A Song of the Past: Thirty-three

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Saturday, 7:00 PM
Deirdre was back in the New West Café, in her favorite bar stool. She had hesitated about that choice: it was, after all, the place she had met Juanita, and she wasn’t anxious to run into her again at the moment. But based on the principle that you can run, but you can’t hide, she decided that if she was meant to meet her tonight, she would not be like some Greek tragic hero who brings about his fate by trying to dodge it: meet it head on!

The bartender, Jimmy, not having a drink order to fill for a moment, wandered to Deirdre’s end of the bar. He was an incurable but harmless flirt, and he leaned forward, putting his elbows on the bar, and batted his eyes at her playfully.

“So, how are you tonight, Deirdre?”

“I’ve been better.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Well, among other things, somebody killed my cat.”

“I’m really sorry. Run over by a car?”

“No. They like deliberately murdered it.”

“God! That’s sick. Who would do something like that?”

“Well, I hope to find out.”

“And no book tonight? What’s up with that?”

“Yeah, I’ve got to think through this case I’m on.”

A customer had arrived at the bar with an empty glass. “Hey, you think and I’ll go get that guy another drink.”


Deirdre leaned back in her chair and took a sip of her white Russian. Who would have thought that milk and vodka could taste so good together if you just added some Kaluha?

She attempted to put together a sensible picture of what might have happened based on what she had learned since that morning. What if Jacob had never gotten over his love for Evelyn? Well, for one thing, he probably would still be single—and so he was. For another, he would be reluctant to talk about her—and so he was. And had their affair really ended with Evelyn’s marriage? Perhaps Sarah Johnson had misinterpreted Evelyn’s heated discussion of divorce: perhaps she was not intending to divorce Harrison, but refusing to do so. Could Jacob have become so fed up with playing the role of her secret lover that he had decided to rid himself of the torment she represented? If so, then Deirdre suspected the task was not one he was capable of performing personally, and that he would have sought for a third-party to do the job for him. Perhaps Ben Moore been that party, and had he then blackmailed Jacob? That would explain why he had been flush with cash, and also might explain the second murder. She could not imagine Jacob killing Evelyn himself, but, with his back up against the wall, could he have killed Moore? Maybe: she could see him in the role of cornered animal. And the fact that he might be able to pin the blame for both murders on Harrison certainly would have appealed to him. He wasn’t likely to commit a murder just to frame his brother, but if he was going to kill someone for another reason anyway, seeing his brother go down would be icing on the cake.

That all made sense, but then, what about Ariel? And what about the note from the “secret society”? It was very difficult to imagine Jacob climbing up her maple tree and killing her cat. And what would the point be? It seemed such a rococo flourish to add, almost as if it were being done for the sheer pleasure of the complication. Could a dour personality like Jacob’s be taken by such a flight of fancy?
She ordered another drink and decided to let her new concoction have the night to settle. Perhaps in the morning all of the ingredients would have blended… or not, in which case she could chuck the whole thing in the rubbish bin.


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