“Laugh Out Loud, Tickle Your Funny Bone story that will brighten any day.”
Come to Silver Hills. Where petting a cat can be a death sentence and yoga is all about survival.
Silver Hills Senior and Singles Residence isn’t exactly a boring place. Home to a death predicting cat named Tolstoy, a night manager who may or may not suck blood and float above the floor, a cook with mad voodoo and pie baking powers, and a trio of nosy sleuths who are determined to get to the bottom of the corpse in the library (maybe literally)…some might say things couldn’t get any weirder.
Some would be wrong.
“How can you eat so much?” Flo moved past her and started for the hall.
“I have a lot of muscle. Muscle burns more calories.”
“Mm-hm.” Flo realized with a start that the man with the magazine was still in the chair. She squinted at the magazine. “Is that copy of Better Homes & Gardens upside down?”
Agnes slid the man a look. “Yeah. It looks like it is. Huh. Maybe that’s why he’s asleep. He got bored looking at all those strange letters on the page.”
Flo stepped closer. “I don’t see his chest moving.”
Flo frowned. “Sir?”
The man didn’t move.
Flo stepped closer, Agnes right behind her. “Um, sir. Are you all right?”
She looked at Agnes, her eyes going wide. “I think he’s dead.”
Agnes took a step back. “That’s not possible.”
Flo lost patience. When she was stressed she had very little of the stuff. And realizing they’d been sitting and chatting and eating next to a dead body for over an hour made her very stressed. “Of course it’s possible, fool! Do you not watch the show?”
Agnes’s jaw tightened and her face formed into a familiar belligerent look that didn’t bode well. Flo’s stress level was about to go higher. “Agnes…”
But her friend had already stomped past and approached the man with the magazine. She reached out and touched his shoulder. “Hey, mister. You need to wake up now.”
He didn’t wake up. Agnes glowered down at him.
Seeing the next few moments playing out in her head, Flo took a step closer, her hand stretched toward Agnes. “Don’t…”
But it was too late. Agnes gave the man’s shoulder a shake and he finally moved. Or rather tipped. Straight out of the chair and onto the footrest a few feet away. He landed on his head with his butt up in the air.
Agnes jumped back with a squeal. “He’s dead, Flo!”
Flo crossed her arms over her chest. “Ya think?” She moved closer, and stood looking down at him. “I should check his pulse.”
Agnes took a big step back and motioned toward the corpse. “I’ve got your back.”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Expelling a long breath, Flo sidled over to the body and reached for the arm that was curved in front of him, the magazine still clutched between his fingers. “Looks like rigor’s set in,” she told Agnes. She placed her fingers on the man’s wrist and felt nothing. “Yep. Dead.”
Drawn by an incorrigible curiosity, Agnes moved closer, peering past Flo. “What do you suppose killed him?”
Flo shook her head. “I don’t see any holes in his body.” She tipped sideways and tried to look at his face. “I can’t see if there’s any foam around his mouth…”
She straightened. “Don’t you watch the cop shows? That means he was poisoned.”
Agnes shrugged. “Or he could have rabies.”
“Yeah, Agnes. He probably has rabies.”
“Don’t get all uppity with me Florence Irene Bee. I’m just throwing out helpful suggestions.”
“Yeah. That was very helpful.” Flo put a hand on her hip and eyed the dead guy. “We should probably call the police.”
“We can’t. Not until we know what killed him.”
“What are you talking about, Agnes?”
“Once they take the corpse we won’t be able to get any information. If we’re gonna solve this murder we need to get as much information as we can before they cart him away.”
A familiar spark of excitement fizzled in Flo’s chest. “You mean like in TC’s books?”
Agnes grinned. “Yeah. Why not? If TC can solve crimes on paper we can solve them in real life, right?”
Flo’s gaze slid back over the corpse. She thought about Agnes’s proposal for a minute and then nodded. “Okay. Let’s do it.”
Agnes rubbed her meaty hands together. “Great! What should we do first?”
“We need to get a look at the guy’s face.”
They both eyed the upside down dead guy for a moment before Agnes suggested, “Maybe we should tip him back up.”
“No. We can’t disturb the crime scene.”
“Technically tipping him back up would be more like preserving the crime scene, since he kind of fell over when I touched him ever so gently.”
Flo lifted a brow. “Mm-hm. You’ve done enough damage to my crime scene, Agnes Willard. We’re not moving him again.”
“Your crime scene!” Agnes crossed her arms. “Okay, then what do you suggest, Miss CSU?”
Flo eyed the dead guy up and down and then dropped to her knees. “I’ll just crawl under him and take a gander at his face.” She glanced up at her friend. “Bring that lamp over here and shine it under him so I can see better.”
Flo got down on her back and scooted until she was underneath the dead guy.
Holding the small table lamp down so it illuminated the ground beneath the corpse, Agnes bent double and moved closer. “Can you see anything?”
Flo blew on the magazine page resting on her face. “Houston, we have a problem.”
“Here, let me,” Agnes reached under and tugged on the magazine. Something cracked really loudly.
They both stilled.
Finally, Flo said, “Did you just break his wrist?”
Agnes shrugged. “Not unless he’s made out of matchsticks. Hurry up before somebody comes.”
Flo scooted nearer the man’s head. “Hold the lamp closer.”
Agnes shoved the lamp underneath the body. “How’s that?”
“Good. I think I see…”
“What in the world is going on here?”
Agnes jumped, clocked the corpse on the head with the lamp and knocked him off the footrest. He dropped to the ground with a meaty thud and Flo shrieked as the magazine pressed against her face, held there by the weight of the dead guy. She started flailing around, legs kicking and arms shoving ineffectually at the corpse.
A moment later he flew away and crashed against the small table between the chairs. The table wobbled a beat and then started to tip, the lamp on its smooth surface sliding toward the dead guy.
Flo jumped to her feet, spitting dead guy spores out of her mouth and watched in horror as the lamp landed on the guy’s head, the shade sitting atop his lifeless cranium like a drunk guy’s hat.
She slowly looked up into TC’s horrified gaze. “Oh, hey, TC. You came back.”
The younger woman’s gaze was locked onto the corpse. “Is that guy dead?”
Agnes smirked. “If he wasn’t before he is now.”