Moon signs, p.11
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       Moon Signs, p.11

           Helen Haught Fanick

  I woke at eight, feeling stiff and sluggish. At least I was warm all over. Andrea was nowhere in sight. The light coming in the window was gray; it looked as if it would be a gray day altogether. I dressed in my standard outfit of polyester pants, acrylic sweater, and snow boots, and went out into the lobby. I found Andrea there seated by the fireplace, across from Miss Fashion herself, Maria Borodin.

  “Good morning,” I sang out, as if I were as stylish as the next person.

  Andrea moved her purse from the chair beside her to the floor, and I sat down. As I’ve said before, Andrea doesn’t hesitate about getting to the bottom of things. “I was just asking Miss Borodin if her husband has joined her for the skiing.”

  “No, unfortunately, he’s much too busy in Washington. He rarely can get away.”

  I decided to try to do my part. “We saw you at the Bear Paw Lodge—I think it was Friday. You were talking to a very nice-looking man, and we thought it would be so pleasant for you if your husband had come to ski with you.”

  “Ah, no. The man was a stranger. The food court was so crowded that he asked to sit at my table. He’s from Romania, and we discovered we have a lot of travels in common. Grenoble, Aspen, even Sarajevo, back in the old days. I’ve forgotten his name. I meant to write it down, but by the time I got around to it, I’d forgotten.”

  Somehow, I didn’t think Miss Fashion was that disorganized. She struck me as a woman who would write down all kinds of names if she wanted them written down. And I resented the fact that she was so darned sophisticated and had been to all those fancy places for skiing. I turned to Andrea. “Are you planning to ski today?”

  “I’ll skip it today. I saw Asbury earlier, and he said it’s going to start snowing later this morning. It’s supposed to be a heavy snow and go on all day.”

  Maria smiled—condescendingly, I thought. “That makes for great skiing. I must be off. See you later.”

  “The woman has an answer for everything,” I grumbled after she had gone out the door. “Somehow, I can’t believe that man was a stranger. Their heads were so close together over that table, I think they were discussing more than the places they’ve skied.”

  “Everything remains to be seen. Meanwhile, let’s go have a big breakfast. If it snows as much today as Asbury indicated, we may not want to go out again. Maybe we can get something for later and put it in the fridge in the kitchen. If we can sneak in there without Ivy seeing us, that is.”

  We got our parkas from our room, and when we got back to the lobby, Asbury was behind the desk. In addition to his usual cheerful plaid flannel shirt, he wore a bright red cardigan. It must have been a Christmas present from Ivy and David. “Good morning, ladies.”

  “Good morning,” we both said at the same time. I continued, “We haven’t seen much of you since we arrived, Asbury. It’s good to see you again.” I meant it, too. It really was good to see Asbury, especially since he’d started wearing such nifty clothes.

  “I’ve been busy getting in firewood and doing some work on the house where we stay, behind the hotel. I wanted to thank you for taking David skiing yesterday. He seems like a whole different kid. He even got up this morning and started on his homework without being told. He usually puts that off till late Sunday night, and only does it then with a lot of fuss from me and Ivy.”

  “I think David’s going to be okay,” Andrea said. “He’s basically a good kid.”

  “Where’s Ivy this morning?” I asked.

  “She hurried out to restock some groceries, since we used up the food last night. She wants to have things in for this evening, in case we’re snowbound.”

  “We’re going out to breakfast,” Andrea said. “We were planning to bring something back for later.”

  “Don’t bother with that. We’ll have soup and sandwiches here if you don’t want to go out in the snow.”

  “That would be nice,” Andrea said. “It’s fun eating around the fireplace with the rest of the group.”

  I just remembered that the sheriff was coming this morning to talk to us. “Do you suppose we should wait till after the sheriff’s gone? He was supposed to be here this morning.” I was hungry, as usual, and hoped we wouldn’t.

  “He told me he’d be coming by around ten. Let’s have a quick breakfast at the lodge, and we’ll be back before he gets here.”

  “Did you see Stefan this morning?” I asked when we got in the car.

  “No. I got up at six and went up to his room. He still didn’t answer. Maggie must have heard the knock. She came out into the hall and asked me what was going on. I told her I wanted to talk to Stefan. She said he’d be at the hotel this evening, for sure. He left early to take care of some business at the ski school. She asked what I needed him for, and I told her we’d discuss it with her this evening. I think we should talk to her about this, as well as Stefan.”

  “I agree. We don’t want her in any danger if there is something going on between her and Stefan. I think that’s something else we need to clear up.”

  We went to the state park lodge again and asked for a seat by a window. A few flakes were drifting down as we ordered our breakfast. Scrambled eggs and biscuits were just what I needed after the light supper last night. I washed my morning pills down with orange juice, then settled back to enjoy my coffee. I was getting accustomed to the idea that we were going to be driving in the snow, something I never do in Pine Summit. I keep a well-stocked pantry, and when it snows, I stay home.

  “This would be a good day to check out the attic,” I said.

  “I agree. If we can’t find a key to the locked trunk, Asbury’s there. I’d think he’d have a bolt cutter or something to cut the lock.”

  “I’m dying to see what’s in it. I’m dying to see what’s in the one Maggie opened.”

  I kept expecting Deputy Willard Hill to pop into the restaurant and fill us in on all kinds of details about Franklin Stuart’s murder, but no one we knew showed up. After a second cup of coffee, we paid our bill, tied our hoods under our chins, and left the lodge.

  When we got to the parking lot, we noticed that someone had put a letter-size sheet of paper under the windshield wipers of all the cars. Then we noticed a man at the far end of the lot, putting a sheet under the wiper of the last car in the lot.

  “Isn’t that Eli Lynch?” I asked.

  “Looks like him.” Andrea grabbed the flyer and unlocked the car. She started the engine, and we sat there with it idling as we read.


  God created our precious valley for our local residents. Why have we created ski areas and housing developments that draw in outsiders who are not well versed in the path of righteousness? The answer to that question is simple: mammon! Greed has gotten the best of our people, and we are being overwhelmed by the hordes from the east coast, and many of those overwhelming us are from Godless foreign countries. If you accent the last syllable when you say Canaan, you’re probably one of us. If you accent the first syllable, you’re an outsider.

  If you agree with me, sign one of the petitions I’m circulating throughout the valley. Only a movement created by our God-fearing Canaan Valley residents can stem the flow of unwanted invaders. I look forward to your support.

  Eli Lynch

  “What do you make of that?” I asked.

  “We agreed the other day that he sounds a trifle unbalanced,” Andrea said as she backed out of our parking space and headed for the Alpenhof. “This confirms it.”

  “He sounds to me like a real nut and a candidate for the murder of Olga, in spite of his overly religious rhetoric.”

  “But if the murders of Olga and the lift operator are connected in some way, how does that add up?”

  I thought about this for a minute. “The lift operator had been hauling all those foreigners up the mountain for years. Maybe Eli Lynch thought of him in terms of the greed he sees in this area.”

  “We’re to see the sheriff shortly. I’ll give him this paper, if
he hasn’t seen it already.”

  “Good idea. Let him solve the murders, and we can concentrate on finding the Monets!”

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