Jodie Amsterdam sauntered into the library, hair done up in neat bun; thick, black rimmed glasses that flared out at the arms; gray skirt suit; red lips. Five paces into the building, she came to a stop. Her black heels dug into the granite floor. Below her, a map of the world. It had been carved into the granite and inlaid with gold. Her feet formed a perfect right angle in the center of it. She smiled.
"Ms. Amsterdam? Oh! Ms. Amsterdam, thank goodness you're here!"
The man was short. Gray hair poured down the sides of his head like a withered waterfall and his mustache sat askew on his upper lip. He looked like Einstein. Or Kurt Vonnegut. Or the offspring of an elderly bird couple, part eagle, part owl. His hands were out in welcome.
"Ms. Amsterdam. So good to see you. Thank you for coming on such short notice."
Jodie Amsterdam inclined her head, a slight bow that didn't extend beyond her chin. The short man nodded in response. His mouth was open, forming a perfect oval. As if he wanted to say something, but couldn't get his lips to stop smiling and form some letters. After a while his eyes dropped to the portfolio in Jodie's arms. He raised his eyebrows and the oval in his mouth grew to a perfect circle that occupied the majority of his face.
Jodie continued smiling, waiting for the man to speak. She followed his gaze down to her arms and realized what he was gawking at. "Ah!" She said. Just like that. As if the answer to her question popped out of her mouth. "The files. Of course."
"So glad you could bring them." The short man held out his hands. Again his eyebrows bounced on his brow like a bushy jump rope.
"My pleasure." Jodie switched the portfolio from one arm to another and brushed past him. Confusion and dismay washed over the man's face. Jodie Amsterdam did not stop to explain herself. "Please, tell me about this case you mentioned, Mr. Speck."
By the time Mr. Speck unfroze himself, Jodie was halfway across the main floor of the library. He hurried to catch up to her, his thin shoulders bobbing from side to side as he struggled to catch up. "Of course, Ms. Amsterdam. Of course. Terrible what happened. Absolutely tragic. The young woman who worked here, she was studying at the university and applied for a job. Nice girl. Hoped to get a start on her bills and figured what better way than to work here where she would be spending most of her time. Bright girl. Studious. So tragic what happened."
Jodie Amsterdam had read about the woman's death in the newspaper. 19 years old, a budding historian. The grisly details never made it into the paper so Jodie had to consult the less savory corners of the internet so acquire those. Tragic was one way to put the young woman's end. Grotesque, perverted, and cruel were a few others and they failed to truly capture Jodie's revulsion.
Jodie Amsterdam considered making the little man recall what, exactly, what happened that was so tragic, but even though his peevishness grated her she couldn't bring herself to do it. Kindness had always been her undoing.
"I'd like to start by speaking with people who knew her. Co-workers. Do you have a payroll or a schedule that I could consult?"
The small man nodded his head. His nose dipped here and there, like a hen pecking at feed. "Yes, yes that can be arranged."
"Good. I'd also like a list of people who came to the library the day Gwen was killed. Who took out books, which books did they take. I see you have a computer lab here. Do people have to sign in or are they open use?"
The man turned to the computers the way elderly people looked at the young. His hands were up near his chest, his fingers fidgeting away with one another. "I believe anyone can just..." He shrugged. Jodie considered herself fortunate she got that much out of him.
"Very well. If there's someone here who works specifically with the computers, I'd like to speak to them."
Mr. Speck nodded, though this time with far less enthusiasm. He seemed to be getting lost in all these words.
"Is there?" Jodie asked, drawing his attention back to her.
"Is there what?"
"Someone who can help me with the computers."
A moment passed. Jodie wasn't sure if he understood the question. Then, suddenly, a burst of understanding. "Oh yes! Of course. Vivian. Vivian is your girl. Lovely girl. Quite bright. Studious. I'll fetch her."
Jodie Amsterdam watched the old man rush away toward a desk. Behind it were three woman. An older woman with red glasses that had the dangly little neck strap attached to them, a middle-aged woman with a short bowl cut who looked like everything scared her, and a lovely tall woman with rich blonde hurl cascading down her shoulders.
"Please be Vivian," Jodie whispered to herself.
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Location A library
Words Reach 100 words
Letter Use the letter N
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Event A murder needs to be solved
Words Reach 400 words
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Character An independent occupational therapist
Words Reach 800 words
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