“Dirty Scottsdale” (in the PHOENIX NOIR anthology, editor Patrick Millikin)
Copyright 2008 Diana Gabaldon
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“What. The. F***. Is. Going. On. Here?” said a voice behind me. Whoever it was had a pretty good Voice of Doom, too; it cut through the argument like a hot wire through ice-cream.
I turned around to see a tall blond woman in a sunhat, a Hawaiian shirt flapping open over a white bikini. Chloe and Tyrone’s mother; the breast implants must be hereditary.
“Cooney!” she barked. “What are you doing? What’s–” She caught sight of the guy in the pool and stopped dead, her mouth hanging open far enough for me to see that one of her molars was gold. I wondered if she had a diamond in it.
Cooney, hearing his master’s voice, came trundling over, sweating and apologetic.
“It’s OK, Pammy–”
“Don’t call me Pammy! Who are you?” she demanded, swiveling a laser eye on me. “Are you in charge here? Who’s that in my swimming pool?”
“Tom Kolodzi, Ma’am,” I said, offering her a hand. “Do you know the man in the pool?”
“Of course not!” she snapped, taking my hand by reflex. Hers was cold and damp and covered by a transparent latex glove. She let go fast, peeling the glove off with a snap. “Oh, sorry. I was drowning squirrels in the garage.”
“Squirrels?” I tried to keep a pleasant tone of inquiry, but it seemed to dawn on her that a mention of drowning things might not be the best thing she could have started off with.
“Ground squirrels,” she said through her teeth. “They eat the g*dd*mn plantings. Are they going to get that—him—out of the pool?” Her eyes kept sliding toward the water, where the body had resumed its peaceful dead-man’s float. Another siren coming down the street–police, this time.
Slamming car-doors and the crackle of a radio, and the brass was with us. I heard the word, “Lieutenant…” and froze for a millisecond. But of course it wasn’t my lieutenant–she was Phoenix PD, and we were on the Scottsdale side of Shea. That was luck; Lieutenant Griego would have had me locked in a squad car in three seconds, and if I died of heatstroke before she came back…well, accidents happen, especially in the summertime.