Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Mildred “Millie” Douglass had been Tonya’s caregiver since she was six years old. When Tonya’s mother died, Millie took on the responsibilities of being there whenever Tonya needed a mother figure. Now she sat in the living room, not quite sure if what she saw was real. She looked down at the small poodle in her lap and wondered if Fluffy had witnessed the attack.
“Ma’am, my name is Detective Chuck Thomas,” he sat beside her. “I’m so sorry for your loss, but I need to ask you a few questions.”
Millie shook her head. “Who would do something like this to her?”
“That’s what we’re trying to find out.” Chuck ran his fingers over his close cropped hair. “When was the last time you saw Miss Somers alive?”
Millie nervously stroked Fluffy’s head. “It was yesterday. She was preparing for the gala. She was so happy.”
“Can you tell me what happened when you arrived this morning?”


Millie opened the door and couldn’t believe her eyes. There was no way she was going to clean up this mess all by herself. How could Tonya let this take place? Millie had specifically warned Tonya not to let it happen again, not after the last party she had. The great room was in complete shambles; sofa cushions upended, tables overturned. They even pulled books from the shelves. She was ready to drag Tonya out of bed so she could help clean up what she and her so-called friends had created.
Her anger intensified when Fluffy limped into the room. “What have those drunken fools done to you?” she scooped the white poodle up into her arms. Millie gently untangled one of Tonya’s ribbons from Fluffy’s hind legs.
“They tried to dye your fur again, didn’t they? When will they learn?” Millie stuffed the wet ribbon in her pocket. “Let’s get you upstairs for a bath. How about in Tonya’s soaking tub? After what they put you through last night, that’s the least I can do for you.”
Fluffy trembled in Millie’s arms. She licked her neck and cheek. “I know,” Millie tried to comfort her. “Don’t worry. I’m going to clean you up. After a nice bath, the attempted dye job will be a distant memory.”
They reached the end of the hallway and Millie wanted to burst into Tonya’s room with an attitude, hoping to catch her with a massive hangover so she could give her a piece of her mind, especially about Fluffy. But the hairs on the back of her neck stood. Suddenly she wanted to leave the house. Something wasn’t right. Fluffy jumped from her arms and cowered in a corner in the hallway.
“Tonya?” she called from the hall. No one answered. Millie took a deep breath and pushed open the door.
The bedroom was empty, and the bed hadn’t been slept in. What a relief, Millie thought. She must’ve stayed the night at Winston’s.
Millie headed toward the bathroom. She promised Fluffy a bubble bath, and that’s what she was going to give her.
“Fluffy,” Millie yelled. “Get ready for your bath.” She opened the bathroom door. Her eyes focused on Tonya propped in the tub, head cocked back, with her arms and legs hanging over the sides.
“Oh! Oh!” Millie sank to the floor.

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