But I’m back! Here is the next chapter:
Just as Nora was going to leave for the day, the police showed up. They flashed a search warrant at Nicole’s face she led them to Mrs. King’s office. Nora followed them.
“What is the meaning of this?” Mrs. King demanded.
“They have a search warrant, Mrs. King,” Nicole said, and she went back to the reception desk, brushing past Nora behind the group of police officers.
“Are you Mrs. Barbara King?” the oldest officer asked.
Mrs. King stood up. “Yes, I am.”
“Are you the proprietor of this establishment?”
Mrs. King brushed her charcoal suit dress down over her thighs. “Yes, I’m in charge of Oleander Gardens. What do you need?”
The oldest officer, with a gray brush cut and a bristly mustache to match, held the search warrant out towards Mrs. King. “I’m Sergeant Walsh of the town police, district fifteen. We need to search the premises. We have a search warrant. We have reason to believe that one of your residents is in possession of an illegal substance.”
One of the residents?
“Oh, my,” Mrs. King exclaimed in a very convincing facade of shock. “Could I see that?”
The officer held it forward. Mrs. King actually did appear surprised as she took the paper, looked it over, and said, “Poison?”
“Cut in with sleeping pills. May we look through the residents’ rooms? Could you gather them somewhere? We want to do this with as little upset to your residents as possible.”
Nora trailed as Mrs. King led Sergeant Walsh and the parade of constabulary back down the main hall to reception, where she made an announcement over the PA requesting that all residents gather in the dining hall, and then through the dining hall to the main corridor, where old people, looking confused and upset, were beginning to accumulate.
Nora took Mrs. Balanafeel’s arm. “Come on, Mrs. Balanafeel. Let’s go to the dining hall.” Over her shoulder, she bade the rest of the old people join her. “Come on, everybody.”
Nora had to make a few trips and answer a few questions, but she managed to escort the bulk of the old people to tables in the dining hall. She asked Loretta to make some lemon tea for everyone and then went back to stalking the police.
Mrs. Balanafeel, at the table closest to the exit door, put her cold little bony fingers on Nora’s arm. Nora covered the little hand in hers, trying to give it some warmth and stop it shaking.
“What’s going on?” asked Mrs. Balanafeel.
“I’m not sure. I’m going to try to find out.”
“Don’t mention about the keys, will you dear? I wouldn’t want you and that lovely Ryan to get into trouble.”
The keys? Mrs. Balanafeel perhaps had forgotten what she had for lunch, but she would never forget that they weren’t to mention the keys. Nora smiled at her. “I won’t.”
The officers were spread out among the first several rooms, and Mrs. King stood in the corridor, arms crossed firmly against her bosom, eyes glaring like those of a bird of prey down her nose in Nora’s direction.
You’re caught now, aren’t you? Nora had to redirect these police officers. She knew exactly where the poisoned pills were. Mrs. King looked down at her phone. She was likely texting one of the cave men to come and move all the incriminating evidence. Nora had to move quickly.
One of the officers emerged from Mrs. Tillynaught’s room. Mrs. King turned to direct him to the next empty room. Nora slipped into the nearest room to her, Mrs. Balanafeel’s.
A young police man with a shaved head and round, clean face was riffling through Mrs. Balanafeel’s bedside table.
Nora went right up to him and spoke quietly.
“Excuse me, officer.”
Nora had never spoken to a police officer before. He straightened up. He was quite tall, and looked older now close up than he had from across Mrs. Balanafeel’s room. With a smirk, he said, “Can it wait, sweetheart? We’re kind of busy here.”
Sweetheart? I’ll give you sweetheart. “I work here. I know where they hide the poisoned pills. And all the paperwork, too.”
Officer Giant Douche narrowed his eyes at her. He glanced around Mrs. Balanafeel’s empty room. “You do, do you? How did you come across this information?”
Illegally. But luckily, several years of public education had taught her some very useful skills, after all; among them, lying to authority figures. “I was cleaning the storage room and I saw some, sort of, weird looking pills. I, you know, I clean up here, every day, and the pills in the storage room look exactly the same as the ones Mrs. Rubens had. She died last week. So, if there are poison pills, I guess those are where they came from.”
Officer Turd Sandwich squinted at her and twitched his nostrils a little. “I guess we could take a look at the storage rooms after we’re finished in the residences. Actually, we’re planning on searching the whole place, so, thanks for the tip, but, I think we know what we’re doing.”
“Except Mrs. King is on her phone, and I think she’s texting the two security officers to come and move the illegal stuff out of the storage rooms while you guys are busy here. So maybe if you wait too long, you won’t find anything after all. But I guess I should go talk to Sergeant Walsh about that, since you obviously have your orders, sir.”
Instead of turning to go find Sergeant Walsh, Nora gazed adorably into Officer Massive Dickhead’s small blue eyes.
“You’re sure you saw the pills in there? Because I don’t want to look like a giant douche to my commanding officer.” Nora tried hard not to smile, but inside she was LOLling.
“I’m positive. They’re in a medical cabinet in the back corner of the storage room. There are also files on all the deceased residents that, if you can read them, kind of show that their deaths were planned. But we can’t figure out what the nursing home has to gain by systematically killing off the residents. So, maybe you could explain all that to your commanding officer.” If you can remember all that stuff, sweetheart.