Robert Thornhill's Blog - Posts Tagged "mystery"

Sometimes, no matter how much you think you know about a person, they will surprise the heck out of you.
My sweetie, Maggie, with no fanfare, and in her quiet unassuming way, had been gently steering me into a healthier lifestyle.
While I hadn't violently resisted, I hadn't exactly embraced the idea either.
I figured maybe it was time to give it a try.
I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.
"Thanks for caring," I said.
"You're welcome," she replied.
I had thought that the path to an enlightened way of living was not so bad: just eat healthier food and take a few pills each day, but I soon discovered that I had only taken the first few baby steps in my transformation.
One evening we had just polished off a large pepperoni lover’s from Pizza Hut. I was wiping the grease off my fingers when Maggie delivered her next salvo in my lifestyle overhaul.
“Walt, we eat entirely too much meat and grease. We need to do a colon cleanse.”
“Say what?”
“A colon cleanse. Over the years, especially as we grow older, mucous and fecal material build up in your colon.”
I looked at the glom clinging to the bottom of the pizza carton. That thought wasn’t how I wanted to finish off my meal.
“There’s nothing wrong with my colon.”
“Oh really? And just how do you know that?”
“Well, everything I eat seems to come out—eventually.”
“Experts say you should clean your colon of mucous, fecal matter, and parasites every year. Have you ever done it?”
“Parasites? What are you talking about?”
“You know, tapeworms, stuff like that.”
I looked at a piece of stringy cheese on the side of the box and noticed a queasy feeling in my stomach.
“Is this all really necessary?”
“Let me tell you a story. When Elvis died, they did an autopsy. His colon was filled with over seventy pounds of impacted fecal material—mostly old cheeseburgers and fries.”
This was way more information than I wanted to hear about my most cherished idol. “So how does this cleanse thing work?”
She produced a bottle of pills. I guess it was a foregone conclusion that we were
both going to be cleansed.
“We just take five of these at bedtime, and in the morning nature will take its course.”
Dutifully, I swallowed the pills.
At 6:00 a.m. the next morning, I had a rude awakening. It felt as if a volcano was about to erupt in my lower regions. Fortunately, the bathroom wasn’t far, and I waddled toward it with my cheeks clinched shut.
My butt hit the seat just in time, and in the next three minutes everything I had ever eaten from last night’s pizza to the hot dogs I ate after my senior prom came pouring out. I staggered from the bathroom, a beaten man.
Maggie greeted me in the kitchen.
“Now doesn’t that feel better?”
Actually, it felt like my asshole was on fire, but I smiled and said, “Yes! That was just grand!”
I opened my paper, drank my coffee, and ate my cereal, but before I had finished the comics, the fiber kicked in. I felt another rumbling in my stomach and made a beeline for the bathroom.
I was in the midst of another colon scourge when I heard the phone ring.
“Oh, swell. Here I am pouring out my guts, and I have to share the experience with someone on the line. This day just isn’t starting well.”
I opened the door just far enough for Maggie to hand me the phone. I thought I heard her cough and mutter, “Oh my God!”
“This is Walt.”
“Ox here. I was so excited about what we learned from Dr. Pearson I just couldn’t sleep. Can I pick you up a half hour early?”
“Just then, an enormous gas bubble reverberated from the porcelain throne.
“What was that noise?”
“Never mind. Where are you now?”
“I’m actually on the way.”
“Give me a few minutes. I’m just --- uhh --- finishing up a project I started last night.”
By the time Ox arrived, I thought I had everything under control, but two blocks from the apartment, mother nature struck again.
“Ox! Quick! Pull into that 7-Eleven!”
“What’s the emergency?”
“If you don’t pull over, we’ll be giving our car to Hazmat!”
After one final cleanse, I emerged from the can and saw an elderly gentleman who had been patiently waiting for his turn.
As I was walking away, I heard him mutter, “Good Lord!”

An excerpt from the Lady Justice mystery/comedy series by Robert Thornhill

Lady Justice And The Avenging Angels (Lady Justice #4) by Robert Thornhill
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Published on October 22, 2011 08:13 • 178 views • Tags: humor, mystery
Why I Go Somewhere Else For Thanksgiving Dinner

