Myrtle Mysteries: BBQ, Sweet Tea and Murder – Chapter 12

“Well hello to you too Miss Vera.  I could say the same to you.”  Ginger Jordan smiled until she heard Laura walking up behind her.  “I was just on my way out.”  As she passed Myrtle, she reached to her and surprised them both with a hug.  She whispered in Myrtle’s ear, “My mother always talked about how nice you were.”  She let her go so quickly Myrtle wasn’t sure it had really happened.

“Bye, ladies.”  She said without a look back.

As Laura took in Vera and Myrtle standing on her doorstep, it was clear that she wasn’t impressed with what she saw.  “To what do I owe this honor?”

“Hi, Laura.  Vera and I were in the area and thought we would stop in to see you.”  Myrtle took the lead knowing the Vera was never able to hold her tongue with Laura.  “Is it okay if we come in for a minute?”

“Really?  You just stopped in.  I don’t think so Myrtle.  Don’t forget I’ve know you for a million years and you’ve hated me for most of those.  You would never come to see me willingly.”

“Fair enough, Laura.”  Myrtle could feel her pulse rising and decide to cut to the chase.  “We are looking into Pop’s murder and thought we should talk to you.”

“You’re joking, right?  You think I killed Pop and now you want me to invite you in and offer tea?  I don’t think so.”  She started to close the door and Vera decided it was time to step in so she put her foot in the door to keep it from closing.

“Listen up, Laura Bell.  Yes, I remember that is what everyone called you in kindergarten.  Do we hate you?  Yep, pretty much.  But as much as I would love to see you get your comeuppance, I don’t think you killed Pop.  You were a part of his life, though, and you might know something that could help us.”

“Why are the two of you here anyway?  Are they hiring senior citizens as detectives now?”  Laura roller her eyes but hadn’t slammed the door.  Vera’s still stuck foot might have had something to do with that but Myrtle felt like they were making headway.

“We aren’t detectives, Laura.” Myrtle calmly told her.  “We just want to help and, honestly, we don’t like the thought of a killer being loose in Pageland.”

Laura sighed and opened the door.  “Fine, come in.  But I don’t have all day.”

As Myrtle walked into Laura’s living room, she was surprised at the understated decorating.  The walls were all a warm beige and the carpet a few shades darker.  The furniture was nice but not extravagant.  A cream covered leather couch was covered in soft brown pillows and a cozy-looking throw blanket.  Side tables and a coffee table surrounded the couch.  On the opposite was a large built in bookcase flanked by two leather chairs.  Everything was situated to bring your eye to the focal point of the room – a large fireplace.  Myrtle tried to keep her face neutral but was trying to take it all in so that she and Vera could discuss it later.

“You two can sit on the couch.”  Laura said as she sat in on of the leather chairs.  “Now let’s get to it so we can all get back to our lives.”

“Were you surprised when you heard Pop had been killed?”  Myrtle wasn’t sure why that was the first thing to come out of her mouth but went with it anyway.

Laura appeared to be taken aback but then decided to actually think about the question.  “I was surprised but not overly shocked.”  She looked over to see Vera shaking her head.  “I know that sounds stupid, Vera.  But that’s the truth.  Anytime someone is killed in a small town like Pageland it is surprising.  Noone expects it.  But we all know that Pop carried around a lot of cash and that had to be tempting to a lot of people.”

“You are right, Laura.  It is surprising for this to happen in Pageland.  But, I’m just not sure he was killed for money.”  Myrtle leaned slightly forward and continued, “We have been looking into some other people that might have had reason to want him dead.  Don’t interrupt me yet, Laura.  I’m not saying you wanted him dead.  Just someone.”

Feeling that she had appeased Laura slightly, Myrtle decided to get to the point.  “We heard through the grapevine that you and Pop had an argument at his restaurant a long time ago and we wondered if you remembered what it was about.”

“Pop and I had many arguments.  Everyone knows that.  You will have to be way more specific than that.”

Myrtle looked at Vera and saw her slight nod.  “Well, Laura, it was about an affair that Pop had that resulted in a child, a daughter.  Do you remember that, Laura Bell?”

Laura opened and closed her mouth several times but nothing came out.  ‘I guess I figured out what it takes to make her shut up’, thought Myrtle with a inner chuckle.

“Who told you that?”  Myrtle was sure she could almost see Laura’s blood pressure rising as she finally responded.

“I can’t tell you.  All I can say is that it came up.  I told you we don’t think you killed him but you did threaten him that day and we’d like to know who you were arguing about.”  Somehow Myrtle was maintaining her composure and knew that she would be proud of herself for that later.  “Do you remember who left his office that day and who gave birth to his daughter?”

“Even if I did know what you are taking about, and I’m not saying that I do, why would I tell you two gossips?  If I kept a secret for twenty-two years, why would I share it now?”

“Because it might be important.”  Vera was quickly losing her patience and decided to jump in.  “And if you don’t want to tell us maybe the police can get it out of you.”

“Vera!  You don’t mean that.”  Myrtle knew that threats wouldn’t work with Laura but it was too late.

“Both of you can just get the hell out of my house.  Don’t think you will come in here and threaten me.”  Laura stood up and started walking towards the door.  Myrtle threw a glare at Vera who just shrugged.  Both of them knew the visit was over so they picked up their purses and stood to leave.

“Laura, I’m sorry.” Myrtle tried to calm her down.

“I don’t care.  Get out.”  Laura was shaking at this point.

“Okay, we are leaving.  Again, I’m sorry.”  As they passed through the door, Myrtle decided to try one more question.  “What was Ginger doing here Laura?”

Laura stopped cold but recovered herself quickly.  “None of your business, Myrtle Mills,” she said just before slamming the door in her face.

“That went well, don’t you think?”  Vera commented as they walked to the car.

“Oh shut up, Vera.”

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