My Life A Bit South of Normal

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Senhora Morto

Ada Mae had no money. She had showed up in Gallagher with an old carpet bag that held all her worldly belongings. 

Her wardrobe was quiet unique. Her favorite 'outfit' of a tattered light green flapper style dress and matching parasol. Often she could be seen walking through the town with her parasol. She wore an opera length strand  of pearls. She would quickly tell anyone who asked, that they were a gift from her father. Usually she followed with a tale of the provenance. Supposedly they were given to her father by the King of Polynesia. 


The King made her father king over several hundred islands and atolls. When asked where these islands were on the map, she always laughed and said, "Oh they are all tee tiny islands, so they don't show up on a map." He had sent the pearls to Ada Mae as a little girl, promising he was on his way home.


Ada Mae had a fabulous life. She claimed to be a close friend of Zelda Fitzgerald. If someone asked, she would quickly tell that the character Daisy in 'The Great Gatsy' was written with her in mind. That was quite interesting, given Ada Mae was born in the 1970's and Fitzgerald's era was the Jazz Age in the 1920's.  However that was her story and she stuck with it.


She never strayed from her story that her uncle had left the house to her. When the bank tried to get some details of the title that she insisted she had, she would demure. She explained that her uncle had given it to her for safe keeping. 

Once she claimed the house, she settled into a small bedroom upstairs, totally oblivious to the Sheriff's office downstairs. She would come and go, always sharing her daily adventures. Time was always a relative thing to Ada Mae. It was as if she lived in her own personal time warp. 

She lunched with Queen Victoria and played cards with Teddy Roosevelt.  Ada Mae would stop random people on the street and tell them how she survived the sinking of the Titanic. Her story telling was so outrageous and descriptive, it was if she really did live this vicarious life.

Meanwhile the search for the murderer continued. Pearce called the Sheriff, "Can you come over? I may have something you would be interested in hearing." That was all the Sheriff needed to hear. He was on his way. Wraping up this case and finding who killed Colleen was his top priority. 


When he arrived at Cre Uisce Aer, he found Pearce in the library standing in the middle of the room. "Thanks for coming."


The Sheriff noticed a young man sitting in a chair. "Sheriff, this Cajo Haraque. He works here on the grounds. Monday evening he was a server at the gala." He turned to Cajo, "Tell the Sheriff what you told me." He looked back at the Sheriff, "Now, he is Portuguese, so he speaks broken English."


"I was serving the party. First I was working Tables 7 & 8. But before dessert was served, I was changed to Tables 4 & 5."


"Who wanted you to change tables?"


"Santos, he was another server."


"Sheriff, I would have Santos in here also, but I cannot find him. I'll get all the information I have on him."


"We'll find him." He turned to Cajo, "Then what happened."


"I saw a mulher," he looked at Pearce for help.


"Woman."


"I saw this woman talk to Santose. They told us not to speak to the guests unless they spoke to us. But she gave him something in a small envelope. Tips I thought."


"Do your remember the color of dress the lady was wearing?'


Santos looked confused. Pearce spoke, "Her vestido? Cor?"


"Iavender? Roxa?"


Pearce looked at the Sheriff, "Purple or maybe lavender."


"And, her hair color?"


Cajo, again, looked at Pearce for help. Pearce answered,"Cabelo? Cor?"


"Oh, marrom claro."


Pearce interpreted, "Light Brown."


Rascal looked at Pearce, "Do you speak Portuguese?"


"Not hardly, I picked up a few words here and there from the men working on the restoration."


"Do you remember what table the lady was sitting at?"


Pearce looked at Santos, "Mesa,  numero de mesa?"


"Oito"


Pearce looked at the Sheriff, "8, table 8."


"Did you notice anything else?"


"Sim . . . yes. When dessert was served, a server placed the dessert at Senhora morto."


Pearce offered, "The lady who died."


"Santos stopped him and put another plate in front of her."


 "So he swapped the plates."


Pearce said a few words. Cajo nodded yes and crossed his arms as if to indicate swapping the plates.


"Anything else?"


Cajo shook his head, saying no. Pearce thanked the young man and said he could leave. At the same time he handed the Sheriff a piece of paper. "This is what I have on Santos."


"Any idea who was wearing a purple dress?"


Pearce thought for a moment. "I don't remember right now. There were so many people."


They spoke for a while, the Sheriff thanked him, then he left.


On his way back to the station he remembered Reza's prediction: deceit, pain and revenge, death, and a change in feelings. There were still a few pieces of the puzzle missing.

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