She walked into the diner looking like she’d lost her way to the country club. “My husband’s dead,” she said to everyone.
I glanced out the window. A Mercedes was out there, parked haphazardly off near the pay phone. Frowning, I turned back to the woman. People kept their distance mostly. Alma got her a cup of coffee and told her it would be okay. Right, her husband’s dead, but it’s going to be okay. That’s Alma for you.
It looked like breakfast was done. Hardly had a bite, but duty called. Grabbing my hat, I slid out of the booth. Her tennis outfit was blinding white and diamonds dazzled from her hands, wrist and ears. Her long brown hair was tied back. I made her to be about 35, 5’6” and 135 pounds. No obvious identifying marks. Only thing missing was the tennis racket. And the husband.
“Where’s your husband now, ma’am?” I asked, pulling my tablet and pen out of my jacket pocket.
She was silent a moment, blinking at the coffee in front of her. When she turned to face me, her blue eyes were dry. “In hell, Officer,” she said, as calmly as if I asked her the time.
“Deputy, ma’am. Hell aside, where is your husband?”
“In the car,” she told me, her jaw tightening.
“Keep her here, Alma. Right here,” I ordered. Heading out of the diner, I grabbed my radio. “Need an ambulance at Maybelle’s Diner, Doris. Get ‘em into gear and put the ME on notice.” I shoved the radio into its holster and ran the rest of the way.
The silver Mercedes was unlocked. I saw the old man leaning against the window of the passenger seat. Pulling open the door, I caught him. Fingers on his throat, listening at his nose. Nothing. I put my ear to his chest.
Pulling him out onto the gravel, I laid him flat. Training took over and I started CPR, counting out loud, blowing in a breath, over and over. I heard the whine of the siren coming from town. Buddy took over soon as he and Tom pulled in with the rig. Only took three minutes for him to call out, “Got him!”
I hurried back to the “widow.” She didn’t spare me a look, staring out the window. She was pale as a ghost, her hands gripped tightly together. “Ma’am, I need to ask you some questions.”
“Do you have to do that now, Sherry?” Alma asked me.
“Yeah, I do. Ma’am, what’s your husband’s name?” I stepped in front of the window to get her attention. She looked up. Her eyes were hard as the diamonds she wore.
“David Henderson,” she bit off the name, her mouth twisting. “Beat the Devil again, did he?”
“This happen a lot, Mrs. Henderson?”
She looked me dead in the eye. “Three times now. And they say third time’s the charm.”
© 2010 Jessica Rosen