Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Woman's World magazine - February 14, 2013

"Fishing for a Date"
      by Jody Lebel

      Good looking men don't show up on your lawn every day.  And to find one poking around at a yard sale?  Even more rare.  That alone made him interesting, but his dark eyes and nice smile would have made most women look twice.  The tackle box with its worn edges and trays of fishing gear had caught his eye.  She watched amused as he pushed the hooks around with a cautious finger. Karen would have pegged him more of a reader than a sportsman. He seemed familiar but she couldn't place him.   

     Karen loved tag sales and thought having her own would be fun but as the late autumn sun baked everyone and everything, and strangers pawed through her possessions demanding price cuts, she vowed to never do it again.  At least the garage clutter was gone.

     The man picked up the box and strode directly to her. "You have this marked at five dollars?"  His voice was deep and pleasant. 

     "Yes," she replied, steeling herself for the inevitable haggling.    

     He handed her a five-dollar bill.  "I can work with that."

     Pleased, Karen thanked him, then pointed to the box.  "You like to fish?"

     "Oh, no, this is for my nephew. He'll love going through all this – um – stuff."  He wrinkled his nose and made a little face.  "I don’t even know the names of the things in here," he admitted.

     He didn't seem in any hurry to leave even after Karen bagged up his purchase.  His attempt to engage her in small talk warmed her heart and she was enjoying herself until he was nudged aside by a woman who wanted to check the plug on a toaster.  By the time Karen finished helping her, he was gone. She hadn't even gotten his name.  Too bad.  It had been a long time since she had been in the company of a nice man.

         She closed the sale early and went inside to cool down and put up her feet.  When her husband had died last year after a long illness, she hadn't had the heart or the strength to get rid of his things.  Now that she was ready, she wished she had just called the Salvation Army.

      A sharp knock on her door startled her. When she saw the man who bought the tackle box on her steps she was pleased until she realized he had it tucked under his arm.  Her smile faded.  Oh, no, now people were returning things?  Just great.  Reluctant to let a stranger inside her house she invited him to sit on the porch, and a moment later she brought out a pitcher of iced tea. 

     "I'm Dan Wright," he said, extending his hand.  "I'm the new pharmacist in town."

    That's where she had seen him.

   "And I wanted to ask about this fishing box and the contents."    

   "My late husband spotted it on top of a trash can on the side of the road and couldn't resist bringing it home.  He used to do that a lot."  She gestured to her yard sale with a wry smile.  "That's how I ended up with all this."

     "This was mixed in with the lures."  He opened his palm to show her a class ring, small in size, with a red stone.  The markings indicated it came from one of the regional high schools. "Does this happen to belong to you?"

    Karen shook her head. "That's not mine."  She loved that he had returned the ring.  Most people would have kept it.

     "The year is on the side there."   

     She took a better look.  "And there are some initials inside, see?" 

    He held it up to the light and turned it this way and that.  He rubbed the band with the edge of his shirt.  "It looks like I.S.W."  He tipped the ring towards her.  "You know with that bit of information I bet we could find the owner."

    She considered the possibility. "I suppose we could look at old yearbooks, try to match the initials."

    "Yes," he brightened.  "Tomorrow, if you're free, would you care to take a drive to the main library over in Brighton?  I hear they have all kinds of reference books there."

     "All right."  His enthusiasm was catching and she found herself intrigued. By the ring and by him.

      "This afternoon I was fishing for a way to ask you out, maybe for coffee or something."  He hesitated then stammered out quickly, "It's been a while since I've dated.  I may be a little rusty."

     She passed the pitcher of iced tea and settled back in the wicker chair.  The setting sun made the orange and yellow leaves on her trees glow.  A late hummingbird visited her feeder. 
     "I can work with that," she smiled.

Woman's World magazine - December 31, 2012

by Jody Lebel

Beth studied the black smudges on the pads of her fingers.
"We'll be done in a few minutes." The crime scene tech gently rolled her index finger from side to side on the screen."Just relax and let me do the moving."

Being fingerprinted was a new experience. One she hoped to never repeat. "What is this for again?"
"Those are what are called elimination prints. Once we have yours, we can concentrate on any others we find."

That had come from the detective who appeared in her doorway. She took in the crisp fold of his suit and his gold badge dangling on a chain around his neck.He held a cloth grocery sack away fromhis body as a green substance oozed through the bottom and trickled on the stoop. 
"I’m Detective Kevin Stone. Is this yours?"

"Yes, when I opened the front door and saw the mess I guess I dropped it."
"Smells like pistachio."

The tech passed her a lemon scented wipe to clean her hands. "That was my ice cream."
The detective turned to the young patrol officer who was making an inventory of stolen items. "Add a container of ice cream," he ordered in a stern voice.

Seeing as how she was standing ankle deep in a jumble of her belongings, that unexpected bit of humour took Beth by surprise. But for her it was the perfect thing for him to do.  She felt her tension begin to drain. Waggling a finger at the list she added, "Anddon't forget the container of whipped cream in there, too."
Detective Stone peeked into the bag. "That fiend," he hotly declared before breaking into a teasing smile.He headed to the kitchen.  "I do realize this is serious," he assured her, depositing the sloppy mess in the sink. "But you looked like you were going to have a meltdown there for a moment."

Beth and the detective studied the list of missing property together.  "I don't care so much about the television or laptop, those things can be replaced," she said."But the silver frame?  That belonged to my grandmother."
"We'll do our best to find this guy," the detectiveassured her.  Crime was rare in her part of town. He glanced around at the disarray, much of it now also covered with black dust from the crime scene unit.

"Do you think it was random?" she asked, arms folded tightly over her chest. "I mean do you think he'll be back?"
Detective Stone put a warm, reassuring hand on her arm."It's only a burglary. This guy wanted quick things to sell. He struck while you weren't home, he won't be back."

His confident manner was soothing and for the first time since she walked through her door she wasn't frightened. "Okay," she nodded, her voice stronger.
"I’ll leave you to clean up," he said, moving toward the front door. "You've got good deadbolts; keep them latched even when you're home."

Beth glanced at the pamphlet one of the officers had handed her, an organized list of things for the victim to do. "I'll get that window boarded up right away," she said.  That simple task gave her a sense of empowerment.
"We'll be in touch as soon as we know something."

Although Beth had lived by herself for years, when thedoor shut behind him she became acutely aware of just how alone she was. She could use a man like the sensitive detective in her life.  Too bad she had to meet him by being robbed.
Several hours workreturned everything to normal, but jangled nerves refused to be swept away as easily. At midnight she found herself on the couchin the darkened living room staring where the television used to be. "I'm sorry, gram," she whispered. 

A few days later a knock on her front door brought Beth to the peephole. Pleased to see Detective Stone she gave her hair a quick fluff and licked her lips. A rush of heat warmed her cheeks. As she swung open the door her heart fluttered at the sight of her precious silver frame.Or maybe it was at the sight of him.
"We got our man," he grinned. "He tried to pawn everything down at Royal Pawn. Your other items will be returned as soon as we process them, but I figured you'd like this right away."

"Thank you," she whispered, holding the frame gently against her heart. "I didn't think I'd ever see it again."
"You can thank me with a spoon," he said, a twinkle in his blue eyes.


He whipped out a box of pistachio ice cream from behind his back. As her face lit up he said, "I told you he wouldn't be back. I never said I wouldn't."