The Game’s Afoot

On her hands and knees, Lynette searched for the key to the front door. She felt uncomfortable in her dress and high heels, but what could she do? She knew she was unorganized and forgetful lately, so she’d bought a fake rock and put a spare key in it, hiding the rock in the rock garden for just such an emergency. Of course, there were lots of rocks in the garden, and now she couldn’t remember what hers looked like.

So she hunted. Suddenly she came to some shoes. Two black shoes were in the garden. Attached to the shoes were legs with pants. She looked up. Way up. A policeman stood there, hands on hips, staring at her, sunlight glinting off his sunglasses.

“Looking for something?” he asked.

No, she thought, I always garden in a dress and heels. What she said was, “Oh, Officer, well, yes, that is, of course, I, uh –” She scrambled to her feet, none too gracefully. He held out a hand to steady her, or she would have fallen right into him. Over his shoulder she saw the curtain twitch at the window in the house across the street. Ever since she’d moved in, she’d felt two eyes watching her.

There was an awkward pause–awkward for Lynette, anyway. The officer didn’t seem at all uncomfortable. His nametag read “Rick Brewer.”

“I hid a key, and now I can’t find it,” she said with as much dignity as she could.

“I’ll need some identification.”

“Well, see, that’s the problem. I locked my purse in the house and can’t get back in. But I hid a key in a fake rock a few days ago, and that’s what I’m looking for.”

Why was he hassling her, anyway? It was her house–she’d just rented it a month ago.

“You live here then?”

“Yes, of course.” She brushed some dirt off her knees.

“Okay, I’ll wait in the car while you search. Then I want to see some ID.”

Thanks for your help, she thought. What she mumbled was, “All right.” She got back down on her knees while the officer walked to his patrol car.

His mike squawked while Lynette searched. Pick up a rock, look under it, set it down. Pick up a rock, look under it, set it down. Do the same thing, again and again.

But it wasn’t the front door key she found first. Another, smaller silver key was hidden in a rock. She shrugged and stuck the key in her pocket and kept looking. Finally, she turned over the right rock.

She stood up and waved the key at the policeman. “I found it.”

“Good.” He uncurled himself from his car and came up the walk. He’s really tall, she thought as she unlocked the door, a sigh of relief escaping her. She’d be late for work, but not too.

He waited on the rickety porch, and she said, “Oh, come on in.” He removed his hat to reveal a head of curly blonde hair.

Her purse sat on the hall table, and she shook her head at it as if it were the purse’s fault she’d forgotten it. Setting the spare key down, Lynette opened her bag to retrieve her wallet and pull out her license.

She grimaced as he studied it. Now he knew she was twenty-four years old, five feet five, one hundred twenty-eight pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair and wore contact lenses.

He handed the license back to her. “You need to get the address changed on this. Do you know the former renters?”

“No. I’ve never even seen them. Why?”

“Just wondering.” He put his cap back on and went to the door. “Thank you for your time.”

“You’re welcome.” She grabbed her purse and went out with him, making sure the door was locked.

“Oh, no,” she wailed.

“What’s wrong?”

She rummaged frantically in her purse. “My keys aren’t in here.”

“Well, where are they?” He sounded exasperated.

“They’re on the kitchen counter. Oh, how could I be so stupid? And the key in the rock is inside the house, now, too. What am I going to do?” She felt tears well up in her eyes and angrily brushed at them with the back of her hand.

“I guess you can call your landlord.”

“He’ll be at work.” She cried harder.

He looked around. Seeing no one in sight, he said, “Look, I’m not supposed to do this, but–” He took a credit card out of his wallet and inserted it between the door and the jam, turning the handle. It opened easily. “You really do need to get a new lock-set,” he told her with a grin.

“Oh, thank you. Thank you,” she babbled, digging in her purse for a tissue to wipe her eyes.

“That’s all right. Have a good day.” He nodded his head at her and went down the steps to his car while Lynette went inside.

She started to stuff the used tissue in her pocket, and her fingers touched the other key she’d found. Maybe it belonged to that locked cabinet in the basement she’d seen soon after moving in. No time to check it out now. Quickly, she went to the kitchen, put the strange key down, grabbed her own, and dashed off to work.

When Lynette arrived home that evening, she saw the strange key again. Before she even made herself dinner, she decided to go down in the basement and look at the padlocked cabinet. A sense of excitement came over her as she descended the stairs.

