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Fiction Crime Suspense

Murder at the Meadows

I didn’t know much, but I did know that the plumbing in apartment 2c could not need work again.  Something was not right. I was also pretty sure that Totes Amazing Pipes and Stuff wasn’t a real company.  The questions then were; why was the van parked out in front of the building for the tenth night in a row? Even more importantly, why was the so-called plumber, with his bad tanned leathery skin, and slicked back greasy hair going into Mrs. Gables' unit?  Tedd was the name embroidered on his uni shirt, but he certainly didn’t look like a Tedd to me.  

I had been told a time or twelve, to mind my own business, but what would the tenants of Sunnyside Meadows have done if I hadn’t uncovered the illegal Texas-Hold’em Gambling ring that was previously taking place in the community room every Wednesday night.  Never mind that half the tenants in the building frequented the shindig. The point was there were many residents that wanted no part of it, and they were the kind upstanding citizens I concerned myself with.  

From my House across the street I could see it all.  My place was positioned perfectly on a hill overlooking all three entrances on the back side.  I was friends with Mrs. Gables and I also knew that she was on holiday. ( extended vacation, for you Americans) She was in the Bahamas.  The meadows resident on-site manager, Colby had been given a stern talk’en to about the peculiar plumbing situation. The arrogant, impoverished, imp, of a man, had the gall to call me nosey and told me to stay out of “his” building.  

Sunnyside Meadows was opened for business in May of nineteen-Seventy-nine.  Mrs. Gables was the very first to buy a unit. My late husband Gunther, God Rest his soul, was the contracting partner in the build.  We knew the owners and there is no way on God’s green Earth he would sell to the likes of Colby “Jack” Johnson.  

“And please don’t call me Jack!” He tried to assert himself.  “It’s Colby, just Colby, thank you.” As he finished speaking he brushed past me with an exaggerated flourish. I could smell the combination of axe body spray and cheap wine.  I would have carried on a bit more, but, “Tedd” was suspiciously exiting Mrs. Gables Unit for the third time today. It was time for me to find out who he really was and what he was doing here.  

It’s a good thing I had my high resolution digital telescope recording the activity on the back side of the building.  It pays to put your only Nephew through University. I mean how could he say no when you need a setup like that after all. Tedd had no Idea who he was screwing with.  I had what I needed, now it was time to take action.

It was a cool October morning and Halloween was fast approaching. Sunnyside Meadows was preparing for the annual costume party.  I was preparing to uncover a crime much more heinous than that illegal gambling fiasco.  I didn’t need Jack’s permission to investigate.  I knew Mrs. Gables was not on holiday. I knew she was murdered in her very own unit.  A unit Gunther and had become very familiar with. 

When I was stricken with breast cancer in 1998, Mrs. Gables was there for me and Gunther.  Even after I lost my left breast and looked like a freak. I endured nearly two years before Gunther regained his insatiable passion back, Mrs. Gables was there. She reassured me that his love for me had not diminished and that his drive would return if I just gave him some time. She was right, Gunther and I had reclaimed our passion in 2000 after I had an implant surgery. it made me look and feel normal again.  Unfortunately, Gunther met his untimely demise just  a couple of weeks later when his heart gave out and he tumbled down the two flights of steps in front of Gables and her unit 2c. After this tragedy she was there too, the woman was unbelievably giving. I reassured her that her kindness would not go unnoticed.

How did I know she was murdered, you ask? I knew because, there wasn’t a day since that fateful day back in 2000 that we hadn’t talked. Until five days ago that is.  It just so happens that five days after “Tedd” and his plumbing company arrived she tells me on a phone call that she is doing some renovations on her unit and would be out on Holiday.  That was our last communication. The last I knew plumbers didn’t do carpet tear-outs, so why would “Tedd” be taking a roll of carpet to his van just two days ago.  This carpet, I believed was hiding the corpse of Mrs. Gables.  I was bound and extremely determined to prove it.

The Halloween party was the perfect time to investigate. I could make my way through the building in disguise and search her unit. It shouldn’t be hard to prove a greasy haired journeyman plumber who had served a stint in the clink guilty of murder.  I had the perfect costume for the job too. I happened to overhear that Edna in 3d would be wearing her classic witch costume that everyone raved about for the past three years. It is simpletons like her that make life a bit easier sometimes.  

