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35

Fleeced

When Clara got home from her day of scrubbing the Settlers Club, she was so darn glad she couldnt believe it. Im going to get out of this uniform and put on my robe, she thought as she unlocked the door to her apartment in Queens. It had been some day. Here I was trying to help, and Thomas goes crazy when I show him the red box. She shrugged as she took off her coat.

Maybe Ill take a bath, she thought, but then remembered Nats fate. Probably not a good idea, she decided as she went into the bedroom, undressed, and put on the fleece-lined bathrobe her sister had given her for Christmas.

Thats better, she said aloud. She pulled open a drawer and grabbed a pair of her woolly socks. Now Ill be all comfy and cozy.

In the kitchen, she heated up some chow mein and poured herself a glass of wine. She carried a tray into the living room, sat down in her favorite chair, put her feet up on the hassock, and turned on the television with the remote control.

Thank God its the weekend, she said to the weatherman who was reporting on possible snow showers for the next couple of days. I dont care what the weathers going to be, because Im just going to veg out.

She gobbled her chow mein and downed the glass of wine.

The phone rang. It was her sister Hilda who lived in the Bronx. They talked every night.

Whats doing? Clara asked.

Not much. Whats doing with you?

A little excitement at the club today. One member was found dead in the tub last night.

Oh my.

And then some jewelry is missing, but I found the red box it had been in.

Oh my. Youd better watch out.

My favorite show is coming on.

The one about those crimes nobody can figure out?

Clara smiled. Thats the one. Talk to you tomorrow.

Okeydoke.

Clara hung up and eagerly turned up the volume on the remote control. As usual, she watched the program with interest, getting herself another glass of wine during the commercial. By the end of the program, when they made their daily announcement about being sure to call in if you had a weird crime to report, Clara was ready to dive for the phone.

1-800 she said aloud as she dialed. When she was put through, she announced, My name is Clara, and I work as a maid at the Settlers Club in Gramercy Park in New York City. Today I found a red box that four-million-dollars worth of diamonds is missing from. And the man who owned the diamonds slipped in the tub and died last night.

Hold on, Clara, were going to put you on the air. Can you repeat that for us?

Sure!

A moment later, Clara was saying, slowly and deliberately, My name is Clara, and I work as a maid at the SettlersClub as it was broadcast to thousands of homes in the New York area.


| Fleeced | c