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Monday, September 24, 2018

Suspicion Of Murder

It was a nice night in early fall in Philadelphia...Still warmer than you might expect...A Balmy 85 degrees..
Josie Boyd, our Para-legal was out with one of her girlfriends from college..
Meeka Lewis...
They had just finished a delicious meal at one of the city's tony new restaurants...

It was a nice break for Josie...


She had just helped Olivia, Beverly and I on two big cases...One a labor dispute...and the other, the case of a naturalized citizen accused of murder and threatened with losing his citizenship ,even after we got him an acquittal on the murder charge...We saved him from losing his citizenship...

We had been enjoying a few days off, relaxing...
Josie, who had a life apart from us(though you'd never know it as much time as she spent with us, whether working or hanging ot)..was enjoying a nice dinner and drinks with an old friend...
"Josie, this food was delicious...Thanks for suggesting this restaurant..."said Meeka..

"Donnie Ray, the husband of one of the Attorneys I work with told me about this place...He took his wife, Ms. Olivia to this place.."said Josie..

"That would be Olivia Bennett-Alexander...The Defense Attorney right?" said Meeka.
"Yes...I've been with them for close to five years now." said Josie...

"I hear you are a Para-legal now!"said Meeka..
"Yeah..I started out as a Legal Secretary/Office Manager for them...Then I went to Community College and got an Associates Degree in Administration of Justice/Pre Law and got my Para Legal Certificate..." said Josie proudly...

"And you told me you're about to go to law school at Drexel?" asked Meeka..

"Yeah...an acellerated course.."said Josie..

"Good For you girlfriend!  Good For You...Wow look at us Josie!!...We didn't do anything with our Bachelor's Degree in Archeology...I'm a Buyer and Appraiser for a Major Jeweler..but we are women making it happen huh?"said Meeka..

"Yes we are!  Yes we Are!!!Hey , I heard you've been living in New York ?"said Josie..

"I have, I have a Walk Up in the Bronx...but I've been looking at some Lofts and Condos here in Philly...The cost of living is much cheaper.."said Meeka.
"And commute to New York??" asked Josie..

"Trust me...I can do it...I'm motivated.."said Meeka..
A row of drinks arrived...
Among them, A Citris Martini....

The two young ladies laughed , drank and talked about their lives up til now and their dreams...

When it came time to pay the tab...
Josie pulled out her card...

Meeka was like..

"Uh Uh Josie, put that away....All the times you paid the drink tab and for my lunch when we were both starving college students...I owe you this.."said Meeka , who paid for both of their meals and the drinks...
"Awwww thank you girl..You're doing well" said Josie..
"I get Six Figure commissions baby! The Ice I appraise and help my boss to move...I do quite well..I paid for that car outside...In cash!  When I move to Philly...I'm lookin to buy a house..and also put down some roots...Get into another kind of business.." said Meeka.


They walked outside to the parking lot...
"I'm in town for the next two days...I want to meet Olivia and Beverly and this new guy in your life, what's his name, Paris?" said Meeka..

"Yeah, he alighhht."joked Josie...

"I gotta get me a steady man...I'm startin to grow cobwebs in my panties."joked Meeka..
 "Ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu girrrrrrrrrrrrlll.."laughed Josie...
They both got into Meeka's car.....

"This is nice....This you?" asked Josie..

"Yeah, Cash money baby....A far cry from that Hooptie I had in college.."said Meeka...

Just as they were about to pull off...Two Police cars came up behind them with sirens and lights...and another two police cars blocked their path...

''Whoa...What's goin on?" asked Meeka.
"I don't know...you got any unpaid tickets?" asked Josie, smiling...

Meeka looked at her old friend and laughed...

Lt. Tragg and four policemen headed toward the two girls...four other uniformed policemen armed with shotguns got out behind them....

Clearly this was more than an average traffic stop..

Lt. Tragg looked into the car...

"Okay, out of the car, both of you." he said..

"What is this about?" asked Meeka..
"You Meeka Lewis?" asked Lt. Tragg...

"Yes...What is this about?" she asked again..

"You visiting from New York?" he asked.

"Yes...What is THIS ABOUT?" she asked for the third time..
"Where is your luggage?" asked Lt. Tragg..

"It's in my hotel room...WHY?" asked Meeka..


