The fact that Mabel’s now lifeless body is stark naked, sitting spread eagle atop the commode isn’t phasing her either, but it’s making me more uncomfortable than the tepid waters seeping through the faux fur of my house shoes, so I grab the towels off the rack and drape one around her shoulders and the other across her mid section post haste, before cutting off the flow of water from the tap.
“Come on Maggie.” I said with a slight tug on her collar, “we’ve gotta call somebody.”
As I’m exiting the bathroom, the thought occurs to me to remove my soaked house shoes before traipsing back through Mable’s apartment to use the landline she still has affixed to the wall in her kitchen. I bend to do so, and spot the distinct imprints of the rugged sole of what immediately strikes me as a work boot, in the deep pile of Mabel’s plush mauve carpet.
“Maggie!” I command in the most authoritative tone I can muster, “Come!”
Now Maggie had spent the first nine years of her life as a sled dog, which in no way prepared her for life as a domestic pet. When I first adopted her, the only commands she was wired to respond to were “Gee” “Haw” and “Whoa” none of which played a big part in our day to day life together.
At first I was bound and determined to domesticate her, and worked tirelessly at teaching her such useful commands as “Come” “Sit” and “Stay”. It didn’t take long for her to impress upon me the futility in my attempts to teach her things she already possessed the good sense to know.
That is why when Maggie sat in the sea of lukewarm bath water that had over run Mabel’s pink porcelain bathtub instead of following me out of the bathroom, I knew she was not just disobeying a direct order- she knew something I did not.
“What is it girl?” I queried as Maggie nudged and licked at Mabel’s frozen facial features. I noticed for the first time how her head met her chest at a rather gruesome angle. Despite having seen more than my share of television crime investigation shows to know better than to touch anything, particularly the body, I attempted to lift Mabel’s head slightly from where it was resting on her chest to see what was drawing Maggie’s attention.
I say attempted, because her head proved to be ever so much heavier than I would ever have dreamed a human head could be. I actually had to slide in between the commode and the vanity and lift with both hands to raise it enough to see two faint blueish bruises in the general vicinity of where middle school anatomy had taught me the voice box was situated in the throat. My degree in television criminology had prepared me well for such a discovery.
They were thumb prints.
Mabel had been strangled. Strangled by someone who had worn work boots with heavy rugged soles leaving imprints in her hall carpet.
That was enough for me. Maggie or no Maggie, I was off to the kitchen to call the police.
Continued from, Maggie’s Mid-night Intrusion.