I was afraid this was going to happen again.
Clad in a form-fitting champagne cocktail dress and what was I thinking four-inch high matching pumps, I knelt next to the body. Feeling for a pulse where there wasn’t one, I silently let out a sigh. The police wouldn’t arrive for another 20-25 minutes, that being New York City traffic for you. Her lips had turned blue, a sure indicator of poison. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember her name. Cassandra? Candice? Cameroon? All I could recall is she was the slinky blonde on the arm of the much older Consulate General of Croatia.
Why do I always stumble upon dead bodies everywhere I go? I’m starting to get a reputation as a Jessica Fletcher type. True, I too am a best-selling novelist of a certain age, widowed and must perpetually care for my imbecilic nephew, whom I had to thank for the initiation here tonight.
“Please everyone, clear out. I’ll stay with the body until help arrives,” I say to the 40 or 50 guests ogling the crime scene.
“My stars, I wonder if it will work this time,” I ponder aloud to myself. “Um, miss, ma’am, uh. Catie? Candy? I’m sorry darling I can’t remember your name. Could you tell me who killed you? It’s all right, everybody else has cleared out. You can trust me.”
As many times as I’d found myself in this predicament, it was always an unnerving experience. Would the corpse rise up and grab me by the ankles? Would its lips move when it spoke? Would the answer come more like a disembodied voice only I could hear? Would the deceased scribble a message I’d later find tucked inside my handbag? Would the answer be written in lipstick on the mirror in my hotel room’s parlor?
I was hoping what’s-her-name would get back to me soon, because we all knew once the police arrived the evidence would all somehow point to my nephew, who’d be handcuffed and taken away for further questioning while I obtained a lawyer and did some sleuthing of my own. The climax: confronting the murderer alone in his or her office/hotel room/car or at the person’s desolate northern California ancestral vineyard. You’d be surprised how often that happens.
“Miss. Miss,” I say as I gently tap her thigh with the toe of my shoe. “I can’t be discovered chatting with a dead woman lay sprawled on the Persian carpeted floor, now can I? Please, speak now or forever hold your—”
“A blue blazer. He was wearing a blue blazer and a tie with little sailboats on it. I don’t know his name either, and by the way, my name’s Camilla, you senile nincompoop.” Her jaw went lax and her body stilled.
Sassed by a cadaver. Well, that’s a first.
“Okay, I’ll follow that lead,” I say to her just as the authorities knock at the heavy, wooden double doors.
It’s show time.
“The man chatting with the Consulate General. I think he had something to do with Camilla’s death,” I announce rather cockeyed; think Eileen Brennan à la Mrs. Peacock in Clue, sans those ridiculous feathers in her hair.
“Mrs. Jones-Taylor, the writer?” the rookie cop asks me.
“I’ll give you my autograph later, but first, we have a killer to catch.”
Sara Jordan-Heintz is an award-winning journalist. Her novella “A Day Saved is a Day Earned” was published in Rod Serling Books’ inaugural anthology “Submitted For Your Approval.” Her flash fiction has appeared in “101 Words,” “Red Planet Magazine,” “365 Tomorrows,” “Friday Flash Fiction,” “The Mambo Academy of Kitty Wang” and in “Brilliant Flash Fiction’s” latest print anthology “Branching Out.”