"Officer, open the passenger side...Search the car..."said Lt. Tragg..

 The officer found a case of Diamonds...A lot of Diamonds...

"It's here Lieutenant...All of them." said the officer..

''Wait a minute...I'm a Buyer and Appraiser...Those belong to my employer....I am here to meet a buyer, a possible buyer.."said Meeka..

"Wait a minute, Meeka don't say anything else.....Do you have a search warrant?" asked Josie..staring daggers at Lieutenant Tragg.

Lt. Tragg produced a search warrant....

"I sure do....You look familliar...Don't I know you?" he asked Josie...

He didn't wait for an answer...

"Pop the trunk!" he said...

They popped the trunk of the car and there in the trunk was a body, a very dead body...
Meeka screamed...

"OH MY GOD!!! RAPHAEL!!!!!ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
"OH MY GOD MEEKA!! YOU KNOW THIS GUY??" screamed Josie...

"I knew him!!!!...That's my boss....I don't know how he got in my trunk!!!!.....I just saw him two days ago....In New York!  Josie...I don't know how he got in my trunk, I swear...."said Meeka..

"Okay Meeka, Don't say anything else....Don't say anything else.."cautioned Josie..

"He's been missing for 48 hours...And so have you....NYPD called us...Looks like he was in your trunk all this time.."said Lt. Tragg..

"You're off your nut...I had my luggage in my trunk....If he had been in my trunk that long..he'd be smelling by now..Use your common sense."snarled Meeka..

"Just be cool Meeka.."said Josie..

"Hook em up officer, both of em...."said Lt. Tragg- "Suspicion of First Degree Murder" said Lt. Tragg..

An Officer read Josie and Meeka their rights  and put both of them in seperate police cars...

Sometime later...Dr. Hazel Baylor and her staff looked at the body....

"Hmmmm, he's been dead at least a day...He's stiff..Rigor is setting in....His neck was broken... Somebody put him in this trunk....And feeling how cold his body is...He was stored somewhere.."said Hazel..

"That's quite obvious...One of those two girls stored him in this trunk....."said Lt. Tragg..

Hazel looked at the two girls...

"Look at those girls...They're petite...What are they, five feet one or two?...No way, I doubt if the two of them could lift this guy!....A man did this..a big man..." said Hazel...

"We found the body in this car, that those girls were in..They were probably going to dispose the body.."said Lt. Tragg..

"They've got on cocktail dresses....They look like they were inside drinking...I don't think so.." said Hazel...

"It doesn't matter what you think....I'm the detective here...and I've made the call.."said Lt. Tragg...

"Yeah,I know...I wish they'd send someone else out..Someone with some common sense..."said Hazel, who walked away...

A uniformed officer held his head down and snickered...

She peered in the car window..She didn't know Meeka, but she knew Josie...

"Josie?...Josie Boyd..is that you?" asked Hazel..

"Hazel, We didn't have anything to do with this...I know I didn't ..and I know my friend Meeka didn't either.."said Josie..

"Don't you worry...I'll get word to Liv..."said Hazel..

"OKAY GUYS, TAKE THE BODY!"said Hazel..
The body was put in a body bag....and strapped to a cart..

"I didn't release the body yet Dr. Baylor.."said Lt. Tragg...

Hazel looked at him and said dryly...

"Yeah, I know."and kept on going..

"Wellllllllllllllllllllllllll.."said Lt. Tragg..who stomped his foot in anger.

 He looked at the diamonds....He shook his head...

"Diamonds, huh?" he said..



II-
The next morning.....

Olivia sat on my lap.....
I put my arms around her and hugged her....We didn't  have a case...We could take a breath for awhile..
"Donnie Rayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy,I'm not going anywhere, you're squeezing me like you think I'm going to fly away...."joked Olivia..

"Just nice to have you all to myself  for a change.." I said and hugged her..

"I'm surprised Josie isn't here...She's never late...Did I give her the day off?" asked Olivia..

"I don't know..Did you?" I asked..
We started kissing....Soon we were kissing passionately...The kind of kissing that usually led us upstairs to the bedroom , but then we heard the door opening and laughter and talking..Beverly and Nelson were back from lunch...

Beverly walked in with her husband, Nelson..

