Episode IV: Part III - The Case of the Conniving Gun Moll
“We have one more job to do, baby, then we’ll go …. I promise,” he whispered.
Breaking away from his embrace, her face twisted with frustration. “You promised a vacation, that we’d go to Hawaii, and you’re backing out ... again.
“I’m not backing out of anything,” he barked.
Projecting an angry stare, she snarled, “what’s to say you won’t come out with that same song and dance after the next job?”
“Pipe down,” the leader of the gang pleaded, pulling an embarrassed face. He cut a glance at the occupied tables around him, concerned her anger might escalate into a dangerous rant about the robberies. Clamping a hand on his girlfriend's shoulder, the criminal mastermind forcefully guided her in the direction of the restaurant’s elegant lobby and revolving front door.
“Monsieur, mademoiselle,” their tuxedo clad waiter called out, running after the couple as they made their way toward the dining room entry and adjacent lobby. “Do you not wish to order dessert?” he asked in a pleading tone, his english carrying a noticeable French accent.
Stopping, the gang's leader stuck his hand in his jacket pocket, removing a roll of washed one hundred dollar bills. Peeling three off the top, he handed the waiter the money. “Not tonight, thank you ... perhaps next time,” he muttered, his voice laden with irritation.
“Oui, monsieur,” the waiter replied resignedly. Pivoting in her direction, he clicked his heels lightly and rendered a slight bow before uttering, “mademoiselle” in a polite show of courtesy before turning around and walking back toward the maitre d’.
Her reactive half-smile rapidly evaporated with an abrupt about face. “Why don’t you …..”
“Why don’t you zip it,” he fired back, cutting her off. Returning his hand to her shoulder, he again directed her toward the entrance and the restaurant’s valet service.
Breaking free of his grip, she stopped and turned around. “I’m really pissed at you,” she shouted.
“We can talk about it later,” he growled. “In the meantime, shut your trap before you say something we’ll both regret.”
Settling down, they waited uneasily for the valet service to return with their vehicle.
He’s lied to me for the last time.
“Female? How do you know?” Matt asked, a curious look appearing.
“It’s a Pandora bracelet ... and it’s loaded with charms.” Delia noted. "I have two of those bracelets."
“Really? Have I ever seen you wear them?”
“Oh, puh-leeze,” Delia shrilled. “You may have graduated the top of your class as a private investigator, but at feminine elegance school, you were obviously dead last.” A pause. “Yes, I’ve worn them here,” she politely sneered. “The Pandora brand encompasses a variety of bracelets that you pair with your favorite charms.”
Matt chuckled. “Well, now you know another reason I’m single.”
Delia shook her head and smirked. “We’ll skip that topic. In the meantime, I will again demonstrate my value as your assistant.”
Rendering a wry smile, Matt folded his arms and nodded. “You have my undivided attention.”
“Take a close look at the enhanced frame,” Delia pointed out, sitting at her desk. “Notice the charms attached to the bracelet.”
“Yeah, I see them,” Matt replied, moving closer to the computer screen and squinting his eyes. He moved away from the monitor and gazed at at his assistant. "So, talk to me ... what is it?”
Delia opened her desk and removed a knife letter opener. Using it as pointer, she touched the screen, resting the knife end of the opener over one particular charm. “This is one of Pandora’s newest charms for the current year... it’s called the entwined hearts double dangle charm.”
Matt nodded. “Alright, I’m with you ... continue,” he urged, moving toward the monitor for another look.
“There’s only one Pandora retailer locally that carries that particular charm, and it's in the Belford Mall. A friend of mine works there. I happened to be at the mall a few days ago to drop off a bracelet with a broken clasp, and to say hello. While I was there she showed me their newest collection. And that particular charm was one of several she laid out on the glass counter.”
Moving away from the monitor, Matt turned and faced his assistant. “Hmm," he mumbled in a pensive tone. “Do you think you can talk your friend into …”
Delia quickly placed her open hand in front of Matt’s face. “We go back a long way, Matt. And trust me ... she owes me one.”
Matt chucked. “So, you’re telling me it’s time to collect on whatever mess you helped her out of?”
“Something like that,” Delia replied. "Remind me to fill you in … later.” Glancing at the keyboard, she tapped in the command to shut down her computer, then opened a desk drawer and grabbed her purse and keys. Standing, she pivoted in Matt’s direction.
“Going somewhere?” Matt asked.
Delia smiled. “There’s another charm out there ... with my name on it.”
Click to read Episode IV Part IV "MATT DUGGAN - Detective Series"