second nature. He looked sun-tanned and healthier than before Christmas. The blonde hair had a cut but was still fashionable messy to go with the toned muscle and charming personality. And to top it all off, the little bastard could work the computer like it’s nobody’s fuckin business. Deric was, like a lot of men, just a tad jealous.
Deric actually liked this care-free, suntanned, attractive nerd a lot. So did most people. But it’s a damn good thing all nerds don’t look like this!
Deric suddenly realised that all were staring at him.
‘Hey, I thought you got the girl,’ Jim taunted, ‘and here you’re daydreaming about a guy. Is there something I should know? Something I should tell Mae?’
Jim, Monty and Sheffield burst into laughter and Deric felt his ears going red.
‘Well, no, it’s just, I thought maybe Monty should tell me where he spent his holiday. Maybe I should go there next year. Nobody should be this fit and trimmed when they get back from holiday! They should have flab and things like that!’ Deric followed Jim’s tactics.
‘Yeah, I’m with you,’ Sheffield, who wasn’t in bad shape for a man of fifty-nine odd years himself, gave Monty the once over, ‘does it do anything for age, I mean this place?’ He patted under his chin and then looked at Jim and Deric, ‘I hate bloody youth, don’t you?’
‘Well, luckily life is a catch-22, either you die young or grow old,’ Jim said,’ he’ll get his turn, but in the meantime, Deric,’ he crossed his arms and looked like a seven-year old who refused to pick up his toys,’ I’m not walking next to him when we get called out. You have too! At least you still got a full head of hair-’
‘And the girl.’ Sheffield said laconic.
A smile appeared on all the faces. Sheffield love of beautiful women was no secret and Mae was good to look at.
‘And the girl!’ Deric smiled satisfactory.
’Listen Offbach, why did I cut my off-time short?’ Sheffield said with a sudden impatience, ‘Certainly not just to admire Monty’s good looks.’
The silence was tangible after Deric had read the letter from Brenda Blignaut. All four stared at the cross-word puzzle.
’I didn’t look at the info on the memory-stick as yet, although, I must admit I was tempted to. She firmly got my attention with this letter. Actually she got my attention back at the hospital, but this just confirms that I was not dreaming up the things she said. The cherry-head girl. I’m still wondering about her. Mila Jordan, the real one, did confirm that her aunt was the same Nora Jordan representing Plats. She died more than two years before Blignaut and cannot be part of this.’ he pointed to the envelope and papers on the desk, ‘We can’t find anything that ties Mila Jordan to any of this besides that she knew Blignaut – very well, I might add – but that’s it. She is what she says she is and nothing was found that contradicted that.’
All were still staring.
‘You can go ahead, it was dusted yesterday for fingerprints and only hers, we presumed, were found. Pat called the attorney’s this morning, and according to them the envelope was handed to them sealed. They didn’t know what was in it, only had instructions what to do with it and when.’
‘Even if they did know, they wouldn’t have told us about it. Not till after her death anyway.’ Jim said, ‘and let’s face it, this ole lady is, or was, clever. Client-attorney confidentiality and all that crap!’
’We found five of this “Ice-Cream-Club’s” victims. We still do not know about a sixth. It could be Plats, but what should be our concern, for now, must be the seventh dead man walking.’
Monty took the memory stick and placed it in the computer.