''Look who surprised me today at lunch.."said Beverly.
"This is one of those rare days I have off too!"said Nelson...
"Where's Josie? Paris called me, Asked me if she stayed overnight with me and Nelson..I told him no...He said she didn't come home last night and he called her this morning and her phone went to voicemail.." asked Beverly...

 "I called Josie's number too..Same thing, went straight to voicemail.."said Nelson..

"I don't know..I'm worried..This is not like Josie at all..Maybe we should stop by her house."said Olivia...
Alfreda Johnson ,our new office manager walked in to the conference room...

"Livy....I just got a call from Hazel....She told me that last night Lt. Tragg arrested Josie and a girlfriend of hers outside that restaurant that tall dark and southern suggested for them, charged them with "Suspicion of Murder" she said..

"WHAT???SUSPICION OF MURDER?? OUR JOSIE?? NAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  Lt. Tragg has lost his mind.."I said...

"Oh my God, Auntay....We have got to go and get Josie out.."said Beverly...

"What Happened?" asked Olivia..
"Hazel said the girls were coming out of the Restaurant and had just gotten into Josie's girlfriend's car,when Lt. Tragg and several uniformed officers showed up..They popped the trunk and found a body in the car and several thousands of dollars worth of Jewelry..
"Both girls said they have no idea how the body got in the trunk and Hazel said the man had been dead for at least a day..."said Alfreda..

"In this heat...a decomposing body in the trunk would have created a ghastly smell.."I said..

"Oh this is crazy....We've got to go and get Josie.."said Olivia.
"Josie has been with us most of the past two days..."said Beverly...
"Come on...WE KNOW THAT JOSIE DIDN'T KILL ANYBODY!" said Nelson..

"What about this girlfriend??...Anybody meet her?" I asked..

"No...Josie told me that they went to college together....and that now her girlfriend was a buyer and appraiser for a huge Jewelry distributor...Was making good money..She called Josie the day before yesterday and said she  was in town and they met for dinner and drinks last night.."said Beverly...
"Well we are getting nowhere sitting here...Let's go get her.."said Olivia..
"Throw me the keys...I'm driving.." I said..

III-
At Central Booking...Lieutenant Tragg stared at Josie, who hadn't said a thing since she'd been brought in...

"I know you.....I thought I recognized you....You're Olivia's girl....Olivia's Girl Friday..  Officer...take her handcuffs off...
    "You're free to go...I can imagine your boss will be down here shortly wanting to take my head off.."said Lt. Tragg...

He was right...
"Lieutenant Tragg, really? Arresting My Josie for Suspicion of Murder??" said an exasperated Olivia.
"Please tell me you aren't serious?" echoed Beverly.
''Calm down girls...Let's hear what he has to say.." I said.
"There's Josie over there.."said Nelson pointing...

Olivia, Beverly and I and Nelson walked in..just as the handcuffs were being taken off of Josie...and she was given back her personal effects.

Josie was glad to see us, but embarrassed also...

"Relax, Relax...Don't get your panties in a bunch Olivia...I'm releasing her and dropping all charges..She was only a passenger and dinner guest it appears.."said Lieutenant Tragg..

"And it took you all night to figure that out huh?" said Beverly...

"Sometimes it takes longer to figure out a lot of things Bev." said Lt. Tragg..

 "I guess it does.." said Beverly...
Olivia hugged Josie...

"Josie, why didn't you call us immediately...We could have gotten you out of here sooner.."said Olivia.
"I didn't want to stress you and I'm kind of embarrassed..."said Josie..
''Embarrassed? For what? This wasn't your fault.."said Beverly, also hugging Josie..

"Josie what is this all about?" asked Nelson,

which was the question I was going to ask..

"Yes Jo, what happened?" I asked..

 "Me and my girlfriend from college,Meeka were having dinner and drinks...We came out and got in her car and before we knew it...we were surrounded by four police cars...Eight uniformed officers got out with shotguns aimed at us..."said Josie..

I looked at Lt. Tragg...

"Eight cops with Riot Pumps for two girls in cocktail dresses that don't weigh 200 pounds between the two of them together?  Who did you think you were busting...Ma Barker and Bonnie Parker?" I asked..


Olivia and Beverly didn't want to, but they couldn't hold back a laugh...

"I was looking at a potential homicide ,which as it turns out ,it is...Found the body in the trunk of the car.. Can't believe they ate dinner and drank for hours with a body in the trunk of the car...."said Lt. Tragg...