Oh and as far as Tedd goes, I know he served a prison sentence because I did some research on the so-called plumbing company he worked for. Thanks to our overweight Governor who had a large stake in the Company and his announcement that it would be a prison reform workplace. “After all,” he ranted “everyone deserves a second chance, we will do better by our citizens and we will blah blah blah….” I couldn’t stand this flake, poor excuse of a man. All I cared about was the fact that he allowed people like Tedd, to be connected to and have access to healthy beautiful women like Mrs. Gables.  I had half a mind to file a civil suit against him for allowing it to happen. 

Final check in the mirror, I looked great as a witch. But would I pass for Edna at a glance.  One more look.  Yes, yes I would. I didn’t plan on being seen for more than a few minutes as I made my way through the building and up to 2c.  Then I would grab the key she kept under the fake begonias and get to the bottom of it. 

My plan was flawless. All the residents of the Meadows frolicked around in the common room dancing the night away.  The spiked red rum punch had the old codgers feeling spry.  I got my chance when Edna made her way out to the balcony with Ramona to smoke a joint, also now legal thanks to Governor whaleinstein. Did I mention I couldn’t stand him?  

I turned on her computer and logged in using her brilliant password sunnyside 2c.  Then I searched her emails.  What I found was rather telling. She had a few emails in her inbox to Jack that said she feared for her safety and didn’t want Tedd back in her place again.   I found one from Jack that said Tedd would be doing his last bit of work here tomorrow at 9am, and that Jack would make sure he got in. Why she didn’t send Jack her concerns one can only guess.  Also found some documents, the short of it was that she withdrew substantial amounts of money from her bank in the last week.  I knew Mrs. Gables very well and she never spent a dime more than she absolutely had to. To call her cheap would be an injustice to the word. Something was not adding up. 

I logged out of the computer and looked around a bit more.  Under the nightstand in the Master suite, I found a broken glass vial resting next to a broken coffee mug. There was obviously  some kind of struggle in here. A Gold trimmed bird clock tweeted twelve times alerting me that it was now midnight. I  ignored it and  resisted my urge to rip it off the wall. I had to focus because I had some real evidence that the police would find interesting.  I made a quick pit stop in her restroom before I left. My stomach felt a bit uneasy.  I’d be fine after this was all over.

I eased out of her unit, replaced the key, and slipped back through the building virtually unnoticed.  I took that witch costume and burned it outback at my house. Now all I had to do was wait until 9am in the morning and the cops would get a concerned citizen call about an intruder in her unit and good old Teddy boy would be good as guilty. 

Looking through the telescope at that building brought me much pleasure. The things you could see were amazing.  Mrs. Gables’ unit was perched neatly against the back wall of the building. When her bedroom curtain was open I could see and take a picture of, well,  anything I wanted. With the setup I had, I could watch the seconds hand on her tacky bird clock tick the minutes away like it was hanging on a wall in my kitchen. Not that I would ever hang that gaudy thing in my house. Gunther always liked that clock, I had no idea why.  

I woke up early the next morning and got my cup of mud and a scone. I smiled a crooked smile and ran my hand down my aging wrinkled face. Time was not kind to me, like it had been to Mrs. Gables. Time was like a cruel mistress. No one had ever really loved me, (except Gunther) they loved my money and what it could do for them.  I peered through the telescope, the clock at Mrs. Gables unit read 8:58. I watched the seconds tick away for the next minute and a half…

Totes Amazing was right on schedule. I watched as the van pulled up and parked.  Tedd stepped out of the van with a black leather duffel bag and an air of arrogance I hadn’t previously witnessed.  He pulled a switch blade comb from his back pocket and flicked the lever to release the blade.  He moved toward the meadows combing his hair with a two handed motion. Comb, hand over, push down, repeat.  He entered the building, he was mine!

I dialed 9-1-1.  My fingers trembled with each beep. One ring; (3 heart beats) ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum, two rings; “Answer the God-da” I was cut off by the dispatcher. 

“911 what is your emergency?”  A young energetic male voice came through my receiver. 

