Raven, our hostess for Saturday Wordzzle, supplied us with 10 words/phrases to build a story with. Those ten words/phrases are: snow and ice, vegetarian chili, pampered kitty, anthropology, do you own a home, coronation, you can change the world, hideous curtains, stammering, premonitions. She then supplied as with 5 more words/phrases for a bit of extra challenge. Those five words/phrases are: Is there a doctor in the house, blowing in the breeze, shadows, comedian, sleeping disorder.
Without further ado I present to you part one of Part Three of:
Mina & The Carousel
“It has an air tight seal,” Mr. Maitland said.
“Do, hush, Bernie!” Mrs. Maitland scolded. “You’ll scare the child.”
“What? You want me to lie to the girl and tell her we’re in no danger?” Bernie Maitland rubbed his arms briskly and stomped his feet. “Still, she did do us a good turn. When they brought her in here they opened the door and refreshed the air. Might have even raised the temperature by a degree or two.”
“What is going on?” Mina demanded. “Who were those men and why did they put us in the freezer?”
“It’s a long story, dear,” Mrs. Maitland said. She paced two steps and turned, paced two steps and turned, back and forth. The freezer wasn’t big enough for much more than that. The unit was maybe five feet by eight feet, with shelves all the way around. Empty shelves, save one, which housed little, butcher paper wrapped packages — all the exact same size.
Mina reached out and grabbed one. It was surprisingly heavy, and whatever was inside wasn’t frozen. Something sifted and moved within the package. Mina looked at Mrs. Maitland, who was staring at Mr. Maitland, who shrugged.
He raised his hands and his eyes as though he were speaking to the ceiling and asked, “What difference does it make?” Then he shrugged and nodded toward the package. “Go ahead, kid. Open it up.”
Mina loosed the paper and unrolled a plastic zip-seal bag.
“Snow and Ice,” Mr. Maitland said. He took the bag from Mina and opened it, then he motioned toward her hand. Mina obediently raised it and Mr. Maitland filled it with bright light and glitter.
“Bernie, this isn’t wise –” Mrs. Maitland began.
Mr. Maitland interrupted. “What’s she going to do, Edith? Say something to the wrong person? Tip the bad guys off that we’re on the them? I think they know.”
“Sarcastic ass.” Mrs. Maitland muttered.
“Are these diamonds?” Mina queried, her voice full of awe.
“Indeed.” Mr. Maitland answered. He waved his hand at the other packages. “Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, peridot …. all the Austrian crystals on that carousel were really precious gems.”
“And the brass rings were really solid gold,” Mina said.
Mrs. Maitland gasped. “How did you know?”
“That’s why I am here,” Mina said. “Roger Maitland has been spreading it around school. I was trying to figure out why his dad would steal the carousel if it already belonged to him, then I remembered you two standing in front of the store looking into Mrs. Maitland’s satchel. I knew by the way you were acting that you’d stolen something.”
“Well, I’ll be!” Mrs. Maitland put her hands on her hips and shook her head.
Mr. Maitland laughed. “You’ve got good instincts little one,” he said. He pointed at Mrs. Maitland, “Edith and I are amateur detectives. We knew the carousel was being used to smuggle something, but we thought it was drugs. We got into Finklemeyer’s warehouse and were snooping around the carousel.”
“I found a work bench covered in fake gems and bottles of jewelry cement and figured out it was jewels being smuggled.” Mrs. Maitland said.
Mr. Maitland nodded. “So we took a diamond crusted hoof off one of the horses — .”
“We were going to take it to the police,” Mrs. Maitland interrupted.
“But before we did, we wanted to make sure they were real diamonds,” Mr. Maitland continued. “So we brought it home and pried one off.”
“But by the time we’d done that, it was time for me to start cooking dinner, and Bernie’s favorite news program was on.” Mrs. Maitland finished.
Mina was almost dizzy from looking back and forth between the two of them. She poured the diamonds back into the plastic bag, rubbed her hands together, then tucked them in her arm pits. “So how did the two of you end up in this freezer?” She asked, hoping their story would distract her from the cold.
