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What Was That?
by Marvin Pinkis

"What was that?" Carol bolted upright.

Her bedside clock read ten to ten. Thin sunlight streamed through moth-eaten drapes. She addressed a furry ball on the floor, the ball with a tail,. "Cosmo, bad dog. You were to bark me awake at nine-thirty. "

The disturbance, shoveling nearby, wasn’t just the wind. Sensing its mistress's concern, Cosmo sprang into action, growled faintly and curled up in a corner.

"Heaven’s sake. To get something done around here, gonna have to do it herself." Carol sauntered to the window, pulled the drapes apart, more material to shredded.

She identified the figure in the next door backyard as Mr. Gregorian digging, casting furtive looks in all directions- west, north, southwest and the others. Alongside the hole something, about five foot seven and a half inches long, lay wrapped in a sheet and yesterday's newspaper. Carol remembered the headlines, "Voluptuous Vixen's Disappearance Vexes Police."

Carol chuckled "He's at it again. Poor soul will kill himself if he keeps it up." She noticed the day before, a stunning blonde at Mr. Gregorian's front door. When he admitted her, it struck Carol that he had cast furtive glances in all directions.

"You know, Cosie, there's a steady stream of stunning sexpots going in and out there. At least, in."

Cosmo did not respond.

She bade Cosmo, "Do the dog thing, go there and sniff around. "

Cosmo sulked.

A morning later Carol read the newspaper while imbibing an iced mocha triple espresso latte and voiced, "Lookie, Cosmo, this headline in the Post-Herald-Clarion-Tribune, 'Stunning Blonde Still Missing.' What's going on? AND 20% off at Walmart all day. Now, that's news."

Carol startled Gregorian one day when she asked, "Digging to China?" Was it time to move on as he ran out of yard? Or, end the snoopiness at its source?

Later, Carol saw Gregorian carry from his house an awkward bundle, one end flopping crazily. "Need help?" she shouted.

"Check this headline, Cos. 'Busty Brunette. Where is She? '" Cosmo seemed indifferent.

The police questioned the missing woman's friend, Bubbles B., who said, 'Last time I saw her she was gonna see this Gregorian guy. At 13846 S.E. 373rd Street, a grayish house with a mutilated back yard. Besides that, I can't help you.' The police remain befuddled.'"

Shortly, a "Ravishing Redhead" was unaccounted for. Carol glimpsed Gregorian and heard faint singing as her neighbor dug away. Carol ignored the dirge sound, assuming it was Gregorian chanting.

When did the guy find time to eat or sleep, with all his visitors, without exception, female.
Her doorbell rang. Answering the door, skimpily dressed, there stood Gregorian, also skimpily dressed. He said, "I know you mind your own business, but I expected someone today and nobody showed up."

"What does she look like?"

"I'm not sure. The ad, under Personals, read: ‘Me - successful excavating contractor, suave, calls a spade a spade. You - at least 36 bust, depressed, must like dirt.’”

Carol answered, “ I haven't seen anyone."

He fulminated. "Drat, I cancelled another engagement. My day is open. You available for a drink and a bite to eat? I cook good and I have deep feelings. Cutie like you needs company, dig?"

"What time?"