Murder at the Chanticleer Club
By E.O. Costello, M. Mitchell Marmel, and Walter Reimer
(© 2011 E.O. Costello, M. Mitchell Marmel, & Walter Reimer)
(Characters © 2011 their respective owners)
Hard to believe it’s been four months since I took over Luchow’s.
Still not quite out of the red yet, but we’re doing okay, and it’s our first tourist season. With Speed Week coming up, too.
I might be able to see some black ink in the ledgers by Christmas.
Especially with word getting around about the food.
I get up from the table. Slowly. Racing after Desmann was tough, and my legs and feet are letting me know it, loud and clear.
I make sure the place is locked up, and switch off the lights before having to face the stairs. Up, one at a time, taking it easy.
Note to self: Lay off the snacks.
Franneleh was upstairs, since it was a warm night and the rooms above the restaurant were a lot cooler than either his room downstairs or his usual digs at Nerzmann’s. I had helped him upstairs after dinner and he settled in to read before going to bed.
I kicked off my shoes and socks as soon as I got up the stairs and dug my toes into the rug. The entire upstairs has got these beautiful hardwood floors, but to keep noises down I got these nice deep rugs.
Very easy on tired, sore feet.
A very mild breeze was making the curtains move, and the fan was doing its job of moving air over the block of ice I set out to cool the air over the bed.
Franklin was wearing the silk pajamas I had gotten him (yummy!) and was sitting up in bed, reading.
Some of the books were salvaged when I tossed out 90% of Luchow’s old trash.
The rest are sort of a revolving library arrangement between me and Herr Nerzmann, so Franneleh (and me) always have something to read.
I made sure the louvers on the shutters were set, then slipped my robe off.
I giggled at my beloved, who looked at me over the tops of his glasses and smiled. “I’m not being exhibitionist – I’m still wearing my nightie. Now, I could just open the shutters – “
“Come to bed, sweetheart.”
So I slipped into bed, carried there by a wave of pink fog.
I’ve been laying on my left side for two nights now. My right shoulder’s still a bit bruised.
After a few moments, I felt his paws travel up my back, scratching lightly along my backbone.
Oh, how my buck knows how to make this kitty purr.
He surprised me then, slipping an arm around me and pulling me gently closer to him. I snuggled deeper into his embrace.
Hard work had its rewards.
"If I ever ask to go out on a case with you again, please hit me over the head."
A soft chuckle, and I shivered as his lips brushed the back of one of my ears. "Got a better idea."
"Mmm-hmm." One arm worked up a little further up my ribcage.
Ohhh, yes ...
"Rosalind Elizabeth Baumgartner?"
A thrill up my spine. "Yes, Franklin?"
"Do you solemnly swear to uphold the laws and Constitution of the Spontoon Islands?"
What the hell?
"In that case," one paw cupped my left breast.
There was a sudden weight on my nightie.
“By the authority delegated to me by Chief Sapper on behalf of the Althing, I hereby deputize you as an auxiliary volunteer detective."
I looked down at the shining little badge he’d skillfully pinned to my neggle-jeggle. Lord, if he can do stuff like that with *one* paw …
I focused on the badge.
"Junior G-Man? You RAT!" I said it with a grin, then with a kiss.
Franneleh chuckled. "It's what was available, courtesy of one of the Brush offspring. I'll get you an actual badge next Monday."
I snuggled deeper into my beloved's embrace. "It's a deal, long as you pin it on the same way."
I could feel his smile on the back of my neck. "We’ll see."