If you didn't notice yet, names in this blog have been changed to protect the innocent. That would be moi. Prior to this last Tuesday evening, my only enounters with the police have been to research my books ... oh, and I tend to drive my car like I just stole it. But let's not go there. Let's get right to the story.
I meet with my writing group every Tuesday evening in one of our member's homes. And I guess I'll protect his and everyone else's innocence, too. I will call that member Doctor Doom. I mean, he writes really dark stuff. Anyway, Doc is seldom home when we arrive but his wonderful wife usually is--let's call her Rebecca since that's one of my favorite books. Rebecca and Doctor Doom have a lovely daughter, Nancy Drew--but Nancy doesn't appear in this particular tale. The family also has a dog named The Hound of the Baskervilles. Needless to say, they are a fascinating and intelligent bunch.
On rare occasions, no one is home when the group arrives, so Rebecca has given me a key since I am often the first one there. And I was first this week, perhaps even a little earlier than usual thanks to light traffic. I knock on the front door and see The Hound of the Baskervilles through the window. She doesn't bark because she's known me since she was a puppy. But when no one answers and since Hound can't let me in, I try my key. I always have trouble with the front door thanks to Houston humidity so I gather up my manuscript pages and my dinner from The Whole Paycheck Market and trudge around to the back door. That one? No problem. Opens right away.
Hound greets me with much enthusiasm, which causes me to ask her to cease and desist in a rather loud voice hoping she won't knock me into the next zip code. She complies, we're good and then I hear footsteps on the stairs. "Rebecca? Is that you?" I call. No reply. Now this is weird, I think. Is there something wrong? I walk through the kitchen and dining room to the foyer and look up the stairs. At the top landing stand two teenage girls who look an awful lot like Doctor Doom, though I have never seen them before--and I have met lots of Doc's relatives. I say hi and ask if they are related to him. One has a cell phone plastered to her ear and the other answers yes, they are his nieces. Cute kids. The American Girls. I explain who I am and go into the living room where the group always meets. Teenagers have obviously been in residence here. I start to clean up, thinking it strange of Rebecca to leave the living room like this. Rebecca is always prepared for our meetings.
No one else from the writing group has arrived and I sit down with my overpriced but delicious yankee pot roast and parsley potatoes. Hound is right beside me, waiting for me to spill something. Then, all of a sudden, I hear someone arriving and go to the door to make sure I have unlocked it. Rebecca is home and her face is the color of wet cement. She looks at me and blinks, then I see realization dawn. By then, The American Girls' mother--Mama Bear fits her--has also appeared. No realization in her expression. Her color isn't so hot either. Still, I am clueless why Rebecca is breathless and Mama Bear looks so angry.
Until I see the two squad cars( lights, no sirens) speed up the street and halt across from the house. The American Girls are still on the landing and Rebecca is sputtering apologies. She says, "The girls called us and said someone was breaking into the house, so I phoned the police. I forgot you were coming." I explain who I am to Mama Bear as the two cops exit their cars. Rebecca goes outside to tell them about this misunderstanding while I, for some stupid reason, call out, "I have a key. Honest!" Cops do not seem to believe Rebecca for some reason, nor me, for that matter, since both officers are giving me the stink eye.
Finally one cop smiles and sort of waves my way. They leave. Rebecca, still shaken, returns and I am officially introduced to The American Girls and Mama Bear. I complement the young ladies on doing exactly the right thing and everyone seems to relax.
Then one Girl says, "Are you the one who wrote the book?"
"Which book?" I ask.
"The one about the poison," Mama Bear says.
"That's me," I answer.
"That was a really good book," one of them says.
I have gone from being considered a candidate for a breaking and entering arrest to being complimented--all in a ten minute time span. Amazing. But my writer's mind is already at work. I'm thinking, This is good stuff. This is what it feels like to be a suspect. Cool.