The Raven Haired Rogue by John Zakour, Illustrated by John Dallaire

ZNJRavenHairedRogue35Vote at the end of this episode!

Zach and Merinda searched Hal50’s room and found and old fashion barber’s razor. Meaningless collectors item or potential murder weapon?

Episode 35

Looking at the old barber’s razor glistening in my hand I can’t help thinking, what the DOS does an android need with a razor? Showing the razor to Merinda I say, “Okay, I can understand why an android may keep a bathroom for guests, but why in Asimov’s name would an android need a razor?”

Merinda shrugs. “Androids have weird tastes.”

Okay the razor wasn’t exactly a smoking hand laser but it was something. Now I needed to see if I could find more something on the other potential killers. “Do we have time to check Tezza’s room?” I ask.

Merinda nods as she leads me back into the main area of the ship past all the sleeping people.

“Zach, I’ve told you, everybody will sleep for as long as I want.”

We enter Tezza’s room as I try not to think too hard about the repercussions of having a client who can put everybody to sleep on a whim. Tezza’s room is the opposite from Hal50’s. It is crammed with a huge king size bed covered with pillows and a menagerie of stuffed animal cats, a row of dressers, lots of old mirrors and everything is red. Her wall monitors are all on and with positive messages scrolling across them: You are the best! Today is the first day of the rest of your life – conquer! The secret to success is to not give up! Success is 0.1% inspiration 99.9% sweat. Ladies don’t sweat they perspire. To read off just a few.

“Never pictured Tezza as a stuffed animal kind of gal,” I say walking towards the bed. I’m not sure why the zoo of stuffed cats on her bed fascinated me so much.

“I have no idea. I have never been in here,” Merinda tells me.

I pick up a stuffed cat, a brown Siamese. “You’ve never been in here?” I say, trying and failing to hold the surprise in my voice.

“I don’t believe in meddling in my people’s private time,” Merinda tells me. “Oh, each of those stuffed cats was hand made on Mars,” she adds proudly.

Something about this stuffed Siamese didn’t feel right. It seemed to have more weight than I would think a stuffed thingamajig should have.

“It feels heavy,” I say.

“That’s the great Mar’s hand made quality,” Merinda assures me.

Rubbing my hand down the stuffed toy I feel something decidedly solid in the tummy area. I use both hands to mead the object to near the surface of the stuffed animal. The very distinct form of a knife protrudes from the cloth lining. I show the form to Merinda.

“Looks like the first time you came here could have been your last,” I tell her bluntly.

Merinda crosses her arms and sighs. “You have no idea why she keeps a knife in a stuffed animal. It could be a perfectly innocent reason.”

On a whim I drop the Siamese to the bed and pick up another stuffed cat, this one a fat yellow tabby with big cartoony eyes. Once again being a trivia buff of the old days I recognize this as Garfield. Feeling around Garfield’s stuffing I clearly feel another rough object. Moving that object with my hand I determine it’s another knife.

“This one has a knife in it too,” I tell Merinda.

“Okay, I admit that is odd…especially since Mars hasn’t purchased licensing rights to Garfield…”

“Yeah, THAT’s what makes this odd,” I say not trying one bit to mask the sarcasm in my voice. Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.

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