Drip Dry
Joanne Faries
The Planet Betty carwash was never busy. I mean, hell, only elite could afford the new vehicles that old Louie created. I use the term vehicle loosely. It wasn't like our memories of Corvettes. More like a box on wheels with a putt-putt motor. But, hey, Louie gave 'em a custom color and the suckers moved.
 
Thus, when Carrie Ann screamed at the car wash, we all came running. As the banker's wife, she had dough and drove the purple creation. Guess it needed a spruce up (no rain for a month and dust caked on everything).
 
Carrie Ann gulped and cried as she told us, "I pulled in to the drive, and waited for the signal to get on the track, but no one waved. Walt's green car was ahead of me but no movement." Here she broke down. "I got out, walked in, and then I saw him ... or what's left of him. Oh my God."  She brushed wet bangs out of her eyes.
 
I frowned. Walt was her husband, the banker. "Stand back folks. Let me in." The car wash was humid, steam rising from the concrete floor. Odd - the driver window was down. Gave me a good view of Walt, now a boiled lobster. This was my first hot case on Planet Betty. 
 
Carrie Ann wept, "Walt had to make a central exchange deposit, but he said he was going by the car wash first. I had a dry cleaner errand (I looked at Mary Rose, our dry cleaner and she nodded) to run. And now Walt's dead." She wailed and collapsed to the ground.
 
"Where's Jared?" I asked. After all, Jared, Carrie Ann and Walt's son ran the car wash.
 
Townsfolk murmured. "Hadn't seen him."
 
I strode to look in Walt's car. No sign of a bank deposit bag. It all made sense in a way, or did it? Jared gone. Money gone. Walt dead. How did Carrie Ann fit in the picture?
 
A gust of wind rustled something in the back seat of that green car - a dry cleaner plastic suit bag. I arrested Carrie Ann on the spot, and radioed the planet shuttle system supervisor. Sure enough, Jared bought a ticket to a Jupiter moon today, and held a bag of Planet Betty moolah. Carrie Ann had a ticket scheduled for tomorrow.
 
In an hour, I separated my two suspects, and both gushed the goods. Mother and son cornered Walt on the tracks, smothered him, and then tried to make it look like an overheated car wash accident.  They fingered each other in a light-fingered splash for cash. Now they needed a squeegee for the tears.

First published: August, 2013
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