Chapter 59 (CHRISTMAS EVE - 2014)
Deric and Jim each sat with their feet up the desk in Deric’s office. Each a coffee in hand and eating cookies from a large Christmas hamper that Mae’s mom baked for the office. A rainy summer despite the hot spring, and outside the rain came down slowly, but steadily, as it did for the last four days.
It was two days before Christmas 2014.
Deric can’t believe how time can fly.
‘I guess this is the closest we will ever come to a white Christmas FC,’ Jim said with a comfortable sigh as he dug another ginger out of the box. It was his favourite. Monty had just come back from honeymoon. Danny and Jim will be on festive-duty this year. They figured Deric should spend Emma’s first Christmas at home with his family and Monty should do the same with his lovely, new wife. Latisha also volunteered half-heartily, but luckily Danny and Jim said if Deric could handle it on his own last year, they can handle it this year.
Deric was quietly elated. In three or so hours he’ll be home and even though Emma still wouldn’t really know what’s what, he wouldn’t miss her first Christmas for the world. He suddenly saw her little face clear as daylight in his head. Luckily, as Jim had put it so eloquently, she looks a lot like her mom, green eyes and all. Only the hair, at the moment at least, seemed to be dark, like her father’s.
‘All in all a good year, don’t you think?’ Deric mumbled. His mouth was half-full with a Romany-cream.
‘Between the murder and mayhem, you mean?’
Deric gave a grin, ‘No, I mean in spite of that. Natasha and her new hubby, Monty and his lovely wife-’
‘But, best of all - my godchild!’ Jim said as he reached for another cookie.
‘Yeah, best of all – Emma!’ Deric swallowed before he went on, ‘And don’t forget Maddie Hastings. She’s going to be one famous artist and I had the good sense to buy one of her paintings!’
‘So did we! So much talent. I’m so happy for her and Clement Hastings and Nicky.’
Patricia Mabone knocked and then peeked round the door at the same time.
‘Oh, this looks cosy.’
‘Cosy, cosy, we’re working here woman!’ Jim said with pretend outrage.
She gave a clear laugh.
‘Oh, I can see that Lieutenant Cruse, I’m worried that you will work yourself to death. Or should that be EAT yourself to death?’
Jim gave a snort.
Patricia held an envelope out to Deric.
‘This just came for you by courier.’
‘No, no, no, not again!’ Deric said as he observed the “BANDS BOUWER AND ROSE” letterhead.
Jim stopped chewing, ’What do they want now. Rather, what does she want now?’ he asked as he took his feet from the desk, ‘Please, not more murders to solve!’
Deric sighed, pulled his gloves from his pocket, put it on and then pulled the contents from the envelope.
Dear Captain Offbach,
I think we owe you an ending to all this, seeing that you’ve held up your end of the bargain.
We rerouted the plans for the last tasting of “Death by Chocolate” which at first was planned to be a DEAD-END. Luckily the new tasters decided not to devour the ICE-CREAM – just to put a strawberry twirl on it. We thought this would get him by the nuts - if you get my drift. And I think it did.
It all fitted like a proper scoop of creamy-caramel in a homemade cone, wouldn’t you say.
The “Ice Cream Club” had officially dissolved. We’ve finished off all the flavours on the table.
Have a merry little Christmas – go and enjoy an ice-cream with your family and friends this summer. It is rather hot in South Africa this time of year, not so?
I think maybe CHERRY would cheer you up no end!
Thanks for what you’ve done,
From the Cherry on the top.