One year, Maggie and I decided to host the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
Although we were both in our sixties, neither of us had done it before, but how hard could it be. I'd watched my mom and grandma do it for years.
The special day finally arrived.
“Ok, I’m ready to tackle this beast,” I proclaimed, and I ripped into the shrink-wrap.
After the bird was fully exposed, I noticed the corner of a bag sticking out of his rear end.
“Hey, somebody hid something inside our turkey,” I exclaimed.
Maggie came over to take a look. “Oh silly, nobody hid anything. Those are the giblets.”
“The what?”
“Giblets! You know, some of the inside parts of the turkey.”
“What am I supposed to do with them?”
“Well, I think you can make things with them, like stuffing and gravy.”
“Hold on a minute. I don’t EVER remember Grandma putting giblets in her gravy. That just doesn’t sound right.”
So I dried my hands, grabbed my dictionary and looked up ‘giblets’. According to Mr. Webster, “giblets are the edible offal of a fowl including the heart, gizzard, liver and other visceral organs.”
I nearly fainted.
“I’m sorry Maggie, but no giblets will ever be eaten in my house or in my presence. I hope that’s not a deal breaker.”
“I think I can live with that,” she replied.
I returned to the turkey, shoved my hand up his butt and pulled out the bag of giblets. For curiosity’s sake, I cut open the bag to take a look.
I shouldn’t have done that. There’s just some things that ought not be seen.
Sure enough, the inner plumbing of Tom Turkey spewed forth onto my countertop --- and something else too.
A stiff piece of grisly meat about six inches long sat there staring me in the face.
“Holy Crap!” I exclaimed. “Come here and look at this! That looks like --- No! Surely they wouldn’t put a turkey’s ----- in the bag!”
“No, silly” Maggie replied. “That’s his neck.”
“This is just WRONG in so many ways.”
After disposing of the offending offal, I turned my attention to the cooking instructions I had pulled off the Internet.
“How To Cook A Turkey in 3 Easy Steps.”
Step 1: Preheat oven to 325 degrees and select a 3-4 inch-deep roaster pan with lid. Cooking time: 15 minutes per pound.
Step one seems pretty easy.
Step 2: For golden brown skin, spread butter evenly and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic or rosemary.
No problem.
I dipped into the ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ tub and under Maggie’s watchful eye, started lathering the bird’s ample breasts.
“Hmmm, this feels kind of good,” I murmured and gave Maggie my ‘sly, whadda you think’ look.
“Don’t even THINK about it, Buster,” she shot back.
“OK, OK, I’ll be good. Can you get me the salt and pepper and see what’s in my spice rack?”
“Nothing here but crab boil and taco seasoning. But you do have salt and pepper.”
“Well it says ‘season to taste’ and we both love tacos. How about we make Mexicali Turkey?”
I’ll bet nobody’s tried that before.
So I liberally coated the buttered breasts with salt, pepper and Old El Paso, and he was ready for Step 3, bake and baste.
“What about the stuffing? Aren’t you going to make stuffing?”
“O yea, stuffing. I almost forgot. How do you make it?”
Seeing the blank look on Maggie’s face, I muttered, “Well, back to the Internet.”
After an exhaustive search, we discovered there were two methods of stuffing preparation, pan and bird.
We went back to the kitchen and took a look up Tom’s rear end.
“Isn’t that where the offal came from?” I asked.
Getting an affirmative nod from Maggie, I made an executive decision on the spot.
“Pan it is!” I said.
Maggie didn’t argue.
Besides, I can’t ever remember my grandma digging stuffing out of the turkey’s butt.
Satisfied with our preparation thus far, we plopped the bird in the oven and turned our attention to the stuffing.
“OK, it says to chop up onion and celery and sauté in melted butter. Let’s see what’s in the vegetable bin.”
I had an onion, but the only other green thing was a head of lettuce.
“Aren’t celery and lettuce in the same food group?” I asked. “I mean they’re both green and both a vegetable.”
How can you argue with logic like that?
So we chopped up the onion and lettuce and while they were boiling in the butter, we checked out the next ingredient, bread. More precisely, stuffing bread.
“What’s stuffing bread?”
Another blank look.
I checked the breadbox and found a loaf of Wonder White Bread fortified with vitamins and minerals.
“If we use this in our stuffing, doesn’t it then become ‘stuffing bread’ by definition?”
Again, how can you argue with the logic?
So we cut the Wonder Bread in little cubes and added them to our boiling vegetable mix per the instructions.
Next step, ‘add two cups of stock’.
“What’s stock?”
“Well, I think it’s some kind of meat juice or gravy that comes in a can. I remember seeing cans of ‘beef stock’ and ‘chicken stock’ on the grocery shelf next to the soups.”
We looked in the cabinet and found a can of Campbell’s Beef Barley soup and a can of Campbell’s Creamy Chicken Noodle soup.
“Since this is a fowl dish, I vote we go with the chicken noodle.”
More culinary logic.
We opened the can and sure enough there was a creamy liquid.
“Looks like stock to me,” I said.
“Are you going to drain it?”
“Why? Aren’t bread and noodles almost the same thing? We’ve got a huge crowd coming today. This will add a little more body to the dish.”
So into the pan went the soup.
The final step was to add poultry seasoning.
Having already exposed the deficiencies in my spice rack, we knew the only thing left was crab boil.
We looked at each other.
“What do you think?”
“Well, it’s going to be pretty bland without some kind of seasoning.”
So into the pot it went.
After mixing the gooey mess, we plopped it in a baking pan. Ready for the oven.
So far, so good.
The remainder of the morning was spent with last minute cleaning, showering, shaving and make-up sandwiched around our hourly basting duties.
The directions said to remove the lid during the final hour of cooking to ensure a golden brown skin. So off came the lid.
Our creative recipes had produced a rather unusual aroma that permeated the apartment. There was the essence of Taco Bell laced with a hint of Joe’s Crab Shack. Not exactly what I remembered from Grandma’s kitchen.
By 12:30, it was time for the bird to come out of the oven.
Guests would be arriving soon, so it was time for the final preparations.
Then it hit me.
I can’t ever remember a Thanksgiving without turkey gravy.
OK, think. How did Grandma make gravy?
I remembered seeing her add three ingredients, milk, flour and the greasy stuff out of the bottom of the turkey pan. We have all of that --- I think.
We pulled Tom out of the pan and several inches of rich, greasy turkey broth covered the bottom of the pan.
I went to the cabinet to look for flour and came up empty. I couldn’t remember when I had bought flour. I don’t bake.
But there on the shelf, next to my Top Ramen Noodles was my answer --- Aunt Jemima.
OK, so it’s pancake mix, but flour is flour, right?
I kept dumping Aunt Jemima in the turkey grease until I had a thick brown paste. I put the pan on the stove and added milk. I was ready to cook it down to a rich smooth texture. It made my mouth water.
At last everything was ready.
Our guests had arrived, each with their own special dish, and sat expectantly awaiting the holiday feast.
I looked at the food on the table: Mexicali turkey, Wonderbread crab paste, Aunt Jemima gravy, hockey puck rolls, chitlins, and enough pumpkin pie with strawberry Cool Whip to feed the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
And, of course, we had the perfect wine paring, Arbor Mist. It goes good with everything.
Not exactly the traditional Thanksgiving I remembered from my youth, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.


