There Had Been a Murder
By Miranda Cox
She watched as yellow police tape was rolled around the scene, as the detectives conversed, as the medical examiner hauled the woman’s limp body onto a stretcher. Shelley recognized the place. It was the street off of 34th Avenue. She walked by it every day on her way to the diner.
She switched off the television. It was time to leave for work. Shelley was eighteen when she started at the diner. She was now thirty-four.
She clocked in and tied her apron around her waist. She muttered to herself, “Thank God it’s Friday.” She was just putting on the first pot of coffee when, like every day, Sam peered through the fogged-up window of the diner. He stood out there like he was waiting to receive his cue to come inside. This day was just like the rest.
Sam walked in, smiled shyly at Shelley, and sat in the booth at the end of the diner facing the door. He ordered the same meal as always: one scrambled egg, toast with strawberry jam, and black coffee. He requested Shelley as his waitress every day but she didn’t mind. He tipped generously and would leave little napkin drawings of her on the table. Shelley hung them in her work locker for when she clocked out. They reminded her that there were still good people in the world.
The first napkin he left her was particularly special. Sam had drawn Shelley standing in front of the Eiffel Tower. It had always been a dream of hers to visit Paris. All of the drawings were like this. One was of her in Hawaii lying on the beach with a big sun hat shading her face. Another was of her at the Grand Canyon. These drawings transported Shelley to places that she had never seen before. It was like Sam was whisking her off to these romantic destinations. The napkins allowed her to see the world through Sam’s eyes. They allowed her to see herself through Sam’s eyes.
Shelley hung up Sam’s drawing of the day. She was admiring the Northern Lights. She clocked out and began her walk home down 34th Avenue. She passed the crime scene from the television earlier that morning. The police tape was torn. The detectives’ empty coffee cups rolled across the sidewalk. The wind blew a crumpled napkin to her feet.
Shelley looked down to a picture etched on the napkin. She bent down, picked it up. The picture was of a woman standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, but the woman was not Shelley. This picture was of someone else.
She didn’t want to believe it, but Shelley knew who had done this. It was all there on the napkin. All Shelley could think was: How could Sam draw another woman?
Miranda Cox is a sophomore from LaGrange, Georgia. She is majoring in English and double minoring in Theatre Arts and Servant Leadership. This is her first piece of published fiction.