9. Harry Hogan – One For The Memory Book

“Yes, old Doctor Goode. Anyway, I figured since I was up and dressed in the rubber gear, I might as well go take a look around. I went inside first and checked for leaks but everything was good. So then I went out and walked around the building with my emergency light, checking for any sign of damage but I found nothing… until I came to the lunch room window. That’s a small room where mourners can share a drink and food usually brought by visitors. And… that’s where I saw it.”

“Where you saw what?”

“Footprints, Mr. Hogan.”

“Footprints?” Harry echoed. “They must have been fresh or they would have been washed away. Are you sure they weren’t your own.”

Bergman shook his head. “Mr. Crocker had a drain system installed several years ago and the land slopes away on that side of the building. It gets muddy but very little water lodges there.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t a break-in, Mr. Bergman?”

“That’s the strange part… you see, the footprints were… going away from the building, not towards it.”

“You think someone had been inside and, for some reason, had gone out through the window?”

“But there were no footprints inside. I went back and checked. If someone had tried to get in after we closed at nine, the alarm would have been triggered. But it wasn’t.”

Harry rubbed his chin. “The electricity was out in parts of the town for a while. Did you check that?”

“It was on,” Boris said, nodding his head. “Anyway, I checked again this morning and the prints are still there. It makes me uneasy for some reason. Can you explain how it could have happened?”

“Not at the moment but I’ll meet you there directly after lunch and take a look.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *
When Harry walked into his house at lunch time, he sniffed appreciatively.

Bertie was putting bowls on the table. “Chicken soup from the deli and fresh rolls from Janet’s Bakery.”

“Smells good. I’ll just go wash my hands.” A few minutes later they were sitting across from each other at the table. “Shopping all done?” he asked.

“All done for now. And I went to see a real estate agent too.”

Harry’s eyebrows shot up. “Real estate?”

“I always intended to buy a place of my own after retirement and this seems like the perfect time. I told him what I’m looking for. He’s going to see what’s available and call me in a few days.”

“Cripes. No grass growing under your feet.”

“Not my style.” She paused a moment. “I drove by my old building… nothing but blackened ruins. Such a sad sight. Did you learn anything?”

“Nothing concrete but the Fire Chief is thinking a combination of lightning and an tinder-dry old building. You won’t be the only one looking for new accommodations.”

“I already have a temporary place.” Harry looked up from his soup as she continued. “Janet offered me the use of her mother’s former ‘Granny Suite’… bed, bath, kitchenette and small living room, fully furnished and rent-free. It’s cozy and has a separate entrance.”

Harry buttered a roll. Might be some free bakery goods in this, he thought. “If the place suits you, it sounds good.”

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Now retired, after 39 years as a Librarian, Fay Herridge is a voracious reader, avid family historian, and a love of writing. She also enjoys walking, gardening, knitting, crocheting and photography; and is active in church and community events. Her poems and stories have been published in newspapers and magazines. “Satisfaction comes when others enjoy my work while inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.”
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