Murders in Progress by Eldon Cene

dental image

The Dental Beat

(Episode 36)

Nancy Gillis was just in emotional overload.  First, she had been scared to death.  Then, she had witnessed firsthand the two killings.

People arrived.  They discussed events with the Sheriff and Agent Hailey.  A perimeter ribbon was stretched around the scene.   Photos were taken.  Evidence was packaged.  Bodies were examined and then carted off in the Vern Smith’s portable slaughterhouse.   Her dad was called but couldn’t be found.  For quite a while, it was as if she were floating above herself witnessing it all from a soundless stage or as if peering from out of a fishbowl.

Back at the jail, meals were ordered from the Campaign Café across the street.  Nancy ordered another burger, though she didn’t have much urge to eat.  It’s just that if she made herself speak up a bit, then she found the adults left her alone.  So she ordered her preference and answered their questions.  She described what she had done and how she had come to be where she was.

“Chasing the story.”  Sheriff Leland shook his head.  “You are one resolute little woman, I’ll say that,” he grumbled.  “I’ll also say…  No, I won’t.  I won’t say anything more that I might find myself ashamed of saying later.  But… damn!”  He turned away from Nancy vexed.  “I’ll tell you what,” he said turning back.  “Why don’t we put you in here in the cell with Ramey, while we’re waiting for your dad to show, so’s you don’t get into any more trouble.  At least over the next hour or so.  How would that be?”

“Fine,” Nancy replied softly and contritely.

“Okay.  Good,” Sheriff Leland replied, and ushered her off with a wave of his hand towards Ruth.

Nancy followed Ruth into the back cell, which she found was also holding Dr. Ramey Evans, their town dentist – although ‘holding’ wasn’t quite the word, as the cell door was left unlocked as any room in a house.  She looked at Dr. Evans again.  At least she thought it was him.  Though it could as well be some dangerous maniac, or just a simple lunatic; he was dressed in woman’s clothes and wearing make-up.   Nancy sat thinking.  She glanced at Dr. Ramey again.  Finally, she screwed up her courage enough to beg the answer.  “Doctor Ramey?  Is that you?”  She leaned forward to better peer past his rouge and eyeliner.

“Yeah,” Ramey said.  He looked pretty dejected, like the Cowardly Lion or something.  “Who did you think I was?”

“Well…  Nobody else,” Nancy lied.

“It’s not like it looks or what you might think,” Ramey sighed.  “I just wear this,” he nodded his head to the side, “to keep ‘her’ happy.”  Ramey tossed his head to the side.

Nancy wondered who Dr. Ramey was speaking of.

Nancy nodded, and stared ahead for a while, thinking.  Then, she began to go back through her notes, filled in a few things, and asked Ramey what a few of the words she’d overheard meant.  Until it struck her that there was another story here.  After all, the town’s dentist disappears for several weeks and then he’s found cooped up in the Sheriff’s jail?   That’s news! isn’t it? as Nancy saw it.

Her classmate Cynthia Baker had had a toothache and had to be driven all the way to Toone’s Corners to get it fixed.  Missed a whole day of school.  She told Dr. Ramey that.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

And then she knew a lot of people were upset about their dentist dodging out on them, also.  After all, to get to another dentist required driving a long way out of their way.   Around town the feeling was that it was very ‘unprofessional’  of dentist Ramey to just disappear.

“I couldn’t agree more.”  He stared at her with his palms open.

But, it hadn’t seemed as though there was much anybody could do about it.  Even Ramey, it now appeared.

“Right now I’m not in very much control of my life.”  He nodded.

Both he and Nancy looked around the jail.

‘Here, Dr. Ramey was, hidden out in the County Jail – for reasons she wasn’t aware of – and no one, outside of the Sheriff, knew.’  She felt the giddy uneasiness of another imagined scoop rising up.

“Is it a crime to dress up as someone of the opposite sex?”  She asked.

“Not that I know of,” Ramey replied.  “But here I am.”  Ramey pointed a long lavender fingernail out towards where Sheriff Leland paced.  “You might ask him.”

“Maybe not now, though.”  Nancy nodded.

Nancy fished inside her backpack and brought out her camera and pocket recorder.  Now was as good a time as any to begin an interview.  “You mind if I take a photo? “  She hoped there was enough battery left to run the flash.

Ramey threw his hands up in front of his face.

‘And what is this?  Some kind of (fertility) mural all around us?’  Nancy drew her head back to better focus on the walls and ceiling behind Ramey.

Photo taken from Google Images

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