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Mystery inspired by a mysterious photo

"A Matter of Business" by Sabrina Caldwell

Flash #234 - March 2014

Orig. appeared May 1996

Flash 022: mystery inspired by a mysterious photo


THE RAINBOW-COLOURED LIGHTS of Sydney's "Rosy Glow" nightclub shimmered through the glass bricks and danced on the glossy bonnet of the limousine gliding to a halt in front of the entrance. Without waiting, Michelle Lewis opened the door from inside, and turned to her chauffeur.

"Don't bother about getting out, Paul. I know your back's been playing up this week. But I'd appreciate it if you would wait while I make sure Danny has arrived."

As she walked sedately into the nightclub, Paul reflected on the injustice of a world in which a lovely woman like Michelle could be married to the unfaithful hypocrite Paul knew Daniel Lewis to be. Although he had suspected Daniel's perfidity for a long time, he hadn't been completely sure until last week, when Daniel ushered a curvaceous and skimpily clad brunette into the limousine and told Paul to drive down to Woollongong and back.

"It's none of your business," Daniel had replied curtly to Paul's objections and slid closed the opaque glass partition.

Paul had known Michelle since her birth, watching sympathetically as she struggled with teasing from less fortunate classmates and the pain of the early death of her parents. He wished he could remove Daniel from Michelle's life as easily as he had once gotten rid of the callous boys whose interest in Michelle had changed from her cars to her teen-aged body. Pensively tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, he glanced over at the three men talking quietly in the shadows of the Rosy Glow.

A flurry of action at the entrance attracted his attention. Michelle raced out of the nightclub and flung herself into the car.

"Take me home, Paul," she choked out, her hands over her face and her shoulders moving in soundless sobs.

"Yes, ma'am." He hesitated. "Can I help in any way?"

"No, Paul," she replied thickly, lifting brimming eyes to his. "Danny was there all right. Only he wasn't alone, he was plastered against a redhead in the hall. The only thing he wasn't feeling was what he couldn't reach." She smiled wanly. "No, Paul, just take me home."

Paul adjusted his seatbelt and reached forward to turn on the headlights.

He flashed them twice. One of the three men leaning against nightclub gave him a wave, and all three straightened and slowly walked into the Rosy Glow.

"You're wrong, Danny," Paul spoke quietly under his breath as he drove the limousine away from the curb. "It is very much my business."

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