We hugged and cried until we heard the police cruiser in the driveway. Mary Margaret poured coffee as I let Kelvin in.

“Where’s the killer dogs I’ve heard so much about?” he asked.

I started to ask how he knew about my dogs but then I remembered the officer picking me up for an earlier interview. The ratties had barked mightily at the appearance of a stranger who did not come in for an introduction. “Someone is watching them until I am steady enough on my feet to walk them. They are feisty critters you know?”

Mary Margaret appeared with the tray and the three of us got down to business. He asked questions, we answered. Then he asked questions of me and I answered. He asked similar questions directly to Mary Margaret and she answered. Then he started the process all over asking for the same information but with different questions. The only thing he didn’t do was separate us to question us but I guess it wasn’t necessary since we had different recollections of the night – our stories were not collaborations. He left with a list of diners and participates he would interview next and a warning to me to be careful.

As much as I wanted her to stay, I asked Mary Margaret to leave. I used some excuse about wanting to rest and feeling much better after talking to the police but the truth was that I was the one now feeling guilty. My guess was that I brought this ugliness on by my confrontation at The Café. John’s appearance at the hospital had me convinced he had something to do with the dark dining incident. Plus, this was Crab Festival and I wanted Mary Margaret to enjoy the activities.

She agreed to leave under conditions. She would go to the store and get some food to last me a few days, and she would call to arrange for the dogs to come home. She wouldn’t budge on staying until the terriers were on patrol. I agreed.

She called Patsy, my neighbor and wife to our local vet, who said she would bring them over in the early afternoon after she was finished with veterinary business for the day. Her husband may have had the veterinary degree and was excellent at both diagnosis and treatment, but it was Patsy who created a successful product. She made up for the skills her husband lacked – people skills, business skills, and community involvement. 

Patsy and Dan were not the only successful husband and wife business team in Kodiak. There was a husband and wife law practice, many family fishing ventures, and the newspaper was owned and published by a woman whose husband was the editor. In addition, the accounting and bookkeeping service was owned by a female couple and several of the local restaurants were run by unmarried couples of various gender combinations Kodiak was lucky to have maintained so many independent family businesses in a world of cookie cutter businesses with corporate models.

When Mary Margaret returned with my provisions for the next couple of days, I agreed to take a nap while she waited for the return of the dogs. While I dozed in and out I occasionally heard kitchen noises – pot and pans, cabinets shutting, and water running in the sink. In a small house where the doors have a two-inch clearance of the floor, there’s no secrets. So, I wasn’t surprised when I finally got up and found a pot of stew bubbling away on the stove and cookies cooling on a rack.

I thanked Mary Margaret for all her help. I was a little embarrassed that she went to that much trouble. She insisted it was a pleasure cooking in a kitchen with new and modern appliances. She particularity liked my new range with double ovens where she could bake the cookies in the small upper oven while she had a meat loaf cooking in the larger bottom oven.  That was more validation of my money well spent.  I imagined her delight when she discovered the microwave over the stove was a combination convection oven.

We were enjoying a late lunch of meatloaf sandwiches when Patsy arrived with my ratties. I don’t know who was more excited; me or the terriers. It felt so good to have them back in the house. In fact, things were beginning to feel normal again.

“Yummy, Eddie smells so good. What is it?” I asked as I held them close to me.

Pam answered “when you called we were bathing them. That was the delay. I would have brought them right over except they were wet. Eddie was washed in lavender soap and Daisey in coconut.”

I laughed out loud which brought a confused stare from both Patsy and Mary Margaret. “Oh, I’m sorry. I was amused you chose coconut for Daisey because that was to be her name originally. I changed my mind when I realized it would probably be shorted to just Coco.”

Finally, with everyone gone, my doggies home, and food simmering on the stove, I drifted into domestic bliss. I had plenty of reading materials, a fully-charged laptop with a strong wireless connection, pain medication, and a promise from my neighbor to walk my dogs for me for a few more days. I was set for a relaxing night; that is until I got a phone call that the police were holding Guy in the disappearance of Aunt Cecil.



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