~ PRESENTING OUR
AND THE POPPER"
FROM WHERE WE LEFT OFF
IN LAST WEEK'S CLIFFHANGER
~ ~ EPIC*SODE 4 ~ ~
~ By Absolutely*Kate
Harry B. Sanderford
It was warm the way spring beckoned this year, warm like the spirit within sweet Mrs Laurita Poe walking her little dog Jinks to and fro, to and fro, much like a pendulum, if you can view the wag of that tail. It was the peculiar way Jinks preferred to go. Laurita particularly admired the peculiar ~ the way winds of nature tended to blow. She never complained but went with the flow. Today though, she had method to their traipsing, circling the last remnants of slushy melting snow, past the hardware store, the 5 & 50, which, before inflation used to be the 5 & 10, past Martha's Merry Malt Shoppe and The Lucky Shot Bar & Grille. At the top of the street, the view commanded such a thrill. Laurita and her little dog paused as was their habit, to breathe it all in. The majestic view beckoned the whole valley to breathe it in, a setting which set the stage for the uptown theatre, AT THE BIJOU. Jinks sniffing, enjoying, to and fro, to and fro. Laurita turning, peering, trying to read past the rungs of the hook and ladder truck what was next playing at her favourite neighborhood matinee show.
Hook and ladder truck! When half past peculiar, Laurita's preference leaned decidedly to being in-the-know. With Jinks' red leash wrapped loosely in tow she angled both neck and vision, all the better to gain advantage of a vantage point of who or what would possibly enlighten her so. There. Around the back BIJOU parking lot, a dark flash of movement, a car door slam and laughter . . . The fluster of spring wind flutterered a Phillies cap and her ears keened to a low engine hum with gravel on the grind. Laurita was nothing if not kind. Though she and her spouse Edgar were Baltimore fans, she stooped to retrieve the cap before it sank to slush.
Straightening up, recognizing teenagers she once gave piano lessons to, she called, "Say there Mary Lou! Edward! Heavens, where's the fire? Do you know what's going on AT THE BIJOU?"
There was no other explanation for how Mrs Poe's exclamation jolted the lipstick of Mary Lou's liplock on Eddie than what a startle will do when sent spiraling into surging motion. Both physics and physical attraction bear heat and velocity. So did Eddie's moves. Fondling fond farewells through the tiny driver's window of Mary Lou's dimunitive VW, the popcorn popper's head reeled into steel door frame, Eddie's expletive shot clean into fresh air, his grip on the door handle . . . no longer there. Mary Lou gasped at the pinching squeeze of her main squeeze's class ring nipping breast buttons of her no longer pristine Dairy Queen uniform. Her clutch foot slipped. Her boyfriend and his clutch did too. Eddie's instinct kicked in as Mary Lou kicked at that stubborn clutch. But, hustling to regain fast-footing with a slow moving vehicle, his jacket pocket spilled out a parking lot trail. The little dog barked to see such sport and broke away from Laurita Poe.
"JINKS! No! No!" It was too late. Or perhaps . . . it was fate.
"I'll take that Madam!" claimed the crunch of gravel coming out of her left field of vision, best described as the spectral of a charging blur which bested the Phillies ballcap from the startled Poe's poorer grip. "And this tooooo," chortled the bent torso scooping the I-Phone fast out of Eddie's scrambling reach.
"Why, aren't you --- "
Jinks barked before he bit and the former was not worse than the latter. Expletives exploded of a matriarchal familial nature, as the man fell to the slush with nary a hush. And the dog ran away with the phone.
“Oh dear! I am so sorry Mr. Davenport, are you alright? I don’t know what on earth has gotten into Jinks. JINKS! You come back here this instant!” Laurita pleaded, but Jinks was not so inclined.
“It’s just a scratch my dear. I guess I should have known better when I downloaded that Fetch App,” Leon chuckled rising to his feet and other than the sodden spot on the seat of his pants looked no worse for the wear.
