Nan and Mattie headed for the door of the Royal Street Police Station detective’s office. Nan was a reporter for the Herald Bagatelle, a competing newspaper in New Orleans, and Mattie Swartz was an attorney from the firm that represented the Bagatelle. On this trip she was sent to assist Nan who had been held on suspicion of murdering a local street person.
“Just a second.” A young detective called behind them.
“Keep walking.” Mattie whispered to Nan, then turned toward the detective “Yes, sir, you have a question?”
Nan walked into the corridor and waited for Mattie. The musty smell of the hallway revealed the humidity and the odors thousands of human souls who waited their fate in the blue and green striped passage, Finally, Mattie emerged.
Nan wanted hug her but refrained. “What’d he want?”
Mattie looked sternly at Nan. “First of all I wanted you to walk on out of the building. Secondly, he wanted prints, DNA, and all that mumbo jumbo.” Mattie put a paper in her briefcase. “They are trying to match things to the bracelet charm they found.”
“What’d you tell’m?” Nan could tell her voice was starting to panic.
“I told him when and if he had a warrant, a probable cause, or a folder of evidence, to give us a call.” Mattie took a breath. “Let’s get outa here?” She led Nan down the hall. “Glad you didn’t have a bracelet.”
Nan gulped. “Oh, but, I do, at home, in my jewelry case.” She felt a tear swelling. “I didn’t lie, just said I didn’t have one on.”
Mattie turned and grabbed Nan’s jacket sleeve. “We have to go get it and turn it in. Otherwise you would be guilty of hiding possible evidence.”
The two women hurried out of the police station and walked the two blocks to a parking garage. “Get in,” Mattie barked. “We’ll get there and back before the detective fills out his report. If he’s like the others up there he is in no hurry to do paperwork.
Mattie flipped her cell phone open and talked to her office all the way to Nan’s apartment. She was still on the phone when Nan unlocked her door. Nan ran into her bedroom and pulled her jewelry case from a dresser drawer.
Nan felt her face flush. “It’s not here.” She emptied the contents on the bed. “Maybe I took it to Slidell when I visited my folks. I musta left it there.”
“It wasn’t on a necklace or anything?”
“No, it has three charms on it. The heart Manny gave me this year.”
“It couldn’t be anyplace else in the apartment?” Mattie began looking around the tiny bedroom.
“No, I always immediately put any jewelry in the box when I come in. I’ll call mom and see if she found it at her house.”
Mattie sat in a side chair and pulled out her cell phone. “I am going to call the detective and tell him that you think you have a charm bracelet at your folk’s house. He probably will pass on it unless he thinks you are hiding something.”
Nan sat on the edge of the bed and picked up her bedside phone. A few seconds later her mother answered. “Mom, please look in my bedroom and see if my charm bracelet is there? I seem to have lost it.” Nan put her hand over the phone mouthpiece and said, “she’s looking.”
“I’m on hold anyway.” Mattie held her cell phone away from her head.
A minute later Nan said, “Yes mom, thanks. Love you, no, we’ll find it.” She hung up the phone and turned to Mattie. “She said that she hasn’t seen it.”
Mattie held up her hand. “Okay, tell him Mattie Swartz called.” She clicked her cell phone shut. “He’s not in.”
“Well, I will continue to look for it. It’s here somewhere.”
Mattie stood next to the chair. “Nan you don’t understand the gravity here. A man is murdered on the first floor of your building, but before he dies he indicates you. He had a charm from a charm bracelet in his hand. You have a bracelet but can’t find it.” She walked toward the apartment door. “Circumstances are beginning to pile up around you.”
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