The Case of the Missing Diamonds
“Hmmm… odd,” said the feminine voice from behind the crinkling black and white pages of the Rose Tribune. Her face was hidden, but a pair of heart stopping slender legs snuck out from the bottom of the paper, propped up on the desk. Any self-respecting pantyhose would kill to be seen on those traffic stoppers, and today’s lucky winner was a pair of smooth barely black, sheathing “the killers.” They were dark enough to be their own murder mystery, but revealed the creamy skin and playfully red painted toenails underneath. Those that could survive that onslaught to their senses could only wonder what kind of face grew legs like those, and could they hope to survive seeing it!
“Dawn! Dawn! I need to know about those diamonds, five minutes ago!” One such person entered her office at that moment. He was a burlesque man, tall but slightly overweight. His tendency to sweat and have greasy hair was symbiotic with his nature to overwork himself and live in a constant state of stress.
“I’m on it, Mr. O’Neil,” replied the feminine voice somewhat playfully from behind the newspaper. You couldn’t see it, but she was smiling from behind the inky pages.
“I don’t want ‘on it.’ I want done with it!” his barking carried on long after he slammed the door to her office, giving the window blinds a panic attack. The other employees parted like the sea as Mr. O’Neil stormed across the main room to his office where he slammed that door to presumably yell at more people on the phone.
After the window blinds began to calm down from the excitement, the woman reading the newspaper calmly folded the ruffled pages and dropped it on her desk. Her name was Dawn Meadows, and she was a reporter for the Rose Tribune. No longer hiding behind the wide pages of paper, her face was visible. Dawn was in her mid 20’s and sported a lovely head of long lush blonde hair. If it were any more ridiculous, she would have been featured in one of those women’s shampoo commercials. Her skin was delicate, milky and blemish free, most likely due to tender loving care. Her consuming green eyes had moved from the newspaper to the computer monitor on her desk. The screen in all it’s inanimate lifelessness was thanking God those eyes were looking upon it. While any passers by were privileged to the generous display of misty nylon clad legs garnishing her desktop, it was also to note the smart, professional, and incredibly sexy blue skirt suit that adorned Dawn’s very slender body. The fabric was impeccable and free of any stitching flaws and lint. Dawn took very good care of her appearance. There was almost certainly a lint brush in her top drawer. She didn’t even have a single run in her nylons! While Dawn’s physique was slender and well toned, she was by no means muscular. If anything, her oozing femininity sacrificed a certain amount of strength.
Tucking some loose strands of blonde behind her cute little ears, something on the computer screen commanded more than the casual attention of Dawn’s green eyes. Pushing back away from the desk on her wheeled cheer, sliding her long legs carefully off her desktop. Pumping her thighs up and down to encourage circulation after being up for so long cause the sound of friction of nylon against nylon. She wiggled her toes, stretching the clingy stockings as she grimaced from the feeling of “thousands of needles” poking at her poor sleepy feet. Folding her hands high above her head, Dawn stretched her tired back muscles and cutely yawned before arching her back at attention and pulling her chair in, legs crossed. The computer monitor now had her complete refocused attention.
Mr. O’Neil, the editor of the Rose Tribune wanted the story on the recent jewel heist downtown and Dawn intended to deliver. But what had her brow furrowed were the details in the police report displayed on her monitor. Somebody had robbed Harmon’s Jewelers downtown last night. Harmon’s was a very well known and classy jewelry establishment. The idea that someone wanted to rob the place was not so surprising. Not to mention the fact that Harmon’s was not coy in its arrogance. While they sold jewels at many tier values, they did not mix the royalty with the commoners so to speak. All the most expensive pieces were featured prominently and on their own. And that is where the robbery became a mystery. Whoever committed the crime, completely disregarded the most valuable pieces, and went straight for a display of midlevel value stones. Not only that, but they did not clean out the case. They simply took a matching set of six, and left over 25 other stones in the same case, untouched!
“I get that you were there for those six stones specifically, and not the money pieces… but why?” Dawn rubbed her temples as she scanned the police report again and again hoping that she was missing some detail. After assuring herself she could recite the damn thing in her sleep, Dawn took a sip of cool water on her desk and decided it was time to widen her search. She let her well-manicured red fingernails do the searching as they clicked in a pattern on her desk phone.
