“He’s got some other pretty tasty things,” the first woman said, tickling his ribs.
“That he does,” the second said, pinching his cheek.
“See, I come with their seal of approval.”
“Buy me breakfast and we’ll see.”
Ladies, maybe some other time.” He gave each of them a kiss on the cheek.
“Tease,” they said in chorus. Giggling, they walked outside and down to the lake.
“Did you know them?” Marka asked.
“Never saw either of them before. Total strangers.”
Marka and Frank had a leisurely breakfast with plenty of coffee and headed to the office just before 9:00. When Frank opened his office door, complete chaos greeted him. Everything was thrown around, the computer monitor was smashed, the tower gone. His chair had been torn to shreds, his papers ripped and scattered. The picture of his sister and her boys was smashed, the frame broken beyond repair. The photo itself was shredded with a knife. The photo of him and his parents was stuck to the wall with dozens of staples.
A crowd gathered in the hall behind him, staring over his shoulder. Frank stared a moment longer at the devastation before placing a call to the police.
“Well, shit,” he griped as he looked at the mess.
“Someone sure has a hard-on for you,” Kenny said, peering over his shoulder. “Who’d you piss off?”
“Who knows?” He held up a finger as the police station picked up.
Explaining the problem, he shut and locked his door from the outside. When he’d completed the call, he wandered into Marka’s office and flopped in her chair.
“When did my life get so bloody complicated?”
“Somewhere around the time we met.”
“I refuse to dignify that with a response. You’re the only thing that’s going right.”
“I’m so sorry about what happened. I hate to leave, but I’ve got a class.”
“Go. If you don’t mind, I’m gonna hang out here. I don’t even have a chair.”
“Make yourself at home.” She kissed the top of his head. “I’ll see you in about an hour.”
He nodded. “Thanks.”
Everyone had to come by and bother him while he waited for the police to arrive. They all wanted to give their condolences, like someone had died or something. Mostly, they were curious about the vandalism and all of them speculated as to who it could have been.
The police arrived, this time it was Kenny’s younger brother, James, who responded. “Piss off your new girlfriend?”
“No.” He didn’t bother explaining that Marka wasn’t officially his girlfriend.
“Someone sure hates you.”
“Yeah, I’d love to blame this on Penwarren, but he was already at the hospital when this happened.”
Frank reviewed the night’s events for James, telling him in detail when he’d done things. He even cited times.
“Wow, great report. Sure you’re not a cop?” He winked.
Frank laughed. He, James and Kenny had known one another for years and were close friends.
“Have you got forensics coming over?” Frank asked.
“Yeah, no worries. So, tell me about the woman. Kenny says she’s hot.”
Frank chuckled. “She’s smart and funny too. Did he tell you that?”
“Nope, just she was hot as hell and had a great. . . .”
James stopped chattering when the forensics technician arrived. He knew better than to say what was on his mind in front of her. Frank opened his office and let her in. She took a step into the room, sniffing.
“You got a cat?”
“You’re not in the habit of pissing on your carpet?”
“Smell that?” She sniffed again, wrinkling her nose.
“That’s piss.” She moved around the room, sniffing, until she found the source. Someone had peed on his chair.
“That’s just sick. Angry woman?”
“Why does everyone assume that? The only woman I’m seeing happens to like me, okay? The others don’t live here.”
“Maybe we’ll get lucky and the DNA is on file. This is gonna take some time,” she said. “Better close the door. But do me a favor, turn on the exhaust?”
Frank showed her how to turn on the wall unit so the smell would get pulled out of the room. She started taking pictures and going through the litter on the floor. James finished talking to Frank and went to get a list of the night staff so he could interview them.
“Can I see you?” Jeff Norton poked his head into Marka’s office.
© Dellani Oakes