Detective Rosine met the delivery boy downstairs and went back to his desk. Just as he was unwrapping the tuna melt sandwich, Sandy rapped on the door to his office.
“Yeah,” he said, but she was already opening the door.
“Sorry, Detective,” she said, clearly a bit frazzled, “but there’s a lady out here who is just hysterical and insists on talking with a detective.”
Rosine frowned and gave Sandy a raised eyebrow, asking for more of an explanation.
“Says she was held at gunpoint last night, and the perp asked her to do ‘questionable things,’ but wouldn’t say anything more until she talked to a detective.”
Rosine sighed loudly and nodded as he carelessly folded the wrapping over the sandwich and rose from his chair.
He went to the open door and waited as Sandy escorted the lady inside. Rosine gestured toward a chair and the woman slowly sat down. After discovering her name was Vera and asking for other personal information, he recognized the Russian accent in her answers.
“Now,” he said, “I’d like you to relate to me the events that happened last night. Were you at home?”
“Yes,” Vera said, nodding. “My doorbell rang, and surprised me. I was not expecting someone. I go to the door and open it to see a man in a mask, wearing a hat, holding a gun.”
“Was the man alone?”
“No,” she said. “One other was with him, also with a mask.”
“Did he have a gun as well?”
“No,” she answered, shaking her head, “I do not think so.”
“Did they say anything?”
“They both shouted something at me, but I was frightened and did not understand.”
“What happened next?”
“They wanted…edibles,” she said.
“Edibles?” Rosine repeated.
“Yes, food,” she explained. “Something to eat.”
‘Edibles’ brought to his mind something other than food, but he did not explain his confusion of her broken english.
“I gave them apples, but they were not happy with this,” she related.
Rosine nodded, waiting for her to continue on her own.
“Then they took from me kisses,” she said.
“I see,” he said. “Was that the questionable thing you mentioned?”
She looked at him confusedly.
“You told the other officer that the man asked you to do something questionable,” Rosine prompted.
Vera shifted uncomfortably in the chair and looked down at her fidgeting hands.
“Vera,” Rosine said quietly as he leaned forward, “The men that were at your home? They’re not here. This is a safe place.”
She took a deep breath and nodded. Rosine sat back and waited patiently.
“He…he asked me to…smell his feet,” she finally said.
“Smell his feet?” Rosine repeated, making sure he understood her correctly.
She simply nodded.
Rosine thought for a moment and then asked, “Vera, can you describe these men? How tall were they?”
“About four feet,” she said.
Finally, recognition hit him.
“Kisses–you mean Hershey’s Kisses? The chocolates?” he asked.
“Yes, the silver-wrapped chocolate candies.”
“Trick-or-Treat, smell my feet. Give me something good to eat,” Rosine said in a sing-song voice.
“Yes, this is what they said to me!” she said excitedly, leaning forward. “You know of this? This has happened to others?”
“Vera, last night was Halloween,” Rosine explained.
Her perplexed expression remained unchanged.
“Oh boy,” he muttered.
Copyright © 2022 Brandon Ellrich
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