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Author's note: Kathrine Hobbs is the most famous dective in alabama. imagine the most pickey phobic person you know and multiply them by ten (I would say seven, but Kat hates uneven numbers.)She hates and is a phobic of exactly 100 things. (i.e. #1, uneven numbers, #63, being wrong, #100, orange juice) She can see every detail in a crime scene, and has solved every thing and every one, exept one...
“Why did you lock the door?”
“I don’t want anybody to know I was here.”
“Oh I know the paparazzi is everywhere.”
“Yeah, that’s it. By the way how is your book coming?”
“Oh, yeah, I’m turning it to my teacher tomorrow so she can publish it.”
“Ooo, sounds exciting. What is it called, again?”
“You know, Pop Secrets.”
“Right, right, silly me, you know so much work, so much on the mind. What chapter am I?”
“Well, chatty Cathy, you are chapter seven. Why?”
“Oh, no reason,” he sprinkled some powder on her sundae, and placed six cherries on his own. “Happy anniversary!”
“Oh now I get it. You don’t want them to know otherwise they would tell your wife. Oooh! Turn on channel three; you’re on for your invention.”
Schkershish! Click! Click! “-ood evening. Sheryl, can you believe it. He did it again. Kingpin first made a heart rate wrist watch, now a blood pressure ring? He might be the world’s greatest doctor. What will he do next?”
“I know wha-“
“Good morning, Hobbs. How did you sleep last night?”
“Captain what happened?” Kathrin Hobbs inquired.
“See for yourself,” Captain Dither ushered Kat and Bonnie into the house.
“Huuuhhhh!” Bonnie gasped when she saw a 5’7” woman suspended on a cord from the ceiling. A stool was under her feet about a foot below.
A book was open and pages were torn out.
“Her name was- well you know her name. She was your neighbor for Pete’s sake!” Capt. Dither said. He looked over at Bonnie, who was lost. “Her name was Paige Livingston,” Captain looked at the file, “Twenty-three, obsessed with dolls, secretary for the public library, one niece in Idaho, other than her no family. The maid found her there yesterday. She said it looked like she had been hanging for a day or two. Do you know if she was dating any one?”
“No, but she was going to a community college to get a writing degree. She was writing a book to publish so she could finish the semester.”
“That helps a lot. Thank you Hobbs. We’ll look into that.”
“Um… there’s a little shelf support with no shelf, but the wires for the rope is on it,” Kathrin noticed. “Huh, there are also two sundaes on the table, too. Why that one does have six cherries and the other has… Sniff… nitrous oxide powder on it?”
There was someone yelling out side. They all ran out there, and they saw a father yelling at his son. “I thought I told you to close the garage door!”
“I did! Then it opened again!”
“How do I know that? Is there a ghost opening and closing the door?!”
“Wow, you can’t trust anyone. Not even me, your own SON!”
“I do to trust you!”
“No you don’t! And of you do would you trust me when I say ‘I Hate You!’” the little boy sprinted into the house and the little girl sitting in the front lawn holding her doll started crying. The garage closed by itself.
“Um… what was that?” Bonnie asked as they walked across the street.
“Sorry, just a little family dispute,” the man said. He was a little round, Kat noticed.
“That looked like a little more than a dispute,” Bonnie confronted him. “You should treat you child better than that. He deserves better than a family tearing apart.”
“Look, I know that in every family there is bickering, but this is going to extremes. Even for me.” Kathrin said.
“What’s the problem?” Lieutenant Stotilmyer walked over.
“Just a little family dispute,” the round man said. “Oh, where are my manners, Robert Barns. You can just call me ‘Bert.’” Squish. He bit into the Clementine he was holding.
“Um… you said your last name was ‘Barns,’ right?” Kat said.
“Well I noticed that fruit you were holding came from the box, right there,” Kat noticed that the tag was kind of torn off. It said ‘-ngston, Paige.’
“Did you take that box from her front porch?” Kat questioned ‘Bert.’
“You do know that you can go to prison for stealing mail.” Captain added.
“Well, I didn’t think it would count if it was fruit. I mean it can go bad and it had been sitting there for a few days,” he defended himself.
“Well, don’t think you can get away with it again. Even if it’s fruit,” Captain said. “Have a good day.”
Everyone went back inside. Paige was on the floor with the rope still hanging around her neck, but it was longer. The stool was knocked over, too.
