"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

For the snoop in all of us

Hey, gang, I found Peri's diary the other day. You know, Peri Minneopa, the main character in my book, Freezer Burn. She's a private investigator in my novel, but she used to have a career cleaning houses. Most of it's pretty dull stuff, but I thought this entry was really interesting:


I'm exhausted. Cleaned the Jeffers house and Dr. Bite's office today – his name isn't really Dr. Bite, but he's a dentist, so I like calling him that. Doesn't matter, he's never there when I come to clean.

The Jeffers house was a sty this time. Mrs. Jeffers is on travel. I could tell because her side of the sink is missing some bottles, and her power suit isn't in the closet, but the dry cleaning bag is still hanging there. She didn't run off, 'cause the Volvo was in the garage. From the looks of the place when she's gone, it wouldn't surprise me if she did just pack it up and leave. Between the husband, the teenage girl and the ten-year old boy, none of them can pick a towel up, throw a wrapper away, get a dish even near the kitchen, let alone the sink, nothing. Usually, when I go to their house, I do the basics and I'm done in two hours. I gave them an extra half-hour today and worked my ass off to get everything done in a half-assed way.

Mr. Jeffers started to give me a little grief about the lack of serious dusting, but I pointed out that he may want to put a little stain remover on the shirt I picked up off the floor, because Mrs. Jeffers' dark berry lipstick was all over the inside of the collar. He stared at me, trying to figure out if I knew Mrs. Jeffers doesn't wear dark lipstick (I know she likes the bronzes), then shut up and paid me.

Dr. Bite's office was in its usual state when I got there. Neat and organized, even before I start cleaning. It even smells mint-y fresh. I dust, clean the bathroom and scrub the sinks out. I don't touch the equipment – that's their department. Found a note under the chair in his office when I was vacuuming today. "Call me 555-6009" in big, curly handwriting, with a little smiley face, like a teenager would sign. Of course I was curious. Is it a note he found, or is Dr. Bite a perv, messing with little girls?

True confession time – I opened his desk drawers to see if I could find out what the note meant. One of the drawers was locked, but I know the key is under the desk lamp, because I move it when I dust. It's a pretty stupid place to hide a key, so I went ahead and used it. If the pictures in that drawer are the same woman who wrote that note, at least she looks legal – every bare inch of her. At that moment, I was really happy I'd never let any of my exes take photos of me in the nude. Or Skip.

Speaking of Skip, we were going to have dinner tonight, but he got called on a case. Sometimes sucks dating a detective. So I had a long soak in the tub for my tired muscles, then had my favorite dinner, Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream, and watched a Sherlock Holmes movie. I love mysteries. While I was in the tub, I started thinking about what Blanche said when we had lunch Wednesday. She thinks I should get out of the housecleaning business and become a private investigator. I can't help but think about the PI's I see on TV or read about in books. They're always in some kind of hot water. I hate danger, but my shoulders and knees sure are feeling today's bout with the Jeffers house. I suppose I could just do background checks, surveillance, stuff like that. Sitting in a car is easier than scrubbing toilets, any day. I'm just afraid I wouldn't be any good at it.

Well, gonna read one more chapter of that new Michele Scott mystery before I turn in. Her amateur sleuth, Nikki, is always in trouble. I wonder if I should tell Skip about that gun I saw in Dr. Bite's locked drawer.


I guess she decided to start a new career after all. Too bad it didn't turn out to be as low risk as she'd hoped.

1 comment:

Helen Ginger said...

I bet if you keep looking, you'll find more interesting entries in her diary! I really liked this.


Proud Member of ALA!

I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.