“Hello?” the voice was muffled behind a mouth full of potato chips, and the onslaught of heavy metal music in the background.
“Danny? It’s Dawn.”
“Dawn! How’s it going? You staying out of trouble? You’re like a magnet for the stuff!”
“Yeah, Danny. Listen can you turn that music down. I need a favor!”
“Oh, yeah, sure, hang on,” the overwhelming pulse of the music dropped to silence, telephone receiver rattling as he picked it up. “Okay, what can you I do for you pretty lady,” he smiled.
“Always the gentleman, Danny. That’s what I love about you,” she returned the endearing smile of coy flirtatious words. “I need you to open a query on our networks. Check the wires for jewelry related news in the city for oh… the past 90 days, starting with the most current and working backwards?”
“Jewelry? Are you trying to tell me you’re finally ready to accept my proposal in marriage, Dawn?” he prodded
“You’re a sweetheart Danny, but you know I’m just not ready for a relationship right now. Can you get me that list?” she defended
“My heart shall lay broken for another day,” he mocked. “Sure, give me a few minutes, I’ll email it to your desk.”
“You bet,” click. Click.
Taking the few minutes to stretch, Dawn stood and paced around her office to get the blood flowing, but before she knew it, there was a beep from computer indicating she had mail. Tucking one leg underneath, she sat back down on her chair, her favorite way to sit since she was a little girl. Not the most professional, but a bad habit she was never able to kick. Her editor also scolded her about keeping her shoes on while at the office, but that didn’t seem to change much. Her shoes when she bothered to wear them were a pair of black heels. Right now they were kicked off, lying below her desk. It was enough that men required women to wear pantyhose in the workplace, but adding a pair of pinching heels to that was near slavery! She could only handle one of the two, and since she would be fired on the spot if she were caught without her pantyhose, she decided to bend the rules where she could in the shoe department! In an attempt to get her mind off her feminine restrictions, Dawn turned her attention back to the list of files, Danny had so generously provided in a timely manner.
Clicking through the leads and stories turned out to be mostly boring and unconnected information, but then suddenly something caught her eye. It was a tiny detail that stuck out in her mind that only a person who read and reread a police report 20 times would recall. The related story was that of a jewel company that had recently laid off one of their long-term cutters due to a business slump. The ex employee did not take the news well, and police attendance was required to remove him from the premises to prevent violence. The tiny detail that connected the two stories was the type of diamonds involved. The diamonds that the laid off cutter worked on, and the diamonds that were stolen from Harmon’s, were the exact same diamonds. That information was provided in the police report. According to the lay off story, that diamond worker was the only employee skilled enough to cut the stones because they were mined from a strange cave site in the deep jungles of Africa. He also happened to be the only employee that showed any interest. It was widely agreed that the stones he was working on were unmanageable and that most ladies did not prefer the look of the stones. As a result their value was greatly reduced, despite their rare nature. As a favor, Harmon’s offered to buy the unwanted stones from the struggling jeweler despite the protests of the employee about to be laid off. The rest of the story trailed off into the history of financial woes of the other jeweler, but it did include a few important nuggets of information, mainly the name and address of the laid off worker.
“Simon Baxter, eh?” Dawn said the name aloud to get a feel for the mystery man. “Are you my jewel thief?” Jotting down the last known address on the screen, Dawn tore the scrap of paper off the pad, and placed it in her jacket pocket. Feeling around under her desk with her stocking clad toes, she righted her heels, and slipped her cute little feet inside. Pushing back away from her desk, she stood up and walked around to the door. Giving her hair a once over, she clicked the lights off, and headed out onto the main office floor.
The main floor was buzzing with as much life as it always was. If phones weren’t ringing, people were calling to each other over cubicle walls about needing this and that. It was a chaotic busy little machine that effectively published the Rose Tribune every single day. Knowing that Mr. O’Neil wanted this story put to bed yesterday, Dawn refrained from her usual office chitchat, and headed straight for the parking garage without telling anybody where she was going. While an unwise decision for a reporter, especially a young, beautiful, female one, Dawn didn’t consider the consequences of her hasty actions.