An excerpt from Robert Thornhill’s Lady Justice mystery/comedy series
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Lady Justice And The Lost Tapes by Robert Thornhill
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Published on October 31, 2011 11:51 • 264 views • Tags: humor, mystery, thanksgiving
Everyone wants to visit you in the hospital.
The guests kept coming and finally, Nurse Ratchett had had enough.
If this gal hadn’t been a nurse, she probably could have been a linebacker with the Kansas City Chiefs. Her arms were about the size of my legs. She had the demeanor of a linebacker as well.
“Okay, all of you, clear out! I’ve got work to do here.”
My friends stared in amazement.
When no one moved, she raised her voice an octave. “Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. Why don’t you folks go to the cafeteria and get a snack. I need to check Mr. Williams. You can come back when I’m finished.”
On the way out of the door, Jerry quipped, “Walt, maybe you can save her sometime. If she needs samples of your urine, blood, semen, and stool, you can just give her your underwear.”
Dad chuckled, and Nurse Ratchett glared as they filed out of the door.
Things were going better than I had hoped for. She checked my blood pressure, took my temperature, and listened to my heart. As she was packing away her goodies, I rose up and swung my feet over the edge of the bed.
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“To the bathroom.”
“Nope. Your chart says you might possibly have internal injuries, so you have to stay down until the doctor runs some tests.”
“But I have to—uh—you know.”
“Then you’re going to have to—uh—you know in this.” She pulled a bedpan off the closet shelf.
I looked at the plastic contraption. I’d seen them before, but I’d never used one. “Look, I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong with me. I can certainly walk to the bathroom.”
Then she got that look that I’d once seen in the eyes of Mean Joe Green.
“You’re fine when we say you’re fine. Do you understand? Now get your feet back in that bed.” She plopped the bedpan in my lap.
When I didn’t respond, she gave me the look again. “Well?”
“Well, I’m not going to use this thing with you standing there watching me. I’d like some privacy.”
She shook her head and started for the door.
“Oh, say, I haven’t eaten since lunch yesterday. Am I permitted to have breakfast?”
She picked up my chart again. “I’ll see what I can do.”
When she was gone, I picked up the bedpan. The first thing I noticed was that it was cold. Brrr. I turned the thing over, hoping that instructions would be printed on the backside, but there were none. With my luck, they would have probably been written in Chinese anyway.
They must figure that everyone instinctually knows how to use one of these things. Like it’s something innate that’s passed down through our DNA. If so, there were definitely some deficiencies in my gene pool.
So do you lie down on the thing? I tried it and nearly broke my back.
So do you sit on it? Do your legs stick out in front of you on the bed, or do you turn it sideways and let your legs dangle over the edge?
I tried it both ways, and the only way that it was comfortable was to dangle my feet over the edge.
By the time I had turned it and climbed on top, I had exerted more energy than just padding the six steps to the bathroom.
So there I sat, perched on my plastic throne, and to my dismay, nothing happened. It was obvious that my bowels were balking. I was tempted to just chuck the whole thing and march over to the real toilet, but to be quite truthful, I was scared of Nurse Ratchett.
Then I saw it, and an idea formed in my head. On the little table next to my bed was a box full of rubber gloves. Normally, I hate seeing those because it usually means that someone is going to be sticking something somewhere I don’t want it stuck.
I grabbed a pair of the gloves, slipped them on, and put my ear to the door listening for footsteps. Hearing none, I slipped into the bathroom and did my job the way it’s supposed to be done. Fortunately, the resulting deposit was solid and a floater.
I reached in with my gloved hand, scooped up what was left of yesterday’s lunch, and plopped it in the bedpan. Nurse Ratchett would never notice the difference.
Being a cop, I realized that if I was going to commit the perfect crime, I would have to destroy the evidence.
I peeled off the gloves and was about to throw them in the wastebasket but checked myself. She might see them there. I looked at the stool. If it could handle some of the stuff I’ve deposited over the years, surely it could handle two little latex gloves.
What I hadn’t thought of was that these little gloves, unlike my previous deposits, had fingers. Evidently, one or more of those little fingers had clutched the innards of the stool, and I watched in horror as the water, instead of circling and disappearing, steadily rose to the top of the bowl.
“No! No! Nooo!”
I heaved a sigh of relief when I heard the water stop. Another drop would have put it over the edge.
