Nan stood by her patio door and watched her friend and attorney Mattie Swartz drive away. She sank down to the floor and began to sob. “Dear Jesus, am I such a sinner that my life is going to end, or are you calling me home? I cannot bear the hurt I feel, help me Lord send an angel to me or bring me into your kingdom right now.” Her sobs deepened and she curled into a fetal position on the living room floor.
Her fish tank bubbled and the gurgling sound seemed to echo through her tiny apartment.
She opened one eye and stared at the fish tank. “You’ve got a lot of nerve interrupting my depression.” Nan put an elbow up on a coffee table and watched the fish for a few seconds. “Swim in circles and bump my head on the sides, not so different.”
Nan was a reporter for the Herald Bagatelle newspaper in New Orleans. The paper featured the more sensational side of the news. She had wandered into a crime scene a day earlier, and now was herself, being investigated in the murder of a local street person.
Nan pulled herself all the way up and sat on the edge of her couch. “Why did Otis point a finger at me right before he died?” She straightened some magazines on the table. “And, why did he have a bracelet charm in his hand? With my initials carved in it.”
The fish didn’t answer.
The phone rang and Nan stared at it for several seconds trying to decide whether to answer it or not. Finally, on the third ring she picked up the receiver. “Hello.”
A deep male voice on the other end said, “You McHough?”
Instinctively Nan wished she hadn’t answered. “Yeah?”
“Lose a bracelet?”
“Uh, I don’t think so. Who is this?”
The male voice laughed then hung up.
Nan quickly hit redial but there was no service.
In her confusion she ran to her bedroom and sifted through the contents of her jewelry box which had been earlier tossed onto the bed. She searched a storage box under her bed and an other in her closet. Then, she ran back to the living room and pulled all the cushions off of her couch and chair. “Aargh. It’s not here.” She set the cushions back in place and began retracing her steps when last she wore it. “Manny was with me.” Manny was Nan’s fiancé, but was on assignment in Georgia. “I’ll call him, but Manny won’t remember anything. I know I didn’t leave it at Mom’s, she would have told me.” She looked under the magazines on the table. "Phew, I don't have time for this."
She picked up her phone and dialed her friend Sheryl’s number.
“This is Sheryl, talk to me.”
“Sheryl, it’s Nan.”
“Oh, Nanny, is everything alright, like there have been police up here interviewing Lee.” Lee Burke as the city editor of the Bagatelle.
“No, everything is wrong, the police think I shot Otis, and he was clutching a charm in his hand.” There was pause. “Sheryl are you still there.”
Sheryl spoke in a hushed voice. “Yeah, listen. A messenger showed up about ten minutes ago with a envelope, I was expecting a new space layout and I thought that might be it, anyway it didn’t have a name, but the kid said he was supposed to give it to Ms. McHough.”
“Okay Sheryl, skip the details, what was in the bag.”
Nan could hear Sheryl rustling around. “I have it right here, there is a charm bracelet in it, but no charms. Don’t you have a charm bracelet?”
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