Mini Mys­tery

Will An­gela Potts be able to un­cover who stole hun­dreds from the lo­cal Chicken Glory?

Woman's World - - ✻ Start Your Week With A -

Re­tired school­teacher An­gela Potts was sit­ting on her porch when Sher­iff Chunky Jones came by. “You look wor­ried,” he said.

“I am. My nephew wants to work for an id­iot.”

He pushed his hat back. “Well, I hope he can find one that’ll hire him.”

”NO—I mean there’s a res­tau­rant here he wants to work for, and the owner’s an id­iot.”

“Wouldn’t be Chicken Glory, would it?” “No,” she said. “Why?” “I’m headed there to check on a rob­bery that hap­pened Fri­day. Want to come along?”

“You’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing it now? To­day’s La­bor Day.”

“I’ve been la­bor­ing on it all week­end. The men in blue never rest, Ms. Potts.”

“Good thing you wear khakis.” He sighed. “They open at ten. You com­ing, or not?”

As it turned out, a pay­roll en­ve­lope con­tain­ing sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars had been stolen from the man­ager’s of­fice at the lo­cal Chicken Glory fran­chise three days ago. The only wit­ness, as­sis­tant man­ager Jenny West, said she saw a strange man in the hall­way just out­side her of­fice on Fri­day at noon, five min­utes be­fore her man­ager dis­cov­ered the theft.

An­gela and Sher­iff Jones met with West in her of­fice.

“Can you de­scribe the man again?” the sher­iff asked.

“He was tall, red­headed, short hair, yel­low shirt, jeans, white sneak­ers, old­style eye­glasses. I was sit­ting here when he walked past my win­dow over there.” West pointed to a small win­dow above a cre­denza. “Like I told you ear­lier, our man­ager, Pamela Ryan, says the de­scrip­tion ex­actly fits her hus­band, Ger­ald.”

“Have you ever met Ms. Ryan’s hus­band?” “No.” “Did you see the man only that one time?” “Yes.” “Well, I ques­tioned Ger­ald Ryan Satur­day morn­ing, Ms. West. He said he’s never been here, and Fri­day was his day off. Said he was go­ing fish­ing, but since it rained, he stayed home in­stead.”

West shrugged. “Sounds like he has no al­ibi.”

“He also told me there’s a hear­ing soon to de­cide whether he or Ms. Ryan will have cus­tody of their young son. Is that cor­rect?”

“Why does that mat­ter?”

“It prob­a­bly doesn’t,” he said. “Are you cer­tain about the date and time that you saw this per­son?”

“Yes. Mat­ter of fact, I heard the weather siren at that very mo­ment, sig­nal­ing that it was noon on Septem­ber first.” All of them knew what she meant: The lo­cal siren al­ways sounded at noon on the first day of ev­ery month. It was a way to test the sys­tem.

Ex­cuse me, Ms. West,” An­gela said. “Where were you on Satur­day, Septem­ber sec­ond?” “I don’t know. Why?” “If you re­call, there were thun­der­show­ers through most of Fri­day. Thank­fully no tor­na­does, but any­time there’s even a chance of se­vere weather, they post­pone sound­ing the first-ofthe-month siren un­til noon the fol­low­ing day to avoid con­fu­sion or alarm. My point is, the siren didn’t blow as sched­uled at noon this past Fri­day.”

West blinked. “You’re say­ing I lied?”

“I’m say­ing I think your boss fur­nished that de­scrip­tion of the sus­pect and sug­gested what time you sup­pos­edly saw him. And I’m re­mind­ing you that false tes­ti­mony’s a crim­i­nal of­fense.” West paled. “What?” An­gela leaned for­ward. “Are you will­ing to go to jail for fol­low­ing or­ders?”

“No,” West gulped. “You’re right. Ms. Ryan took the money to frame her ex­hus­band. She said it was jus­ti­fied be­cause it was a la­bor of love, to show the cus­tody judge which of them is an un­fit par­ent.”

“Oh, I think that’ll be pretty clear,” An­gela said.

Later, af­ter ar­rest­ing Pamela Ryan, the sher­iff said, “You were wrong, Ms. Potts. False tes­ti­mony’s not a crime un­less it’s done in court or in a writ­ten state­ment.”

“I know,” she replied, smil­ing. “But con­fes­sions are al­lowed any­time.”

He chuck­led. “Well said. But—was the siren mis­take re­ally enough to con­vince you she was ly­ing?” “No.” “What did, then?”

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