The Beauty at the End of the Block, A Brew Parkers Mystery

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Chapter 9

By that evening, Wendy's people had contacted the police with their information. Our local folks were polite and said thank you. They will follow up when they have time Holly had found out from Margret that her police contacts told her the police were busy with a string of robberies related to the growing heroin problem. Murder is important, but so is an on going drug problem. The police are not interested in Holly losing her career and all of her hard work, going away! It is not productive to be angry about it , but darn it! The police need to investigate Jerry and Roger. They jumped on Holly fast! We gave our friendship freely to Jerry and Roger and were betrayed, lied to, duped! If I was in one my stories, the monsters would eaten us already and danced off victorious! What a bunch of fools! Hind site always left us with the “I should have noticed” moments. I hate that! John had been listening to my rants since we got home. “I want to look though their house. When do you water the plants next?”

“I am supposed to go over tomorrow, but don't you think it would better for the police to do that? “Your friend is accused of murder and you are going into the person's house you think framed her? Bad idea? Illegal search and seizure. Right? Wendy talked about it in her books.”

“You're right. I am glad one of us is rational.”

Sunday morning, I walked into the laundry room to get my cleaning supplies. Cleaning supplies? Your best friend in the whole wide world is about to be charged with murder and lose her job and you are cleaning? Yep. Little secret about your intrepid horror writer. I have three stress levels. Level one, cook and bake. Level two, deep clean. Level three, locking myself in my bedroom, eat junk food and watch my favorite horror movies and not moving. Level three is not allowed here. I had already done level one therefore on to level two. I started cleaning at the top and worked my way down. Why does it seem bathrooms are never clean enough? Dirty tissues and tufts of dog hair ended up behind the garbage can. Does no one know how to toss the garbage in the garbage can? I am constantly picking up! It looked like a ton of dust to me and it had been four days since I last dusted. Picking up my green dragon, hand made by my adorable Michael, to dust it, I thought about how much dust had accumulated in four days. Jerry's house must have inches of it. When my Mom broke her ankle, I went over to help her clean and do other chores. It made her feel better to know she did not have to do those chores when she was off her feet. If Jerry was not the possible jerk that framed Holly, I would offer to go over and clean so they did not come home to a messy house when they got back. Oh! That's it!

“John! Text Jerry and tell,him, no ask him, if he would mind if I clean the house a little. That way it will be nice and tidy when they get back.” I was gathering the supplies into a bag.

“Tabitha, really?”

“Yes! If I have permission to be there and to clean. There should be no problem then and I won't touch anything without his permission.” I smiled excitedly.

“What if he says no?” John was entering the text as he talked to me.

“Then, I won't go.” We knew if I did anything wrong, it would hurt Holly.

John's phone chimed with a text. “Jerry says “you are very sweet and he would love that”. Ha! And he says “save him the bill. Ha ha'.”

“Excellent. I”ll call Mom and Dad and see if they can take the boys. I need to take my time cleaning Jerry's house. As a caring friend, I want to do my best.”

Ten minutes later, our boys are safe and John and I were walking up to Jerry and Roger's door.

John opened the door and deactivated the alarm. John and I had a one of JJ's spy cameras on our shoulders. JJ and Michael chase each other and Charger around the house wearing them. The videos are hysterical. I would document my movements to show the police I did not tamper with anything.

John inserted the key and turned the lock with the usual click. We opened the door to a chiming alarm coming from the key pad on our left. John entered the code and the beeping stopped. The house was just as I remembered from the open house the realtor had for the neighbors when it first went on the market. The house was a ranch with three bedrooms and two full bathes. Living room or main room in the front and kitchen eat in area in the rear. This model did not have a formal dinning room allowing for a larger kitchen and main room. Jerry and Roger had not repainted. The white walls had taken on a greyish cast with age and no attention. The carpet was basic Berber in washed stone gray. The light wood furniture and tan leather sofa reflected the faded washed out look of the room despite being new. The decor was simple to the point of plain. Think deep discount store furniture display. No extras just practical. The electronics were almost top of the line. Personal touches mostly missing. Like Sahara and Kyle's house. Interesting. From the main room, I could see the kitchen. The main bath was to my left and past it the hall leading to the three bedrooms and the master bath. John walked straight to the kitchen where the computer that ran the security system sat. I slowly followed him trying to take in everything at once but finding nothing to take in. I was having a huge problem focusing! I knew they had framed my best friend but nothing jumped as suspicious and screamed “clue”. My mind said there is nothing here to notice. This was going to be another stupid idea like going through the boxes from the Greentree's house. Crap! John was at the keyboard clicking the codes as he must have done before.

“Something is not working right. It's not running its program. It's acting like its stuck. Hm.” Lucky for Jerry and Roger, John can fix computers and reads and writes code.

The kitchen gave up no clues. Jerry's dishes and pots and pans were put away and clean. The dishwasher was even empty. The fridge contained bottled water and condiments. Jerry was a excellent at planing for a trip. We left for a two week vacation and I left a cabbage in the fridge. Bad news, I came back to a stinky, mushy mess. Good news, I created a great character for one of my stories.

“I'll be right back. I need my repair kit.” John dashed out.

I continued my tour and walked to the bedrooms. The first bedroom was set up as a guest room. Nothing personal in it. The next bedroom logically would have been Roger's. Again, simple and plain. The bed was made up with a black and red coverlet and one matching sham. My fingers tingled to open the drawers and closet but I had no reason to if I was cleaning. Jerry's room, the master bedroom and bath, again, was neat and the bed was made. The master bath showed signs of use. Again, I could not rifle through the drawers and closets. The front door opened and closed. I walked back to the kitchen deflated I had not solved the mystery by finding the missing clue. Fiction makes it sound easy.

“Hi. The computer overheated because the fan was not getting enough air. I mentioned it to Roger. He said he knew his specs and it would be fine.” John loved computer mysteries. I heard him move the chair to sit down.

I was contemplating if I dusted how much damage I was doing to any evidence. I was rubbish at this! Walking around in circles not touching anything was not going to find proof Jerry and Roger set Holly up. What kind sleuth am I! Nothing obvious. Nothing out in the open marked “clue”.

“Problem solved. There were sheets of paper stuffed in the case. Who's stupid enough to do that? You know, I caught Roger in some inconsistencies when we talked about computers. I thought he was confused by my questions but, maybe he really was clueless. I can fix it and set things right. How is the cleaning coming?”

“Um. OK. I don't know where to start? Jerry and Roger left the house in a hurry and yet everything is neat and in place.” I quickly added. “I haven't opened anything up. Did Jerry say if there was anything special he would like me to clean?”

“No. Whatever you wanted to do was fine with him. Hey, honey, I found something.”

I stood in master bath wondering what I could be missing. A false wall. A key hidden on his dresser. “What?”

“Honey, you want to see this.” John called out.

Walking back, I looked at perfectly set bedrooms and the all white, never used bathroom. I had the creeps. I walked into the kitchen almost forgetting why I was there. “Yeah, John.”

He held a bunch of papers up to me. “This was in the computer. Interesting.”

“Read it.” John pointed again to the papers in my hand.

“It's not nice to ready other peoples emails.” I glanced at the hard copy emails. My eyes scanned down the pages. It was clear what the emails were saying. We were right. After everything, we were right. It was time to call Detective Hite.

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