Thursday, February 07, 2019
Take a Bite Outta Crime Part 2 by Dellani Oakes
"Is an ambulance coming? Jay's badly hurt."
"Any minute," the young officer replied.
As promised, a siren grew louder as an ambulance turned the corner heading to the store. Kirk explained to the officers what he had seen and heard when he entered the market.
"Did you touch anything?" His cop buddy asked. His name was Officer Scott.
"No. The door was open, so was the cooler. I walked right in."
The paramedics carried Jay out on a stretcher. He was ghostly pale. The emergency team looked tight lipped and grim. Not a good sign, Kirk thought.
"Why were you here, Mr. Nunne?" Officer Scott asked him.
"I'm a caterer. Jay was late with our fish order and my sous-chef was having a major meltdown. Bouillabaisse for three hundred doesn't make itself."
"Unfortunately, I can't let you get your fish."
"The bride will have to settle for French Onion Soup. That was our backup plan. I'll make a call. I sure as hell hope Jay will be okay."
The officer's radio scratched to life. "Percy to Scott."
"Scott here, go ahead."
"We lost him, Scotty."
"Copy that, Percy. Thanks. I'll track down next of kin." He turned to Kirk. "Sorry, sir. Your friend didn't make it. Do you happen to know his family?"
Kirk shrugged. "I didn't know Jay that well. He was a business associate and chatting acquaintance. My wife may know more. Hang on. I have to call her anyway about that soup."
Kirk made the call, leaving instructions for Margo to contact the bride. The crime scene team arrived as he concluded his call.
"She remembers a daughter," Kirk told the officer. "Her name is Carley Sampson and she lives here in the city. Drea thinks she's a model with the Culpepper Agency. Jay used to tell her about the locations and photo shoots. He was trying to get us in with that crowd to help our business."
"That was nice of him."
"Helping us helped him. He is—was—the best fish supplier around. Reliable, reasonable and his fish were always fresh. We did a lot of business with him. Seafood is rather a specialty of ours."
"Can you think of anyone who would want to kill him?"
"Like I said, I didn't really know him that well. He was a nice guy, widowed, that's about it."
"Thanks for your help, Mr. Nunne. Here's my card. If you think of anything...."
"I'll call you for sure. I hope you can find out who killed him. He was a good man."
Kirk drove back to the shop in a daze. He couldn't believe what had happened. The shop was in chaos when he arrived. The bride was there demanding to see Kirk. Not even Drea could calm her. Kirk dealt with the hysterical woman halfheartedly, his emotions numb. Somehow, the fact she had to settle for her second choice couldn't upset him.
"Look," he interrupted her hysterical tirade. "A man is dead, Joni. The fact it causes you a minor inconvenience really doesn't matter. So your guests don't get fish stew. That man's family is never going to see him again. Don't you think that's more important?"
Joni burst into tears. "I didn't think of that, Chef. You're right. I'm so sorry! We can eat grilled cheese for all I care."
"We can do better than that." He put a consoling arm around her shoulder.
They settled the menu changes and the bride left in a much better mood.
"Talk about a day you'll never forget," Tommy, the prep chef said. "I bet she didn't factor that into her wedding plans."
"Don't be crass," Margo warned. "Poor girl. Such a burden to carry down the aisle. The marriage is cursed."
"You're being overly dramatic," Tommy responded.
Margo slapped his arm. "Of course. I am French!"
Despite the pall that hung over them, the crew worked well. The wedding dinner was delicious and the bride's father gave them a sizable gift as well as the final payment check.
"I'm sorry the guy is dead," he told Kirk. "Hell of a thing. But I sure hate bouillabaisse. It was the ex-wife's idea." Smiling, he tapped Kirk's shoulder and walked away happy.
That night, after everything was cleared away and the guests were gone, Kirk and Drea sat at a table as the rental company gathered up the furniture. They each sipped a glass of leftover champagne.
"What a day!" Drea slipped off her shoes.
Kirk lifted her feet to his lap, rubbing gently. She sighed, closing her eyes.
"Remind me to call that cop tomorrow," Kirk said. "I thought of something else to tell him."
"Oh?" Drea's head came up and she stared at him. "What?"
"Something I noticed when I passed the truck. It may not be important...."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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