“Hey, did anyone knock over the stool?” Captain asked. No one answered.
“Hey, Daddy, do you know where my doll went?” the little girl from across the street asked.
“I can’t find her.”
“We’ll look for her, okay?”
The mail man set a package on the front step of Paige’s house.
Munch! ‘Bert’ crunched on an apple. “Hey, sweetie, I found your doll in Paige’s mail when I went to go get the apples.” He handed her the doll.
“Oh, thank you Daddy!”
“What do you got?”
“Well, Doc, it looks like an appendix inflammation,” one of the students said.
“Good, if you want to kill this woman,” Dr. Kingpin said. “Does anyone want to tell Mr. Jo what he did wrong, and what’s wrong with her?”
“Um, that she’s crazy?” the patient’s husband teased.
“Very funny, but no. Does anyone know?” Dr. Kingpin chuckled.
“By the charts she has appendicitis,” one of the younger students said boldly.
“Well, I know I at least have one doctor in this group. Very good Sharon, see if you listen to me you can be just like her.”
“Miss Hobbs, it’s just a nose bleed,” Bonnie tried to reason with Kat.
“No, I told you, Bonnie, that my brain is leaking,” Kathrin Hobbs argued in a nasal voice, because she was pinching her nose with a tissue. “And besides the assistant is supposed to do and think what I think is right. That’s what your application sheet said.”
“No, it said that I’m supposed to help you make good decisions.” Bonnie quoted the sheet.
“Ugg, Bonnie you drive me nuts sometimes,” Kathrin complained. She hated being wrong, that was number 63 on her fear list.
“Name please,” the front desk manager said in her monotone voice.
“Ms. Hobbs, go find a seat and I’ll come and get you when I’m done,” Bonnie said to Kat, and to the monotone manager. “Kathrin Hobbs and we seem to have a nose bleed.”
“NO, Bonnie I told you it was a brain leak,”
“Didn’t I tell you to go sit down?”
“I need a room by the way.”
“No you don’t.”
“Yes I do.”
“I’ll get her a room, but she won’t stay the night,” the manager said.
“Thanks, and who will her doctor be, she has to know before she will do anything.”
“I think Dr. Kingpin.”
“Thanks,” Bonnie thanked, and then walked over to Kat. “You’ll have Dr. Kingpin.”
“How long has he worked here?” Kathrin inquired.
“I don’t know!”
“Miss Hobbs, no, we can wait,” Bonnie tried to settle Kathrin.
“No! We have waited two hours and if I don’t get attention soon I might die!” Kathrin hollered. “I have seen twenty three people come and go before us! I thought the rule was ‘first come, first served’”
“Kathrin Hobbs, please come to the front desk, Kathrin Hobbs,” the intercom went off.
“See it’s our turn. Now will you please hush?”
“What seems to be the problem?” Dr. Kingpin asked.
“Cat got your tongue?” he teased.
“Hey! I don’t have my tongue!” Kat yelped
“Uh… well, Doctor… first her name is Kathrin, and we call her ‘Kat’…”
“Yeah!” Kathrin cried in her nasal voice.
“Any ways, she has asked for no visitors,” Bonnie was quiet.
“I am so sorry, and there are no visitors,” the doctor defended himself. They were all silent. “Oh, you mean them,” he gestured to his students, “These are my doctors in training.”
“I want them out.”
“I’m sorry, but that is not a choice.”
“Then just get the swab and then we can leave.” Bonnie said.
“Sounds good to me,” Dr. Kingpin said.
“Well not to m- OW!” Kat screeched.
“All done! Come on let’s get some ice cream.”
“He… did it,” Kat grumbled while licking her cone of ten chocolate chips ice cream.
“Who did what?” Bonnie swerved into the right lane.
“Dr. Kingpin killed Paige.”
“Look, just because he swabbed you before you were ready doesn’t mean he is a killer.”
“I don’t care,” Kat persisted. “He Did It. Can I make it more obvious? And you are supposed to agree with me.”
“No, I’m supposed to help you make good decisions.”
“You are defying me again. If that happens one more time you can kiss your job goodbye!”
They pulled into Miss Hobbs drive way, and they saw a man in Paige’s front yard. “Who is that?” Bonnie asked. He was pulling weeds out of her garden. Then he plucked a bluebonnet out of the garden. “And who said he could pick her wildflowers?!”
“Let’s go tal- get down!”
