The journalists had laughed at the first note
“Death will reign come Halloween Night.”
No one laughed, when the first reports got phoned in. All seemed to be the same cause- a lethal poison. All the victims were attractive women.
The Times got a new note:
“More Each Day.”
No one, at the paper, noticed the note was arranged differently. In the first, the letters were ripped out; this one the letters were cut out – neatly.
The paper’s headline read:
“… a pretty lady with silver bangles was found in her car this morning”
Life kept buzzing in the coffee shop. The drama never ceased neither did the foreboding in the headlines each morning leading up to Halloween.
“Ten women total and the police have no clues.”
“I feel terrible for the families.” A young woman whispered to her boyfriend.
“Maybe you should go out-of-town for a few days,” he said with loving eyes.
The barista looked over at the two for a moment envying their closeness.
Later that day… a woman was obviously meeting a man for the first time. The barista winked “not sure about that one…” The blonde winked back “I’ve been on lots of dates. Ya never know…”
“These are scary times “the barista added.
The blonde smiled, “I’m a big girl.”
A scream was heard in the back of the coffee shop. There was momentary mahem as some people rushed for an exit while others rushed toward the scream.
“It’s ok folks it was just a mouse” the barista grinned knowing on most days the news of a mouse would empty the coffee shop; today it brought people closer together.
The next morning more deaths were reported. Among the deaths – a blond who thought she could handle life and a young woman whose boyfriend was grieved that she had not listened and gone out-of-town as he asked.
“Sir, some of the victims were strangled and others were poisoned.”
“Guy likes to mix it up, obviously.” the chief scowled.
“I’m not sure if you girls should be working especially since it seems several of the women were customers here the same day they died. Maybe he waits outside for the customers,” the manager’s face whitened. “Then we will be sure not to be customers here,” the barista tried to lighten the mood.
“Ok, but if either of you feel you need to then you can have the rest of the week off.”
“Nothing ever happens in this sleepy little town” the police chief pounded his fist on an oak desk. He hated contacting the metro police but needed help in solving this crime asap.
That afternoon a detective went to the coffee shop to talk to several of the staff. “Anything unusual the past few days?” No one could recall.
“Well there was this one weird, middle-aged guy who has met two different women for coffee.” the barista remembered.
“Yeah, he seemed really full of himself, acting like a big shot, as he bought his date a Venti. I call that a big spender.”
“Have you ever seen him before?”
“No. Never,” all the baristas agreed.
“Ok give me a description and if you see him again get his name off his credit card and try to delay him.” The detective was writing in his notebook.
A pretty young woman ran in late toward the end of the shift. The guy at the cash register asked ” what is a beautiful lady like you doing out so late?”
“I lost my wallet today and I just got off work at the spa. I hope I left it here.”
“Well pretty lady” he smiled “Let me look in our lock box. Can you describe it?”
“Yes, it’s brown leather with a gold clasp.”
“Looks like you’re in luck” the cashier said valiantly as he handed the wallet to her.
“How ’bout one for the road” the barista smiled “Coffee’s getting dumped. This one’s on me.”
“I could use something a bit stronger” the woman giggled with a strain in her voice gratefully taking the coffee and leaving a tip.
“Liquor store’s around the corner.”
Neither the barrista nor the gal with the wallet noticed a guy preening himself in a dark Camero.
to be continued…
Photograph “Coffee’s on me” by L. Moon copyright 10/2012