“You’re sure, you’re alright then? I . . . I had better go get him,” Laurita hesitated. Leon gave the thumbs up and waved her on. Laurita hurried after Jinks still confused about the commotion up front and even more so by her ordinarily gentle Jinks' behavior.
“You mean that I-phone is yours?” Eddie had not considered this possibility. He’d not yet had a chance to search the phone’s contacts but he’d been sure it belonged to either Ms Jeanette or her abductor.
“Well I can’t be sure of that now son," he said nodding in the direction of Mrs Poe and her runaway mutt. "But yes, well, I mean maybe. I seem to have misplaced mine at any rate. Just where did you find it anyway?”
Eddie considered his initial deduction that the I-phone was either Ms Jeanette's or that of her abductor. He wasn't so sure this new information disproved his theory and for the moment sidestepped answering the detective's question.
Leon had propped his boot on the front bumper of the Volkswagen and hiked his pant leg up to dab at the blood on his calf with a handkerchief. Mary Lou tooted the horn apologizing that she really needed to get back to work. Leon stepped back and Eddie stole another kiss through the window as she ground around for reverse. He ducked his head back out the window just as she found it and waved them both goodbye. She tooted once more as she passed her piano teacher Miss Poe who was trying to entice Jinks into a Milkbone for I-phone upgrade.
“You got out of the theater in a bit of a hurry Junior. Consta . . . er Captain Phillips will be wanting a statement from you, you know.” Leon said shaking his pant leg straight and pocketing the hanky.
“I just went to my locker to get something . . . and then well, I saw Mary Lou, and well . . . ” his cheeks blushed.
“Say no more Junior, I understand.”
“I wish you’d call me Eddie, Sir.”
“Well OK, what was so important in your locker Eddie?”
Eddie unzipped his backpack and proudly presented his Super Spy Private Eye Finger Printing Kit. Detective Davenport could see the seriousness in the boy’s face and to his credit suppressed outright laughter but could not arrest the grin that spread on his world weary face. “Ok son, I mean Eddie, we better get back inside and see just what we can turn up.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A dripping Zelda and a whooping Sugar whooshed out the front lobby of the BIJOU, leveling appreciative up front glances at local out front firefighters, swiftly snapping to attention to flex the femmes their muscled manhood from big shiny vehicles waiting further instructions to the call of the answered alarm. Joey Costanza hooted Zelda's way. Not alarmed, she held hand to ear in C-formation and mouthed, "Call me."
"C'mon. Come ON Zelda, let me SEE it!", Sugar tugged impatiently on her sister's soggy silken sleeve. "And why for crying out loud didn't you finish wiping up when we were in there. If I call Mom tonight, she's gonna bitch, big'time."
"Sheeesh Sugar. Catch a breath. Cut me a break. Give the Big Sis routine a rest already. You know Mom always liked me best."
Sugar punched Zelda's upper arm, but not too hard, or not in any manner to mess up a major manicure as a little dog leaped to see such fun and wagged well his tail into their tale. The spring sunlight outside distanced them in spirit as well from the fear, danger and unease within the theatre's usual carefree nature. Their giggles were a needed release in sync with the bouncing pup on the rise. "HI JINKS! What's shaking?"
Zelda shot the faux injury her best feigned look and rubbed where her sleeve still dripped, "Ewww Shoogs. It stunk in there. If you wouldn't have taken so long stickin' quarters in the Ajax Comb machine to get the red one, we woulda made a quicker, cleaner, dryer getaway. I thought you said the stalls were EMPTY when you looked under."
"They WERE. Geee Z, you count on me for everything. No wonder Dad always liked me best. I was concentrating on squirting the soap dispenser to suds away your bloody yucky hands and with so many men in uniforms -- " Sugar paused, her hand to heart, dancing eyes doing double time to sigh on the rise, while playfully scratching under the jumpy puppy's chin. "Whatcha got there, fella?"
