In case you missed the full story, you can read parts 1 and 2 here:
Several miles out in the country, Eli Parker climbed out of the white convertible. He put the car in neutral and rolled it into a drainage ditch. He placed a few tree limbs on top of it. The car was well hidden. Eli had helped out the nice lady. It was a long walk, but he would make it back to town. Friday was football night, the first night to sit in the announcer’s box. He couldn’t wait.
I decided to have a little talk with Mona. Upon arriving at the shop, she shifted restlessly in her chair. I pretended no to notice how uncomfortable she was. We were seated in the back of the shop between a large pothos and an overflowing pot of English ivy. Mona’s blonde hair was styled stiff with hairspray, as if to be prepared for the next dust storm.
“Yes, Lucy, whatever can I do for you today?” she asked bluntly.
“I dropped by to have a little chat with you.”
“Really? How interesting. What’s up?” Mona asked.
“Well, as you know, Sheriff Dockins is investigating Deanna’s murder.”
“Have they got enough evidence to make an arrest?”
“No, but I think it is getting close.”
“That’s wonderful. I couldn’t have loved Deanna more than if she were my own family.”
“Is that so? You don’t seem to have much family, do you? In fact, everyone in your family is quite dead,” I said.
“Just what are you suggesting? I have my own money, if that is what you are getting at,” Mona exclaimed.
“That you may, but for how long? With that new boyfriend, it must cost a fortune. What business did you say he was in?”
“Look Lucy, that is quite enough. I don’t have to explain my life to you. I was the last person on earth to want Deanna dead. Now if you will excuse, me there is work to be done.”
“Well, see you, possibly in court,” I said and made my way to the front of the store. I lingered awhile to admire the chrysanthemums. I noticed they looked a little dry. Things were definitely going downhill. Mona slammed the general ledger shut. She thought I had left. I heard her pick up the phone.
“We need to talk. Things are not sounding so good here,” she said into the receiver.
The gun had to vanish. Maybe just hidden until things cooled down. It was put in a shed in a box with some old papers on top. It would have to go soon. Nobody would ever find it.
I was sitting at my desk grading papers after school. Jolene, President of the PTA, walked into the room.
“Good afternoon, Lucy. I came to deliver the fund raising material for the school fair. If you would be so kind as to look it over.”
“Certainly,” I answered.
“Well, you do seem to be doing better since your cousin’s horrible death,” Jolene remarked with false sentiments.
“I’m fine thank you. So touched by your concern.”
“Really? I never socialized with her, of course, but I was very sorry to hear she was murdered. And right here in Mimosa, it is so shocking.”
I stifled the urge to laugh in her face. Fine Ms. Holmes, upstanding community member. Of course she could do no wrong, why the very idea!
“After all, I’m sure it didn’t bother you that Wayne was playing around. You are such an understanding wife,” I shot back at her.
“Who are you to throw vicious lies and rumors at me!” screamed Jolene.
“I should think I would know the truth about it since Deanna was practically my sister. Believe me, she and Wayne were more than just friends,” I said.
“You pathetic imbecile! What are you accusing me of?”
“I think it is quite clear. I believe you had the strongest motive to murder my cousin. But that’s okay, because if you did, you’ll fry for it. Now I would thank you to leave my classroom!”
“I’ll gladly leave. I’m not a murderer. I wouldn’t waste my time on the likes of you! On second thought, the town is a much better place without that slutty flower shop queen.”
With that, Jolene turned and left. I slid my glasses off and unfastened my hair. Plan, pathetic, indeed!
A knock sounded at the door. Jolene answered it. Sheriff Dockins handed her a search warrant.
“I don’t believe this. It is most humiliating,” she said.
“It shouldn’t take long,” continued the sheriff.
Some time later, the sheriff and deputy returned. They held a plastic bag with a gun sealed in it.
“Mrs. Holmes, I’m sorry, but we are placing you under arrest.”
“You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law, do you understand?” asked Deputy Martin.
“What? You can’t be serious. I’ve no idea where you found that thing!”
“We will take you down to the courthouse, and you may call your attorney.”
“I didn’t kill anybody. Someone has done this to me,” said Jolene.
So they took her away. Not long after, the trial was held. A white convertible was located in the country. A well-dressed brunette had used an assumed name in Culver City to rent the car. She was wearing a red dress, and she looked a lot like Jolene Holmes.
Ms. Gibbons, remembered seeing a woman on Walnut Street that morning. She was in a white convertible, and did look a lot like the defendant. Who would have ever thought?
Of course I had to testify on how I uncovered the murder scene and how I definitely felt it was a crime of passion. I also had to tell of the horrible confrontations between Deanna and Jolene. It was so painful, but justice had to be served.
Jolene Holmes was convicted by a jury of her peers for the death of Deanna Abbott. She was sentenced to life in prison for that brutal, pre-meditated offense. The double-crossed wife had gone mad, but the streets of Mimosa were safe once again.
It was a crisp morning and I was packing. I had decided to take a teaching position in Jamaica as part of missionary services. It had been several months since Deanna’s death. I needed to get away from those painful memories.
There was a knock at my door. I opened it to find Eli smiling at me.
“Miss Lucy, I’m done mowin’ your yard.”
“Yes, thank you Eli. If you could tend it ever so often and keep an eye on things, I would be grateful.”
“Do you have to go, Miss Lucy?”
“Yes Eli, but it is only for a year, and I’ll just miss one season of football.”
“I’m gonna miss you. I always want to do good work for you. Nobody ever has to know about all the work I’ve done for you, isn’t that right Miss Lucy?”
“That’s right Eli, just like we said. “You are such a dear,” I smiled at him. “Here is your twenty-five dollars for mowing my lawn. You can see my mother in the future to get your money.”
I shut the door and turned back to my packing. I did love Deanna, really, but sometimes people just don’t listen to reason. What’s fair is fair and people need a little encouragement, a push in the right direction. The outlook for the future was exciting, as I was glad to get away for awhile. I smiled to myself as I slipped on the red dress.