A Rolinska Thriller
DETERMINED AND UNWILLING to fail, she advanced.
“Stop right there, please,” the Senator’s aide said.
Senator Hennessey turned. A gray-haired woman, dressed in her once-stylish but now threadbare pantsuit, struggled to approach him . . . grasping a worn-looking autograph book and a pen. He held up a hand indicating I’ve got this.
In response, the woman hurried her steps, reaching out even further, compromising her balance. She tumbled towards the Senator, keeping her hands outstretched.
Without hesitation, the Senator reached out to break her fall. They wobbled and fell onto the bench, the Senator’s backside hitting hard against the seat, the woman landing askew across his chest.
The ever-alert small army of congressional aides moved forward in a scrum, helping the woman to a seated position next to the Senator, verifying both their boss and his fan were okay. The woman somehow managed to hold on to her book and pen.
“I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you want an autograph.”
When she saw the Senator’s smile, a sheepish grin flashed across her face.
“I’m so sorry, Senator. I’m usually not this clumsy.”
“No need to apologize. Why don’t you hand over that book and I’ll sign it for you?”
“Oh, thank you . . . thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me.”
Presenting it to him, she offered her pen, but the Senator took one from the inner pocket of his suit jacket.
“Thanks. I have my own.” He held it up so she could see it.
She nodded and pulled her hand back, guessing his was engraved . . . maybe even real gold.
Poised to write a message, the Senator asked, “What’s your name?”
“Candace, but my friends call me Candy.”
“Then Candy it is.”
After jotting a short note, the Senator handed the book back to her.
Struck by his simple, unadorned penmanship, she grazed the paper and mouthed each word as she read his entry.
What a wonderful surprise to literally bump into you today!
Senator Samuel Hennessey.
Hugging this new autograph to her chest, a smile peeked through the wrinkles on her face as she lifted her eyes to the Senator.
"Thank you, Senator, I’ll always treasure this.”
Struggling to get up from the bench, an aide appeared at her side helping her to stand and steady herself. Satisfied, her mission accomplished, the woman shuffled off for her next adventure.
On this sunny and crisp late-October day, Senator Hennessey remained on his favorite seat across from the Jefferson Memorial, contemplating the country’s most pressing issues.
BACK AT HER HOTEL, THE woman examined her reflection in the bathroom mirror, pleased with how well her encounter with Senator Hennessey had gone. Anxious to get rid of the itchy foundation—she made a mental note to never buy this brand again—she pulled off the gray wig, reached into her case, and grabbed the jar of makeup remover. She slathered her face, neck, and hands with a thick layer of the cream and let it sit on her skin for a few minutes before rinsing it off. Her wrinkles circled the drain and disappeared.
A simple change of clothing and Candy vanished forever.
Dressed in her own clothes and looking sixty years younger, one final task remained. Ripping all the pages from the small autograph book, she stacked them on the bathroom counter. With a flick of her lighter, she set the flimsy cardboard cover on fire, then fed the flame one page at a time, dropping each charred carcass into the toilet.
As she watched the flames eliminate any trace of the autograph book, her mind reviewed the encounter with the Senator. Her stumble and near-fall had been expertly timed, allowing her hand that gripped the pen access to his neck, puncturing him right at the edge of his hairline—an ideal spot to avoid detection in an autopsy.
The prick of the needle, encased inside the pen, went unnoticed because she landed on top of him with just enough force to create a momentary physical distraction. Her task required such a small quantity of poison that a single jab in a fraction of a second was sufficient.
Dropping the last of the book’s burned pages into the toilet, she flushed. Just like her wrinkles, evidence of her contact with Senator Hennessey disappeared into a watery grave.
Soon the nearly undetectable poison would do its job.
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