I looked around and saw a plunger in the corner. I grabbed it and slipped it into the water. Of course the Law of Archimedes took over, and the water displaced by the plunger overflowed into the floor.
The waves caused by my plunging sent more cascades over the edge, and by the time the gloves had been dislodged, there was a mess to clean up.
I grabbed a towel and was on my hands and knees mopping up water with my butt hanging out of the stupid hospital gown when I heard, “Mr. Williams!”
I looked up, and Nurse Ratchett was staring at my bare behind. I cringed, expecting a tirade that would make a sailor blush, but instead her attention had been directed to my little gift in the bedpan.
She just had a bewildered look on her face. “I’ve been a nurse for twenty-seven years, but this is a new one.” She got me a clean gown and fresh towels, and I climbed back in bed.
By this time she had regained her composure.
“Apparently you have difficulty following orders, and you definitely have authority issues.”
I was about to argue, but I figured I’d better just clam up. As they say, there’s no such thing as a perfect crime.
“Mr. Williams, you have to stay in bed until after your tests.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
She emptied the bedpan, rinsed, and flushed. She returned with the bedpan and a gizmo that looked like the thing my mechanic uses to put oil in my car. “Now, if you have to urinate or defecate, please use these.”
She had said please, but the tone in her voice said, “Do it or else.” Just then the door opened, and an orderly brought in a tray.
“I ordered you some breakfast.”
The orderly set the tray on my bed table. I was starving, and all during my bathroom escapade I had been envisioning eggs, toast, bacon, maybe even a pancake. I was shocked to see a pile of quivering green stuff, a bowl of yellow swill, and a cup of something barely darker than water.
“What’s this?”
“Your breakfast, of course. Lime Jell-O, broth, and tea.”
“Don’t I even get toast?”
“No, Mr. Williams, you’re on a liquid diet until after your tests. Bon appétit.” I know she was grinning when she walked out the door.
I looked at my breakfast. I like Jell-O. I just don’t like green Jell-O. I know they make Jell-O in other colors. I’ve seen it. Green just isn’t my favorite color. I’ve tried green shampoo, but I like white better. I love a red, ripe tomato, but I just can’t do a green one. I absolutely hate the green stuff that grows on your food when you leave it in the fridge too long. I was perilously close to digging into my liquid breakfast when my friends returned.
Dad looked at the pitiful pile of glop on my tray. “I thought so. I’ve been where you are before. Bet you’re hungry, aren’t you?”
I nodded my head.
“Willie, watch the door.”
Dad reached into a sack and pulled out one of those fluffy, golden brown biscuits with egg, cheese, and bacon.
I almost cried. “I love you, Dad.” It just came out, and it surprised both of us.
Maggie almost came unglued. “Dad! How could you? The hospital has rules…and the tests… Walt has tests to take…and…”
“Tests, shmefts. The kid’s fit as a fiddle. And look at that swill they gave him to eat. If he wasn’t sick before, he sure would be after he ate that.”
He looked at Bernice for approval, and she obligingly nodded her head.
Maggie turned to Jerry and the professor for support, but they just shrugged their shoulders.
“You’re all incorrigible,” she muttered.
After I wolfed down the biscuit and Dad tucked the wrappers away in his pocket, I had an idea.
“Dad, before you leave, could you go to a vending machine and bring me a Mountain Dew?”
“Sure, sonny. Be right back.”
I had just stashed my Dew under my mattress when Nurse Ratchett returned.
“You folks have to leave. It’s time for Mr. Williams’s tests.”
We said our good-byes, and as everyone was leaving, the professor, who had been unusually quiet, turned to speak. I was expecting some words of wisdom or comfort from the old man.
“Walt, I hope your tests come out better than those of a friend of mine.”
“Oh really?”
“Yes, he went to the doctor with a sprig of greenery sticking out of his bottom. He said, ‘Doc, I think I have lettuce growing out of my rear end.’ The doctor examined the greenery and said, ‘I’m afraid I have some bad news—that’s only the tip of the iceberg.’”
Without another word, he turned and left, leaving me with my mouth hanging open. The professor was obviously spending too much time with Jerry.
My tests went well, and the doctor proclaimed me fit to resume my normal activities. I returned to my room and started preparing my parting gift to Nurse Ratchett.
I dug the Mountain Dew from under my mattress, popped the top, poured it into the funny little beaker she had given me, and placed it on the bed table.
I had just finished when Nurse Ratchett popped in.
“I’m going off duty in ten minutes. I just wanted to check and see if you needed anything before I left.”
“Why thank you. Here, you might want to get rid of this.” I picked up the beaker of yellow liquid and started to hand it to her, but instead I brought it back and chugged every last drop.
Nurse Ratchett blanched, gasped, “Oh my God!” and fainted dead away.