The overhead light–a bare bulb in the center of the ceiling–did not penetrate the gloom in the corners, and Lynette shivered a little as she approached the cabinet. She’s forgotten the strange, unidentifiable chemical smell and wrinkled her noose. The key slipped easily into the lock, and with only half a turn, it snapped open. Lynette hesitated a moment before she swung the door wide. Disappointed, she saw the cabinet was empty. Why would anyone lock a barren cabinet and hide the key in the garden? She stood on tiptoe to see the top shelf better, and her eye caught a gleam of metal. Another key, and a scrap of paper underneath. Phooey, she thought, as she got them out, closed the door and went back upstairs.

Relieved to be out of the spooky cellar, Lynette looked at her find more carefully. She saw that the paper only had a number and a letter–15L, and the words, “Dickson Bus Station.” So, the key fit a locker at the bus terminal. What powers of deduction you have, Lynette, she told herself.

After she ate dinner, she went out to her car. Glancing across the street, she saw her neighbor trimming a hedge. He watched her get into her automobile and drive off. Lynette waved at him, but he only stared at her with squinty little eyes.

She located the locker easily enough in the large uncrowded bus terminal. Inside she found an attaché case. She hefted it–it felt heavier than she expected–and took it to her car. Once there, she opened it.

She gasped and quickly closed it again. She started the car, driving home as fast as she dared. In the carport she hesitated, looking around to see if anyone was watching. The neighbor was no longer in his yard. She made a dash for the front door, briefcase held firmly in her left hand, door key at the ready in the right.

Once inside, Lynette went from window to window in the small ranch-style house and pulled all the drapes. She double-checked the doors, then sat at the kitchen table with the briefcase in front of her.

Slowly, she opened it. She had never seen so much money in her entire life. Hands trembling, Lynette picked up a pack with a hundred dollar bill on top and flipped through it. All hundreds. There were more stacks of hundreds and stacks of twenties.

Excitement different from any other she’d ever felt before coursed through her body, vibrating on her nerve endings. Her hands shook so much that she knew she couldn’t count it now. Later, she couldn’t remember how long she sat there, looking at the green stacks, touching them, dreaming.

Finally, questions intruded onto her fantasies of travel, a new car, a new house.

Why so much cash? Where did it come from? Who did it belong to? Was it ransom money, or stolen, or even counterfeit? Was it marked somehow? And finally, the hardest question of all. What should she do with it?

After two rum and cokes and endless pacing, exhausted, she still had no answers. She decided to sleep on it. She closed up the briefcase and put it under her bed, and climbed into bed for a fitful sleep.

Lynette couldn’t concentrate at work all the next day, and finally the impatience of her boss penetrated the brain fog. She tried to push the briefcase out of her thoughts, but still kept wondering if she should have taken it back to the bus terminal and locked it up again instead of leaving it under her bed.

As soon as she arrived home she looked under the bed. The case lay undisturbed. Trying to keep her mind blank, trying not to listen to it gibbering at her about what she could do with all that money, she drove to the police station.

As she had hoped, Rick Brewer sat at a desk, drinking coffee. “Mrs. Livingston, what can I do for you?” He looked at the briefcase curiously. She glanced around the medium-sized room. Only one other police officer occupied a corner, three desks away apparently engrossed in paperwork.

Lynette placed the briefcase on Officer Brewer’s desk. The click seemed loud when she opened it. Even louder was the sound of Rick’s coffee mug banging on the desk when he saw the contents.

“What have we here?” he asked, eyes big.

“I found it.”

“Where on earth. . .” he motioned her to a chair.

As she sat down, she started to explain.

“You found the key while I waited in the car?” His tone was incredulous. But she couldn’t tell if he believed her or not.

He peered more closely at the bills, not touching anything.

“You have the key to this locker with you?” he asked.

“I . . . I think so.” She fumbled in her purse. I look and sound like a fool, she thought. Finally, her fingers grasped the object, and she brought it out triumphantly.

Rick grunted and stood up. “Let’s go have a look,” he said, taking out his handkerchief, closing, then grabbing the briefcase handle with it. He walked with her past the empty desks to a caged area where he locked it up and made a notation in a big log book. Then they went outside to his vehicle.

“I’ve never ridden in a police car before,” Lynette told him as he settled into his seat and they both buckled up.

“That’s good to hear.” He grinned at her. “Means you’re neither a cop nor a criminal.”

“Right.” She laughed nervously.

