“Thank you, detective,” Sara said and took the business card between her index and middle fingers. “I’ll be sure to let you know if I hear from him.” She then closed the door behind the tall man in the long brown coat as he strode down the hall.
As Sara turned the deadbolt, then secured the chain above it, she thought about how cliché the detective’s attire had been. She thought they only wore long trench coats on those cheesy shows. She stood silently at her door and flipped the card he had handed her over a few times as if she would find some secret message on the blank side if she looked at it often enough. What she was doing was waiting. She was waiting for the faint rumble of the elevator arriving on her floor.
Once she heard it, she looked through the peephole just in time to see the detective stepping in, but she still waited, peeking through the fish-eyed lens in her door to be certain that he didn’t decide to step back off at the last second.
With that bit of her surveillance completed, Sara walked calmly to her living room and picked up the remote. The television turned on to a breaking story about the escape of Kiki, the highly intelligent, sign language speaking chimp from the local zoo. Sara paid no attention to the story as she stood in a strategic position in the room. Her exact location allowed her to see the front of her apartment building and the car the detective had arrived in while still making it seem to anyone that might happen to look in from the outside, assuming they knew exactly which fourth floor window was hers, which Sara was not about to put past a detective dressed in a long brown coat, that she was merely standing in her living room, watching her television.
With her head pointed toward the television and her eyes adjusted slightly to the left, looking out the window, Sara spied the detective climbing back into the driver’s seat of his black, unmarked car. But just before he closed the door, Sara distinctly saw him point his index finger at her building and squint his eyes as he counted the windows upward then to the side, toward her very window. Finally, he closed his door and drove away.
Sara broke her stance and went immediately to shut the blinds and curtains. She walked to her door and checked the deadbolt and chain one more time just to be sure then she stood staring out of the peephole and listening for a minute. She saw and heard nothing. She sighed.
She was about to march into her guest bedroom but stopped herself. Instead, she went to the kitchen and filled the kettle with clean water. She placed it on a burner and then walked quickly and firmly to the guest bedroom where she stood with her hand on the doorknob and took a deep breath.
When she swung the door open violently, it startled the room’s two occupants who sat across from one another over a chessboard. Her nephew, David jumped and knocked the pieces to the floor and Kiki the chimp jumped backwards onto the bed and waved her arms in the air silently.
You are in big trouble, young man, Sara signed sternly to her deaf nephew. I am calling your parents right away.
Sorry, signed David in response.
I was winning, signed Kiki as she looked at the chess pieces on the floor.
Sara stared at the two of them for a while trying to emote as much fury as possible through her eyes in order to convey to David just how angry she was. David reacted by hanging his head. Kiki responded by scratching her rear.
Do you want some tea while we wait for your parents? Sara signed.
No, thank you, signed David.
Yes please, signed Kiki as she bared her teeth and nodded her head up and down excitedly.
When Sara disappeared from the doorway and into the kitchen, Kiki signed to David, I like her. I’ll miss you both when I go back.Then David took Kiki’s hand and led her into the kitchen where she thoroughly enjoyed her last cup of tea before heading back to captivity.