Maggie Maguire, P.P.I.

I’m Maggie Maguire, P.P.I. That’s a pretty rare specialty — Paranormal Private Investigator. I take the cases other P.I.s won’t touch with a ten foot pole. Wussies. My clients all come to me at the end of their rope, figuratively speaking, usually. I know what you’re thinking. “Wooooo…I see dead people.” It’s not like that. Well, it is, a little. I do get my share of clients literally at the end of their rope or beyond. They’re really no different from the live clients who want me to follow their cheating spouse or to discover where the ex is hiding the money or to find out who keeps moving the old dresser from one side of the attic to the other in the middle of the night. What makes them different is that they usually hire me to find out how they died or who killed them.

Take my new client’s case…….

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On a murky day last month, I was at my desk reading the Gazzette’s police blotter about a woman’s body found in the culvert between Highway 41 and the Honeydew Plaza parking lot. The police suspected foul play, since she was well-dressed to the nines, every hair in place, perfect make-up, and fresh red nails. The same moment I finished reading, Loretta Peterson glided through my office door. No longer looking as spiffy as the Gazzette described, she had the confused look of a lost soul, one of those free spirits with one foot still here while most of the rest of her was in the grave.

“Ms. Maguire? Rick Haviland recommended you as the best investigator in town. He said if anyone could help me, you could.”

“I hope so. And call me Maggie.”

Rick Haviland was the Gazette’s best investigative reporter, and we often worked the same cases, friendly rivals sharing tips. After he passed, we still worked the same cases, but now we’re partners. If Rick sent Loretta here, this won’t be a quick open and shut case.

After some more introductory chit-chat, Loretta filled me in on her problem.

“I woke up this morning and saw my body on a metal table. A guy in a bloody white coat was cutting me up, piling my innards onto a tray next to me. I was so shocked I would have had a heart attack and died on the spot, if that was still possible. The coroner told his assistant to report the official cause of death as ‘unknown.’ The thing is, it was unknown to me, too. I had no idea how I got there. Last thing I remember was enjoying a mani/pedi at Rosie’s World of Beauty. I need you to find out what happened between Rosie’s and the morgue.”

Turned out, Loretta couldn’t remember anything that might have happened before Rosie’s either. Her wide-eyed look of distressed confusion started to slip toward eye-watering hysterical confusion. I reassured her that temporary amnesia was common for people in her situation.

“Sometimes, it helps to remember people important to your life. People you love, friends, even enemies that you hate. Do you remember anyone?”

“Well, my husband, Ernie Peterson, and sister, Jolene D’Alessio. My best friend, Cindy Doolittle. There’s another man, but I don’t know who he is. I think his name might be Gunner, but I have no idea whether that’s his first, last, or nickname.”

“That’s OK. You’ve given me enough to start with.”

As I stood up, she burst into tears.

“Where should I go while you investigate? I just can’t go back to the morgue, and, even if I could remember where my house is, I don’t think I could stand to be there. And I can’t be seen looking the way I do now…!”

Her words trailed off into a long wail, punctuated by gulps. THAT concerned me: People wouldn’t be able to see her, but they might hear the wailing. It took a minute or two, but I finally calmed her down by telling her she could stay in my office and maybe nap on my couch. I also explained that, if she didn’t make a sound, she could probably go out for a little fresh air, since no one could see her. As soon as I said that, her face relaxed. I left her stretched out on the couch, getting a little shut-eye, as I headed out to find out more about Loretta Peterson’s life and death.

The Lure of a White Wolf Dog

“Lovely lady, would you like to walk with me and my white wolf dog?”

That was your best pickup line? ‘Lovely lady.’ Jeez, who talks like that? So, did it work?”

“Not exactly. She burst out laughin’ and kept walkin’ away.”

“Well, of course, with a come-on like that! Whadja expect?”

“Well….”

“Aw, c’mon! Don’t tell me you actually thought …”

“Yes. Yes, I did. She likes dogs. She has a dog. Was even walkin’ it when I asked her.”

Her dog is a purebred prissy little fluff with a ribbon holding its hair out of its eyes.  Yours is a big ol’ scruffy mutt, for chrissake! No way he’d pass for a wolf dog. No wonder she laughed!”

“Clancy isn’t a mutt. Are ya, Clance. And he’s not scruffy, either. Just gave him a bath.”

