Magee Goes Trick or Treat, Part 8

By Stephen  Halpert

Dick Pride waited for Sippi outside her office. The young reporter  was shifting from one foot to the other. As soon as she left her car and got  close enough to hear he started right in.  us know about it!

“I read the crime lab report. The male head’s finally turned up.  Anything you might care to share?”
Sippi still wanted to take him to the diner and buy him a good  breakfast. Instead she shook her head. “Sorry, classified. Talk to Chief  Mallory.”
“Maybe we could do a trade, you know share information, like  trading baseball cards. My editor gave me two names. And in return maybe you  have something for me.”
“You mean the mad twins,” Sippi said. His face fell and for a  moment she felt sorry for him. “Tell you what,” she said. Magee and I are out of  here sooner than later. Aunt Bea’s bash is tonight and I promised I’d help her.
Let’s either meet at her party and talk or connect for breakfast on Monday. Your  call?”
“Tonight’s fine,” he smiled. She sighed. Love that schoolboy innocence, she thought. “Maybe you could buy me a beer, and who knows this could be the  start of
something big,” he said wistfully.
“Like  what?”
Her candor set him back but he held his ground. “I come from a  family of
cops.”
“Enough!” She held up her hand.  “We’ll talk. You want a story. I want to prosecute a sick killer. Incidentally whenever Aunt Bea entertains there’s always an open bar.” She patted his cheek. “See you tonight.”
He bent down and petted me. I wagged my tail. I hoped we’d be  pals. Little did I know what that friendship would entail.

Sippi finished her office chores by noon and we headed back to her  condo. “I hope Magee, that tonight Aunt Bea has the time of her life. Any guess who that man of her heart might be?”
I yipped. I’m a dog remember, not a mind reader.

By four thirty Aunt Bea was dressed and ready to leave for the  Inn. When Sippi inquired about her mystery gentleman all Aunt Bea did was smile.
“You’ll see. Let’s just hope he’s be able to get away and be there. I’ve never known a man with so many non-stop business obligations. I have a busy schedule  but his is ridiculous.”
“I’m not going to pry,” Sippi said.  “Instead I’ll just wait and sit on the
sidelines.”
Raven picked us up at five in a rented limo. Sippi wore her special party dress and elegant dancing shoes. I felt proud. Sippi had had my dress blues dry  cleaned. I loved wearing my uniform, especially my badge. By six thirty the third floor ballroom was near full. Aunt Bea surveyed the early guests.
“Where is he,” Sippi  asked Raven?”
“Where’s who?”
“The man of her dreams.”
Moments later we heard fanfare by the elevator. Charley Smiles and  Dick Pride laden with two thick bundles of newspapers came into the ballroom. A large photo of Bea looking considerably younger filed the front page. The headline read “First Lady of Soul Returns To Where Her Career First  Began.”
Bea rushed up to him, flung her arms around his neck and started  kissing him. Her jazz combo began playing her old standby from the musical  Show Boat, “Can’t Help Loving That Man of  Mine.”
They  stood together swaying quietly. Tears rolled down her cheeks. “Baby it’s been  way to long a time.”
“Too long,” the mild mannered country editor whispered.  “Lot’s of catching up to do.”
“And a lifetime to fit it all in.” Then they kissed like a bride  and groom.
I wagged my tail. Tears of joy filled Sippi’s eyes.  She hugged me and even looked  affectionately at Raven.
All was heavenly. Then that horrible scent of perfume I had  sniffed at the tennis courts invaded my nostrils. They burned. I started  sneezing. Party’s over I thought. Sadly it was back to work. I was sure whoever used that rusty axe and hid it behind the  tennis court
was here in the ballroom. The trick was how was I going to sniff  out a murder in a ballroom full of guests. I crouched as low to the floor as I could.
“What’s up with Magee?” Dick Pride asked Sippi.
“He’s onto a scent.”
“A good cop’s day never ends,” Dick said. “I’ll always remember  when I was little how my father would get calls right in the middle of birthday parties and family celebrations. Who do you think he’s after?”
Sippi introduced Dick Pride to Raven.
“We’ll talk,” Raven  smiled. Then he turned to me. “Go for it, Magee.  I’m right beside you.”
“What’s going on.” An elderly gentleman said.
“Contact lens lost,” Raven said flatly. “This dog’s specialty is
recovering contacts.”
Something did not feel right. The energy shifted abruptly. I felt  sure that there was danger afoot.
“Raven,” Sippi said. “Please don’t let him get his uniform all  messy. I just had it dry cleaned.”
I stayed low to the ground keeping my focus on the scent. It was  getting stronger. I moved more slowly; I knew I was getting closer. Then I saw  two gray haired women. They looked so much alike it would be difficult to tell one from the other. I knew it was best  not to cause a scene. No one wants a dog to start barking in the middle of a  celebration. I crouched there, watching. Then I saw one of them pull out a small  gray pistol. She aimed it at Aunt Bea. I knew I had to do something. I growled  and sprang.
The woman’s face contorted. “Die you lousy black bitch. You’ve no  place here.”
Just when she fired, I landed on her arm. The gun went off. Aunt  Bea
screamed and fell against Charley Smiles. He put his arms around her. “I’ll protect you, my darling.”
The woman was scuttling for the exit. Mallory yelled, “Stop  her, Jones. Don’t let her get away.”
I heard his voice dimly through a terrible pain in my head. There  was blood on my paws. I heard Sippi scream my name.
“Oh God,” she cried, “please, please don’t let this happen. I love  you so Magee. Please baby open your eyes. We’re partners.”  Then her voice got muffled and  everything went black.
(to be continued)

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