Friday, November 02, 2007

Chapter Five

Earlier that day.

Fanny reached into her pocket for her house key and instead she found the candy bar she had impulsively picked up at the checkout counter. She hadn’t had any sugar at all since she and Harold had been on his damned adrenal diet, but suddenly she had an irresistible urge for a candy bar that she knew would not be quelled by a roasted red potato – regardless of what Dr. Burger said.

She left her bags at the front door, unwrapped the candy bar and strolled over to her favorite spot – a worn green bench under the dogwood tree. She seated herself comfortably before she took the first bite. “If I am going to sin, let me sin vigorously” she thought. That was one of her favorite sayings, which she always carefully attributed to Dame Margot Fontaine. She took perverse delight in knowing that Rudolph Nuryev and Dame Margot were once arrested for smoking pot in Haight Ashbury.

Her own, more innocent, indulgence was interrupted when a late model sedan stopped in front of the house and a well-dressed young man got out and walked toward her.

“Mrs. Britt?” he asked.

“Yes. I’m Mrs. Britt. Can I help you?”

The stranger took what looked like some type of official credentials from his coat and held it up briefly before returning it to his pocket. “I’m detective Svenson. I’m afraid your husband has been involved in an unpleasant incident. I’m going to have to ask you come with me, please.”

Without waiting for her response he placed is hand on her arm.

She pulled her arm away from his grasp. “Just a minute. I’m not going anywhere with you. What kind of incident? Is Harold alright?” Fanny stood up and stepped away from the stranger. He stepped toward her and again took her arm – more forcefully – causing her to drop the candy bar on the ground. Still holding her arm he knelt down, picked it up and dropped it into her open purse.

“Come with me, please. You don’t want to make a scene, do you?”

Fanny looked around. The street was empty. There was no one around to see what was going on. No one to hear her if she screamed. But she screamed anyway. The last thing she remembered, before everything went black, was Arlo’s frantic barking from inside the house.



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