Gigi smiled a little. “I’d better go wash my face and find some shoes. Doris and Fred invited me over for supper.”
“Oh! Us too,” PJ said. “You going to be okay?”
Gigi nodded. “I’ll see you over there.”
When Punk and PJ arrived across the road a few minutes later, Gigi was telling Fred about the sheriff’s visit. Fred began to clear the table and picked up the empty muffin basket.
“Is this yours?” he asked Doris, handing her the tablet.
She frowned. “No. Where did that come from?”
He shrugged. “No idea.”
“I saw it late this morning—the last time I had a muffin,” PJ offered. She threw caution to the wind. “I found part of a note this morning down by Mr. Conniver’s body. It looked like it was torn from that tablet. We should turn it over to the sheriff.”
Doris panicked and dropped the tablet on the table. “But, he’ll think—,” she couldn’t finish.
“He already has so many suspects, I don’t think he knows which way to turn,” PJ said. “I touched it this morning—thought it was a stack of napkins—so my fingerprints are on it too.”
Doris slapped the table. “Well, you know what? I didn’t do it. He can’t pin it on me. Let’s have some supper and get ready for the Trick-or-Treaters.” She started to put plastic plates around the table.
“I’ll do that,” Gigi said. She counted the plates. “Is someone else coming?”
“Aletha will be over.”
PJ grabbed flatware out of a basket at the end of table and followed Gigi around the table. Aletha arrived and they sat down to steaming plates of stew, homemade biscuits and applesauce. They were just finishing when the sheriff and a deputy walked up the road and over to their table.
“Does anyone know who this belongs to?” Sheriff Turner said, holding out a small baggie holding a bright yellow bandana.
“Oh, it’s mine!” Aletha said, reaching for it. “I was just looking for it a while ago. Where did you find it?”
The sheriff pulled the baggie back and handed it to the deputy. “It’s evidence.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Where did you lose it?”
Aletha threw up her hands. “Well, if I knew, it wouldn’t be lost!” She took a deep breath. “Last I saw it was on my picnic table about noon. I wanted to tie my hair back with it.”
The sheriff put his foot up on the end of the picnic bench. “You lost it at Black Hawk Point. It was caught in a bush just over the edge.”
“I haven’t even been to Black Hawk Point this weekend,” she protested.
The sheriff stood back up and raised his eyebrows, scanning the group. “It’s sure convenient to have all of my suspects in one place. Don’t go anywhere.” He and the deputy turned and continued on down the road.
They watched him go in silence. Then Punk said, “We didn’t give him the tablet.”
“Would it do any good?” PJ asked. “It would just implicate Doris. And me. I don’t think he’s interested in finding any real suspects.”
“That’s just it,” Gigi said. “He thinks we are real suspects. And we do all have motives.”
“We need to band together,” Aletha said, “and find the real killer. It’s the only way.”
Fred scoffed. “You gals are nuts. What do we know about it? And how do you know it isn’t one of us?”
Doris spoke up. “We don’t. But if it is, maybe we’ll find that out, too.”
PJ picked up the tablet and angled it toward the waning light. “You know how on CSI shows they look for impressions on the next page? I think I can see something here. Anyone got a pencil?”
Doris handed her one that she had been using for a crossword puzzle earlier. As PJ began to rub the edge of the point across the next page to lightly shade it, Fred rolled his eyes.
“You are nuts. You’re tampering with evidence.”
“What do I have to lose?” PJ said. She held up the tablet, scrutinized it, and read, “‘Meet me at Black Hawk Point or you’ll be sorry. 7 am tomorrow.'”
“But who wrote it?” Doris asked.