It was a Whodunit Mystery worthy of Inspector Clouseau this morning at 7th and Montana as I stumbled across a series of random items -- a large pair of brown leather shoes, a walking stick and a pair of spectacles -- on an otherwise empty table outside Our Favorite Starbucks. I immediately suspected foul play. "Don't touch anything," I said, with authority, "Not until we've dusted for fingerprints." I went inside to gather evidence. Something had happened at 7th and Montana this morning ... Something so sinister it made the occupants of that table leave in a hurry, and I was willing to lay odds the culprit was still on the scene.
Was it the Bette Davis look-a-like who was sitting at the counter? Could she possibly have scared one or more persons away ... and, if so, why? I looked her up and down carefully. She had a certain "fasten-your-seatbelt, it's-going-to-be-a-bumpy-night" look, alright, but appearances can be deceiving. She was as innocent as Baby Jane.
Then there was Mr. Knit One Perl Two, a disgruntled-looking man in his mid-twenties who was sitting by the window -- not far from the abandoned table -- knitting what looked like a pair of Purple Baby Booties. Perhaps, I thought, he had chased someone off with a knitting needle. But no ... he was obviously the type to stick to his knitting.
That left just one suspect: Barnacle Bess, the Local Gadfly known for latching onto tables full of complete strangers and trapping them in lengthy, circular discussions from which there is No Escape. Indeed, not only was Bess on the scene, but she was heading in my direction. I would have 'brought her in for questioning,' but I had the sudden compulsion to leave as fast as my legs would carry me ...!