"Ladies! Ladies," Laurita exhaled on her sprint from Jinks' latest spurt. "How good to finally find someone in the know to let me know WHAT the heaven is going on AT THE BIJOU?! Jinks! Come back here!"
"Howdy there Laurita," Zelda drawled to the first friend in their set to have married happily to her ever after. "You see, my fine upstart of a sister here started to wash away the blood from the Ladies Room all over me in the Gents Room which came after the scream and Sparky's lights going out and well, the Professor was there and that sexy Sergeant Stine and what seemed like a platoon of police and there was a candlestick which shed little light in the balcony and -- Shoogs, you remember, that waft of Windsong that stayed on our minds?" Gesturing a shouldered nudge Sugar's way, "Well then, this cockle-brained dame got all intent on the Ajax Comb machine -- "
"They still have those things in Gents Rooms? Sugar, show me, let me see, what did you get?"
Shaking her head at Laurita's and Sugar's hair-brained heads huddled over a mere twenty combs spilling out of her sister's pink leather bag, midst further exclamations at explanations of the mystery of the muddle and maybe the murder AT THE BIJOU, Zelda stalked her huff off in Jinks' direction, which just happened to be running Joey Costanza's way. "Hey sweet stuff!".
Not clear if she meant man or mutt, Joey held on to Jinks red leash til Zelda got up closer and personal. "Hi Jinks. Hey buddy, whatcha got there?"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"So then -- then we hear this tremendous groan from the stall we thought was unoccupied and Zelda and I, well we were scared right outta that masculine zone! Guess that's where you found us, hittin' the street whoopin' and runnin'. And why were you running after Jinks? He always comes when called. Important thing is, I got a big pile of combs to comb through."
Laurita hunched down on the marble step of Sugar's cache of coveted combs and caught up in the simple pleasure now too, leaned in, selecting for Edgar a navy blue, then, combing on through, pulled a pale spring green that for her beach bag would certainly do. "Thanks for sharing Sugar. Why do you think they sell pastels in a Men's Room? Just doesn't make much sense to me and -- wait, what about Jeanette? How did she make sense of all of these ghastly goings on?"
"Jeanette? Jeanette wasn't there when Eddie and I ran into the theatre from up in the projection room. Didn't I tell you that?"
"But Jeanette's always there. Kate even asked Jed to screw that brass nameplate on the back of her seat last birthday, remember? Jeanette's BIJOU people!"
"That's why it's so weird Laurita. And then Zelda appeared with blood from the Ladies Room and Harry led the charge for the candlelight brigade up the balcony -- he's so hunky cute, don'tcha think? -- Oh, Zelda -- where'd she run off to?" Sugar twisted, raised her eyebrows and shook the curls of her well-coiffed do at the couple and the dog leaning over Zelda's hand by Engine #9. "Joey. Shoulda known. Zelda always runs back to Joey between who she thinks is The One. Hope that flibbertyjit opens her eyes someday to what's right in front of them."
"Don't tell her I called her a flibbertyjit, 'k, Laur?"
"Your secrets are always safe with me Shoogs." A knowing glance passed between the two.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Joey pulled off his shades and opened his eyes -- wide, to what was right in front of them. "Holy shit Z! I meant 'What you got there buddy?' to Jinks -- "
"Hey Joe. I'm your buddy. I'll always be your buddy. Like what you're seeing Joe?", her stance suggestive, her palm still cupped softly open.
"Zelda ~ I may not be the Lone Ranger to you anymore, but that there in your hand is one shining silver bullet. You wanna tell me about it girl?"
The little dog yipped at the sudden buzzing in his mouth. No one paid much attention.
* C * L * I * F * F * H * A * N * G * E * R * !
* AT THE BIJOU *
Please return to next Saturday's Matinee
for the next gut-gripping epic'sode!
" The Prints and The Popper "