Monday, July 13, 2009


“Is it too much to ask for a man to get a cup of coffee before solving the worlds’ problems?” barked Detective Chuck Thomas. He swung open the car door and plopped his six eight frame in the passenger’s seat.
“This is a big one,” Danica Cruz had said into the receiver. “It’s Rick Somers’ daughter. The housekeeper found her.”
The slight pain behind Chuck’s eyes intensified. He didn’t need a case like this to start his day. Rick Somers was a retired lawyer for the stars. He had more money than he knew what to do with, so he became a philanthropist, throwing cash at every charity he could think of. Everyone loved him. His daughter Tonya, on the other hand, was a different story. Chuck knew their list of suspects had the potential to be a mile-long, at least.
“Here,” Danica pointed to the coffee in the cup holder. “Sugar’s in the bag.” Cruz hadn’t been his partner long, but realized he was in a mood; one that wasn’t likely to disappear any time soon.
He ripped open six packets of sugar with his teeth. “The media is going to be all over this.” He slurped his drink. “And you know how I hate the media. I don’t need to remind you that nothing gets out until we’re able to positively I.D. the victim and notify the family.”
“Shouldn’t I give you that speech?” she looked over at him. “I mean, if Hope Freeman is there, who knows what will fly out of your mouth.”


The officers called to the scene were packing up when they arrived.
“Mornin’ detectives,” a tired officer greeted them. “It’s a mess in there. Poor girl didn’t stand a chance.”
“Thanks officer. We may need a few of you to stick around in case a few nosey neighbors wander over.”
“Will do. The housekeeper’s still inside, but we haven’t been able to get anything out of her. Maybe you’ll have better luck.”
The detectives entered the home and were directed upstairs to the master bedroom. They glanced at each other as they made their way up the winding staircase. Danica could read his mind, only because she was thinking the same thing. Being on the Have-Not list was not fun, but it was part of the job.
Chuck remembered the photos he’d seen of Tonya in the society pages of the local newspapers and magazines. She was bright-eyed and beautiful, nothing like the figure dumped in the bath tub in front of them now.
“Someone really did a number on her.” Cruz began taking photos of the area, careful not to step on the jewelry scattered on the floor.
“Very personal,” he pointed to her mouth. “Get several shots of this. It looks like some sort of cloth or something hanging out of her mouth.”
Danica adjusted her lens. She knew exactly what it was. “Chuck, Tonya Somers was known for velvet ribbons. They were her trademark. She wore them in her hair, on her wrists, ankles, anywhere. But she was always able to pull it off. You know, it was never tacky. She made a simple velvet ribbon chic.”
Chuck took inventory of the room. Tonya put up a fight before she died, that much he could tell right away. “Where’s the housekeeper?”

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