Triadic Tales - It's Lovely Out There - Short Story, Part One
IT"S LOVELY OUT THERE
Ellie finished her story. I had never met a murderer before. The closest I had come was when my ex hooked me up with a paranoid schizophrenic on a day when he forgot to take his medications. Luckily, I was not the guy he nearly killed after I dropped him off. Ellie leaned closer across the couch and kissed me. Her casual mention of murder went the way of our outer garments. The only concern I had was whether our exertions would disturb grandmother. Ordinarily, I conduct this sort of thing away from home.
What I did not expect was a phone call. This was in the days before cells. I don’t think a cell phone would have made a difference, but you never know. As it was, I extracted myself gingerly from Ellie’s languid post-coital embrace and walked across the room to the antique table and picked up the receiver. Persephone, my chocolate lab, padded over and gave me a nuzzle.
It was Terwilliger, the recently-retired house detective at the Inn.
“Are you alone?” he asked.
“Is my niece there?”
Terwilliger said her name: Ellie Todaro.
“I believe so,” I said.
“Do you know anything about her?”
Ellie was lying on the couch with her head propped up, looking straight at me. I told Terwilliger I would call him later or the next day.
“OK,” he said. “Don’t try anything heroic.”
Out the window, I saw Ellie’s car, moonlit, standing next to mine. When I looked back, Ellie was pulling on her sweater.
“I’ll just let Persephone out,” I said.
I opened the door and inhaled the cool evening air. Something snapped. I walked quickly to my old Mercedes 240-D. But then I realized that my keys were in my pants back on the couch.
“Lose something?” Ellie said, as I returned.
“Just my pants,” I said. “It’s lovely out there.”
“It was self-defense,” Ellie said. She held out what appeared to be a folded newspaper clipping. I opened it and noted the date. October 14, 1988.
INTERN KILLS BOSS
CLAIMS SELF DEFENSE
”Who was that?” Ellie said.
I had, in the space of a few seconds, come to my senses.
“Terwilliger. He says you are his niece.”
“Did he warn you?”
“I think so, but what’s done is done.” I handed back the clipping.
“You are a strange one,” she said.
“It occurred to me his call was a bit unusual,” I said