“Just trust me. If you want to live, get down!” Kat whisper-yelled. “I think that’s him. Huhh! That’s Dr. Kingpin! What is he doin’ here?”
“Well, hello ladies. What are you doing here?” Dr. Kingpin said as he spotted the two women slouching in the car.
“UM… What are you doing here? I’m here because I live here,” Kathrin stuttered.
“Oh, well, I was a good friend of Paige.”
“Really, because she had never talked about you or I never saw your car in her drive way.”
“Well, she always came to my house when we got together.”
“…likely story,” Bonnie muttered under her breath.
“Would you have any idea who killed your ‘good friend’” Kat’s inner detective sprang out.
“Uh… no?” he said suspiciously.
“I asked because the police are taking a lie detector test for all of her friends, they’re even questioning me.”
“-and me,” Bonnie chimed in.
“-not helping,” Kathrin whisper-scolded Bonnie.
“Why do I have to tell you to close the garage door over and over?” ‘Bert’ yelled at his son across the street.
“Why do I have to tell you that I didn’t open the garage door?” the boy snapped back.
“I HATE YOU!”
“You can get your video games back in a month on the first.” ‘Bert’ said as the boy ran into the house and the little girl started crying and squashed the doll to her face. The garage magically closed by its self.
“What were we talking about?” Dr. Kingpin asked.
“About the questioning on Sunday, and how you’re going to be there, that’s what we were talking about,” Kathrin said firmly.
“Wait, that doll looks familiar,” he peered over at the crying girl. She hugged her doll tight. The door opened.
“Hey!” ‘Bert’ yelled, but when the door opened no one was there.
“Uh, I have to go inside,” the doctor said and ran into the victim’s house.
“GRR, I wish he would stop disappearing,” Bonnie grumbled.
“Well, are we going to let him steal or as he would say ‘take back what was his,’ or not,” Kat said.
“Wait, a test? I usually have time to study before I fail,” Bonnie complained.
“Oh, just, come on!”
They ran into the house.
“What… are you… doing?” Bonnie gasped-breathed.
“We just ran like twenty feet at most,” Kat hissed at her.
“Well I’m just seeing her doll collection. I just missed it very much,” the doctor replied.
“Right, and my uncle is an avocado, we call him ‘Uncle Green Mush,’” Bonnie snapped back. “Hey, why is Paige on the floor?”
“I… uh… wanted to let her down. Otherwise her head might fall off if she didn’t get off soon,” he stuttered.
“Hey, Bonnie there two holes in the wall,” Kathrin whispered to Bonnie.
“The shelf hanger’s gone and the rope is still hanging around her neck full length.”
“I would have just cut the rope to get her down.”
“Can I go now, while you two are still chit chatting?” Dr. Kingpin asked.
“Fine, but don’t leave town or I’ll put you under arrest.”
“Fine by me, I have a big project to do tomorrow. I’m doing an appendix removal by a remote control, and the patient is in another hospital. Oh, and there’s a chute that can send things up to three pounds to the other hospital over the lake. Isn’t that cool? You two and your friends from across the street can come too.”
“Friends?” Kat whispered.
“Ya’ll have a good day now!”
“Well, that was nice of him,” Bonnie said cheerfully.
“You don’t think that was weird?”
“Can we go?”
“Sure, let’s go ask our ‘friends’ if they want to go too.”
“Sure! That sounds great!” ‘Bert’ said as he picked up his daughter, with her doll. The garage door opened. “Billy I-“ he stopped short, there was no one there in the garage. “What is with the door this week? I’ll have to get that checked soon.”
“Do you want us to pick you up tomorrow, or do you want to drive?” Bonnie tried to be friendly.
“I can’t have any people in my car except you and me,” Kat whispered under her breath.
“Be friendly, Kat.”
“I think we can find it by ourselves, but thanks though,” ‘Bert’ budged in.
“You’re welcome,” Kat gritted through her teeth.
“Welcome to the DRIPC! Doctor Robotics Institute Practice Center, but you can just call it ‘drip C’” Dr. Kingpin welcomed the five visitors. “Come, have a sundae! I can’t expect everyone be a lifeless hoodlum, especially you two kids,” he ruffled with the boy’s hair.
“Hey!” he grouched at him.
“Sorry, what would you like on your sundae?” Dr. Kingpin asked.
“Everything you got!”
“Okay how many cherries?”
“Four, because I have to have more than her,” he jerked his thumb towards his sister.
