Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bugtussle’s Bike Bags (part 12)

-    Scribbles on the Desk Blotter    -

Dolores entered the gate to the Riverside Cemetery and took the first foot path to the right – through the original section of the cemetery opened in 1907 according to the weathered plaque on the stone wall encompassing it. In this section, the monuments were tall and majestic – much like the rows of oak trees that formed an umbrella over them. Beyond the original section were several other areas opened in subsequent decades. Their ages measured primarily by the heights of the stone markers on the grave-sites. As the cemetery grew, the markers seemed to shrink in size until, as in the newest sections, the markers were flush with the tips of the surrounding lawn. It was so much easier for the yard crew to merely ride their massive  mowers over them without the need for a helper to follow along behind with a weed eater.

Dolores walked over to Section 8A. Most of the markers there were one foot or less in height. She walked along the second row and then stopped at the fifth marker from the pathway. It was definitely the tallest marker in this section and exceeded the regulation height of one foot by half again that amount – not even counting the two metal flower vases built in to the top edge. Dolores stopped and knelt down at the marker’s edge.  As she had done so many times during the last twenty-six years, she closed her eyes and ran her hands across the face of the stone – her mind’s eye reading the lettering sent from the tips of her fingers: ALPHONSE BAROOVRA  1938 - 1986.

As she spruced up the flowers in the two vases, she whispered, “Hey, it’s me again Alfie— I mean, Dr B. How’s everything going with you? Me? I’m not doing too well right now.”

Meanwhile, back over at the police station:

Detective Salamander, carrying a police regulation cardboard evidence box, walked into office he shared with Detective Bass and two other detectives.  He sat the box down on the table in the center of the room and opened the top. He started removing the clear plastic zip-locked bags of personal belongings that they had gathered from JP Bugtussle’s bike bags – the items that were in the panniers on the bike itself as well as the items that were in the bag that Jimmy had discovered under the coffee shop hedges. Just as Detective Bass entered the office with a couple of cups of black coffee, Sal pulled out the bag with the ballpoint pen.

“Good, you’ve got it,” exclaimed Arnold when he saw Sal with the ballpoint pen. He sat the cups of coffee on the table as Sal took the pen out of the bag and handed it to him. Arnold clicked the button exposing the pen tip and said, “Now, let’s see what we’ve got here…” He walked to his desk, leaned over and he started drawing circular scribbles on the blotter pad – continuous circular scribbles – blue continuous circular scribbles.

After making about twenty loops of scribbles on the blotter, Arnold put the pen down and walked over to the table to get his cup of coffee. Returning to his desk, he sat down, put his feet up and started sipping on his coffee – all the while keeping his eyes glued to the blue scribbles on his desk blotter.

Sal grabbed the other cup of coffee and walked over to his desk and leaned against it, halfway sitting on the desk top. He blew on his coffee, took a couple of sips and said, “How long do you plan on staring at that desk blotter?”

Arnold just sat there, feet on his desk, coffee cup cradled in both hands and pressed against his lips - slowly shaking his head – staring. Five minutes went by. Ten minutes. Fifteen. And at the exact moment that Sal was about to tell Arnold how stupid this whole thing was, Arnold sat up straight in his chair, sloshing a little coffee onto his pants before he could get the cup set down on his desk. He promptly pointed at the newly drawn blue scribbles and shouted to Sal, “Look at this!”

Sal took the couple of steps over to Arnold’s desk and looked at the blotter. The blue scribbles, drawn right next to the black scribbles from his pen just the day before, were starting to fade in sections. As both detectives watched, eyes steadily trained on the desk blotter, the sides of the scribbles started disappearing.  In a matter of moments, only the heavier thickness of the lines forming the top and bottom loops of the scribbles were still visible.  Within a minute after that – the blue scribbles were nowhere to be seen.

Arnold looked at Sal, “Get on the internet. Look up disappearing.” He then went to the evidence box and started digging for JP Bugtussle’s blank notebooks. 

-( 1997 )----------

“Louise, please – just let me explain,” pleaded Sherry. “I knew you wouldn’t want to talk to me but I—“

“Darn right I don’t want to talk to you. In fact, I’m ready to hang up right now.”

“Wait – Louise! Don’t hang up! I’ve got this good friend that needs some help and I think we can help him.”

“How can we help him? I don’t even know you any more – I don’t want to know you!”

“Please! Just listen to me Louise. Do you know about the power of the blood of the Madagascar Panther Chameleon?” asked Sherry - speaking as quickly as she could to try and pique Louise's curiosity.

The only reply that Sherry got to her question was the sound of the dial tone.

(Back: Part 11  -  Fortune Cookies)

(Next: Part 12.5  -  Intermission II - Poetic Interlude the Sequel)

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