Thursday, May 23, 2013

Misplaced Baroness - Ep 6

Episode 6 - "Making Use of One's Reputation"
by Camille LaGuire

"Run away with Antonio?" said Mrs. Lister. "And why would you want to do that, after all the trouble you had to say this wasn't a prank."

"My would be killers are waiting for news of my disappearance and death," said Plink.  "If I do nothing, they'll know I'm all right, but if they hear I disappeared and everyone is assuming I ran off with Antonio, well, they'll know that's wrong.  So perhaps they'll think they succeeded and get on with their business and leave me alone."

"A large perhaps, madame," said Lister.

'Indeed," said Plink.  "I'd better ring up Antonio and give him the heads up."

She got to her feet, and found that she could walk all right if she paused to wiggle and stretch her toes.  Then she went to her writing desk where she kept the phone and all her correspondence.  Plink was terrible at remembering numbers, so she rifled through and found where she wrote it down.

"The question is," said Plink, as she dialed, "should I ask him to play along, or pretend complete ignorance?"

"If you want the killers to be fooled, it's better if he's ignorant."

"Yes, but if he sits there and professes ignorance, then it will be clear enough to everyone that I didn't run away.  And then everyone will ask what happened to me, and the police will tell them that they saw me here and in good health this morning."

The telephone continued to ring.  Antonio was notorious for taking his time in answering, so she let it, and glanced over her correspondence.  There was a note there from Antonio, regarding the party:

This is to remind you, dear Plink, that I have to catch the one o'clock boat train the next afternoon, so I will be leaving your party early.  I am devastated that I will not be able to dance with you until dawn, but when one goes to the continent, one has so many things to prepare.

"Oh, blast!" said Plink.

"Your ladyship?"

"Sorry, I just remembered that Antonio is leaving town today. He must already be gone."

"That resolves it then.  He'll be gone, so no one can ask him whether you've run off with him."

"It seems rum letting him go off without knowing he's being blamed for it all, though."

The phone was still ringing, however, so she hung up and collapsed down into a chair.

"The fact is, Lister, I wanted to talk to him anyway.  Antonio is the sort who sees everything.  If anyone noticed anything odd at that party, he'd be the one to see it.  And he has a wonderful devious mind...."

Lister had come over to look at the note Plink had been waving around, and finally took it away, ever so politely, to read it herself.

"His train doesn't leave until one.  He might only be out for breakfast."

"Yes!" said Plink, sitting up. "And if he doesn't go back home, I can probably catch him at the station or ....  Lister!  Pack a small overnight bag, quick!  I'll go with him on the train, and we can conspire in full.  I could even take the boat over with him.  We can start an investigative notebook and he can give me every detail."

"I'll include your passport," said Lister.

It was barely a half hour before Plink was ready, and dressed in plain and inconspicuous clothes, and small boots which were not attractive, but comfortable on her sore feet.

Lister called a taxi to wait in the mews out back, just in case the killers were watching the house.  If Lister questioned this precaution, she didn't let on.

Antonio lived in a bohemian district beyond the park, on a nice little street, where it was fashionable enough for is clients, but affordable for a man who always had to live above his means.  Plink paid off the cab and took up her little suitcase.

She should have asked him to wait, at least until she had determined if anyone was home.  But she didn't and the taxi drove off before she thought of it.

And suddenly she felt nervous.   There was no reason for it.  It was a quiet neighborhood, but there were people around.  A maid with a perambulator, a chauffeur leaning against a car a few doors down, reading a newspaper.

Perhaps she was nervous about how Antonio might react to her horning in on his trip.  Well, it was an emergency. She was nearly murdered, and if the police had believed her, they might have stopped him taking his trip at all.

Plink went up the stairs and raised her hand to knock, but as her hand touched the door, it swung away.

The door was not latched.  She pushed it open and noted a sort of coppery, metallic smell.  She stepped inside the darkened hall and saw a figure sprawled near the bottom of the stairs.

It was Antonio, his head lying in small pool of blood. His eyes were open and glassy. Unblinking.

Definitely dead.

Stay Tuned For Episode 7 - "Burly Men with Nefarious Intentions"
(Available after 8am EST, Mon)

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