Mystery and Crime Fiction posted December 9, 2019 Chapters:  ...6 7 -8- 9... 

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A stripper provides some pieces to the puzzle.

A chapter in the book Among Us

Lola Star

by Thomas Bowling

“I need to speak to Lola Starr.”

“Like I said, buddy, she ain't here. Are you coming in or not?”

“Can you tell me where she lives?”

“I don't give out the girl's addresses. Too many weirdos ask for it. I have a strict no dating the customers policy.”

Caleb flashed his badge.

The owner's face dropped. “Is Lola in trouble? I told her to lay off the drugs, but strippers need something to help them forget what they do for a living. She makes a lot of money, but it all goes up her nose. A good stripper only has a seven-year run. After that, she's too old to make any money. --- Since you're a cop, I guess I can tell you where she lives.”

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A short time later, Caleb knocked on Lola's front door. “Hi, I'm Caleb Boucher, I'd like to ask you a few questions.”

Lola had flaming red hair with dark roots. She was wearing pink shorts and a green bra. She worked a wad of gum and had a cigarette hanging from her lips as she leaned on the door frame. She took a drink from a warm bottle of Bud Light and said in a raspy voice, “Give me ten bucks. I don't do anything for free, especially for cops.”

She cupped her breasts. “These puppies didn't come cheap and the doctor wouldn't accept back payments if you know what I mean.”

“I don't have jurisdiction in North Carolina, so technically, I'm not a cop.”

Lola smirked at Caleb's weak justification. “If you're asking questions, you're a cop. Give me ten bucks.”

Caleb handed the stripper a ten-dollar bill. She held it up to the sunlight then shoved it in her bra.

She offered Caleb a drink from her bottle. Caleb took the bottle, considered the possibilities and handed it back.

“Ten bucks buys you two questions. Fire away.”

“I only have one question.”

“No refunds.”

“Of course. Do you know anything about what happened to Dorian Cooper?”

“The old lady who got herself killed last week?” Lola shook her head. “Don't know anything about it. Come see me at work sometime.”

She started to close the door, but Caleb blocked it with his foot. “I thought one of your customers may have said somethin'.”

“Is that another question?”

“It's just a follow-up.”

The stripper eyed Caleb suspiciously. “A fella came in last week and said he saw a dead woman while he was going door to door selling life insurance. He laughed and said he was too late for her. He said he didn't want to spend the rest of the day answering questions and writing a statement so he just moved on.”

“Did you get a name?”

“I don't ask. They would lie to me anyway. Some of the guys I meet are real weirdos. Speaking of weirdos, you should go see Raphe Dean. He's the local conspiracy theorist. He gets phone calls from Jimmy Hoffa, knows who killed Kennedy, and has proof Elvis is still alive. He may not know anything about the murder, but he'll be interesting.”

“Thanks. Where would I find him?”

“You took Route 214 to get here. Stay on it for seven or eight miles and you'll come to an intersection. There's no sign. It's not much of a road, just dirt. Turn north and in a couple of miles, you'll come to Live Oak Lane. Turn east and drive until you see a bunch of lightning rods. If you're lucky, you'll see Raphe in his yard wearing a tinfoil hat and no pants.”

To be continued . . . 

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