Chapter 4

Gooseflesh and Other Sci-Fi Effects. The police couldn’t figure out Fitzy’s detective methods used in solving the church robberies, but when the suspects confessed and Mrs. Thomas’ nephew and crew were fingerprinted, photographed, arraigned and convicted, and Mrs. Thomas was absolved of the being the robbery mastermind, things quieted down. Fitzy was given a congratulatory certificate and a mention in the diocese’s Sunday Bulletins.

It seemed that the azalea bushes had been longtime residents of the prayer grotto and that Mrs. Thomas, unbeknownst to her nephew, decided to jazz the grotto up with flowers to attract more visitors. Since Mrs. Thomas’ gardening shovel never went beyond six inches she never hit a plastic box and would have never been the wiser of the midnight money hideaway scheme of her nephew. Fitzy ungrudging shared the spotlight with Bonét, the true detective on the case, and vowed to not complain about wet dog smells and stepping on dog kibble ever again. But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t complain about Froggy and Bonét visiting Elizabeth’s apartment, or going to the cinema or really(!?!!) going rollerblading in the park.

Why can’t you cut Lizzie some slack?” Froggy asked as he settled on his khakis and classic chambray blue oxford shirt. He had just given Bonét a bath and was preparing to take Elizabeth and Bonét to an outdoor concert.

It’s not like we are ignoring you, Fitzy – I’ve asked you to come with us but nooooo, you’d rather sulk. Maybe you should pick up another unsolvable case.”

This was exactly what Fitzy was thinking, which made him even more cranky because Froggy had read his mind. Somehow he couldn’t always read Froggy’s mind when it concerned Elizabeth. And Fitzy definitely couldn’t fathom Elizabeth’s mind at all which he attributed to her being a female – who could really read a woman’s mind anyway? Forget Bonét’s doggie brain – it was surrounded in mystery and needing to be let out about seven times a day for a walk. Fitz was in a funk. Why was Froggy so damned into dressing up these days? Whenever Fitzy saw Elizabeth it didn’t look like she put much time into weighing whether she should be wearing capri pants or a skirt to any event.

After showering to clear his mind, Fitzy called the police station to talk to his friend Detective DeMarco to see if he could be of any help consulting on another case. DeMarco just so happened to have a cold case that he felt was right up Fitzy’s alley, especially if Bonét was part of the team. This caused Fitz to hedge a bit since Bonét wasn’t really his to offer to the department but then again, the dog had been a natural crime fighter. Fitzy said that he’d be over in a blink-of-an-eye, and he was, just as DeMarco tapped off his cellphone Fitzy walked around DeMarco’s bank of file cabinets.

You freak me out, man. How’d you get here so fast?” DeMarco’s back-of-the-neck hairs rose.

Mental-Math. Detective DeMarco rummaged around on his desk, then remembering that he had put his notebook in his shirt pocket, opened it to some quickly taken notes.

Jeeze, I can barely read my own chicken scratch. You got somethin’ to write this stuff down in?

Fitzy tapped his right temple and with a nod, said that it was taken care of. He motioned DeMarco to go on with his briefing.

Yeah, you’re a freak with your mental-math-BS. Where’s the mutt?” DeMarco shook his head.

Sundays are the dog’s day off. I’ll fill him in on the case when he gets in tonight. My partner is at an open air concert with the dog,” Fitzy said dryly. “How do we handle consultant billing?”

DeMarco stared at Fitzy opened-mouth. “What are we looking at fee-wise ‘cuz we’ve gotta stay within department budget … it’s gotta be kosher with the chief.”

I’m thinking $500-a-case will keep Bonét in chow – money makes me feel grubby,” Fitzy again motioned DeMarco to get on with the briefing. He wanted their relationship to be simple, work-related, no personal stuff, no money talk or explaining how he solved cases. He wanted challenging, mind-numbing work. He’d leave the drama to Froggy and Bonét.

Meanwhile, in the park at the concert, Bonét and Elizabeth were enjoying themselves splendidly while Froggy slept like a baby on the grass. Liz marveled that his pants didn’t stain or wrinkle while her linen skirt wrinkled right after she ironed it. Crazy. Bonét’s head swayed keeping time with the beat, every now and then he’d look at Liz to see if she was paying attention. He’d squeeze his eyes up into a look of love to show her his appreciation, then look back quickly at the orchestra to follow the conductor’s wand. How many dogs appreciate music like this? Is this an angel-dog?

I was wondering the same thing myself,” Froggy said, then yawned as he stretched. “Music always puts me in a trance. And as far as Bonét goes, I think that he is highly evolved, dog-wise.”

Should we get some ice cream for Fitzy on the way home?”

A peace offering is always a good thing but right now he’s on another case, so the ice cream would melt and Bonét would make out like a bandit!” Froggy’s eyes crinkled when he thought he’d made a joke, no matter how lame it turned out. Liz loved Froggy’s feeble attempt at humor. “D’oh,” she replied with a giggle. “Shhhhhh,” hissed the group sitting in their beach chairs behind them.

The concert ended around ten and it took the three music lovers around twenty minutes to walk back to Lizzie’s apartment and then another minute for Froggy and Bonét to transport back to their shared apartment. Fitzy appeared about an hour later, tired and beat.

We’ve got a kidnapping on our hands and it looks nasty,” Fitz mumbled before turning in for the night. “I’ll brief everyone over breakfast.”

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