Her heels clicked impatiently in the elevator as she tapped her foot. Soon enough the bell chimed at the parking garage, and the hot to trot young reporter ran daintily in her high heels toward her car. As she approached the hunter green Jaguar, she gave it a playful little pat. The Jag was just one of the perks that the Meadow’s fortune afforded her. She inherited a generous estate when her parents passed away her last year in high school. So aside from a nice sport’s car that had belonged to her father, that he so treasured just behind his lovely wife and beautiful daughter, Dawn also lived her days in a luxurious mansion outside the city. With no remaining family alive, and no boyfriend to speak of, life in the mansion could get a little lonely. That was one of the main reasons she sought the position at the Rose Tribune after she had completed college. Her editor, Mr. O’Neil had been an old acquaintance of her father’s years ago, and the gruff old man felt a little sorry for the lonely rich girl. While she didn’t need the job, he made it clear that she would not be given any preferential treatment. Regardless who her parents were, all company policies applied to her. No breaks. And despite the rigid dress code for ladies, Dawn appreciated the structure and purpose the career provided for her young life.
Thoughts like these filled her head as she sped down the highway in her beloved Jaguar, blonde hair blowing behind her. Her destination was an old castle built centuries ago, and recently condemned by the city and sold at auction to one Simon Baxter, a recently unemployed jewel cutter, and potential burglar. Deciding her lead was too hot to sit on, Dawn neglected to neither contact Simon Baxter nor await his invitation into his strange, creepy, and potentially dangerous choice for a home. She cut the lights on her Jag and popped the car into neutral letting the car roll discreetly down the long driveway of the old castle. Killing the engine, Dawn stepped out of the car, making sure she had her cell phone in her jacket pocket. The little camera phone came in handy on discreet missions such as this that called for quick thinking and gathering of evidence. All in the name of solving crime, Dawn crept up the rest of the driveway toward the looming cracked walls of the castle. She didn’t see any other cars around, so perhaps nobody was home, though it was difficult to tell. Dawn didn’t know what kind of car Simon drove or if he even had a car, given his job status!
Cutting across the front yard, the clever young reporter decided that a side door was a more tactful entrance and to her subdued glee she found the old rotting wooden door to be unlocked! Inside the house was blanketed by the quiet of night. The décor was unkempt and archaic. Much of the inside stone architecture had crumbled with age. Cobwebs littered the corners, while the walls were alit by torches. The medieval feel was almost comical to Dawn. The lack of electricity and seeming modern comforts seemed a strange place to call home. But Dawn did not know Simon Baxter or his situation. As she took her first steps into the foyer, the clicks of her heels on the cobblestone floors were an assault on the silence. She winced as if physically struck before kicking her feet back into her hand one by one to slip off the troublesome heels. The chill stone floor cut though the nylon covering her tender feet mercilessly. With a whimper, Dawn realized she did not have much of a choice. So she decided to grin and bear it.
With her little heels in hand, Dawn navigated the corridors of the castle on the tips of her dainty toes with no sign of Simon or anyone else for that matter. While this provided some sense of safety and relief, she felt no closer to discovering evidence if he were the jewel thief. Determined not to give up, Dawn continued her search of the castle until she arrived at a heavy looking door that was closed. The old wood was warped and raised from the floor, and a shaft of light could be seen coming from within. Getting a good feeling that she was on to something, Dawn turned the door handle and gave the door a push to open, but the heavy wood wouldn’t give. She gave it another try but still nothing. Holding her heels and trying to open the door made it more awkward, so Dawn decided to plop her little shoes on a bench in the hall and give it another try. The combination of freeing both her hands, and giving it what little elbow grease she had in her slender body, the door finally groaned and gave way. Propping it open just wide enough for her little form to slip through; Dawn peered about the room to see what she had uncovered. She was not however prepared for what she found. Under the burning torchlight in the room, Dawn made out a long stone bench that harbored rows of glass bottles and beakers. Leafs of old paper were scattered over the bench in languages far beyond the young woman’s comprehension. But most astonishingly was the velvety pillow that cupped a certain set of diamonds that had recently gone missing from Harmon’s Jewels!
