Things keep getting worse four our heroes. A dead man in the cooler, their apartment ransacked, their car stolen. Now, someone has covered their shop with fish guts. Curiouser and curiouser. Each clue seems to take them further from a solution. What could possibly happen next?
They settled once more in Maggie the manager’s office. The police officers took their statements, comparing notes with one another as to what had happened, trying to get a fix on the thread of the story.
“It’s obvious that whoever you surprised at the fish market thinks you know something or have something,” Officer Scott said. “You’re sure you didn’t pick up something, just looking, distracted?”
“I swear, nothing,” Kirk replied tiredly. “I only wish I had, I’d gladly choke the bastard with it.”
“Darling,….” Drea murmured, patting his hand.
“Sorry. I’m usually the most docile of men. This whole thing has my blood up, that’s all. Why are we being persecuted? And who the hell wanted to kill poor, old Jay? He was a nice man, a good merchant, his fish were always top notch…. Dammit, I wish I’d known the fellow better. It hardly seems fitting to sit in the office of the Wal-Mart, commending a man’s – fish.”
“You’d be delighted to be remembered for your food, my dear,” Drea pointed out.
“That’s different. I take the raw product and create edible art. Until I do something with it, a fish is just a hunk of stinking meat.” He shrugged, wishing he had a cigarette. He hadn’t smoked in years, but suddenly the idea had some appeal.
When their interview was complete, Drea and Kirk went back to their hotel room, locking the door securely behind them. Neither of them wanted to see a soul for the rest of the day. In fact, Kirk would have been delighted to avoid the rest of humanity forever. He took a long, hot shower, dressing in the new clothing his wife had bought for him.
“I can’t remember a time I’ve been so angry,” Drea said “I feel violated! What did you stumble upon, my dear?” She asked, yet again.
“I wish I knew, sweetheart. Poor Jay.”
“It’s his daughter I feel sorry for. We must call on her tomorrow and extend our sympathies.”
“Of course. You’re right,” he agreed.
“Margo called while you were bathing. The police finished gathering evidence from the shop. Nothing was taken, amazingly enough. It was just smeared all over with fish guts. How could anyone get in and do something like that?”
“More to the point, why?” He countered.
“They got the cleaning crew in to take care of it. We should be back in business by the day after tomorrow.”
“Just in time for the Michaels – Ferguson wedding,” he sighed resignedly.
“Lucky us. Fortunately, the kitchen wasn’t disturbed. Just the front part of the shop.”
“I hope we haven’t the lingering odor of halibut to drive our customers away.”
“We can get through this, Kirk. We’ve been through worse.”
“So you keep reminding me, Drea. But really, this is getting ridiculous.”
“You know what I need? A shower, dinner and a nap.”
He made a grand gesture, pointing her toward the bathroom. “Your bath awaits, my lady.” Kissing her hands, he led her to the bathroom.
“Well, it isn’t a castle in Marseilles, nor yet a Roman bath, but it will have to suffice.”
“Humble caterers can’t afford the best suite, my love. Were I not of humble origins, I would treat you like the queen you are.”