An excerpt from Lady Justice And The Avenging Angels

Lady Justice And The Avenging Angels (Lady Justice #4) by Robert Thornhill
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Published on January 30, 2012 08:25 • 357 views • Tags: hospitals, humor, mystery
I couldn't believe that the Captain had asked me to go undercover as a transvestite.
I figured if I had to dress up as a dame, my best bet was to enlist the aid of Maggie, my sweetie.
After supper, I saw my opening.
“So what exciting things did you do today?” she asked.
“I’ve got something to talk to you about and I don’t want you to interrupt me or ask any questions until I’m completely finished, OK?”
Her look of bewilderment turned to astonishment and finally to amusement as I laid the whole story on the table.
I could tell she was doing her best to keep from laughing.
“You think this is funny, don’t you?”
“Well, yea!”
Not exactly the reaction I was expecting.
“I’ve always wanted a girlfriend I could shop with and share make-up secrets. This is going to be fun.”
Yea, a real hoot!
For reasons I’ll never understand, Maggie attacked her role with a vengeance. She composed a list of all the accoutrements we would need for my transformation and then started checking off items she had on hand.
Apparently, women are loath to throw away make-up, even if it’s stuff they haven’t used for ages and Maggie produced a plastic tub full of jars and tubes that she pronounced as perfect.
Evidently the same rules apply with selected articles of clothing. Maggie is a svelte 120 pounds now, but sometime in the distant past, she must have been a few pounds heavier. A box from the spare room closet labeled ‘save’ contained frilly relics from her heftier days.
After comparing items on hand with her inventory list, Maggie was satisfied that the only articles we were lacking were a dress, shoes and a wig.
Tomorrow, we would shop.
Just to be sure everything was right, Maggie insisted on a trial fitting of the undergarments and proceeded to pull a pair of lacey panties, a bra and pantyhose from her stash.
“OK, Buster, strip.”
On more than one occasion, those very words from Maggie were music to my ears.
Not this time.
I’m definitely not a prude, especially when it comes to Maggie, but I’m more accustomed to us getting nekkid together.
“I’ll just do this in here.” I said as I grabbed the panties and bra and headed for the bathroom.
As I slipped off my BVD’s and picked up the panties, I encountered my first dilemma.
Is there a front and a back to these things? How can you tell without a fly? Then I saw the little tag and assumed that was the backside.
So far, so good.
Next came the bra.
My previous experience with this garment had focused on removal rather than installation and I nearly dislocated my shoulders trying to hook the damn thing behind my back.
I concluded that one had to be either a contortionist or double-jointed to master this, and I, being neither of those, gave up and retreated to the bedroom.
I explained my problem to Maggie and she gave me a quick lesson on ‘hook in front and rotate to the back’. A valuable lesson.
Since my chest wasn’t exactly designed to fill the size ‘C’ cups, Maggie augmented my bosom with wadded up pantyhose.
While in the pantyhose pile, she selected a dark pair she described as ‘smoke’.
“Try these on. I think they’re dark enough you won’t have to shave your legs.”
“You damn right I won’t. That’s where I draw the line. I’ll just tell people I’m from Sweden.”
She handed me the pantyhose and I looked at the tiny ball of material.
“That’s not big enough for one leg. How am I going to get two, plus my butt in there?”
“Just put them on. Trust me. They expand.”
So I sat on the bed and started pulling them up one leg at a time and sure enough, they did expand.
But as I stood, I was beginning to get signals from Mr. Winkie and the boys.
“Kind of crowded in here.” I complained.
“Yea,” she quipped. “Pantyhose are a lot like cheap hotels --- no ballroom.”
She was having way too much fun with this.
Now that I was all decked out in my bra and pantyhose, Maggie stepped back to take a look at her handiwork.
“Not bad.” She declared. “In fact, I think I’m getting a little turned on.”
The evening wasn’t a total loss after all.
Maggie had no appointments the next morning, so we headed to the Salvation Army Thrift Store to complete my outfit.
