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Death by Chocolate

Death by Chocolate

Titel: Death by Chocolate
Autoren: G. A. McKevett
    “Y ou’re really not too bad-looking,
you know, for a chubby old broad.”
    Savannah resisted the urge
to growl and bite her companion as the hair on the back of her neck bristled.
“I beg your pardon, sir,” she said in her sweetest, most demure imitation of a
Southern belle—a belle who might feed you your teeth after a back-handed
compliment like that. “But I am not old. I’m.... forty-something.... and in my
prime. And as far as chubby”—she turned in the passenger seat and stared at the
driver’s more than ample midsection—“in the years since I met you, that belly
of yours has gone from washboard-hard to duvet-poofy, so watch it, buddy.”
    Dirk shot her a wounded,
highly offended look as he steered his ancient Buick Skylark through the ever
gathering morning rush-hour traffic. Though in the laid-back Southern
California coastal town of San Carmelita, traffic didn’t exactly rush—at any
hour of the day.
    “Man, try to say something
nice and you get your head handed to you,” he said, reaching for a pack of
cigarettes on the dashboard. “And as for the chubby part, I just meant
that—dressed up like an old lady, even with that stupid gray wig on and the
extra padding under that flowery dress—you still look okay.”
    “I’m not wearing extra
padding. This is all me.”
    “Oh... sorry.”
    She snatched the pack out
of his hand. “You said you were quitting.”
    “I said I was thinking
about quitting. I’m still thinking.”
    “You’ve been thinking about
getting ready to start thinking about quitting for the past fifteen years.”
    “Well, no point rushing
into anything. Gimme those smokes, woman, before I fly into a blind rage.”
    Sighing, she slapped them
into his open palm. “Roll down the window and blow it outside.”
    “Yeah, yeah, yeah.... you
and your smoke allergies. What’s the matter with you, Van? You’re moodier than
    She opened her mouth to
protest, but then snapped it closed. He was right; she was in a foul mood. Had
been for several weeks. And her self-medicating regime of nightly bubble baths
by candlelight and chocolate truffles had provided only the briefest respites.
    Once, for half a moment,
she had considered that she might be going through some sort of midlife crisis.
But, of course, that would have meant admitting that she was “middle-aged” and
maybe just a tad past her prime.
    And if, indeed, her prime had
come and gone, exactly on what day had she supposedly peaked? She couldn’t
recall a twenty-four-hour period in the past forty years when she hadn’t felt
fairly dragged out and grouchy.
    Then she had an even more
depressing thought: maybe a body only peaked for about five minutes. If so...
she had missed the big event.
    “Come on.... what’s the
matter?” Dirk asked, reaching up to scratch under his own ratty gray wig. “Is
it because we didn’t nab somebody this time out?”
    She looked down at the
senior-citizen sensible black shoes and baggy hose she was wearing. The giant
white patent-leather purse on the seat beside her. The monstrosity of a floral
polyester dress that she had purchased at the local thrift store for a buck.
    “I do feel a mite
rejected,” she said. “There was a day when I could dress up in a black leather
miniskirt and fishnet hose and hook any bad guy in fifteen seconds. Now I go
out of my way to look the part of a sweet, totally vulnerable old lady hanging
around the ATM with her big ‘Come Snatch Me’ white purse, and I can’t even get
mugged. It’s a sad situation, Detective, this downward trend of mine. I used to
have to fight the boys off with a stick. Now they don’t even get within
smacking distance.”
    “Eh.... what do you need
with more men in your life? You’ve got me.”
    Mental pictures of Dirk
with his feet propped on her coffee table every Monday night, swigging her
beer, eating her pizza, watching Monday Night Football on her TV,
shoving her potato chips into his face and spilling crumbs on her sofa, using
her toilet and leaving the seat up, often missing the bowl.
    He had a point there. Why
would she want more men in her life?
    When she didn’t reply, he
nudged her with his elbow. “We’ll get ‘em tomorrow morning, Van. If you’re up
for going out. with me again, that is.”
    She gave him a sidewise
grin, and he returned it, the smile softening his street-rough face. Being a
cop had taken its toll on Dirk.... as it had on her. Savannah Reid was all too

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