Claire walked down the hall wrapped in her extra-large towel. She used a hand towel to rub against her wet hair. The tea kettle was hissing.
Rain was still coming down in hordes, making a wonderful soothing sound in her apartment. She had opened the window slightly so she could hear its fabulous melody as it pounded against the brick wall of her apartment building. Funny how I love the rain when I’m not in it.
She turned on the television to a cable news station to see videos of protesters in the streets of D.C. But it had now spread to many of the major cities in the country. Seattle, LA, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and many more. As she had witnessed before, both sides of the bill were represented with signs and chanting people.
“Oh my God, Rachel!” Claire dashed for the phone to call her. Looking at the clock on her kitchen wall, it was nearly 5pm. “Rachel, damn. It’s Claire. Please call me asap. I won’t be on the show tonight. I’m so sorry for this late notice, but things have happened today. Please meet me at the usual place tonight and call me when you get my message. I’m sick about this, sorry again.” She hung up, angry at herself for putting her new friend in such a tight spot. She was giving her four hours to find a replacement, not what friends do to one another. “Damn it!”
Claire found her cell phone in the bottom of her purse, and took it to her computer. After uploading the photos, she deleted the ones on the phone. She then copied the photos onto two different CD’s and moved the computer photos to a hidden folder on her hard drive. Claire was savvy with the computer, she’d learned much of what she knew from Tony. “Tony.” She picked up her tea and took it to the kitchen. Finding the proper stemware, she browsed through the bottles of wine in her cupboard. “This one will do. Tony? Let’s have a drink in your honor.”
The phone rang.
“Rachel? Is that you?” Claire picked up the remote and muted the show. “Sorry, what? Hold on a minute.” Turning the sound on again, Claire saw the news report about Tony.
The reporter was giving a blow by blow of the murder. Claire listened, a tear escaped, it ran down her cheek.
“Henry, are there any leads on this? Any suspects for this heinous crime?”
The reporter, Henry, was standing outside Tony’s flat with an umbrella in one hand, a mic in the other. “The police aren’t calling her a suspect, but evidently there is a witness that saw… get this, Nancy. Senator Claire Winslow was seen leaving the premises shortly after the time of death.”
Claire snapped up the remote and muted the television again. With the phone still in her hand, she raised it and said, “You still there, Rachel?”
“Claire, don’t worry about the show. Can you still meet me later?”
Claire was staring at the television. “Yes, I have something to give you. A present. I’ll see you in a few hours.” She hung up and poured a glass of wine.
A new storm was heard overhead, the thunder not far away. Claire placed her glass on the table and went to the book shelf. Finding a how-to book on remodeling kitchens, she took it to her desk where the Cds were. She printed a label for one of them that said Kitchen Remodeling For Dummies. She applied it to the Cd, giving it a professional look, and then rummaged through her drawer for a plastic disk cover. Next, she plugged in her glue stick gun and waited for it to heat up. She stood, looking for where she’d put her wine. She picked it up and paced her apartment, sipping, worrying. Finally, she used the glue gun to dab the hot waxy substance on the inside cover of the book, and pressed the disk with its plastic cover onto it, giving it the pressure it needed to become one with the book. Satisfied, she found a gift bag, and some hot pink tissue paper. Rachel’s gift was now complete. She placed it in her purse.
Claire looked at the other Cd. She found another plastic cover and some duct tape. She placed the Cd under the desk top, and secured it in place.
“How did it get to this? God, Tony. I’m so sorry I got you involved.” Then she thought of Rachel. Her stomach felt sick. She picked up the phone and called Kurt.
“Kurt, it’s Claire. I just thought of something that may be helpful to your case. It’s probably nothing, but Senator Hancock has in his possession a baseball that I believe came from Tony’s apartment. Now, I know very little about the game, but I believe it is signed by… God, what was that name? Tony loved it and made a big deal about it. Oh, yes. It was signed by Bill Buckner. I saw the Senator showing a baseball to some of our colleagues today. It probably isn’t the same one, but you might want to check Tony’s flat for it.” She raised her glass for another sip of wine. “Of course, I’m sure it’s nothing, like I said before. But I know that you want to know everything I can remember. Yes, no problem. Good night, Kurt.”
She filled her glass again, and went to her room to change from a towel to something suitable for the coffee house. “Eve, please be there tonight, just come tonight.”
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