After the Facts: An After Coffman Mystery
I stood inside the door, taking in as much of the room as I could. I believe that first
impressions tell me more than an hour of sleuthing. This belief had never yet borne fruit,
but it was a chance I was willing to take, and neither the apartment nor I had anything
else going at the moment. The room was roughly 12 feet square, a worn, torn and forlorn
carpet distancing itself from the walls, making an inevitable march to oblivion toward the
middle of the room.
There was one plastic chair sitting under the single window on the wall to my right.
There was no trash to speak of on the floor, and very little dust, except for the type of
very fine dust you see caught by sunlight while floating in the air. In this case, it was final
proof that someone had been here long before me to clean up. Clean up what, is just what
I was here to find out. There was a door on the left side of the opposing wall and an
archway of sorts on the left wall, leading to the kitchen, no doubt, judging from the
cracked tile floor that I could see from my vantage point. I decided to do the kitchen first.
The kitchen floor was as clean as the main room’s, supporting the hypothesis that
someone had been at work restoring a sense of order to the place. There was no one
inhabiting this place at all, and hadn’t been for days at least. There was no smell to
indicate old food, or even cleaning supplies. No trace of ammonia, dusting spray or
perfume. No one had been here for a while now. There was not a lot of dust in the kitchen
either, and as it had been a dry summer, this Sherlock deduced it as having been a week
since anyone had been here.
Nevertheless, I opened all cabinet doors, peered under the sink and looked in the small
pantry built into the far wall. Nothing, not a scrap of paper, not a dollop of spilled food,
not even the bones of a starved mouse. I was gratified to see a cockroach scuttle from the
pantry as I opened its door, but the little fellow must have been reliving ancestral
memories, as the proverbial cupboard was bare.
The next thing I tried to do was look behind the trim near the floor, working my way
around, searching for a place that may have been pried off, leaving a small hole to hide
whatever it is I was looking for. I would be more than glad to share with you just what
the object of my attentions were, if I knew myself, but my employer had not managed to
inform me of this before she had met an unscheduled and untimely demise. That is a
story that I will relate in a bit, allowing you to get caught up, but seriously, you know just
about as much as I do right now.
Finding nothing but old glue behind the trim, I proceeded back through the archway and
through the living (I use this term very loosely) room, and into the master suite. This was
not a lot better. I discovered an aluminum frame bed with a lumpy mattress against the
wall; a nightstand of cheap pressed wood and a lamp with a bare bulb next to the bed. No
carpet on the recently cleaned floor and nothing else in the room either. There was a
small closet, no rod, and no door. There was no door leading to the small bathroom.
There was nothing to look for in the bedroom, but I did the obligatory lift of the mattress,
looking for resown seams, feeling among the lumps for anything out of place. The
nightstand had no secrets to yield, no false bottom, no paper; it had been recently
polished as well. I knew there were no fingerprints to be found anywhere in this abode.