by Jerry Guarino
Are you enjoying
breakfast Jack? Hannah watched her husband
eat while reading the paper.
Oh, yes. Sorry dear. Theres this
story about a thief in the neighborhood.
Jack passed the paper to his wife. Yes,
these eggs are very good. Ana-Maria, remember how
you made these.
Their housekeeper smiled. Gracias Mr. Jack.
The doorbell rings. That will be the
delivery for the dinner party. Excuse me.
Jack looked at Hannah. Ana-Maria is working
out so well. Im glad we gave her a room
Hannah nodded. Yes, we finally found the
perfect help. Im going to pick up a little
present for her today.
Jack and Hannah were two of the fortunate few,
but not uncaring, Wall Street types. Jack was a
medical administrator and Hannah, a pediatrician.
Their only daughter had just left for college, so
they had more time to entertain. Both in their
mid-forties, with better than average looks, Jack
and Hannah had been college sweethearts at
Harvard. They stayed in Cambridge after Hannah
finished med school, and then moved to Beverly
Farms to raise their daughter Kelly, now at BU.
The salty, summer air of the Atlantic floated
through the house as guests arrived. This wealthy
town, north of Boston, was home to many
accomplished preppy graduates from Harvard and
Dartmouth, still in their button down oxfords,
blazers and khakis. Women wore cashmere, cardigan
sweaters over Izod polo shirts, pleated skirts
and tights. Here political ties were less
important than college ties and marina berths for
their sailboats. They didnt struggle with
the down economy; they just adjusted some
Meanwhile Ana-Maria directed the caterers and
served the appetizers. Salmon on toast points and
mini quiches, fresh vegetables with fragrant
sauces and one of those large bouquets made out
of fruit that are so fashionable now. She lined
up the colorful food in the most alluring way,
adding a sensual touch of flowers and seashell
strings, so perfect for this house by the ocean.
Jacks friend Alan came over to him, sipping
his drink. Jack, did you hear about the
Jack nodded. I was just reading about it
this morning. Dont you know a detective?
Alan played this with a straight face. Yes,
and he told me today that they have someone in
custody, a domestic working on Chestnut Street.
Jack was curious. Any details?
Alan dropped the last line without giving away
his ruse. Yes, a male personal servant was
stealing jewelry from the wife.
Jack realized he had been taken. Really,
Alan? The butler did it. Your sense of humor hasnt
improved since college. Alan had been
playing jokes like this on Jack, ever since they
were in school.
Hannah caught her new employee as she went into
the kitchen. Ana-Maria, we want you to have
this in appreciation for all your good help here.
Ana-Maria opened the box to reveal a small but
beautiful pin, shaped like an egg, with yellow,
pink and green swirls. Oh, Miss Hannah,
Hannah pinned it to Ana-Marias sweater.
Youre very welcome. We hope you like
living with us.
Ana-Maria gave Hannah a hug. Very much. I
love your home.
Hannah smiled. Im
glad you feel that way. Its your home now
The main dishes were brought in, traditional New
England fare. Clams, lobster, corn, beans and
biscuits were laid out in a buffet style on the
table overlooking the ocean. A string of soft
lights, colorful balloons and streamers gave
festive ambiance while smooth jazz played in the
background. After she finished, Ana-Maria
Hannah said her friend Lindsay.
The rumor is that the burglaries are being
done by people working in the house, maids and
cooks. You havent had anything taken, have
Hannah wasnt concerned. No, in fact
we are very happy with our new, live in person
Ana-Maria. She put this party together. Besides,
she came with references from a family we know in
The doorbell rang. Jack answered the door. Detective
Riley. May I help you?
The detective took Jack aside to avoid
interrupting the party. We have a lead in
the thefts that have been traced to your house.
Please put your hands behind your back. The
detective started to put handcuffs on Jack.
Officer, I can assure you that I had
nothing to do with any thefts.
Detective Riley smiled. We have had
surveillance on the house Mr. ODonnell. The
eggs, salmon and lobster you had today were all
poached. Alan and the guests behind them
applauded and laughed, throwing streamers and
confetti. Happy Birthday Jack.