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ON THE QUESO: THE ROQUEFORT FILES
Act One: That Can’t Be Him
“Where the hell is his head?” I’m sure we all thought it, but only my brother, Romano, said it.
“It sure isn’t where it’s supposed to be,” I squeezed out.
July heat waves baked up from the exterior of my Honda del Sol. The Hawaiian shirt-clad corpse behind the wheel of my stolen car, sans noggin, was roasted to putrid perfection. None of the three Zenith, Illinois cops, especially my brother, dared open the door. The four of us, already suited up in latex gloves, stood frozen on the spot despite the triple-digit summer temperature.
“Hawaiian shirts are not Uncle Stilton’s style. That can’t be him.” I blinked away a salty wave of what I thought was sweat, but more likely were tears.
Romano averted his eyes and smoothed away a non-existent wrinkle on his pristine police pants. “Sis, fashion preference aside, Unk’s the same weight, same height—.”
“With or without the head, Romano?” I slammed my palm across my forehead.
“You’re out of line, Colby. You’re only here because it’s your car.”
“And our uncle.”
During the two weeks that Romano has been police chief, he’s never had to crack open the crime scene kit that he carries next to his lunchbox in the trunk of his black, 1960 Chevy Impala, which he equipped with a siren and Zenith PD door magnets to serve as his official police cruiser. Not until today, that is.
My hands started to sweat inside the latex. My brain started to sweat inside my head. “The sooner we process the scene, the sooner we’ll find out who this guy is.”
“You, sis, are not part of we.” Romano smoothed another unseen wrinkle on his pants.
The Big Muddy River trickled nearby as it dueled with the bang-thump of the blowflies knocking against the inside of the car windows. My heart sledgehammered at my chest as I watched flies ski across the lake of browned blood that had formed just below the driver’s side door.
I tried to slow my breathing. Fainting was not an option. As I inhaled through my nose, I detected a sweet, and all too brief, waft of honeysuckle. I exhaled and hesitated. We all needed to know if this was my Uncle Stilton—the man who was more of a father to me than any other. We all waited for a moment of courage. Or stupidity.
Blue, my Uncle Stilton’s dog-size, silver tabby cat, jumped up from the Honda’s floorboard and onto the dashboard, his chin coated in blood.
Romano yelped and clutched my bar smock.
I yelped and clutched him back.
Bill Donnell, senior in years but second in command, reached for his gun. “Any other surprises in there?”
We've got so much cheese, we could open our own deli. There are thirteen books in the Colby Meadows Comedy Mystery Series -- coming soon to a bookstore near you.