[Writer’s note: What began as a writing prompt — photo and first paragraph — has become at least the start of a story. I will endeavor to add short sections to it, at lest as long as there is some interest. It might be a little rough in parts, but that’s because it is coming “hot off the press,” which could be part of the fun of it. In the meantime, you are free to jump off from any part of this story thus far and write your own version. Click Holly’s Corner below to get Parts 1 – 9.]
by David E. Booker
“Tea anyone?” Father Brown wriggled himself around me and walked into the room carrying a wicker service tray that was sagging slightly toward the center from the weight of the teapot.
I pointed toward the low coffee table and said, “Now.”
He gave me a look like I was demanding tea immediately.
“In a minute,” he said.
I helped him put it on the coffee table. Maybe Father believed he could beat gravity, but I had other faith. Once the tray was on the coffee table, he shooed me away.
“Take care of your client.”
I could not want to tell him she was not my client. She would have heard and he seemed almost too please that there was one.
I walked over to my desk and took a seat behind it, letting Father Brown serve the tea and make a few pleasant bits of small talk as he did so. When he was done, I asked him to leave.
“Investigator / client privilege,” I said.
“But I found her first,” he said.
“Hey,” she said. “Nobody found me. I found you.”
“And so you did,” I said. “I don’t believe I caught your name.”
“Probably ’cause I ain’t thrown it at you.”
I had a feeling that she was teetering on the edge of sobriety and that whatever repercussions from her dip into alcohol would be manifesting themselves soon. I preferred they didn’t manifest themselves in my office.
“My name’s Rachel. Rachel Ray. Friends call me Ray Ray. I hate Ray Ray. They think they’re being sweet or cute or something or other, but mostly they’re being fuckin’ annoying.”
She took another breath and was about to go on, when I said, “Mrs. Ray.”
“Miss Ray or Ms Ray. I am not now nor have I ever been married.”
“You say it like you’re swearing an oath.”
She smirked at me and then reached for her rolling pin. I decided not to duck.
“I want to hire you.”
“I don’t do recipes.”
“That’s what you think this is about.”
“And you carry around a rolling pin because it is the latest in fashion accessories?”
She lowered the pin. “I don’t believe in guns.”
“The same can’t be said for threats.”
“Do you always speak your mind?”
(To be continued.)