I’ve never been much of a shopper. Guys don’t have to be. I have two kinds of pants, dress and casual. If I need a pair, I go to the store, grab my size off the rack and check out. No need to try it on. It’s exactly like the one I’m replacing.
But I’ve never bought a dress.
As we rummaged through the racks, Maggie would pull one out and hold it up in front of me. I found myself saying stuff like, “No, that’s just not right for me” or “I think we can do better.”
What was happening to me?
I actually tried one on and asked Maggie if it made my butt look big.
Where did that come from?
Finally, I found one that felt just right. It was the perfect shade of brown to bring out the color in my eyes and while not slutty, was just tight enough to accent my figure.
My God, what did I just say?
Our next stop was the wig rack.
There was a huge selection of both colors and lengths.
I had always heard that blondes have more fun, so I tried on a saucy blonde pageboy with bangs.
I looked like Phyllis Diller.
I told Maggie I needed something shoulder length, fuller, with more body.
What was happening to me?
I finally settled on a dark auburn with flirty bangs that matched my dress perfectly.
Shoes were a different story.
I wear a size nine and a half which is average for a guy. By comparison, Ox wears a size twelve.
But finding a woman’s shoe in a low heel that would fit a guy proved to be a challenge. We had to hit three thrift stores before we found something I could walk in.
‘Walk in’ might be too generous. ‘Wobble in’ would be more accurate.
My new footwear sported two-inch heels, nothing remarkable for the ladies, but a definite challenge for me.
Maggie and I love to dance and we watch ‘Dancing With The Stars’ on TV. I had always marveled at how the lady professionals could execute all those fast and intricate steps wearing four-inch spike heels. I have even greater respect for them now.
Walking on my ankles in my two-inch heels was reminiscent of my first experience on ice skates. It’s not a pretty sight.
Our shopping concluded, I called Ox, told him to meet at Maggie’s apartment with the surveillance equipment and we headed home.
After lunch, Maggie suggested we start getting my make-up on. She said that we might run into some issues. I wondered what she meant by that.
We sat at her kitchen table and she spread her whole array of jars and tubes and brushes.
“When did you shave last?
“This morning.”
“Go do it again. I can only cover up just so much.”
I shaved and when I returned she had made her selections.
“OK, foundation goes on first.” And she started smearing this light-brown pasty cream all over my face.
“Now the eyebrows.” And she started drawing on my forehead with some kind of grease pencil.
“Hold really still or I’ll poke your eye out.” and she outlined my eyelids with a little pencil thing.
“Now don’t blink.” And she came at me with some kind of pliers which she clamped on my eyelashes.
“Now for the lip-liner and lipstick.” And she coated my mouth with ‘cinnamon rose’.
It occurred to me that it was much more fun getting the lipstick off her mouth.
“Now for a little blush to give you some color and a pat of powder so you don’t shine.”
Oh good. I really didn’t want to shine.
She stood back to admire her handiwork.
“I’m afraid that’s as good as it’s going to get.”
Just what every gal wants to hear.
I looked in the mirror and ‘YIKES’ I looked like a cross between Ronald McDonald, Howdy Doody and Raggedy Ann.
It’ll be better with your wig on.” She said.
I certainly hope so.
Just then, a knock on the door.
Maggie opened the door and Ox strode in with an armful of electronics.
He gave Maggie a hug, took a look at me, and to his credit, pretended that nothing was different.
I noticed though, that he quickly turned away and headed for the kitchen with his box. As he went through the door, I know I heard him snicker. I know he did.
He returned, composed, and with an air of professionalism said, “I see you’re ready for our evening out, Mrs. Williams.”
Maggie had witnessed the exchange and finally could hold it no longer. She burst into an uncontrollable fit of laughter that sent Ox over the edge and the two of them collapsed on the couch.
As I watched their frivolity at my expense, my first reaction was hurt. Then I felt a wave of resentment. But as I was about to lash out in protest, I saw myself in the mirror and I caved in too.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