“Well I want five,” the little girl stuck her tongue out at her brother.
“Then I want six!”
“I want all of them!” the little boy screamed.
“Now kids, let me decide. How ‘bout six each? That’s how many I like. Does that sound like a deal?” Dr. Kingpin stooped the bickering.
“Okay!” they both said in unison.
They all had their sundaes, happily and then Dr. Kingpin offered, “Do ya’ll want to go see the chute?”
“Sure! That sounds fun, doesn’t it?” ‘Bert’ spoke for the first time while they were there, because he was on his fifth sundae.
“I meant the kids to go. There are only five people allowed in the chute room, and I already have two co-workers in there. Ya’ll can come in after they come out.”
“Sure that sounds fun,” Kat said sarcastically. Then she had a brainstorm. “Bonnie, I know who and how they killed Paige.”
“Arightie kids let’s go!” he herded the kids, and the girl’s doll into the room and shut the door tight.
“WAAAAAAAHHHH!!!” there was a shrill scream from the chute room. The two kids came out, the little girl was crying, and there was no doll. “He took my doll and sent her up the tube!” the little girl wailed.
“Billy, are you trying to get yourself grounded for life?” ‘Bert’ asked his son.
“No, it wasn’t me! The doctor took it! Then he just left!” Billy yelled. The little girl bobbed her head in agreement.
“We got to go get that doll!” Kat screamed.
“Why, it’s just a doll?” Bonnie said. “We can buy her another one.”
“Not just that! I got to get one of those ferries and catch that doll! It solves the crime!” Kat grabbed Bonnie and shook her by her shoulders.
“What a mean man!” Bonnie yelled after Kathrin explained how and who.
“Sorry and thank you for taking Paige’s mail, I would have never figured it out without you… Bert,” Kathrin swallowed before that last part. “But don’t let that make you think you can take her fruit of the month, any more, alright?”
“Sure, but can I take this month’s? It’s mangos from Brazil?”
“Daddy, Daddy! It’s Her! It’s Her!” the little girl squealed with delight as she picked up the yarn haired doll.
“Good sweetie!” Bert smiled down at his daughter.
“Let’s get back to that lab before Dr. Kingpin leaves!” Kat spoke to the grumpy captain to turn the boat after interrupting his nap.
“I will always hate you Kathrin Hobbs! Always!” Dr. Kingpin yelled at Kat as he was shoved into the cop car.
“Oh, save it for the judge,” Captain Dither told him. He turned to Kathrin, “Now tell me exactly how it happened,”
“Dr. Kingpin was cheating on his wife and his girlfriend, Paige, was publishing a book about famous peoples’ secrets and he was one of them. He didn’t want people finding out his secret. Kingpin had to get rid of her. While he was at her house they had sundaes,”
“The one with six cherries was his,” Bonnie added.
“Hush, so he put the nitrous oxide powder on hers, it wouldn’t kill her, but knock her out. He wrapped the cord around her neck and had to time it just right that she would be hung before we got there and the powder wore off. Kingpin took one of her dolls and put a garage remote in it, and mailed it to Paige’s house even though he already there, knew that Bert would go through her mail, find it, and give it to his daughter. That is why the garage kept opening and closing.
“When she squeezed it Paige would go up or down. The shelf was actually the receiver, when he took her down after we talked in the garden the shelf was gone. It was too risky with her holding it all the time; he had to shut it down. He took it apart before we got in there. Then he thought they would catch it that whenever she squeezed it the garage opened; the doll had to go. He offered us to come to see the chute, and the maximum weight it could pass to the other side was three pounds. He knew it was bigger than that and it would land in the lake, the remote would die and then he would be home free.”
“How did you catch it though?” Captain Dither asked.
“When he offered us sundaes and the kids were fighting about the cherries, he said his favorite was six.”
“Just like the sundae at her house,” Bonnie added.
“Quit talking,” Kat silenced her. “After the sundaes he took them into the chute room, and sent the doll soaring. The kids said he disappeared after he took the doll, afraid Bert would catch him, and find the remote. We had to catch that doll to prove it, which we did.” She handed the doll to the captain. He tore it open and found the remote. “My Doll!” the little girl screamed.
“No, sweetie, they’re going to fix her. She’ll be as good as new.”
“Then we went back to find him trying to start his car, and then you came,” Kat finished.
“How could we get along without you, Kathrin?”