Shirley and Dick made faces. “No thanks,” Shirley said. “I had poop for dinner. What I need now is regular coffee.”
The telephone rang. Dick held up one finger at Bill while placing a head set on his head. “Don’t answer until the third ring.”
Bill sat with his finger posed above the talk button. On the second ring, he answered. Dick and Shirley rolled their eyes. “Hello, this is Mr. William Smyth.”
A male voice asked, “Is this the Smith residence?”
“No, my name is Smyth, not Smith. You have the wrong number.”
Dick jumped to his feet and made a stretching motion with his hands for Bill to continue the conversation.
“Hang on for a minute,” said Bill, covering the handset with one hand. He looked at Dick. “What?’
Dick repeated the hand motion. Bill shrugged his shoulders. Dick mouthed the words, “Keep talking.” Bill shook his shoulders again. Dick whispered, “Keep talking.”
Bill nodded his head. “Okay, I’m back.”
“Okay, Mr. Smyth,” the voice on the other end said. “can I call you Bill? My name is Tom Billingsly, and I represent the End All Insurance Company. Would you mind if I ask if you have life insurance?”
Bill sighed. “I’m sorry. Could you call back later? I am in the middle of something right now.”
Dick held up a note on which he wrote. It might be a trick. Keep talking. Bill saw the note and nodded. “On second thought, I do have time. Want do you want to know?”
“Well, sir,” the voice started. “Have you thought about what would happen to your family should anything happen to you?”
Dick made a circular motion with his hand, indicating to keep talking. All eyes were now on Ralph in the dining room. After a few minutes, he gave a thumbs up. Dick strode over to him.
Ralph whispered, “He checks out. He’s calling from the End All Insurance Company.”
Dick strode into the living room and grabbed the telephone from Bill’s hand. “Look you jerk. You are interfering with a police investigation. Hang up.” The voice stopped talking and hung up. Dick looked at Bill. “And what is with you? I said let it ring three times. We need time for James to start tracking the call.”
Bill answered. “I’m sorry. I thought you meant on the third ring, not after.”
Shirley said, “It’s okay. You’re nervous. We understand.” She removed the garage door opener from her pocket. “Does belong to either of you?” Both Smyths looked at the opener and shook their heads. Ralph sauntered over and handed Shirley a cup of coffee.
Dick took the opener and examined it. “Look, there’s a number on the back. Looks like a serial number. Maybe we can trace it.” He turned it over in his hands. “It looks like pollen on it. I think I recognize it.”
Shirley chuckled. “You recognize the pollen without a microscope?”
“Yeah. It comes from a rare bush that is only found on a remote island in the Caribbean. The island has no inhabitants.”
“How rare?” Shirley asked.
Dick handed the opener back to Shirley. “So rare it hasn’t been discovered yet.”
“That’s pure bull shit.” Shirley walked over to Ralph and handed him the door opener. “See if you can find out anything about this. I think the perp may have dropped it in the driveway.” Ralph nodded his head.
The telephone rang again. Dick held up three fingers and Bill nodded his head. After the forth ring, Bill answered, “Hello, this is William Smyth.”
Shirley was standing behind Ralph and looked down at him. His eyes were closed, and his head was bobbing up and down. She tapped his shoulder. “Ralph!” He removed his head set and looked at her. “Are you tracing this call?”
“Oh, shit. Why didn’t someone tell me?” Ralph flipped a switch and gave a thumbs up.
The voice on the telephone continued, “This is Tom Billingsly and I represent the End All Insurance Company. Would you mind if I ask if you have life insurance?”
Bill sighed. “You just called a few minutes ago.”
End of Part Two