Read The Nice and Casual Observations of Sissy Jenkins (part 1)

The offending roses sat on my dining room table, not because I liked the roses, but because I enjoyed how the light reflected off the vase. I am also morbidly curious about death and I look forward to chronicling the steady decline of the roses. How the petals will wither, the leaves and stems will dry, and the entire display will morph into something delightfully mortal and dead. My mother always told me it was good for the soul to have moments to look forward to. This was certainly one.

I’d plucked Sam’s note from the roses and examined it under a strong light and aroma of tea, which I’d put on the kettle to calm my nerves. To be clear, it was the rolling boil and whistle of the kettle that made me feel One With the World, not the tea itself. But it seemed silly to just boil water for the sake of it, and I’d had a packet of tea already in a cup, waiting for the boiling water.

The note to Sam was simply “Thanks for last night.”

Something had happened last night, something worth thanking for. I opened the laptop and searched for local missing people. While most would assume the roses were a romantic gesture to thank someone for a good time in the sack of possible love, my instincts told me something else. If I wanted to thank someone for a dirty job, I’d send an innocuous gift like the roses. I’ve never been a woman of stature, and if I needed to bury a body, help would be required. Then I’d send a gift to show my appreciation–politeness isn’t lost on me. As I browsed the local news websites, I thought how fitting it was to send flowers after burying a body. The double meaning warmed my heart, and I found myself smirking at the dying plants on my dining table.

As I suspected, someone had gone missing last night. Her name was Eileen McDonald, she was 37, had two children from two fathers, worked at the local grocery store as a clerk, and wore eye glasses and curly hair. The curly hair was on her head, not on her glasses, but it was so unnaturally curly it appeared more a hat than a style. Both of Eileen’s children where teenagers, attending the high school which was no more than four miles from my house. According to the article, Eileen went missing yesterday, and was last seen picking up her youngest daughter from school. Both teenagers were at home, and it was the eldest, who drove her own car and worked at the Seven Eleven, who’d reported her missing.

Jackie Jackson, my West Highland White Terrier, tapped into the kitchen. He was seven years old and acted like he was eighty. Except when he saw a cat, or a rodent, or the mail man. He looked up at me expectantly, but I knew not what he wanted. He was a curious dog, who stared outside during the day, but when I’d take him outside, he’d look back towards the house. His peculiar demeanor was why I consulted a dog psychic, for I rather thought he had the soul of a cat or of a moody teenage girl, not so much a dog. The psychic insisted we’d need weekly sessions to determine the aura of Jackie Jackson, and how best to address his swings of mood.

I offered him a doggie cookie, then set it on the floor. He looked first at the cookie then back at me. At the cookie. Back at me. At the cookie. He licked it three times, it moved across the linoleum, then picked it up and trotted out of the kitchen to the den, where he crunched it and licked up the crumbs from the carpet.

The crunching of the cookie made me wonder what possible thing Eileen McDonald could’ve done to deserve a murder. If she was just a store clerk, and had no husband to help with the household costs, but had two teenage daughters, one of whom had her own car, it made sense she did something else on the side to earn extra cash. Store clerks didn’t go missing. They were either killed during a robbery, or they quit their jobs to find something more satisfying.

I told Jackie Jackson to get ready. We were heading out to the store to learn more about the Side Jobs of Eileen McDonald And Why She Had to Die for Them.



Image of the angel courtesy of jbooba