“Aha, I knew I had you,” she said to herself in mock approval of her detective talents. “What’s this, though?” she said suddenly quizzical. Of the six stolen diamonds, only five were on the pillow. Before Dawn had the opportunity to ponder this peculiar detail, the sound of a door opening and shutting grabbed her spine in a cold hand of panic. While her mind was tripped in surprise, she knew enough that she had to get out of there and fast. Turning this way and that, she acted as if she had no idea where the exit was. And in essence, she did not. She was in an unfamiliar place under stressful circumstances. Placing her hand on the door she froze in her tracks. The footsteps were echoing through the halls of the castle. “My shoes!” she scolded herself in a harsh whisper. “I can’t let him find my shoes, he’ll know I was here!” While her little black heels lay on the bench just outside the room, the syrup of panic seemed to make Dawn even stupider than she already was. She turned back into the room, looking all around for her shoes as if thinking she had left them inside. The calmness with which the heels portrayed was comical as Dawn’s franticness became more uncontrolled. She began looking in the same places twice, everyplace, except just outside the room where she had left them only minutes before.
The footsteps echoed closer and closer and Dawn knew her time was running out. In a panic, she reached trembling into her jacket pocket and grabbed her cell phone. Flipping it open, she dialed her boss.
“Mr. O’Neil!? It’s Dawn! Sir I need help!” her words were shaking.
“Dawn!? Have you got that damn diamond story wrapped up yet!?”
The echoes of the footsteps echoed louder and louder. She was almost out of time! To make matters worse, as she paced on the phone, she snagged the toe seam of her pantyhose on a jagged floorboard! Pull as she might, she was stuck. All she managed to do was open up a nasty run on her foot. The incident almost moved her to tears.
“Sir, I, I’m at a suspects home, investigating the stolen diamonds, and I found them, but”
“That’s great, gather your evidence and get back here, we can still make tomorrow’s deadline!” he cut her desperate words off.
“No, sir that’s not it, I’m… I’m stuck!” she tried to figure out how to word it.
“Stuck? What in blazes does that mean, Meadows!?” he barked.
“I… my… I was investigating… and my… I was… I took off my shoes to be quieter… and… sir, I’ve snagged my nylons and I’m stuck! I need help!” she tripped over her explanation, unsure how to word the ridiculousness of her predicament. “Please sir, I’ll be caught any moment!” the begging was obvious in her voice.
“Ah, geez Dawn, you know the rules. A run in your” but she didn’t hear his next words because her time was up, Simon Baxter burst into the room, and she dropped her phone. “-pantyhose is grounds for immediate termination. I hate that you make me do this, but you’re fired,” the final portion of his transmission crackled from the dropped cell phone, and was missed by Dawn’s ears.
Simon’s barreling entrance practically made Dawn jump out of her pantyhose. She turned her terrified green eyes in his direction and her mouth opened in a scream. He was a bear of a man, and was dressed in monstrous robe, and a ghastly helmet with protruding ram like horns was atop his head, shading his piercing eyes.
“Foolish girl! Witness the power of the diamond as only I could realize!” his voice sent shivers down her body as his hands reached outwardly toward Dawn’s trembling form. Right then and there she knew where the missing diamond was.
“Nice going, Dawn. NOW you’ve done it!” she chastised herself and her recent wardrobe malfunction that proved to be her undoing. Trembling she could only watch in helpless terror as Simon’s hands worked in strange patterns and then the room exploded in a flash of light. Dawn felt her slender body grow uncomfortably warm as she was bathed in a toxic green glow. She stood achingly on the tips of her stocking clad toes while her fingertips stretched under shock. Her mouth was open in a silent scream no further than possible, and her giant terrified eyes threatened to pop out of her scared little blonde head!
As quickly as the room had exploded in a spark of light, the flash was gone. Under the remaining flicker of torchlight, Simon stood glaringly in front of Dawn’s shocked expression with his thumb and middle finger pressed together over her head. Only Dawn was not her former self. While she appeared almost identical, no longer was her lush hair golden blonde, nor the vibrant green eyes, creamy white skin, or crisp blue suit. Dawn stood wide-eyed gaping mouth as a statue of ashes. Flakes of her body broke off from her hair and jacket, even her fingertips, and floated mutedly to the floor. Admiring the handy work of his diamond powered magic; Simon snapped his fingers, and Dawn’s slender statue of ash, disintegrated from the tip of her pretty head, down to her dainty tiptoes.
All that remained of the doomed young woman were small piles of ash collected on the floor, and a wrinkly pair of barely black pantyhose that once adorned her smooth long legs. Simon chuckled to himself about the unexpected survival of the nylons to his powerful magic.
-The End… for Dawn Meadows