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“In the six years I devoted to tracking David Cromwell, it never occurred to me that he didn’t exist.” Martha was disconsolate.

“Why not for heaven’s sake?” Cindy looked sympathetically at her old friend.

“Because I was purposely being misled.”

“By whom?”

“That’s just it, I don’t know. But, I’m going to find out.”

“I think it goes without saying, when you discover who’s been misleading you, you’ll know who stole all of your money. Do you have any suspects?

“Oh, yes, I certainly do. And, just in case you’re wondering, you’re on the list.”

“I am? How delightful. I would consider it a pointed insult if I weren’t. Is your ex-husband on the list?”


“Why not? What was his name, I forget?”

“He’s dead.”

“That’s not what I asked you.”

“His name is, was Rick Shaw.”

“That’s right. Now I remember. How very funny — Rickshaw.”

“He didn’t think so.”

“I’ll just bet he didn’t. So he’s dead?”

“As a door nail.”

“That’s just like him. I’d put him on the list of suspects anyway – just out of spite. Are you sure he’s dead?”

“I saw the death certificate.”

“Did you see the body?”


“How did he die – not from natural causes I’ll bet.”

“I’m not sure.”

“What do you mean you’re not sure?”

“Just what I said. I never got a straight answer from the coroner.”

“Ah, then it was not from natural causes. How very nice. But what if . . .”

“What if what?”

“What if it’s not true?”

“What if what isn’t true?”

“That darling Rickshaw is dead. I think we need to find out where he’s buried, dig him up, run a stake through his heart, and rebury him face down. Then I’ll believe he’s dead, provided we don’t find an empty casket.”

“I know where he’s buried. But I don’t understand your cynicism. He never did anything to you.”

“Get a grip on yourself, Martha. Your darling ex-husband did something to everyone with whom he came in contact. Who else is on the list?”

“His mother.”

“Well, that’s a slam dunk. That bitch would make Frankenstein look like a boy scout. How did you get mixed up with these people in the first place?”


“I think you mean lust, Rickshaw was a great looking guy. I often thought he could put his boots under my bed any time he felt like, or in the bed if he had a mind to.”


“What? Oh, don’t worry, I never did anything about it.”

“But you thought about it.”

“Of course I thought about it. Every red blooded American woman whoever met him thought about it.”

“I’ll bet a lot of them did more than think about it.”

“Probably. And that probably got him dead, if he is dead. You know the old saying, hell hath no fury like a scorned woman. And I’ll bet he did his share of scorning. His Karma caught up with him and some darling girl wacked him.”

“Why are we talking about him?”

“I don’t know. We were discussing your list of suspects. By the way, did you Google David Cromwell?”

“Yes, of course. There are pages of David Cromwell’s. I spent weeks checking them out.”


“Nothing conclusive. That’s when I got the feeling that I was being misled. There was one I found to be very interesting.”


“It was an escort service run by a David Cromwell.”

“Did you check him out?”



“He was gay – ran an escort service for gay men.”

“You said you found that interesting. Why?”

“You know.”

“No, I don’t know.”

“Yes you do.”


“I used to work for one.”

“A gay escort service?”

“No, for Pete’s sake.”

“Who’s Pete?”

“Cindy! A regular man woman escort service.”

“You never told me that.”

“I thought I did.”


“New York City.”

“Did you go out on dates?”

“Well, of course I went out on dates. And don’t look at me like that.”

“Like what?”

“It was a high class business. I wasn’t a whore.”

“Of course you weren’t.”

“If it weren’t for Sydney, I don’t know what would have become of me.”

“Sydney? I hope you don’t mean who I think you mean.”


“The Mayflower Madam?”

“That’s not fair, Cindy. She protected her girls.”

“And you were… one of her girls.”

“Yes, and I made a lot of money working for her. Her clientele were the crème de la crème. They were rich and well placed. Granted, she ran the wrong kind of business, but she did it with integrity.”

“I’m sure she did. When did Rickshaw come into the picture?

“After the business ended.”

“Did Rickshaw know about this little venture, and all the money you made?”

“Will you stop calling him that?

“That’s his name isn’t it?”

“Not the way you’re saying it.”

“Sounds like you’re still in love with the louse.”

“No… I’m not; and no he didn’t know about all of the money I made.”

“Are you sure?”

“No, I’m not sure.

“What if David Cromwell is actually Rick?”

“But he’s dead.”

“So you say, but what if?”

“Oh Jeez, do you think it’s. . .”

“Yes I do. You said you know where he’s buried?”


“Got a stake and a sledge hammer?”


“What, Martha?”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“Am I?”

“I’ve got a shovel.”

“I’ll need one also.”

“We can buy one on the way.”


“I’m ready.”

“Let’s go, sweetie.”

The End

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About The Author
About This Story
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2 Jul, 2017
Mystery, Drama
Funny, Offbeat

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