the case of the four women (part fifteen)

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I opened Stu's office door and stepped in. Everybody turned to face me, and I said, "Mr. Prescott, I would like to introduce Miss Zoe Alexander."

I held the door open and she came in. Mr. Prescott frowned for a moment, then he sighed as he realized that "Zoe" was his son.

"I see," he said.

Zoe looked quite nervous, understandably, as Mr. Prescott got slowly to his feet. He turned to the detective and said, "Nothing about this should ever be mentioned to anybody. Go down and tell the driver the same thing. Then resume your regular duties." The detective nodded and left.

Mr. Prescott turned to my employer. He seemed to be making a deliberate effort not to look at Zoe. "I have just had a very unhappy thought," he said. "You are a reporter. I–"

Oh, goodness gracious," she snapped. "I won't write about this. To you, this may seem unusual and newsworthy, but to me it's neither. It's not news, it's gossip; and in U-town it's not even unusual." He glanced at me. "Marshall has concealed secrets far more important and interesting than this one, I assure you."

"I'm sorry, all of you, for wasting your time." He turned and left.

Zoe looked a bit shaky. I steered her to a chair and she sat. My employer held out her cigarette case, and Zoe took one, which I lit for her.

She smoked for a moment, looking out the window, then she said, "This is not how I thought this would work out."

"How did you know?" Miss Tumolo asked my employer.

"Occam's Razor. Always look at the simplest explanation first. If Jerry is using that address, maybe he lives there. It seemed–"

Stu looked up. "Excuse me, is this the part where we ask how this was solved? Because I do want to know, but I also want something to eat."

My employer turned to Zoe. "Would you please join us, Zoe?"

She shrugged an unexpectedly Gallic shrug. "Can I get a ride home afterwards?"

"Of course, my dear," Stu said, coming around his desk. He crooked his arm. "Will you do me the honor?"

Zoe slipped her arm through his, and we proceeded out of the office.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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