He drove to the bus terminal, and they went inside. She found the key easily this time because she’d put it in the interior pocket of her handbag.

Lynette held out the key to Rick, but he shook his head. “You open it.”

The door unlocked easily once more, and Lynette looked with shock at the black and red bowling ball bag which now occupied the space. With confusion, she checked the number–15L.

“More money?” Rick asked.

“I don’t know,” Lynette said. “Really, that wasn’t here last night.”

“Hmm. Well, let’s see what’s inside.” He took out his handkerchief again and grabbed the bag, motioning her to close the door. He led the way to a gray couch with metal arms and legs and cracked upholstery. They sat down, the bowling bag between them. He showed Lynette how to open the zipper with a pencil. Carefully, she unzipped the bag, looked inside, and screamed. And screamed again.

“It’s not real, is it?” she gasped. Rick’s eyes were as wide as hers felt. Both horrified and fascinated, she looked more closely at the left human foot in the bag. It had been cut off just above the ankle, and she saw the grisly mess inside. The foot was gray and shriveled and smelled bad. Pink polish flawlessly covered each toenail, the large toenail further enhanced with tiny golden stars and a moon. A gold bracelet circled the ankle.

A small crowd had gathered. Rick quickly closed the zipper, forgetting to use the pencil, and stood, picking up the bag. “Come on,” he said.

She got up and stumbled into him, knocking the bag with her thigh. “Oh,” she gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. She couldn’t be sick. She just couldn’t. Swallowing hard several times, she let Rick take her arm and lead her out to the police car, the crowd behind them following and murmuring. She looked back once and saw her across-the-street neighbor watching her, his eyes squinting, his head turned to one side as if listening to something only he could hear.

Rick put the bag in the trunk, thank goodness. She could not have stood it to have the thing inside the car with them. She noticed that his hands shook a little on the steering wheel. In some perverse way, that made her feel better.

Of course she knew who the foot belonged to. Ginger. My husband’s mistress. I left him because of Ginger. What happened to her? He must have killed her! She felt sick again. An image of him, down in his basement workshop, cutting Ginger into parts, came flooded her vision. She squeezed her eyes shut and swallowed hard.

She was bursting to tell Rick. She needed to get it out of her system, to spill her guts as they said, to eliminate the poisonous feeling in her stomach. Her throat ached from holding back.

Give yourself time. You need time to think it through.

Back at the police station, Rick had her sit again while he went to get the chief. She looked all around the office, avoiding looking at the bag Rick had placed in the center of his desk.

Rick brought back a large man with steel gray hair, aviator-type bifocals, and a stern face. In excellent shape, the chief looked like an aging leading man. Lynette didn’t know whether to feel reassured or not.

After the introductions, Chief Widmann said, “Let’s have a look.”

Rick used a pencil point to roll the zipper around the bag, and the chief peered inside. His expression didn’t change, but Lynette told herself that after all, he’d been prepared.

“Do you know whose foot that is?” he asked her.

She couldn’t look him in the eye. “No.” How could they ever prove she knew who it belonged to? She was scared to tell them. She was scared not to.

“Do you need to look again? Recognize that bracelet?”

“No. No, I really don’t know.”

“Well, then look once more.” He grabbed a piece of paper and used it to turn the bag around, then pulled the front flap forward.

Lynette stared. She put her hand over her mouth and said, “Where’s the ladies room?”

“Pamela,” shouted the chief. A female officer approached, looked at Lynette and quickly helped her to the rest room.

When she finished being sick, Pamela gave her some water and took her to an interrogation room where the chief and Rick questioned her for more than an hour. She stuck to her story, telling about everything that had happened since she found the key, but denying she knew whose foot sat in the bowling ball bag.

At one point, the chief told her they were trying to locate her husband, Marty, but he was apparently out of town.

Finally, they let her go. Exhausted, she stumbled out to her car and drove home.

The next morning she was surprised she’d been able to sleep. She called in to work sick and sat at the kitchen table drinking cup after cup of coffee while she thought about Marty and decided what to do.

Nineteen when she married him, she’d been blinded by his startling good looks, his overwhelming interest in her and the fact that at twenty-seven, he was already established. As a partner in a two-person real estate business, his goal was to sell at least a million dollars’ worth of property every year.

The year they were married, he exceeded that plan and bought out his partner.

In two more years, Lynette began to think that Marty had more going than his real estate business. Sometimes he just couldn’t be found. Even his office manager wouldn’t know where he was. He had to be into something else, something illicit. Or having an affair.

