“Is there something you want to tell me?” Angie asked, trying to suppress a giggle.
“Ugh, really funny. I can’t imagine who would do this. As if I don’t have enough on my plate right now,” Dixie replied.
“Are you sure? I know you were hard up for cash,” Angie said, then burst into laughter.
“I don’t think you would find it funny if the shoe were on the other foot,” Dixie replied. “I’m going to have to change my phone number now because of all of the crank calls I’m going to get.
“Well, look on the bright side. If you do decide to change your number, your ex won’t have your number, people who you’d rather forget won’t have your number, and best of all, the person who has been threatening you on the phone won’t have it either. The way I look at it, it is a win-win,” Angie said.
“There’s always a silver lining with you, isn’t there?” Dixie asked.
“Not always. I’m just too old not to see the humor in life. I know things seem pretty bad right now, but trust me, this too shall pass. Someday we’ll look back on this and laugh. At least I hope we will,” Angie said.
Dixie wondered if she would ever laugh again. She knew that her aunt was trying to cheer her up, but she didn’t want to be cheered up. She wanted to be angry. She wanted revenge.
After she ended her call with Angie, she went into her bedroom and sat on her bed. After a few moments, she opened her bedside table and pulled out her Derringer. She held it in her hands and then checked to make sure bullets were in it. With the Stand Your Ground law, she could shoot someone if they came into her home and tried to attack her. She just hoped that she would be awake if someone managed to break in.
The next thing she did was to call a car rental agency near the airport. They wouldn’t know her from apple butter, and that would make renting a car from them much easier. In less than 15 minutes, she had arranged for a rental car to be dropped off at her home.
Dixie smiled feeling that at least she had accomplished something that day. She was curious to find out what the graffiti looked like that was advertising her new career. Even though Harlan had told her to have a police escort wherever she went, she had no intention of being driven around town in a cop car. Especially now.
While she waited for the rental car, Dixie opened her laptop to print off some sales flyers. She also pulled up a map of a neighboring town, so that she knew where the public buildings were. It was time to expand her business to find people who didn’t know she was involved in the murder investigation.
A loud knock at the door startled her, but when she went to the door, it was only the car rental representative. After she had signed for the car, she thanked the driver and watched him drive away in a second rental car. A police cruiser sat across the street from her home. It made her feel uneasy.
After she had shut the door, she collected her new flyers, brochures and sample bag. After she checked her face in the mirror, she set the alarm and locked her door before crossing the street to talk to the officer watching her home.
“Hi, just wanted to let you know I’m heading off to Canton today,” she said. “I need to drum up some new customers before I go out of business.”
“We’re supposed to go with you,” Officer Thompson said, confused. “I need to call someone.”
“Please, just keep an eye on my house. No one knows that I have a rental car, besides you and the rental agency. I’m sure I’ll be okay,” Dixie said, quickly turning away and heading for her car.
Officer Thompson radioed dispatch and asked for Harlan.
“Granger, this is Thompson. She’s flown the coop,” he said, bracing himself and waiting for the yelling to begin.
“Why did you let her…” he said, and then his voice trailed off. “Never mind. Just keep an eye on the house for now.”
“She said she was going to Canton,” Thompson offered.
“Canton?” Harlan asked. “I know where I’m going now.”
“Sir?” Thompson asked.
“I’m going to find her and trail her. What is the make and model of the car she is driving, and the color?” Harlan asked.
“It’s a black Chevy HHR,” Thompson replied. “It’s a rental.”
“Great. Thanks,” Harlan said and then cut Thompson off.
“Just what I needed today,” Harlan grumbled, smacking a file folder on his desk. He reached into his desk for aspirin, which was becoming a common occurrence. What he couldn’t understand was why Dixie felt the need to put herself in danger. He had told her what to do that day, and she had disobeyed his wishes by going out alone. When he caught up with her in Canton, she was going to wish she had stayed at home.
Harlan grabbed his car keys, jacket and a travel mug that was full of luke-warm coffee from his desk. On the way out he ran into Officer Fazio.
“Fazio,” Harlan barked. “I need you to check out on some complaints we have about graffiti on buildings near the restaurants on Main. The complaints are on my desk by the phone.”
“Sure. Anything else?” Officer Fazio asked.
“Yes, get some spray paint. We need to get the graffiti covered up ASAP. Make sure to take Greenlea with you to take photographs before you cover everything up.”
“What’s so important about the graffiti? Couldn’t we just let the restaurants cover it themselves?” Fazio asked.
“No. Unfortunately, it has the contact information of Dixie Carver, the lady involved with the Holly Caldwell murder,” Harlan said. “She doesn’t need any more crank callers right now.”
“Yes sir,” Fazio said, heading for Harlan’s desk.
When Harlan got into his unmarked police car, he slumped in the seat before starting it up. This case was taking a lot of his time, and now he had to take time away from work to babysit Dixie. As he pulled out of the parking garage into the sun, he began to feel better. Maybe all he needed, he reasoned, was some vitamin D and fresh air.
By the time he arrived at the Post Office in Canton, his bad mood had cleared up. He spotted the black Chevy HHR parked nearby and waited for Dixie to show up. He was looking forward to the confrontation.