“Yeah, well, looks like you’re gonna have to give him another one. Listen, you and Clancy enjoy the park. I gotta get movin’. Roxie’s parents are comin’ for dinner. If I’m late, she’ll have my hide.”

“Right. See ya…….Well, Clance, I guess it’s you and me, as usual. Whadaya think, fetch or frisbie.”

“I’ll take frisbie for 500, Alex.”

“Whoa! It’s you! For a second I thought Clancy…..I mean … not that I thought he was really talkin’ to me. It’s just, my name happens to be Alex. And yours, lovely lady?”

“You’re not gonna believe this, but my name is actually Lovely. My mom is English, and, well, over there they use ‘Lovely’ like we’d say ‘Honey.'”

“Oh. Well, it’s a lovely name. I mean pretty. …. Why’d you come back?”

“Wanted to meet your white wolf dog. Clancy has a bit of a Schnauzer look to ‘im in a sheep-dog kinda way.”

“I’ve been told he’s a mutt.”

“He is a mutt. Don’t you know? They’re the best kind.”

“Really? Where’s your little…….cutie.”

“Oh, Mitzie isn’t mine. I just walk her for a friend. That’s why I didn’t stop before. Had to get her home. Now, let’s get to that frisbie!”

 

338 words. Written in response to A Writer’s Life’s Just Start Writing (JSW) prompt to take a line from a song and use it as a first sentence. The line is from Milkwood’s “Lincoln Park,” written by Benjamin Orzechowski (before changing his name to Benjamin Orr.) Photo credit: Ebet Roberts 1978.

The Blogger Recognition Award

Blogger recognition award (3) (596x540) (520x471)

Thanks so much to Rory at A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip for nominating me for this award! If you haven’t already seen his blog, do yourself a favor and go visit him. He’s an interesting guy, writing about many different things, and, with the challenges & quizzes he sponsors, he goes above and beyond to create an interesting, diverse community of bloggers.

The Rules:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award.
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
4. Give (at least) two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
5. Select a bunch of other bloggers for this award; 10 to 15 seems about right.
6. Comment on each blog to let them know you’ve nominated them and a link to the post you created.

How My Blog Started:

Although I created a blog around three years ago, I never actually wrote anything. I toyed with the idea of blogging, but had no idea what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. Then, toward the end of this past April, I had some words in my head that were calling to me. Really nagging me. Once I started typing, those words practically poured out, even though I’ve never written poetry! I’ve always hated the writing process but generally loved the result. Not having a specific “assignment” or deadline has permitted me to learn to enjoy the process of writing, too. I still don’t know what I want to say or what genre I want to use to express myself, but that really doesn’t seem too important to me anymore. I write what I feel like, when I feel like it; sometimes prose, sometimes poetry, sometimes even fiction! I write for myself and am completely surprised and thrilled any time someone reads and likes what I’ve written.

My Advice:

Having blogged for less than three months, it seems odd for me to be giving advice, but here it goes.

  1. No matter what anyone tells you, write for yourself. Whether or not you plan to ever earn a living writing, write for yourself first. If you don’t like what you’re writing, chances are no one else will, either.
  2. You’ll start out reading all sorts of blogging advice articles and blogs. You’ll worry about how to pick a topic or start a story. You’ll worry about how to get people to read your blog. How to keep them when they do. You’ll be told to write what you know, write for 10-15 minutes every day, read other blogs, read books…..whew! Who has time for all that? Once you feel like you’ve had it with all the advice, keep what seems helpful for you (if you must) and throw everything else out. JUST WRITE! Don’t worry.  In just doing it, you’ll find what works for you. And have fun with it!

Nominations:

Having recently written about how I don’t like being tagged for chain-questions/quizzes, I feel a bit guilty nominating anyone. So, really, if anyone I nominate doesn’t want to be bothered, then don’t. I understand. Truly, I do. [whispering] Here’s a little secret: no one is going to be checking up to see who of my nominees decide to drop out. So do what feels right for you!

My nominations come from the blogs I read regularly because they’re fun or provocative or heart-wrenching or sweet or grip me in some way. (I’m not nominating some that are in that category when I know someone else has recently nominated them.)

kirstwrites

Life Travel Soul

Mws R Writings

The Darkest Tunnel

This, That, and The Other

wide-eyed wanderer

Written In The Ink

Michelle Leigh Miller

A Unique Title for Me

Piper’s Adventures

sweetpurplejune