An excerpt from Lady Justice and the Lost Tapes

Lady Justice And The Lost Tapes by Robert Thornhill
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Published on March 25, 2012 10:40 • 329 views • Tags: humor, lady-justice, mystery, transvestite
A Trip To The Market

An excerpt from Lady Justice and the Watchers

It had been a long day and I had been looking forward to a nice meal and a quiet evening with my sweetie, but it wasn’t to be.
I opened the door and was met by Maggie. She planted a big kiss on my cheek.
“Do you want to go now or after supper?
“Go where?”
“Walt, what day is this?”
I thought for a moment. “Uhhh, Wednesday. So what?”
Then it dawned on me. “Oh crap! Grocery store!”
She nodded, “I knew you could figure it out eventually. Now, back to my original question, before or after supper?”
I sighed, “Let’s get it over with.”
Wednesday had been designated as ‘grocery day’ in our household because the local HyVee supermarket had proclaimed Wednesday to be ‘Senior’s Day’ with all shoppers over fifty-five receiving a five percent discount.
Since we routinely spent a c-note stocking up, we saved a whopping five bucks.
Another reason we go on Senior’s Day is that the music that is piped into the store is all 50’s rock ‘n’ roll. This brilliant marketing ploy was a blatant attempt to pander to the tastes of old farts like me and it worked.
If I have to shop I would much rather be serenaded by the likes of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis than Taylor Swift or Justin Beber.
I absolutely love the music of the 40’s and 50’s and as far as I’m concerned, the recording industry had very little to offer after 1965.
I have a fantastic collection of 45’s and LP’s dating back to my high school years of the fifties.
I know every song by heart and much to Maggie’s chagrin, I am constantly singing around the house.
The fact that I am tone deaf only adds to her frustration.
On more than one occasion she has pleaded, “Please, not this morning. Anything but Little Richard!”
We grabbed our shopping cart and dutifully performed our pre-shopping ritual which consisted of Maggie securing her purse into the cart with one of those cursed straps that we can never get undone and me wiping the handle of the cart with a little sanitizer wipe just in case the previous shopper had picked their nose and left a booger for us.
A part of my wiping ritual involves intoning a mantra that I devised to remind me why this is so important.

I boogied in the parking lot
I boogied in the mart
I boogied on my finger
And I wiped it on my cart

