*From Jen's first sentence.*
Some days, life hands you roses. Other days it manhandles you, bludgeons you over the head, then dumps you face first in the crapper.
This day was shaping up to be the latter. Not that many of my days recently have been anything to write home about--as if Dad would let Mom open my letters--but still, on a Days I'd Love To Erase scale of one to ten, this one was heading for twenty.
It all started at seven a.m. with the goat. Not that my useless boss, so far into a bottle of Jack Daniels he could've given a brewery a run for its money on smell alone, didn't contribute. And I'm not discounting the obnoxious blonde with her I Took Out A Loan The Size of Kentucky breasts. Her little rat-dog holds a fair amount of responsibility too.
Still, at the heart of my problems lurked a barnyard animal with horizontal eyes, teeth the size of nickels--all the better to rip your Coach handbag apart, my dear!--and zero respect for anyone's personal space. It was the goat's fault. I was sure of it.
Trying to convince the irritated police officer facing me across the smooth steel surface of the table in Interview Room A was another matter. He was the no-nonsense, wear a badge for life type who'd heard every excuse in the book and wasn't buying any of them.
"A goat?" If he'd been trying to scrub his tone clean of any trace of mockery, he'd failed.
"Yes. A big one." My fingers drummed against the table until I ordered them to stop. When they started again, I shoved my hands in my lap and put on what I hoped was my best I Am Not A Crazy Person face.
"And where is this goat now?" He asked, shuffling the many witness statements piled in front of him, as if the goat's location would magically appear.
I was pretty sure most of those statements said things like "set an historic monument on fire," "screamed nonsense at the top of her lungs," or--and for this I had no regrets--"stuffed an I Heart NY bandanna into an irritating blonde's mouth, thus silencing her for thirty blessed seconds."
"I don't know."
"Do you usually walk around Manhattan with a goat, Ms. Ledbetter?"
"Of course not."
"Could you identify the goat in a line-up?" He asked, his tone thick with amused sarcasm. "Maybe work with our sketch artist to put a composite together?"
"No, it isn't funny, Ms. Ledbetter. You've destroyed a chunk of property, much of it historic, offended the sensibilities of the mayor's wife--"
"That shrieking harpy was the mayor's wife?"
"Singed most of the hair off her dog," he went on as if I'd never interrupted, "and robbed her of a diamond ring worth well over a million dollars. There's nothing funny about that."
"The dog part was sort of funny," I said, before the realization kicked in that sarcasm was unlikely to earn me a Get Out Of Jail Free card.
"I don't want to hear another ridiculous story about goats knocking over Jack Daniels and chewing through purses. I want to know where Mrs. Harper's diamond ring is. Turn that over to us, and we can cut you a deal." His dark eyes were stern.
"That's easy. The goat--"
"No more about the goat!"
"Swallowed the ring," I finished and watched his face turn an unbecoming shade of red.
"Are you telling me you fed Mrs. Harper's million dollar diamond to a goat?" His voice rose on every syllable until he was shouting in my face.
"No. I'm telling you Mrs. Harper dropped the ring while scrambling around trying to control her miniature terror--"
"Terror. And the goat was already eating everything in sight. He swallowed the ring, the fire started," here I decided to remain rather vague as to the cause, "and by the time you all decided to arrest me for theft and vandalism, he was gone."
"I'm telling the truth. Find the goat and you'll find the ring."
He sighed, scrubbed his hands over his face, and stood. "Stay here."
"I didn't realize I had a choice," I said.
He scooped up the witness statements and walked toward the door. "I can't believe I'm about to put out an APB on a goat."