THE CASE OF THE SAPPHIC SMACKDOWN


“Wha - say, what’s the matter with you, shamus?” The blonde wasn’t playing cute anymore. Neither was her friend. “Why don’t you believe us?”

“Look at this picture,” Lance said. He tried not to smile. Sometimes it was just so easy.

“What? It’s - oh, I get it. I see. Oh, Mr. Big Deduction. Mr. Brilliant Inference. Well. Fine. Fine! Take us to jail.” She held out her hands. “Jean? You coming?”

“I’m with you, honey.” Jean walked over to Mary’s side, held out her hands as well. She gave Lance a mocking look. “Maybe Big Boy here likes handcuffs. Maybe Mr. Red Meat likes ‘em helpless.”

“I’m as straight and normal as they come,” Lance said. “No kinks, sister.”

“Oh, really.” Jean hooked her arm in Mary’s. “Not that I care, of course. You’re just like my Daddy.”

“Like Daddy.”

Jean nodded at the portrait in Lance’s hands. “Mm-hmm. Straight arrow. All American. He’s going to heaven and he expects he’ll be mostly alone, what with all the sinners down here on earth. Down here in his very own office.”

She smiled at Mary. Lance got a little flip in his stomach.

“Explain what you were doing here so late, anyway.”

“None of your business,” Mary spat. Jean patted her hand - put a finger to her lips. Lance got that flip again.

“What we were doing,” she said, her voice now soft with an accent Lance recognized as Southern - as Georgian - “is none of your business. And it’s none of Daddy’s business, which is why his picture was turned to the wall. Out of respect. Least Ah can do. Now do you believe me?” She smiled.

The door to the office banged open - it was Sergeant Trapp.

“Good news, boy-o - we caught him down the block. At least we think it’s him -"

“Crushed hat?,” Lance said, staring straight at Jean and Mary.

“Ah, sure, yes - my God you’re ever the clever one, Lance me boy. I’ll see you back at -”

“Wait,” said Lance. “I’ll go with you.”

“Aren’t you going to handcuff us?” Jean asked.

Lance could still hear their laughter as the elevator took him down. He heard it in the lobby. He heard it from the window. He heard it in his dreams, all night.

SOLUTION: "Had the gird's story been true, the torn edge would have curled out the FRONT of the picture. For in taking it off the wall, the girl would have held the REAR of the canvas toward the bandit."