Sarah and Isaac walked down the street, hand-in-hand.
“Do you think they have an ice cream store?” Sarah wondered aloud.
“I don’t think they have much of anything…” Isaac replied pointing at the few buildings standing around the dusty cracked-asphalt road.
“There’s the sheriff’s office,” Sarah told him, pointing at the small, faded yellow building, made entirely of wood, nearest to them.
“What about it?” Isaac asked, annoyed.
“I think we should pay a visit to Fred and thank him for being so welcoming.” Sarah asked hopefully.
“Fine.” They walked in the front door, only to find a rather worried Fred.
“Hello, Fredrick,” said Isaac, clearly not wanting to be there.
“What’s that?” Sarah asked, pointing to a manila folder sitting on his lonely desk, labeled BREAK IN-SOMETHING STOLEN.
“I don’t want to worry y’all, but it’s a police file. There’s been a break in at old Mrs. Johnson’s house,” Fred told them, worry lines rippling across his forehead.
“That sounds serious. Anything we can do?”
“Well, I s’pose she could use a visit. I was ‘bout to go down there myself. Her husband died a couple years ago, and it’s really taken its toll on her. We don’t need no kowtowin’ or nothin’, but just someone to visit, say hi. She’s been rather lonely lately, and it would be good on her to be around you young folk.”
“Do you know of any diners ‘around these here parts?’” Sarah asked, testing out the lingo. Fred winced at the awful faux pas, the pointed down the road.
“Third buildin’ on the right, ask for Flo, and tell her that Fred sent ya’.” Sarah smiled, then followed Isaac out of the office.
“Flo?” Isaac questioned angrily.”Who does he think we are? Like there’s an actual person named Flo that works at an actual diner. What kind of person lies like that? Someone not to be trusted, obviously.” Sarah rolled her eyes and opened the door of the diner.
“Ah, are you the new people I saw rollin’ into town?” an old woman with salt-and-pepper hair and a thick southern accent asked.
“It’s the accent again.” Sarah muttered at Isaac teasingly before responding, “yes we are. Are you Flo? Um, Fred sent us, and I was just going to get something to bring to Mrs. Johnson. I heard there was a break in at her house.”
“Yes, I am,” She responded sadly.
“See? Flo is a real person!” Sarah whispered at Isaac.
“Mazeltov,” He whispered back sarcastically.
“The poor old thing,” Flo continued, oblivious to the bickering. “She was just getting over her husband dying, and now something like this happens to her. Here’s a pie, on the house. Apple, her favorite. Tell Mrs. Johnson that Flo sends her love.”
Sarah and Isaac walk down the road a little more until they approach a big two-story house. Sarah smiled at the mailbox with ‘The Johnsons’ painted on it in calligraphy. Isaac approached the door and knocked on it hard.
“Who are you?” Mrs. Johnson asked when she opened the front door.
“Hello, Mrs. Johnson! My name is Sarah, and this is my husband, Isaac. We’re new in town, and we heard what happened, and we decided to pay you a visit and bring you something to eat,” Sarah explained.
“That’s very kind of you, come on in,” Mrs. Johnson said solemnly.
“Please sit,” she said gesturing to a small loveseat. Sarah and Isaac sat, careful to avoid a fat, dozing orange tabby cat.
“So, Mrs. Johnson─”
“Please, call me Mary. Makes me feel a little younger,” Mary interrupted. Isaac began talking with Mary, and Sarah couldn’t help but look around the small sitting room. There had clearly been someone searching quickly for valuables around the room, judging by the papers and miscellaneous items scattered about the room. A window was shattered from the inside, judging by hardly any glass inside, and upon further inspection, a lot outside. She noticed a small square on the dusty shelf that seemed clean.
“That was the little green box I kept my wedding ring in. See, Jeremy was a rich and extravagant man. He always had to have the best and the most expensive. The ring was pure silver with five real diamonds on it. It was two small diamonds, two medium, then one big, in the center.”
“That sound like a good ring for you,” Sarah attempted, not understanding why someone would want to buy such an expensive ring and never wear it. Sarah walked toward the shelf. Sarah began looking under the shelf when she spotted an ace of spades card.
“Mary? Was that card there before?” Sarah asked.
“I don’t believe so…” Sarah stared at the card, rubbing hard with her fingers.
“Let me see,” Isaac said, standing and taking the card from Sarah’s hand. Sarah looked down at her fingertips where they were rubbing the card. Black was smudged on them
“Flip the card over,” she ordered Isaac.
“Look at the back, stupid!” He obliged.
“Hm...what’s this? 1-underscore-7, capital b-3 underscores─”
“Just let me see!”
1 _ 7
B _ _ _ bo _ n _ et
L _ _ e
1_ _ _
N _ _ _mb _ _
“Whatever this is, it isn’t some quick and easy crime. There’s something more to it, I can feel it. They aren’t ad libbing their way through it. It’s going to be this person’s magnum opus. They aren’t going to make any mistakes.” Isaac said seriously