Friday, December 11, 2009

Part Seven of The Christmas Mystery by Barbara Phinney

Think fast? Zelda didn’t think fast, unless it was the last chocolate brownie on a plate at the church potluck, and Mrs. Tuckershaw was closing in on it. No, Zelda didn’t give anything except that a fast thought.

But Tommy? Ben had mentioned Tommy, and suddenly the quiet Christmas loomed over her like one of Scrooge’s creepy ghosts loomed over him. She didn’t want to have her son away at Christmas. And the idea of never sharing the holiday season with him again weighed against Mrs. Garrison’s cockeyed admission to murder...

No way. Sorry, Mrs. Garrison. You and your dead husband and those ‘officers’ don’t hold a candle to Tommy.

She whirled, grabbed Ben’s arm and hissed, “You better be right about this, or else!”

“Wise choice,” Ben answered as he grabbed her arm and steered her into her house. Once in there, with the door locked, he began a systematic checking and closing of all of her blinds and curtains. Not that there were many open. She’d just got up...well, some time ago.

“Okay, talk. I want to know what’s going on. Mrs. Garrison is practically owning up to murder. And the way she talked, it sounded like this has happened before. She needs my help. But then you go and bring Tommy into all this. Is he in danger? And what was that little thingy you shoved into your pocket?”

Ben dug something out of his pocket. “It’s a detonator. I need it to identify who sent the bomb.”
“Do you have an idea who it was?”

Ben glanced toward the window. “Yes. And they showed up just a little too fast, don’t you think?”

“You mean the police? The EMTs?” Zelda shoved Ben out of the way and peered out the window herself. Beyond her yard, everyone who answered the call had gone into the house. And Mrs. Garrison was headed in, too. From her front door window, Zelda could see the older woman hurrying inside, a millisecond before she turned and drilled a hard, cold stare across the street.

Ben shoved the curtain down. “Yes. Those people aren’t who you think they are. And for Tommy’s sake, we need to get away.” He turned and began to direct her down her hall. “You have thirty seconds to get dressed.”

She resisted him. “I can’t dress that fast!”

He stopped, turned and took both her elbows in a firm hold close to her. “Zelda, listen to me. We need to get out of here. I’ll explain everything, but it’s Tommy we need to think of right now. You have thirty seconds, okay?”

Then he leaned and pressed a quick, warm kiss onto her lips.
Too quick, was her first thought. But he was already pushing toward her bedroom, and unless she wanted him in there dressing her like a confused old woman, she’d better do as he said.
She returned, dressed, with no idea of how little time she took. And she was sure she had her tank top on backwards.

Ben was pacing in the front hall. “The Garrisons came to this area for one purpose," he started to explain. "to destroy the organization Tommy and I work for. But if Mr. Garrison is dead, things are getting even more desperate. I believe that Tommy-”

“Was foolish to trust you.”

Ben pivoted hard. Zelda jumped. Stepping in from the back door was Mrs. Garrison. She carried a deadly looking gun. Behind her stood both EMTs.

And they had guns, too!


RoxanneRustand said...

WOW!! I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next, Barbara! You upped the suspense even more, and I love your humor, too. What a great installment!!

Barbara Phinney said...

Roxanne, what a nice thing to say! I loved your installment and to hear this from you, well, it puffs me up so much I won't be able to get out of the house! LOL
I can hardly wait for tomorrow and see how this is wrapped up.
How are they going to get out of this pickle?
I say they go down with guns blazing!

Lenora said...

You girls are so cute and funny. Great job, Barbara. Love the picture of Mrs. Garrison. And like Zelda, I sometimes put my tank top on backwards, too! And that kiss--just a hint of things to come??

Love it.

Margaret Daley said...

I love the picture of Mrs. Garrison. Great, Barbara.

Linda said...

OH, I was blaming Ben, but it looks as though the Garrison's and the EMTs are a factor to deal with. I LOVE Mrs. Garrison picture! But I wonder what is so important about Ben and Tommy's work that it would include the neighbor. Drug ring? Keep it coming!!!

Lisa Mondello said...

Aha! So running to Zelda's in her barefeet was just a cover for Mrs. Garrison so she could look innocent! Just who are those EMTs? And will Tommy arrive on the scene to save them all? I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.

PamelaTracy said...

I'm soooo loving this. And so biting my nails.

EllenToo said...

What a mess Zelda and Ben are in now. Obviously somebody has to ride to the rescue. But one question--how did the bad guys get in the house without Ben knowing???? Didn't he think to lock the back door??? What kind of secret agent doesn't lock the BACK DOOR???????

Leann said...

What organization do Tommy and Ben belong to? And good old Mrs. Garrison. What international group does she work for? Is it a government or a criminal organization?

Great job, Barbara. I can't wait for the next chapter. I'm on pins and needles.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Yesterday's suspense had my heart racing. Today's installment upped it, but the picture of Mrs. Garrison had me rolling.

Suspense and humor!

So, will Tommy should walk in on this and save the day? There have been so many twists and turns, I dare not guess. Grisel B.

PamelaTracy said...

Oh, ack, what door did Ben not lock. Tell me where that line is.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry! I love the story but I hate having to read it in installments!!

EllenToo said...

I'd say he didn't lock the back door if Mrs Garrison and the EMTs could get the jump on him. If they had had to break the door down to get in because it was locked he wouldn't have been surprised by them. At least that's the way it reads to me...

Barbara Phinney said...

Ellen Too, I tried to leave a comment before but I see it didn't come through. You're sharp to pick up that detail on the back door.
So who does Ben work for, if he's 'accidentally' left the back door unlocked.
And where is Tommy?

EllenToo said...

Barbara~~I don't have an answer to the question who Ben works for but I'm sure they wouldn't be very happy with him. Maybe some super secret agency and for where Tommy is~~maybe he's deep undercover in some devious organization that would kill him immediately if they knew.

SketchGirl said...

Clever pick up Ellen I didn't pick up that he didn't look the back door. Then again bad guys may know how to pick up lock. Or it could just be a set up and he wanted the bad guys in the house as part of a trap to capture them and getting Zelda to go get changed gave him a chance to finalise the plan.

Pamela J said...

I didn't cheat and read the ones after this one, or the comments made on this one, before making my comment, though I am late in getting to finish the story.

It seems all a ploy of Mrs G to get Zelda out of the house and into hers. Was she protecting or capturing Zelda? Now we find out Mrs G was in on something, by Ben's own admission, to ruin the organization Tommy and he works for.

WHAT could be going on and how could Zelda be kept so in the dark about it all? No wonder Tommy left so he wouldn't slip and say something he shouldn't.