the school murder case (part twelve)

This story started here.

Ms. Tumolo, apparently sensing that this morning was only the first act (if not, in fact, merely the prologue) of a very long play, said, "Now that we're all introduced, this might be a good time for us to take a short break. I'm sure somebody's put up a fresh pot of coffee by now, and I'm probably not the only person who could use some."

There was general assent on this point, so we stood and stretched, and she started to lead us to the cafeteria.

Our progress through the halls of the school was slow, and Ms. Tumolo's patience with all the distractions told us that this was not unusual. Our speed seemed to vary between "slow" and "stopped" as people saw friends, popped into offices, looked at bulletin boards, paused to neck with random strangers (or at least that's what appeared to be happening, and Ms. Tumolo did move to break up a couple of clinches which seemed likely to occupy one or another of her students for the rest of the day), and generally meandered around.

We caused a comparatively minor delay ourselves when, as we passed the door of the room where we'd seen Pete that morning, he and Daphne came out, nearly bumping into us.

Pete was leading Daphne on her leash, and she barked happily when she saw us. On an impulse, I squatted and held out my hand. Daphne cocked her head to one side and regarded me thoughtfully. "Hold out your paw," Pete told her. She did, tentatively, and I shook it. Her hand lay limply in mine, as a dog's paw would have, but she barked happily and lunged forward, as if to lick my cheek (if not more), and I smiled and quickly stood up.

David and Amy came up to greet Daphne, and I noticed that Ms. Tumolo was starting to look impatient. I wondered if this was simply because of how much time this was taking, or if she disapproved of Daphne.

Apparently Jan noticed this as well, because she said, "We're just on our way for coffee, Pete. Would you like to join us?" Daphne barked. "Both of you, of course."

This would have tickled my employer's sense of humor, to give the appearance of moving us along, because Ms. Tumolo was getting impatient, and in reality to annoy her for a bit longer with the presence of Daphne.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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