…And now for another installment of “Stephanie Answers Questions From Popular Songs”.
Who let the dogs out?
After much deliberation, I decided it could be only one of two people.
The dog’s owner was an unlikely suspect, but couldn’t be ruled out completely. I’d interrogated him this morning without any success. That left my second suspect, a lady friend of the dog’s owner, a broad by the name of Carlotta LaRue.
“Send her in, Martha,” I called.
The door to my office opened and LaRue walked in, cigarette in hand. She had the gams of a giraffe and the eyes of a barracuda. A cold-blooded, dog-hating barracuda. She perched on the edge of the chair across from my desk, lit her cigarette, and exhaled. “What’s all the fuss about, sugar?” she asked in a throaty voice.
“Don’t you ‘sugar’ me, sweetheart,” I said. “Where were you at nine o’clock on Monday morning?” She lowered her head and looked up at me. She was probably going for demure, but she wasn’t the first wily dame I’d seen. She wasn’t even the prettiest.
“A lady doesn’t kiss and tell,” she said. “Anyways, I didn’t do nothin’.”
“We’ve got an eyewitness who places you at 35 Walker Lane at eight-thirty. You walked into the house carrying a leash and a bag of Milk-Bones. At that time both dogs were accounted for. At eight-forty five a.m. Mr. Jones, the owner of the dogs in question, left for work at the factory.” I watched her face closely, but she didn’t flinch. Tough as nails, this one.
“So what?” she said, squinting at me through the ever-present cloud of smoke. “I got dogs of my own. That stuff was for them.”
I ignored her and continued. “Approximately twenty-five minutes after Mr. Jones left the premises, the canines were seen cavorting around the neighbourhood, loose. Neighbours reported extensive woofing. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, now would you, Ms. LaRue?” She looked around the room, avoiding eye contact—a sure sign of guilt. I had her; I could feel it.
Then, something changed. She looked up at me, defiant. “They deserved it! Stupid mutts! All he ever talks about is those blasted dogs! ‘Walk the dogs! Feed the dogs! Watch the dogs while I’m at work!’ He loves ’em more than he loves me! It’s not fair! I hate dogs!” Her eyes were wild now, rabid. She lifted the cigarette to her mouth with a trembling hand.
She’d obviously been repressing her anti-dog tendencies for a long time. I’d seen it before; it never ended well. “That’ll be all, Ms. LaRue,” I said. “You’ve been…very helpful.”
She sneered at me, but she had tears in her heavily lined eyes. “This is all your fault. Snooping where you don’t belong. I hate you!”
“Ms. LaRue,” I said, “that’s a doggone shame.”
You may also wish to read “When I’m Sixty-Four”, the first installment of “Stephanie Answers Questions From Popular Songs”.