About the same time, Marty’s interest in her seemed to wane, and she started seeing evidence of another women.

She finally confronted him with her main fear. They were having dinner together for the first time in over a week.

Over dessert, she asked, “Marty, do you still love me?” She held her breath, watching him, trying to be objective, to see the truth in his expression and body language.

“Of course I do.” He patted her hand and smiled. “What makes you think I don’t?”

“Your affair, for one thing.”

He removed his hand from the top of hers. “What affair is that?” An injured look came over his face.

“The one you’re having with a woman who wears Obsession perfume, which, by the way, makes me sneeze, and a purple lipstick that, if I wore it, I’d look like a whore.”

He laughed and shifted slightly in his chair. “You must mean Wilma. We’re just friends. Sometimes I give her a ride home. She has an old clunker of a car that’s in the garage half the time. You’ve seen her–has that floral and gift shop two doors down from my office.”

Lynette nodded and took a sip of water. “So how did her lipstick get on your undershirt, Marty?”

His expression went totally blank. She’d never seen that happen before, and she shrank back, suddenly frightened.

“She managed to unbutton my top button and purposely kissed me there. Just to make trouble. I stopped giving her a life after that. Look, Lyn, I love you,” he said. She saw him trying to smile but not having much success. “I married you, didn’t I? But I need space, you know. Don’t push me.”

“You mean that if I’m a good little girl, I get to keep all this.” Her hand waved around the enormous mirror-walled dining room. “And you, too?”

He stood up abruptly and leaned across the table. “That’s not what I meant. I don’t cheat. I won’t cheat. Ever.” He stomped away from her, going down to the basement where he had every power tool imaginable. He’d probably make another magazine rack, she thought resentfully as she got up and cleared the table. He always worked down there when things didn’t go the way he wanted.

After that, Lynette watched Marty more closely. She continued to go to the garden club and the bridge club and do volunteer work. She realized that she projected the image he wanted in a wife. She never smelled Obsession or saw purple lipstick again, and she began to relax.

Then Ginger came into his life. They met her at a party given by their next door neighbors. Dressed in patio patio pants, a yellow, slinky top, and pink sandals, Ginger’s toenails were brightly painted and had little star and moon decorations on them. Lynette had noticed the ankle bracelet, as well.

Several weeks later, when Lynette found a little golden star winking at her from the inside of Marty’s shoe, she became agitated and realized she couldn’t live this way. She paced throughout the house, occasionally stopping to pick up an object and set it down. She had no tears, but her mind scrabbled here and there, and the only thing she felt certain of was that she had to leave.

In the dining room, she picked up a small bowl from the buffet and turned it over and over in her hands. It fell from her fingers onto the thick carpet, unharmed. Suddenly unreasonable anger coursed through her. It should have broken. Her marriage was shattered, but the bowl remained whole. She picked it up and hurled it at the mirror on the far wall. It made a satisfying crash. She picked up another bowl and threw it. Her image in the mirror shattered along with the bowl, and finally, the tears came. She threw some more, heaving her arm back as far as she could, pitching as hard as she could, listening to the gratifying sounds of breaking china and glass.

Marty found her, the last piece of unbroken dinnerware in her hand, ready to hurl. He grabbed her arm.

“What are you doing?” he shouted at her.

“Breaking up housekeeping,” she said, then sank slowly to the floor, sobbing. He tried to put his arm around her, but she shrugged him off.

Finally, the crying slowed down. She looked up to see Marty leaning against the sideboard, arms crossed, a frown creasing his forehead.

“I want a divorce,” she blurted.


She threw the remains of a cup awkwardly from her position on the floor. He dodged it easily. There was one last tinkle of broken china, then silence.

“I can’t live this way.” She got up slowly, carefully, like an old woman. “I’m leaving.”

He took her arm. “Don’t. Lynette, I need you. What happened? Please tell me.”

She slapped him. “Ginger happened. Ginger and her stars.”

The blank mask reappeared. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

With what seemed like the last bit of strength left in her, she defied him.

“Of course you do. Get out of my way. I will not live with an adulterer, and who knows what else you’re mixed up in.”

He grabbed her arm. “What do you mean by that?”

“Oh, nothing,” she said wearily. “Just let me go.”

“I am not having an affair with Ginger, and you can never prove that I am. You won’t get a penny from me. You need to think this over.”

