Monday, July 28, 2008

Murder Monday

I've decided that Mondays will now be "Murder Mondays." Partly because they both start with "m", partly because Mondays usually make me feel murderous. Partly because we all need more mystery in our lives.

So from now on, it'll be Murder Monday around here, people. Curl up with a cup of tea and wiggle your toes with delight. Creepy delight.

The stuccoed wall reflected a flashing red glare on its normally creamy surface. In the front yard, birds began their early morning song, oblivious to the chaos of the night. It would have seemed more appropriate, thought Elle, if, just for today, they had remained silent in respect of the dead. But birds know nothing of life or death - even their own. And this morning, Elle felt, neither did humans.

Ever since Elle's pager had summoned her from a deep, mortific sleep, she grappled to orient herself to her surroundings. She thought grimly that if someone had tried to break into her house, they could've helped themselves to everything - even taken the leftovers from the fridge - and she would've slumbered peacefully through it all. But Oakford General's buzzes held her in a new-mother like grip, and when a patient needed a chaplain, she was there.

At 2:30 a.m. she had been called out to pray with a patient who would head in - no pun intended - for surgery on a brain tumor, if he made it that far. Complications had left Mr. Morris hoping for the long surgery instead of dreading it. She sat with him, holding the elderly gentleman's hand, a rosary tucked into his claw-like grasp. He had wandered far, he insisted, from the church of his childhood. But in these moments, though he couldn't bring himself to call for a priest, he wanted someone. And so she came.

Pulling onto her street a couple of hours later, Elle was surprised to find red and blue flashing lights assaulting her eyes in the pre-dawn darkness. She was new to the neighborhood, she didn't know her neighbors' names, and so she was very little help to the methodical policeman standing by her side.

No, she hadn't seen anything unusual at the house three doors down.

No, she didn't know her neighbor.

No, she hadn't seen suspicious looking vehicles - or if she had, she wouldn't have known it, since she was new to the street.

Statement, contact information, business card. Elle squinted at the yellow tape already fluttering in the wind, and wondered if she'd made a bad real estate choice. This was awfully soon to experience neighborhood violence. She still didn't even know where her spoons were. She'd been stirring her morning coffee with plastic knives, and once, a small metal whisk.

Although Elle McConn had never been a 'morning person,' she seriously doubted that sleep would come easily knowing that her neighbor had just been found with several artfully place bullet holes in her chest. She sighed. This wasn't what Elle had meant when she hoped for something to motivate her into early morning jogging.

Should Elle:
a) sneak into the neighbor's house after the police leave
b) try to become a police chaplain so she can find out more about the murder
c) ignore the crime and unpack her spoons
d) sprain her ankle, teaching her that jogging in the morning is, itself, a crime


Carrie said...

I'm inclined to think that "d)" is the correct answer, although that's not necessarily exciting.

I honestly thought after reading the title that it was going to be a post about crows (you know, a group of crows is called a "murder") Anyway, that was a nice twist.

I also liked how the bullets in the neighbor's chest were "artfully" placed.

Anonymous said...

I vote (in the interest of Elle's future health and life span) for both (c) and (d) - I mean,really, can't she jog in late afternoon or early evening? Or even wear a pedometer to work - in a hospital large enough to hire a chaplain, she'd walk miles a day.
Love you, Mom
P.S. Now, if she happened accidentally on some evidence, I could understand - that wouldn't be recklessly taking her own life in her hands. And if the police ignored her evidence, she might be forgiven for following up on it herself :)

Bob said...

I think she should confess to the crime. She lied to the police about not knowing the victim. The victim had, a few days earlier tried to enter Elle's house by mistake, while in a drunken stupor and when Elle let her come in to sit a bit, the victim confided that she wished her uncle would die soon so she would finally get her inheritance. The victim had told Elle that she considered just shooting him, taking a few things and letting the police assume it was a robbery gone bad. Elle then knew the victim had a gun, no job to go to and being new to the neighborhood would be the last person suspected in defending this brain-tumored old man she saw to the OR. (hee hee hee I WIN!)