Murder by the Written Word V
Tiffany later found herself in front of Big Ernie’s Bar and Grill, because the proprietor, her uncle Ernest Armstrong, was always up on the local gossip. Inside, there stood a robust, middle aged man. He was wearing his usual ensemble—this time minus his cap. His tee shirt was tight and revealed muscular arms and torso while his jeans hugged narrow hips. Ernie was once a body builder but a back injury silenced those days forever. Even though he fully recovered, he decided he would not return to the competition. Now, he indulged in his second love—culinary delights and conversation. Tiffany found Ernie bent over the counter with his face buried in the Daily Gazette.
“What’s the word, Uncle Ernie?” Tiffany asked displaying her most provocative smile.
“Ah, my favorite journalist, you always know where to come for the latest, don’t you my girl!” Ernie replied joyfully.
He asked Tiffany how her dad was and the usual family inquiries before he got down to business.
“The Gazette says the nephew was shot.” Ernie begun.
“I know—read who wrote the byline.” Tiffany grinned as Ernie gave her an impressive nod.
“Ha, but did you know this?” Now Big Ernie was smiling as he leaned over the counter, handing Tiffany a cherry/lime soda.
“They say Margaret, the old heifer, had a sister. Her name was Annabelle and she died giving birth to twins. Fraternal not identical and out of wedlock, they say. Word also has it that one of the little buggers was still born. Old Margaret and Albert buried poor Annabelle in the family graveyard. However, if you go to the cemetery you won't find a marker. Now isn't that a mystery. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was dirty work under foot.
Anyway, everything was kept pretty hush, hush after that.” Ernie paused to take a sip of carrot juice—he was strict in maintaining his diet.
“So what happened to the other baby, Uncle Ernie?” Tiffany was really enjoying this bit of information.
“There is really no way of knowing what the pruned up old hag did with that other little tyke. Shoot, it would be all grown up by now.” Ernie wiped his forehead with the towel he had draped around his neck and said,
“Can I get you anything else, Tiff?”
“No, this will be all,” Tiffany answered.
“Paper says the killing is still under investigation. They did put a picture of the nephew in though. Funny thing is, I never knew they had any other relatives other than Annabelle and those two little ones. As far as I ever knew the one that lived was a baby girl. Of course, this did happen a very long time ago. Hey, its even possible that— ”
Before Ernie could finish his story an onslaught of customers entered the place. Ernie arose to make sure they were comfortable before allowing one of his staff to see to their needs. When he returned to Tiffany she was finishing her soda and preparing to leave. Taking a second thought, she stopped abruptly, and said,
“I’ll take one of those newspapers, Uncle Ernie.”
“Here,” Ernie said. “Take mine, it won’t cost you anything. I suppose they don’t even supply free papers to the staff at that establishment of yours.” Ernie chuckled.
Tiffany nodded, thanked Ernie and took the paper. Now all she wanted to do was to go home, take a hot shower and get some sleep. As she placed the paper on the seat, the picture of Andrews’ nephew, Martin, seemed to be staring straight back at her. Martin had not been a bad looking fellow and he did possess that distinctive Andrews' chin.
Tiffany had not seen his face earlier today when she visited the estate. He had laid on the parlor floor stone cold dead and covered with the fur. She was curious as to why a perfectly beautiful fur coat was used to cover the body. Then she looked at the picture again. Where in the world had she seen him before? Tiffany pondered for a moment. That’s it! It was the night Dale had taken her to Venus on the Hill. He was the one tending the bar. She had overheard him mentioning to one of the patrons that he was just filling in when the regular man was out. And now … Martin was out permanently.
To be continued