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Mystery inspired by a mysterious photo

"A False Alarm" by Jeffrey Hitchin

Flash #246 - March 2015

Orig. appeared May 1996

Flash 029: mystery inspired by a mysterious photo

"OKAY, HERE IT IS," the bomb squad officer said. He placed the garment bag on Airport Security Officer Rhonda Carson's desk. "I'm glad you called us in. You never know what abandoned bags might be in the airports these days."

"Yes, well, thanks for coming out. I'm just relieved it was a false alarm."

The bomb squad officer left and Rhonda got down to the task of identifying the owner of the garment bag. She checked for a tag on the outside, didn't find one, and so she opened the bag.

There were a couple of business suits, some underclothes, and a pair of shoes. No big deal. No identification, either.

The main zipper pocket held the mother lode, however. Rhonda found several computer disks, some printouts, and several photographs of a gentleman accepting what looked like a suitcase full of money from men in black suits. The suit the man was wearing in the photograph was identical to one of the suits in the garment bag, so the bag must have been his.

The printouts yielded a name, address, and phone number. Not only that, the printouts looked like records of various drug cartel transactions. Rhonda could only assume that more of the same was on the disks.

She picked up the phone and called the police. "Hi, this is Officer Carson from the airport. Look, I've got some documents here implicating a Preston Boswell in various drug trafficking operations... No, I can't verify their authenticity from here... Okay, I'll wait for you to come down here... Yeah, I hope they're admissable, too."

A WOMAN dressed in a pants suit and high heels was running down the concourse to a closing gate. "Hold the gate!" she shouted. "Hold the gate!"

The attendent dutifully held the gate for her, pausing briefly to check her ticket. "You just barely made it, Mrs. Boswell," the attendant said. "The plane is just about to take off."

"Thanks, I'm terribly sorry I was late. I'll go find my seat immediately."

Linda Boswell really hated leaving that bag on the concourse, knowing the bomb scare it would set off, but it was the only thing she could think of to do. She had to get away from Preston and his drug smuggler friends. She only hoped she'd see him on the news being escorted into a police station.

She fastened her seat belt as the plane pulled away from the gate. She was flying as far away from Preston as she could get.

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