36 Fit To Be Tied

Kitty Doyle resisted changes to her professional routine so she took the risk of doing the same presentation every time, whatever the venue. She was at an out-of-town convention planning the usual shtick and getting away with it with a different crowd, up there at the end of the States in the ‘Soo’. She’d heard of people in her line of work who were constantly working up new material. She detested this part of the motivational business, of having to think and change. Her style was laced more with seduction, less with inspiration. So maybe not a whole new pitch was really required. Maybe she could just toss a few new tricks into her repertoire, if she could ever easily come across some, like those stock stump speeches politicians made in the run-up to an election. That was exactly what she was looking for, something simple and easy to remember.Chapter 36 Fit ti be Tied

At this particular event, her remarks were scheduled to follow Sunday brunch. Soundwaves from clattering dishes ebbed, signalling her turn on stage, as she set out her sales materials on one of the convention tables. She spotted Hans sitting at one of the tables, away on the far side of the room. Irritated, she made her way to the podium, remembering that Hans was an accountant, or advertised himself as one. He’d be right at home in this group of bores. One of them, so obviously making a pathetic pass at her, had leered just now.

“Nice dress. Yellow suits you.” She had bitten back a sharp reply. Spiking her heels on through the room and up the steps, she muttered about completely clueless males, this file of accountants. Clueless jerks who didn’t know the color mimosa when they saw it. She noticed that not all of her audience were men. She would stick with her routine after all and give it some extra dazzle towards the end, perhaps smile more.

When the inevitable culmination was reached she stood transfigured and waited for the final, winged frenzy to unfold. Not one unbound butterfly danced in the silent air. Through it, she heard a snigger, quickly muffled. Seeking the culprit and shooting a sharp glance in that direction, she saw Hans, head down, writing furiously. A spatter of wooden applause began at the head table. Stilted clapping passed awkwardly from table to table. Stunned, Kitty quickly left the stage.

”Why would anyone want an inspired accountant, anyway,” she hissed as she exited. “I might have known they were too colorless to play. Why can’t everyone be like realtors?”

Entering a Lock and Dam

About to be tied up in a Lock and Dam

She departed Sault Ste. Marie, the ‘Soo’, encompassed by water, punctuated by locks and dams. She might be in deep water now, too. After public humiliation, word got around though if Hans ever breathed a word of it, she would deal with her neighbor. But with a trashed reputation, she’d have to plot new prospects on her professional horizon. Out of town, maybe, on to plumb fresh waters. She was never going to stick with Greg anyway, not to take on his two bratty kids.

She had strengths in swimming, life-guarding and competitive cheerleading. She might coach life skills, motivation and character to sweet little girls. The long, emboldening drive back still wasn’t long enough to redirect her vicious mood, to rid her of the bitter taste of rejection. The short fix? Transfer it, put somebody else down.

It was late when she pulled into the POPS garage. Her luggage carrier had a loose wheel. Delving into her toolbox, standing by the trunk she did a temporary repair. Provoked by having to wait in the garage so long for the elevator, she toyed with her phone, searching for reception, finally got in then remembered she was due several checks and had to stop in the lobby. Off the elevator went without her again so she re-arranged a few things on Gervase’s desk, just to annoy him.

She thought of taking a swim. Perhaps she should seriously start working out again for her new role. Entering the Ladies room off the lobby, she remembered that she hadn’t packed a swimsuit for this trip. Oh well, a skinny dip then, to wash off that accountant stench. She thought she heard music and voices coming from the pool. Wouldn’t they be surprised? She smirked, and left on her risque’ black undergarments. It would be worth having them ruined by the chlorine in the water just to see the looks on their faces when she sauntered in. She looked through the small window in the door into the pool area but there was no-one there. It was a TV talking, something about Oktoberfest. She stepped into the room.

She knew a drowning victim when she saw one but nixed the idea of getting in the water with one. There was a lot of stuff that didn’t belong in there. It looked like someone had already tried a rescue and either given up or lost the pole. The beer cans were a no brainer; swimming while drinking was one of the easiest ways to drown.  Coins though, she’d never seen those before; in a fountain, yes, in a pool, no. Perhaps from somebody’s swimsuit pocket?  It wasn’t likely an electrocution, as the TV was up on the deck and dry. Odd place for it but at least it wasn’t in the water. It occurred to her to add a piece to this puzzle.

The revamped lifeguard stepped barefoot over to the storage closet where she’d seen Mrs. James leave two empty bleach bottles, her water aerobics gear. They were still there, hanging over a hook with a rope end tied through each handle. Carefully, with the back of her hand, Kitty lifted the rope up off the hook, set the bottles down on the edge of the pool next to where the man’s head lay still in the corner, and unscrewed the caps. Kneeling down and pinching the rope in her right hand between two long, exquisitely manicured, bright red fingernails, with the tip of her left forefinger she dipped one bottleneck into the water, watching as it filled. As it began to sink next to the corpse, she draped the tautening rope over the man’s back, and repeated the procedure on his other side. Both the bottles were sinking, anti-flotation devices anchoring the body in the water.

Gloating, she stood up over him, looking down, satisfied. Retrieving the bottle caps, she secreted them down into the padding of her camisole and stepped over to the cart, where she poked a fingernail at the TV remote with sharp stabs of scarlet to change the channel to her favorite shopping network.