What’s Up, Buttercup?

We are—so up and so ready to face another day.  Hey, it’s Rey!

The three of us from the Triple Threat Investigation Agency are still lanai lounging and solving the odd case via the Internet and phone.  A new way to private-eyeing.  Whatever works, right?

HA-HA-HA-HA should be available by end of July (our boss is doing her best to get our latest case recorded as quickly as possible).  It’s an exciting—if not testing and trying—one that involves a stalker and serial killer (we do seem to attract those like bears to honey—must be some invisible invitation tattooed on our foreheads).

As I’m reclining on the chaise longue, watching the kids play in the grass, and Linda and JJ are grilling veggies and fish, I thought I’d share another excerpt with you.

“Any witnesses or sightings re the murders or murderer?” Rey asked, studying a large thick slab of cheese-heavy garlic bread as if it might grow teeth and bite back.

Which prompted a smirk from Sallo.  Snorting, he said, “It ain’t gonna chomp back.”

Appearing doubtful, she took a tiny bite, chewed, and nodded.  “Damn.  It’s good.  Real garlicky.”

“Told you so,” he simpered, digging into the chili.

Linda and I followed suit.  Sallo would share information when he was ready and not a blink before. 

Half-a-bowl later, he motioned Clem for another beer and sat back.  “Jo Belcastro saw a black van around 7:30 the night you found the bodies.  He was jogging along Date, near Laau, heading nowhere in particular.  He noticed it because it was standing alone, real close to that house that burned down last month.  As a landscaper, he tends to notice things that don’t fit well, but he didn’t think about it again until he settled in with the news last night after his jog.”

“He called the police simply because he remembered a van parked near beside a burned-out house?” Linda asked, skeptical. 

“He heard of the murders—who hasn’t?—but he wasn’t really following the news.  Too many landscaping projects.”  With a smirk, he started on the garlic bread and we returned to our chili. 

A couple minutes later, he was ready to pick up where he’d left off.  “When he caught up on them last night—and saw the request for people to come forward if they’d seen anything out of the ordinary—he remembered the van and decided to call.”

“What could he tell you about it?” I asked. 

He frowned.  “Not a helluva lot.  Black.  No lettering.  Basic windows.  Didn’t catch the license plate.  Only noticed it because it was the only vehicle there—in the shadows, slightly off the street, near that house some ass had set a torch to.”

“That sucks,” Rey said.

“Yeah.  But there’s something positive.  Belcastro tripped and another guy and his dog, who weren’t that far away, went to his rescue.  Belcastro was okay.  Just a skinned knee and bruised ego.  They chatted briefly.  Belcastro patted the dog and asked his name and all that, and then they parted ways.”

The three of us leaned in close—grateful we’d all sucked back garlic—anticipating something more useful was about to be imparted.  “When Belcastro called to tell us about it, he mentioned Barty the Springer Spaniel.  Seems Barty’s a favorite in the area, so it wasn’t hard to track down his owner.”

Linda gave a thumb’s up.

“Barty’s owner, Murphy Geist, saw the same van that night.  Considering he wasn’t far behind Belcasto, how could he not?  Anyway, just after the two parted ways, owner and pooch continued their nightly stroll.  After circling around, maybe ten or twelve minutes later, Barty began acting a touch weird—straining at the leash, making whiney doggy sounds.”

“And Geist didn’t think to see what might be bothering Barty?” I asked, astonished.

“He’d been mugged a couple of times and figured it might be some thug lurking in the shrubbery with bad deeds on his mind.  He decided it was a good time to head home and head home fast.”

“And?” I prompted.

His expression bordered on smug.  “He sighted a guy in the van.”

I’m gonna leave ya hangin’ there.  He, he.

We are doing our utmost to stay well and safe.  I hope you are, too.  Take care everyone!