Donna Louise here. The weekend sped by with so many activities that I hardly had time to sit down for more than a few minutes. Cooking for the block party on Saturday night occupied most of my Friday. Saturday I spent the morning and afternoon directing traffic. That evening we closed the street and partied until nine. What a great weekend, except for one tiny thing. Vivian allegedlyleft town.
I called her first thing Friday morning, but the phone rang and rang. Her voicemail didn’t pick up to take a message. That means her message box is full. I guess she could have turned it off, but that seems unlikely. Vivian loves to talk on the phone. She’d go into withdrawal if someone removed her phone from her life.
When I couldn’t reach her, I put on my shorts and t-shirt and crocs to visit her. As I opened my storm door, I saw a piece of paper float to the ground. Someone had written something on it.
Here’s what the note said: “Donna Louise, I’ve had a family emergency requiring me to leave town immediately. I’ll be back, but I don’t know when. Please watch out for my house while I’m gone. Don’t worry about me. Your friend, Vivian 2:30 a.m.” She also wrote in the date which was Friday morning.
Reading the note made me feel a little better for awhile. I read the note several times and some inconsistencies appeared. First, Vivian had butt-dialed me at 3 a.m. I remember looking at my phone and the time it rang. If she took time to write me a note at 2:30, why did she call me at 3 unless she really did butt-dial me, but why not talk to me then?
I smacked my forehead. I hadn’t tried to call her cell phone. I pulled it out and dialed. The phone rang until the voicemail picked it up. I left Vivian a message to call me because I was worried. She’ll get the message and call. I’m sure of it.
Because I would see most of the neighbors at our block party on Saturday evening, I decided to talk to them if Vivian didn’t return my call to see if they had any idea what had happened.
Friday passed quickly with preparations for the block party. I slow cooked ribs for fifty people, made Mama’s special baked beans and prepared potato salad (both for fifty people). I left the skins on the potatoes because I was too tired to peel all of them. I told everyone, that leaving the skins on, was intentional because it added a touch of color to the salad. It’s only a little lie. The skins do add color, but the main reason was my laziness.
Friday night I attended a one-night-only art show at a small gallery on the Plaza. The artist wanted a practice run before he opened in New York City. Not many people attended, but the art was nice…lots of clouds. Personally I’m so over clouds that even the sight of one in the sky upsets me.
Saturday I spent most of the day directing traffic for the neighborhood garage sale on my street. My BBFF Bob invited me to his neighborhood garage sale, but I declined and it’s a good thing I did.
People who shop garage sales focus on spotting items from the windows of their moving cars, not in driving. After several near misses at the intersection close to my house, I donned my orange vest and directed traffic.
A police officer threatened to arrest me for impersonating a law officer. When I pointed out I was wearing shorts, a Hawaiian shirt and Jimmy Choo wedgies, an unlikely uniform for any police officer except maybe one of the vice officers working the avenue, he let me go.
Actually he ran back to his car because a garage sale shopper rear-ended his vehicle which blocked the street. The driver backed up, headed down the sidewalk and turned westbound. The car stopped. The driver jumped out, snatched three, rusted washtubs, paid for them, threw them in the back seat of her car and drove away.
Karma is a bitch as the officer discovered as he tried to catch the woman. His efforts to bring her to justice went nowhere. In his zeal to arrest me, he’d snarled traffic in all directions so badly he couldn’t move his car. No amount of flashing lights or sirens could move the cars because they had no place to go.
Finally I managed to clear a path for him and he took off in pursuit of the woman. I hope she got away, but her obsession with garage sale shopping may have kept her from making a clean escape.
After the sale ended, I returned to the house to clean up for the block party. It was fun, but disturbing. Vivian’s neighbors told me she had no family as far as they knew and several of them have known her for over forty years.
I showed them the note that had been stuck in my storm door. They examined the handwriting and said, “This doesn’t look like something she’d write.”
Now I’ve got to find her. I promised her I would if she went missing and it looks like she may have done just that.
One of her neighbors has a key and has offered to let me in to make sure nothing’s happened to her. I’m going over tonight to investigate. Fear not, Donna Louise, Private Investigator, is on the case.