Archive | February 12, 2014

Bad Fall – Part 38

 Bad Fall“Yes,” Mabel’s surrogate, a woman named Rachel Haynes, replied. She handed Frank a picture.

“This looks like an ordinary pocket watch. Anything special about it?”

She shrugged. “Not that I know of. Might be an antique. Maybe it’s worth something to a collector.”

At 10:00, they headed to Mabel’s room. A uniformed officer met them at the door. Frank used his pass key to unlock the door. Taking a deep breath, he opened it. The studio apartment was cozy but crowded. Mabel loved her things and had found cutting back difficult. Her son had insisted upon the most efficient apartment, rather than letting her have something more spacious.

Reining in his sudden flash of anger, Frank walked in. The room was untouched. Everything looked perfectly normal. The uniformed officer stood by the door, arms crossed, looking tough.

Frank, Jerry and Rachel went to the dresser where the watch was supposed to be. Moving the items carefully aside, they found it. It was nothing special.

From what Frank could see, it was an ordinary pocket watch. He thought it would be platinum, encrusted with diamonds, stamped with the Tiffany’s seal. It didn’t even look particularly old, though the embossing was somewhat worn.

“You seriously think this is what he was after?” Rachel said in disgust. “If so, he’s more of an idiot than I thought.”

“It can’t be. This watch is worth maybe a thousand dollars tops,” Jerry said.

Frank remembered that Jerry’s father was a jeweler. He’d worked with his father much of his life.

“We’re here. Let’s look around. If there is something in this room someone would kill to get their hands on, we should find it,” Jerry declared.

“You got it, boss,” Rachel said.

Each of them took a different area of the room. Rachel continued with the chest of drawers. Frank moved to the dressing table where the jewelry box stood. Jerry went to the closet and started looking through Mabel’s clothing.

Frank sat at the dressing table. He started by going through the jewelry box. There were some nice things there, but nothing exceptional. Mabel had said her expensive items were in the safe. That appeared to be the case.

The others weren’t having any better luck than he. Rachel finished the drawers and headed to the desk area. Jerry, frustrated by the clothing, started on shoe and hat boxes. Frank sat at the dressing table, studying the containers. None of them looked particularly promising, but it had been his experience that people, especially the elderly, didn’t always put things in logical places. His grandmother, in her declining years, had kept her wedding band and engagement ring in a plastic film canister on her desk.

With that idea in mind, he lifted the lid of a denture case. Nothing in it. In fact, it looked like it had never been used. He moved to a jar of face cream. A finger dipped in to the bottom revealed nothing. He wiped his finger on a tissue and moved to the power container.

The puff sat on top of the scented talc. The area below the puff should have been fairly flat and even, but the middle looked lumpy. Taking a chance that it was nothing, he dug into the powder with his index finger, sneezing when a cloud of white burst in his face.

“There’s something in here,” he said to the others.

Rachel and Jerry were at his side instantly. Even the uniformed officer turned around to see. Frank dug further into the powder. Finally, frustrated, he got a bowl from the kitchen and dumped the powder into it. Sitting in the middle of the pile of talcum powder was a ring.

Frank picked it up, tapping the powder from it. He poured the powder back into the box and put the lid on before continuing. Further tapping and wiping revealed a ring the like of which, none of them had seen. At least six carats of perfect diamond greeted their hungry eyes. The setting was platinum, Jerry confirmed, and very good quality. Frank wiped it with a tissue and the cushion shaped diamond glittered and winked at them teasingly.

“Now that’s something someone would kill over,” Jerry whispered. “That’s the most expensive ring I’ve ever seen. Why do you suppose it’s not in the vault with her other things?”

“Maybe she forgot about it,” Rachel said. “You know how Mabel’s been these last few years.”

“Or maybe she couldn’t stand to be parted from it,” Frank replied. The tissue had revealed an inscription. “To Mabel, All My Love, Tom.”

“Wasn’t her husband’s name Chester?” Rachel asked.

“Yes, it was,” Frank replied.

“So, who’s Tom?”

“Someone who loved her a hell of a lot,” Jerry supplied. “That ring is easily half a million. I could get my dad to assess the value.” Jerry snapped a few pictures with his phone.

Frank gazed at the ring, mesmerized. “I think it needs to be in the safe.”

The others agreed. Rachel found a velvet jewelry box. Frank cleaned the ring as well as he could with tissues, and they handed it to Jerry to take to the bank manager. Rachel had Mabel’s key and a note allowing them access. She opened the box with the manager and placed the ring inside without looking at anything else. Frank set the watch in there too. On the off chance that it was important, he thought it should be put away.© Dellani Oakes