Secrets in small towns are similar to secrets in big cities. The only difference is more people in that small town may know the secret. That can get dangerous.
This short story will be told in three or four parts. Kick your feet up and enjoy Chapter 1.
A Hot Day in Bane, Georgia – sometimes the asphalt was so hot it melted under your feet.
MARY BEEKMAN LAY FACE down floating in her pool. The seventy-seven-year-old was fully clothed. She wore white shorts and a pink top. Her slippers were poolside. They were next to a teak wood Adirondack pool chair. A full glass of vodka and orange juice was at the side of the chair. A straw with a thick coating of red lipstick on one end lay near the glass. In the chair on a pink fluffy beach towel was a book. Its title was Sue Your Neighbors And Win.
It was one hundred and two degrees. The humidity was near a hundred percent. That made it one of the hottest days in Bane, Georgia. Mary Beekman’s lifeless body had turned up the heat on the town. Or it had just cooled it down.
Bane Town’s population was one thousand. The town had not had a murder in sixty years. The average annual income in Bane’s was seventy thousand dollars. Its primary employers were leather companies. Per capita, Bane was one of the wealthiest towns in the country. It was two towns over from Atlanta, Georgia. Few people heard of Bane. The citizens wanted to keep it that way for good reasons.
Detective Greg Tilman walked next to the pool. His button-down white shirt was soaked. Sweat dripped from his face. He left a wet trail on the ground behind him. He removed his cowboy hat and rubbed his sleeve across his forehead.
“Whew,” he said. “Mercy sakes.” He fanned his face with his hat. “It’s hotter than a damn barbeque pit in July.” He looked up at the sun. His face was red and getting redder. “What the hell? Why choose a day like today to die? There’s not a damn place to cool off. My doctor warned me to stay out of the sun. It’s hell on your skin. You get that damn melanoma. That stuff’s deadly. And I got hypertension. That high blood pressure disease. Talk about a deadly killer? My family has a history of that.” He wiped his forehead with a handkerchief. “Sweating bullets. Damn it.”
Detective Tilman walked away from the pool to a nearby medium-sized Oaktree. The leaves provided a little shade. “Will somebody do me a favor, please,? he asked and cleared his throat. “Slide that chair that’s against the house over here.”
Two Bane Town deputies looked at one another. Both had been deputies for six years. Both were around thirty-five. They wanted to tell Detective Tilman what he was asking was wrong. But they had to be delicate about it. Detective Tilman was an icon in Bane Town.
Detective Tilman was seventy-two. He had fifty years of law enforcement under his belt. And about one hundred extra pounds that contributed to him sweating profusely.
“Sir,” Deputy Form said. He was one of the deputies. “Ah…isn’t this a crime scene? Or shouldn’t we treat it as a crime scene until we know otherwise?”
“Great observation there, Deputy Dawg,” Detective Tilman said, playfully mocking him. “But think like a killer if you were a killer.” Deputy Form looked confused. “Play along with me for a minute, son. Would you tell her,” he pointed at Mary in the pool, “go on over there and lay face down in the pool until you drown. In the meantime, I’m going to sit here in the shade and watch you die.” He paused. “See. That doesn’t make sense. Now, I’ll take that chair. Thank you very much.”
Thank you for stopping by.
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