The Mistress’s Men
Lu really wanted to spend her entire shift tagging along with Josh, watching him be a detective, getting elbowed in the ribs for not keeping her word about not asking any questions or saying anything sarcastic, but unfortunately, she did have work to do.
A whole pile of it was waiting on her desk.
“You work weekends now?” Melanie asked as she strolled into the office.
The death investigator’s office was situated down the hall from the autopsy room. It had two desks, two phones, several filing cabinets, a couple of chairs, a police scanner, a coffee pot, and a television. The official break room was on the second floor, but most everyone just hung out in the death investigator’s office because it was closer.
Melanie poured herself a cup of coffee.
“Jerome is off and someone had to cover,” Lu said, sitting down at her desk, looking at the stack of files in the center of it not unlike she might look at pile of dog shit on her lawn. And Lu didn’t own a dog. She gestured at them, careful not to touch them. “Is this my pain?”
“Yep,” Melanie said, reading her look. “Those are the files that upstairs,” Melanie looked up, “wants reviewed. Dr. Pascal was ranting about it last night. I thought his head was going to pop off.”
“He’s got about as much skin in this audit as I do.”
“Neither one of you have anything to worry about,” Melanie said, giving Lu a pat on the shoulder. “You two are the best at your jobs. Upstairs is crazy to think otherwise.”
Melanie sat down at the other desk, turning on the TV, but keeping the volume low.
Lu wanted to believe that Melanie was right, but just the fact that she was working for Jerome on a weekend because the city was too cheap to hire as many death investigators as they needed didn’t boost her confidence any. Lu knew all too well that being good at your job didn’t meant that you weren’t expendable.
With a heavy sigh, Lu pulled the first file from the top of the pile and opened it up, looking for a mistake she knew that she hadn’t made.
Simon Sidney lived in a large house on the lakefront, only a few miles down the road from End Of, on Lake Shore Drive. The house was practically a wall of windows on the side that faced the lake, which was no doubt picturesque most of the time, if you didn’t think about how many cars were probably at the bottom of Lake Munster.
Josh sat on the white couch in the white living room wondering why so many people with money insisted on white living rooms.
Simon Sidney was a handsome man in his sixties, his hair long gone silver, his age starting to show in his golfer’s physique. His wife, Carlotta, was easily twenty years younger than he was and held up to a much different standard. Her hair was bleached an unnatural blonde and it was clear by the lack of movement in her forehead that she’d had a round or twelve of Botox. Her lips looked overly filled and her clothes were a size too small.
They sat on the couch opposite Josh, a low glass coffee table between the detective and the couple. Simon Sidney sat on the couch, looking relaxed in his dress shirt and slacks. Carlotta Sidney was perched next to her husband, right on the edge of the sofa. Josh didn’t think she could relax in the dress she was wearing.
“Mr. Sidney,” Josh began, sparing a glance at his wife, “I need to know about your relationship with Starla James.”
“She was my mistress,” Simon Sidney said so bluntly that if the words had been an anvil, a cartoon coyote would have been flattened instantly in a comical way.
“One of your mistresses,” his wife patiently corrected and a second anvil dropped on that poor coyote’s head.
Josh nodded and quickly jotted down the unnecessary information into his notebook to hide his wide-eyed shock from the couple.
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