“Yes, sir I would like to report a murder at the Meadows.  The perp (that’s what all the pros call them you know, I watch Law and Order) is in apartment 2C.  She’s dead I just know it. Please help!” I finished the sentence and picked up the half-eaten scone I had left over from breakfast. The damn thing was as dry as my mouth.  I picked up my cup of coffee and took a sip as he responded.

“Stay on the line ‘mam I am dispatching officers to the scene now.” I couldn’t help but smile. I took another sip of coffee and responded slowly so the young man could understand me.  I poured it on thick.  I hadn’t previously believed that two thoughts of opposing sides could form in the mind at the exact same moment.  They had, and lucky for me my response was the one prudent to the call and the results I so desired at that moment. The other thought, well we will save that for the near future dear.  

I cried to the dispatcher, “Please, hurry!  Oh Mrs. Gables. I can’t bare it.  I hope it’s not too late.”  It’s a good thing I picked up those acting classes over at the Community College. They certainly paid off don’t you think? He gave me some dribble about his concern in the matter and tried to gently reassure me that everything would be ok. 

The seconds hand traveled a couple more times around the clock.  I could hear the distant hum of sirens approaching Sunnyside Meadows. They grew louder and louder until I could see the lights circling ‘Round and round.  Blue and red lights reflected off the off brown brick building.  I watched as the officers exited outdated police cars. Most likely due to another one of our esteemed Governer’s orders. This mess of a man also claimed the state couldn’t help our little town when he granted the “big city” twenty million for his “state-wide” crime reduction incentive package.  My memory is not what it once was, did I mention I couldn’t stand this man.  Some of us worked for and earned our millions while he sat around and extorted his by force of law.  

They were inside now, I watched.  First floor, second floor, and finally third floor.  My heart was pounding harder and harder. Is this what Gunther felt like just before he “fell” tumbling down the stairs? 2C, at last. The door opened and there stood Tedd. One of the officers greeted him.  Any second now they would take him down and search the Unit.  

I have a confession to make, this is as good a time as any I suppose. I also promised I would reveal my opposing thoughts when on the phone with 911.  Here goes nothing.  I knew Mrs Gables was not on holiday and that in fact she had been murdered. I was the Culprit, she made it so easy.  I looked at her body one last time lying in her own tub while in her unit "looking" for evidence. The thought of drinking a cup of “mud” as she always called it was invigorating me to my core at that moment. That’s how I did it, I murdered her with a cup of coffee, and instant decaf at that.  I nearly gagged at the thought of it.  You can add any of a dozen slow acting poisons to that stuff and not even notice a difference.  

Why you ask? If you haven’t figured it out yet you are as delusional as Mrs Gables, Gunther, and Governor Slim. The reality and the facts are that I didn’t commit one murder, I committed two.  Poor Gunther never saw it coming either. I wanted Mrs. Gables to suffer like I had.  When you screw a married man (and carry on the affair for years)  whose wife is suffering with cancer,  instant decaf coffee with a hint of poison is what you deserve.  Truth be told, I don’t think Tedd will take the fall for it. Although he is guilty of hygiene and high fashion crimes.  He only took out the carpet because I paid him $1000 for the task.  They will find this letter and my body in a matter of hours perhaps a day at best when they trace where the 911 call originated. My Will is tapped on the wall behind the clock at unit 2C.  

My nephew gets half of everything, including the state of the art equipment he set me up with.  He always was a good boy.  As far as his father, (the Governor) , my estranged brother who molested me repeatedly as a child,  I hope this letter serves as evidence.  The other woman who came forward against him was not some lying manipulative woman looking to cash out against our poor public servant. She deserves to be heard and she gets the other half of my estate for enduring and having the guts to fight for her life.  Half of me died as a little girl and the other half when I discovered the affair.  I'm getting sleepy now.

It is time to say good bye Brother, May your prison coffee be served cold and decaffeinated.    I’m sure I won’t be missed… 

June 24, 2022 22:49

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1 comment

Jeannette Miller
17:11 Jun 25, 2022

A twist! It's a good story and I like the premise. Unfortunately, I don't see a line of dialogue repeated three times by the same character which is a requirement for the prompt.


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