Because Nobody Else Could Possibly Have Wrenches.

When I was told that a rich woman wanted me to come up to her penthouse to discuss a serious case privately, this is not what I was picturing.

I must admit that if I were visited by a little girl who looked like that, she would be unwelcome.

Was hoping for a dangerous, firey redhead, or a scheming brunette. Something intriguing. Something a little more fatale and whole heck of a lot more femme. May I shoulda shown up fifty years ago.

I was just going down to the shops my dear, she says when I ask what the crime is, there was a sale at ‘smart housesdresses with tiny dots all over them express,’ I’m sure you must know it, everyone does!

“That’s… a little off my grocery list.”

Simply everyone does! But I realized I forgot my purse, not the pink one with the fish pattern, the one with the darling little kittens. So I came back, and what do I see?!

I blink at her. “Is that the mystery? Telling you what you saw?”

My dear, the door was wide open! Simply wide open! Why anyone could wander in and take whatever he pleased!

“Well, anyone who could get past the doorman. And had a key to work the private elevator. You are living on the top of a skyscraper.”

Max shakes his head at that. Squoills.

And THAT was when I heard a wrench falling to the ground! My dear, you have no idea how terrified I was! Absolutely petrified! I don’t know how I found the courage to come out and confront these two ruffians!

I glance at the ruffians. They certainly look suspicious enough, what with their work uniforms and nametags from this building.

“Ok, I’m going to guess you’ve been having trouble with the air conditioner?”

The plumbing, actually, but how did you know? If that was an attempt to show me what a wonderful detective you are, well done, but wouldn’t it be better to solve the mystery?

“That’s what I’m doing. See, these guys are the maintenance crew. They’re just here to fix your drains.” Max snickers at how that sounded dirty in his mind, but the two of them look hopefully at me and nod.

Nonsense, my dear! Why, if that were the case, then why did they run when they heard me coming?

Well, probably because you’re a terrifying old harridan, but she does have a point. “Ok then you two, what were you here for?”

They glance at eachother, and then the bird hesitantly says Fixing the pipes? Ok, someone is hiding something.

“Max, talk to granny, find out who the landlord of the building is. I’m gonna take a look at the plumbing.”

While Max discovers that A) they make the most darling lunch omelets at the cafe up the block B) that her son just doesn’t call anymore, she doesn’t know why, she certainly didn’t raise him like that C) her book club just loved the karaoke night she suggested D) if her sainted husband knew the sorts of things she had to put up with he would come right out of very grave E) her son is the landlord, having inherited the deed. Me, I find out that nothing on any of the pipes fits the wrench that we found by the door.

This is the part I hate. It’s like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the picture is of. I’ve got all the pieces, I know it, I just need to figure out which one is the corner.

And in the corner of the room I see the family photo is crooked.

My dear, I can’t tell you how upset this makes me! That two burglars could impersonate maintenance staff, and get into my home! I’m not sure that I can stand staying in such a place, but I was so happy here for so many years! Maybe it is best if I leave.

“No,” I speak up. The lightbulb going off between my ears is getting close to singing my fur. “That’s exactly what he wants you to do.”

Who, my dear?

“Well, to start, let me ask you about your husband’s will.”

Well, my late husband was a wizard with the stock market, let me tell you, and ever so tender to me-

“That is completely not what I asked.” She looks crushed.

Well, it’s hard to talk about. I was distraught, detective, distraught! It was all I could do to attend the funeral, you must understand, and so I just couldn’t bring myself to go to the reading of the will. You understand.

“And I bet I’m not the only one, unfortunately.” I jab a thumb at the picture. “I bet the will is in that safe.”

She shrieks something about however did I know, but it’s not her I’m interested in. The bear and the bird suddenly looks like somebody poured ice down their backs. And I know I’m putting together the right jigsaw puzzle.

“Why don’t we take a look at it?”

And in the end a little old lady found out that SHE had been the landlord and her son had been cheating her out of rent money for two decades. She wanted me to handle that two, but I told her to get a lawyer.

I do have one more question, detective. What should I do about, well, these two? The bear and bird look miserable, and I don’t blame them. Hell hath no fury like a little old biddy scorned.

“Well, they were willing to commit burglary for their employer, and now they work for you, so I’d say be careful. You don’t want me to have to visit again because of them.”

Oh my dear, you are witty! She laughs and it sounds like a machine gun with a siren attached. I can hear it all the way to the elevator.

I guess she’s alright. Just hope she never has to find out that I wasn’t joking.


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