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Triadic Tales - It's Lovely Out There - Short Story, Part One


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. 

“Not really.”

“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.


”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 


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