"There was no body in that car when Meeka came to pick me me up,I'm certain of it...Hazel said he had been dead 24 hours....  In this heat, the smell of a decomposing body would have been unghastly..."said Josie..

I smiled..

"Amazing She deduced that and she's not a cop or a coroner.."I said..

"EXACTLY!"said Lt. Tragg...He didn't catch my sarcasm!
"What about Meeka?" asked Josie...
"What about her?Sorry, I'm holding your girlfriend on Suspicion of Murder charges..I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you knew nothing about this..She's in this up to her neck!No pun intended."said Lt. Tragg...  "Well, I've got to go.."he said..

"Press Conference Huh?" said Beverly sarcastically...

Olivia smiled..

"Love that girl to death." she snickered..
''As a matter of fact...I do...Oh and Liv, you're welcome!"said Lt. Tragg as he walked off..

 Olivia  smiled weakly...A Phony sarcastic smile I supposed she saved for people like him.....
"Butt Head!"said Josie... " My girlfriend didn't kill anybody...I-I-I can't represent her..I'm only a para-legal..but I know she didn't do this...I know it!"said Josie..stomping her foot..

"Josie...Josie...Do you want us to look into your friend's case?" asked Olivia..

"I can't..I can't ask you two to get involved in this.."said Josie..

"Well who else were you going to ask? We are the closest to you.."said Beverly...

''We'll go and see her tomorrow...and see if we can get her a bail hearing.."said Olivia.
"I want in on this.."said Nelson..
"You're in..."said Olivia..

"That makes it unanimous...Now call your boyfriend...He's been worried sick about you.."said Beverly, smiling and kissing her good friend on the cheek..
Josie began to weep..

"I love yall..I swear..." she said..  "I'll come in early tomorrow...I promise.."said Josie..

"No you won't!!!...You'll get some rest...You'll go see your fella...We'll see you around noon..We'll be ready to go by then."said Olivia..
"Let's Get Out of here...This place smells.."said Beverly...
"I'm with Shortcake" I said..
"I'll drive."said Nelson...

IV-
When we arrived at home...
Alfreda hugged Josie..

"I'm so glad you're okay baby..." she said..

In the short time she'd known Josie, Alfreda began to think of her almost as another daughter. Josie had helped her get acclimated to the office when she first started this job...Josie was very patient...Alfreda liked that.

"Thank you Ms. Alfreda...As soon as Lt. Tragg realized who I was...He let me go and dropped all charges against me, but not my girlfriend...She's innocent!"Josie protested..

''Don't worry...You work with two of the...I should say four of the best..Livy, Beverly and my son in law and Tall Dark and Southern will get her off..Now all of you sit down..I ordered food.." said Alfreda..
''Alfreda girl..You are priceless.."said Olivia..

''That's my mommy!"said Beverly...
"I thank her every day for you and for food."joked Nelson..who hugged Beverly and kissed her on the cheek...Beverly smiled..
"Come on Josie, sit down and eat with us...Then I'll take you home.."I said..

"Thank you guys..Let me call Paris."said Josie..
Several hot steaming plates of soul food from Mabel Jenkins's Soul Food restaurant were delivered by Baby Phat and two guys...


"Ohh I'll definitely be in the gym this weekend" said Olivia..
''Me too Auntay."said Beverly.



Olivia, Beverly, Nelson, Josie, Alfreda and I sat down and chowed down.....


but this case intrigued me.. I was eager to get into it...

And at City Hall The ADA looked at Lt. Tragg sternly...

 "Tragg look....This doesn't look too promising...You lock up two girls on Suspicion of Murder and Olivia and Beverly have already gotten one released and gotten the charges dropped and the case you have against the second girl doesn't look too promising either..Are you sure this is a solid case?" he asked.

''Relax...That other girl was just a dinner guest...She works for Olivia and Beverly....She's a Para Legal or she might be an Attorney...I don't think she had anything to do with it...But Meeka Lewis...That's her car...She just arrived here from New York City , a day ago and we found the body in the trunk of her car and the hot ice that NYPD tipped us off about..This is a solid case and it's coming together at the speed of sound.."said Lt. Tragg...

"I hope you're right Tragg, I don't wish to be made a fool of by Olivia and Beverly again." said the ADA.

(TO BE CONTINUED)