Her mouth turned up slightly at the edges, and she shook her head at him. “Is that what it comes down to? Money? I’ll get what I deserve for being married to you for four years.”

“Right,” he breathed. “When the housekeeper sees this mess, I won’t have much trouble convincing a judge that you’re crazy.” He went down cellar, slamming the door behind him. Lynette went upstairs to their bedroom.

She packed and went to the only motel in town.

In the next month, Lynette sort of fell apart. That was how she put it to herself. The strength she’d used to get angry at Marty and to leave him seemed to evaporate, and she became a bundle of nerves. And he squeezed her. He cancelled all their credit cards. When she totally ran out of money, she had to go to him. He’d rented the small house for her, said he knew the landlord, a sleazy type with greasy hair and hound-dog brown eyes who made Lynette’s skin crawl. She spent several days just scrubbing the place down, painting walls, falling into bed exhausted every night. She felt as if Marty were punishing her for leaving him.

She got a job at the bank, but she had trouble counting the money right, and she kept botching things up on the computer. She quit before they fired her.

What had happened to the bright, competent woman she’d been? Could she lose all that because of a man? Apparently so. She took another job at a local auto dealership where she gave people the wrong keys for their cars, the wrong invoices, and sent bills and checks to the wrong addresses. She left by mutual agreement.

Finally she took a position with the local psychological counselor practice where everyone was patient with her, the pace relaxed, and she settled down a little.

Marty hired the top lawyer from the only partnership in town. The attorney informed Lynette that she could not expect a penny in alimony. After all, she’d left Marty, and they didn’t live in a community property state. She couldn’t afford a lawyer of her own. Now, if she would just sign here. . . .

She put him off. What was the hurry?

Then she’d found the key. She wondered how Ginger had angered Marty so much that he’d killed her.

Her old strength seemed to be easing back. His affairs were not necessarily a reflection on her. He was the one with the problem. She realized that more than ever now.

She reached for her purse, making sure she had her keys, and went out to her car. The curtain moved across the way, and she stood in the driveway and waved and waved at the window. Finally, feeling foolish, she got into her car and drove off.

At the office supply store she purchased a tape recorder with automatic voice activation.

Next she went into the local department store and bought a camel-hair boyfriend’s jacket which hung nice and loose on her.

She already had a gun at home.

Marty wanted to play games? She was changing the rules.

At the rental house, she prepared everything. She dressed in jeans, T-shirt, her athletic shoes, and the boyfriend’s jacket. She pulled her hair back into a ponytail and meticulously made up her face.

She read the directions carefully, then put a tape in the machine and slipped it into the inside pocket of her jacket. Next she loaded the gun and put in into the right-hand front pocket.

She went out to the car, not even bothering to check to see if her neighbor was watching.

Lynette was pleasantly surprised that the front gate opened when she used the keypad. She thought Marty might have changed the code. A strange car–a dark green Jaguar–was parked in the circular drive. Lynette hesitated, but didn’t want to change plans now. She got out of her car, closing the door quietly behind her. At the front door, she pushed the “on” button for the tape recorder.

Keying in the code on the keypad by the door, she heard the lock open and pushed the door inward. The dining room was to her right, and she saw that it had been cleaned up and the mirrors replaced. No new china in the cabinet, though.

A murmur of voices came from the living room, so Lynette headed in that direction.

When she got there, she almost fell down the step into the room. Tottering precariously, she stared at Ginger sitting in the large chair, leg propped on the ottoman.

“Lynette.” Marty stood up.

She came slowly into the room, her fingers on the gun in her jacket pocket.

Ginger laughed. “The jig is up, no?”

“What does that mean?” Marty asked.

“Oh, Lynette knows,” Ginger said.

Lynette came farther into the room, staring at Ginger’s leg.

“The foot is gone, dear,” Ginger told her. “The result of a nasty hiking accident. Had to hack if off to get out from under a boulder that fell on my leg.”

Lynette shuddered and stumbled into a chair. She held onto it and came around to sit down.

“How could you do that to yourself?”

Marty sat back down as Ginger answered. “I was once a surgical nurse. I would have died of exposure if I didn’t do it. They had to remove more of my crushed leg, so couldn’t reattach the foot. When I asked to have it so I could bury it, of course they gave it to me. And I thought it made a nice present for you. What did you think?” Ginger chuckled, picked up a drink beside her and took a swallow.