The Maitlands both spoke at once, each of them pointing at the other.
“My brilliant wife,” Mr. Maitland said. “Decided we needed a jewelers evaluation of the stone.”
“It wasn’t my idea to go to Emmerson’s store! There are dozen’s of jewelry stores in this city. Why did you have to pick the one next door to our suspect?”
“So,” Mina queried, “Mr. Finklemeyer saw you go into the jewelry shop and got suspicious? Did he follow you in and overhear your conversation?”
“Oh no,” Mrs. Maitland said. “Gallina Emmerson is Finklemeyer’s sister. It seems the jewelry glue is her own special mixture. She recognized it and the stone instantly.”
“That woman might be named after a chicken,” Mr. Maitland said, “But she is pure vulture! She must have phoned her brother from the back room because while she was back there supposedly running a clarity test — ”
Mina interrupted, “But they do that with the customer! They use a gem loupe, this little, hand held, magnifier …”
“How were we to know that?” Mrs. Maitland huffed.
Mr. Maitland pointed at Mina, “A ten year old child knows for petesake!”
“Don’t snap at me,” Mrs. Maitland said. “You didn’t know either!”
“Anyway,” Mr. Maitland said, “While we were waiting for Gallina to return, Finklemeyer and his goon — ”
” — Mr. Emmerson –” Mrs. Maitland supplied.
” — came in through the front door, stuck guns in our backs, and marched us into the alley.” Mr. Maitland finished.
“But how did you end up here — in the freezer?” Mina asked.
“Finklemeyer wanted to know where we’d stashed the horse’s hoof. We refused to tell him.” Mr. Maitland supplied.
“Emmerson was all for beating it out of us,” Mrs. Maitland said. “He was going to start with me and make Bernie watch.”
“Then Finklemeyer said that somebody would be sure to hear us scream, and that’s when they decided to stuff us in here.” Mr. Maitland said.
“But where are we?” Mina asked. “In the diner? Is Rona in on this, too?”
“Not Rona!” Mrs. Maitland was horrified. “Oh, I hope she’s not part of this! Aside from those hideous curtains on the windows, I love her diner!”
“She’s part of this, too?” Mr. Maitland wailed. “How can someone who makes such incredible vegetarian chili possibly be evil? Well, except for her curtains, they’re down right scary, especially when they’re blowing in the breeze!”
“So we are in Rona’s freezer?” Mina queried.
“No,” Mr. Maitland said. “We’re in Finklemeyer’s warehouse. “This place was an ice cream parlor and kiddie arcade before he made it over. We’re in the old ice cream freezer.”
“So how do you know Rona is in on this?” Mina was confused.
“Well, because you said so!” Mrs. Maitland accused. “You said –”
“I asked,” Mina corrected. “Asking isn’t the same as telling.”
Mr. Maitland nodded his head. “She’s right, dear. It isn’t.”
“Now you’ve confused me!” Mrs. Maitland wailed.
Mina shivered. She pulled her arms from her sleeves and tucked them inside her shirt. “I’m cold,” she said. “But I’m not really freezing. This place isn’t cold enough to keep ice cream.”
“They don’t want us dead,” Mr. Maitland said.
“Right now they’re searching our house,” Mrs. Maitland interjected.
Mina was getting used to their tag-team talking, but standing between them was a bad idea. She was definitely nauseous from all the head cranking. She stamped her feet and shifted around a bit until she was at the far end of the freezer and the Maitlands were standing together.
“They won’t find it.” Mr. Maitland said. “We knew better than to hide the jewels in our own house.”
“And when they don’t find it,” Mrs. Maitland said, “They’re going to come back here –”
” — to beat it out of us,” they finished together.
“Then they’ll kill us,” Mr. Maitland said.
“They’re not going to kill us,” Mrs. Maitland said. “According to my premonitions …”
“Premonitions, schmenonitions!” Mr. Maitland groused. “If your premonitions were any good, you’d of had them before we got locked in the freezer!”
to be continued
Relax, folks. This is a Saturday Wordzzle and I haven’t used all the words yet. Part two of Part Three will be up before midnight Saturday Night (HST).