Have you wondered what happens in Po Po’s Posse Club meetings? Here’s a sneak peek from “Murky Passions and Scandals.”
Operation Pumpkin Pie
A few minutes later, Raina surveyed the motley crew in front of her in the small conference room at the senior center. There were five of them.
Frank Small’s dark brown face gave nothing away, though his eyes gleamed with excitement. He was Po Po’s wingman, and Raina often counted on him to keep her grandma grounded. He was ex-military, so he understood following directions and not engaging the suspect.
Maggie Louie was her fiancé’s grandma and half blind. And yet, she arrived with a platter of cookies and sweet bread for the club meeting. Every time she shifted, Raina could smell vanilla and lemon drops. Maybe Maggie could bribe the desk clerk at the police station with food?
The elderly gentleman was the same one in the life vest during the Gangnam Style dance. Raina forgot his name as soon as he said it. The woman was his Korean wife. They were one of those rare couples in the senior community still together and enjoyed good health after fifty years. They held hands under the table.
Her grandma was in fine form. She had switched from Korean hipster to army mode—pink combat fatigues and a giant paintball gun strapped to her back with two more plastic water guns on either side of her hip. Knowing her grandma, Raina suspected the toy guns weren’t filled with water. While they probably weren’t filled with acid, she wouldn’t be surprised if the liquid stunk, stung, or burned.
Po Po rapped at the table, and the conversation died down. “Thank you for volunteering to be part of Operation Pumpkin Pie. We’ll use the buddy system for this. Frank, you’re with Maggie. The Lovebirds are on one team, and I’m with Rainy. Do we have our walkie-talkies ready?”
The club members patted bags or pockets to show all were in working order. Po Po pulled out a small black box and slid it across the table to Raina. “Your show now, hon?”
Raina cleared her throat. “Frank and Maggie, you’re to keep an eye on Detective Sokol. We need to know what he’s up to next. Talk to Donna if you need to.”
Frank and Maggie nodded.
“Lovebirds,” Raina said, using the same nickname as her grandma. “I want you to keep an eye on Mateo Riviera. He should be released from police custody soon. They can’t hold him over twenty-four hours without charging him. I want to know what he does next and who he talks to.”
The couple nodded, smiling at each other.
“Po Po and I will put the squeeze on Mia Westchester. Officer Hopper will be doing the same to Robert Spillman,” Raina said.
“Who’s watching Bobby Spillman?” Po Po asked.
Raina shrugged. “There’s not enough people, and I don’t want anyone alone. We’ll have to wait and see what happens next. If Bobby killed Arthur Westchester to get rid of a romantic rival, then he would try to get more face time with Mia.”
“What if his interest in Mia is only a smokescreen?” Mrs. Lovebird asked.
Raina hadn’t considered this angle before. “Let’s see how the others do first.” Maybe she should see how Bobby reacted to news of his father’s affair with Mia. It would be interesting to have the three of them in a room together.
“Let’s try to get back by five, so we can get ready for the performance tonight,” Po Po said.
“We’ll have a small crowd tonight with a serial killer loose,” Maggie said, picking up her white cane.
“Big or small, we’re still gonna get our groove on,” Po Po said.
The Posse Club members saluted and left. Raina was surprised no one argued about the assignment. Maybe most of them wanted something to pass the time. Regardless, she was happy the teams wouldn’t be in real danger…unless the killer began to feel the squeeze.
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