Lynette looked at Marty. His face had turned ashen, and he wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“Did you know she put that in a locker for me to find, Marty? Did you know?” Her voice shook.

He stared at Ginger but didn’t answer.

“What about the money?” Lynette asked Ginger.

“Counterfeit. You wouldn’t sign the divorce papers. Maybe you were having second thoughts. Something had to be done. If you thought Marty was mixed up in something illegal, or if the cops thought you were, it would be easier. Then I couldn’t resist the part with the foot. Of course, you’d eventually find out I was alive. I didn’t expect you to come here, though.”

“What did you expect?”

“Oh, that the cops would arrest you because you lived in the house where the counterfeit money was made. I know the cops checked up on you. We had to leave because it was getting too hot. I figured you’d start spending it, and they’d get you. But, no, you turned it in. I knew the cops would want to see the locker. So, I planned a little surprise for you and them.”

“You’re crazy, you know that? Marty, do you realize this woman is certifiably insane?”

Marty raised his head and looked at her, his eyes bleak, his mouth down-turned. He was going to be no help at all.

Ginger laughed and took another sip of her drink.

“What if I hadn’t found the key?” Lynette asked.

“Oh, Marty told me about your silly systems for coping. If you hadn’t found it soon, I would have thought of another way for you to get it.”

Lynette’s stomach lurched as she felt the betrayal of Marty discussing her problems with Ginger.

When Ginger laughed uproariously again, Lynette quickly stood up and pulled the gun out of her pocket.

The laughter stopped abruptly. “What’s this? The mouse turns?” Ginger squinted at Lynette. “Marty, do something.”

“Put the gun away, Lynette. Please.” Marty got up slowly, carefully.

“You keep out of it,” Lynette said through clenched teeth. “Just stay away from me.” Her voice rose as he took a step toward her.

“Lynette, please. I’m on your side.”

She glanced at him. His hands hung loosely by his sides, and his face had a pleading look.

“Sure you are, Marty. I think I’ll kill her for what she’s put me through.”

“No, don’t,” Marty shouted. “Listen to me. Please, Lynette, just listen.”

“Since I have the gun, I guess I can, for a minute. Just stand there–don’t come any closer.”

“Look, I’m an undercover agent. We’ve been trying to nail Ginger and her cohorts for over two years for counterfeiting. When she became interested in me, I had to play along.”

Lynette looked at Ginger and realized that their expressions must both be the same mixture of shock and truth dawning. But Marty could be lying. How would she know?

“How come you’re telling me this now? You’ve uncovered your cover, and in front of someone else who will be glad to let the criminal world know, I’m sure.” Lynette glared at Ginger.

“Because I’ve decided to quit,” Marty said. “You mean more to me than the work. When you didn’t trust me, I went a little crazy, decided I’d be better off without you. I’ve changed my mind. I want you back, Lynette. Please believe me!”

“I don’t know, Marty. Even if what you say is true, it’ll be hard to ever trust you again. I think we all just better call the police and straighten this out. I’ve lost interest in killing Ginger. She’s not worth it. Unless she moves wrong, that is.” Lynette motioned with the gun. “Call the police, Marty. We’ll meet them out front.”

Marty pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and made the call. Then he handed Ginger her crutches, and she got up. Lynette followed the two to the front door.

When Marty opened it, Lynette’s squinty-eyed neighbor was standing there.

“Jeff.” Marty grinned. “Meet my wife, Lynette. You did a good job of keeping an eye on her for me. Lynette, this is Jeff.”

“Glad to see you’re all right, ma’am.”

Lynette gaped at him.

He grinned at her, then turned to Marty. “You have the tape?”

“Right here.” Marty pulled out a recorder from his inside pocket and handed it to Jeff.

“Oh, look,” Lynette laughed as she took the recorder out of her pocket.

“Maybe we should go undercover together,” Marty said, admiration in his tone.

“Not so fast,” Lynette said. “You have some more explaining to do before we go undercover again. Some tough explaining.”




BIO: Jan Christensen has had over sixty short stories appear in various places over the last twenty years. She also writes a series of short stories about Artie, a NY burglar who gets into some strange situations while on the job. Recently elected president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, she also belongs to Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Oh, and she writes mystery novels, too. More info at


  1. Jan,

    Quite a story! Lots of twists, turns and surprises. I enjoyed reading it from beginning to end.

  2. Well done, Jan. I think you set a new reeord for twists in this one and brought it all to a surprising and satisfying ending.

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