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Quarantine Mystery, XV

April 9, 2020

I hook Cody up to his leash.  It’s a beautiful day and I’m feeling pretty good. The smart thing when you are turning senior citizen is to get a puppy and let it grow old with you. When I got Cody, I loved playing chasing games and frisbee with him. We would go to the park and take long walks. He would pull on the leash because he always wanted to run. Today, at age nine, he walks and does not seem to mind that I’m even slower than he is.

As we stroll south down Battery Street, we are on the opposite side from Victor’s and Angus Mink’s houses. Angus is walking around his yard, thumbing a leaf on an azalea bush, bending to pull up a weed—master of all he surveys. What a strange little man he is. I know almost nothing about him, although he’s been living here for five years. He has no family that I know of, and no friends, either. He keeps his house, yard, and garden impeccably neat and trim. He complained to Victor about everything—noise, tree limbs, trash, yard lights, you name it. Victor took his rantings with a grain of salt. Tried to be neighborly when Angus first moved in, then gave it up as not worth it. Angus has a car, but he never drives it. He must have some sort of purpose in life but I can’t imagine what it is.

I hear panting behind me and steady myself as the Burke’s French bulldog runs past, between Cody and me. He’s loose again. Close on his heels, all three of the Burke’s children dash past screaming for their dog. Jenna comes next and she joins me, slowing her pace as the kids rush on. Cody watches the chase with mild interest. I think he’s glad he gets to plod along with me.

A police car rounds the corner and stops at the curb in front of Angus’s house. It’s Sergeant Romano and his sidekick again. They don’t jump out of the vehicle immediately.

 I turn to Jenna. “What’s up now? They visited me yesterday. Now Angus?”

“What did they want from you?” Jenna is looking at Angus’s house, not me. It’s as if she doesn’t want me reading her expression.

“They’re trying to find out why Victor died. They know it was a drug overdose, but how did that happen? What have you heard, Jenna? Have you talked to any of your colleagues? I know this must be the talk of city hall.”

“There’s no one at city hall. It’s closed.”

“But you’re a lawyer and I know how lawyers talk. They gab about everything except their own business. They’re worse than teenage girls.”

Jenna looks at me as if I am insulting her whole profession, including her. But I know she knows I don’t mean it that way. I only want information.

“The police are stuck,” she says. “Everyone knows Victor Anderson did not kill himself and he did not take drugs.”

“So, what are they doing?”

“Who knows?” Jenna waves the kids back. They have captured the little dog and now the largest kid is struggling to carry the sausage-shaped animal. “I know they are looking into Victor’s past as a circuit court judge. Just imagine. Twenty years on the bench, sentencing hundreds of criminals. How many people are out there, who wanted to see him dead?”

“Okay, what’s your best guess about what they’re asking Angus? Why are they talking to him?”

“You know as much as I do about Angus, but my guess is that they are asking him what he’s seen going on at Victor’s house—especially in the last week or so.”

Jenna is right. The smart thing would be to find out who has been at Victor’s house recently. Have there been any packages delivered? Who better than nosy, fussy, Angus to notice such things?

As I approach my house, I see the mailman has already been here. There is a long envelop poking out of my mailbox. I pull it out and read the return address. It’s from Christie and Scarlet, Attorneys at Law.

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