Having completed our pre-shopping ritual, our first stop was the produce department.
Maggie and I have developed a shopping strategy that seems to work for us.
I do the fruit and she does the vegetables.
The bananas were on board and I had headed to the grapefruit section when Gene Vincent’s raspy voice filled the store.
I immediately felt compelled to sing along and I began bouncing to the beat singing, “Be bop a lula, she’s my baby. Be bop a lula, I don’t mean maybe.”
Then I noticed out of the corner of my eye that a young mother had grabbed her child and was hurrying him away from the old guy bouncing up and down with a grapefruit in each hand mumbling strange words.
On reflection, I probably would have done the same thing.
Maggie joined me with the lettuce and tomatoes and we headed to the meat counter.
An old guy about my age was standing behind a skillet where little pieces of something that looked like doggy doo were sizzling in hot grease.
“How about a sample of our link sausage?” he asked proudly.
I looked into the pan and swore that I saw strands of LDL cholesterol swirling around.
“No thanks,” I replied. “I’m trying to cut back.”
My first time shopping with Maggie had been a traumatic experience for me.
After sixty-some years of bachelorhood, my shopping habits consisted of roaming the aisles and filling my cart with stuff that looked good and tasted good.
On our first outing together, she grabbed my Twinkies out of the cart. “Sorry, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated corn oil. It’s filled with poison.”
Thus began my induction into the world of healthy eating.
Since then, I have dutifully studied the material she gave me to read and I have become a convert.
I’m not saying it’s easy when the Ding Dongs are calling my name from the shelf, but I know it’s the right thing to do.
When our basket was full, we headed to the checkout.
Another of our rituals is to split up and head to two different checkout stands. The one who has found the shortest line signals to the other.
We probably should scrap that part of our ritual because it rarely works.
There was only one woman in my line so I gave Maggie the high sign.
I had just loaded everything from our cart to the counter when the checkout girl picked up the microphone.”
“Price check on five.”
“Oh crap! Not again!”
Of course the store was busy. After all it was Senior’s Day.
We waited and waited and I was able to glean from the conversation that the woman ahead of me thought that she had been charged twenty-five cents too much for a can of peas.
Finally, I couldn’t resist.
I pulled a quarter from my pocket and handed it to the lady.
“Ma’am, I feel your pain. Here, let me take care of this and we can all get on with our day.”
The lady grabbed the quarter, finished checking out and huffed out of the store.
She didn’t even thank me.
When it was our turn, the checkout girl asked the usual question, “Paper or plastic?”
I looked at Maggie and she shook her head, but I couldn’t resist.
“Actually,” I replied, “I could go either way. I’m bi-sackual.”
I learned that line from a customer when I was undercover at a BuyMart store.
Maggie hates it but I have to throw it in once in awhile just for grins.
The checkout girl looked at me and then at Maggie.
Maggie just shrugged her shoulders and the checkout girl gave her a look that screamed, “My sympathies, you poor girl.”
The rest of the checkout went without a hitch but when we reached the parking lot I stopped. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember which lane we had parked in.
“Uhhh, Maggie, do you remember where we parked?”
“Not again! Walt you’re the one driving. It’s YOUR job to remember where we parked.”
“Well you were riding shotgun. You were there too. Why can’t you remember?”
This had always been a sore spot in our relationship.
I think we both hated the fact that we were constantly losing our vehicle because it was a persistent reminder that we were getting old and losing some of our faculties.
The worst was one evening when we had attended the Starlight Theatre.
After the show, as we looked over the thousands of cars in the lot, we realized that we didn’t have a clue where we had parked.
We roamed the aisles, dodging cars, and finally just waited on the curb breathing exhaust fumes until the lot was nearly empty.
Not the greatest way to end the evening.
We were just standing there with our cart full of groceries looking befuddled when an old guy my age approached.
“Lost your car, didn’t you?”
“Is it that obvious?” I replied.
“I used to do that all the time until I got one of these,” he said holding up his phone. “Watch this!”
He punched the phone a few times and showed us the screen.
“There’s my car,” he said proudly.
“How did you do that?” I asked amazed.
“Do you have a smart phone?”
“Then you can download this app for ninety-nine cents. It’s called ‘Find My Car’.”
I turned to Maggie, “We gotta get one of those!”

An excerpt from Lady Justice and the Watchers

Lady Justice and the Watchers (Lady Justice #8) by Robert Thornhill
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Published on June 01, 2012 07:45 • 237 views • Tags: humor, mystery, supermarket
After a week that had included three grisly murders, I was looking forward to a couple of days off.
Sometimes, when man’s depravity becomes too intense, you have to just back away from it all, focus on what’s good in your life and put things back in perspective.
Maggie had let me sleep in and I awoke to the smell of coffee brewing and bacon sizzling. I could tell that this was going to be a good day.
I ambled into the kitchen, gave Maggie a big hug and kiss and headed for the coffee pot. After a year of marriage, I had learned how to order my priorities.
Maggie was busily whipping Aunt Jemima with a spoon.
“Pancakes, too! What have I done to deserve all of this?”
“You’re going to need lots of energy today, so I figured I’d better start you off with a good breakfast.”
Suddenly, a cloud darkened my prospects for a good day.
“Energy? For what?”
“Don’t give me that ‘for what’. Surely you remember when we talked about cleaning the apartment today.”
Now I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes --- not often, but sometimes, Maggie’s little chats will zip right by, especially if I’m reading the sports page or otherwise intellectually occupied, but surely I would remember something as ominous as cleaning day.
I had to make a split-second decision --- should I refute us ever having that conversation and try to wiggle out? No, I knew that either way, I was doomed to cleaning, so why add insensitive, non-listening, boob into the picture.
“Oh, right --- sure --- cleaning. Must have slipped my mind. How much cleaning are we talking about, exactly?”
“Everything! Top to bottom. It’s been months since this place had had a good cleaning.”
I tried one more tactic. Maggie is still an active Realtor and has a woman that cleans vacant houses for some of her clients.
“How about Consuela. Did you think about giving her a call?”
“Consuela charges three hundred bucks to clean a place this size. Why spend all that money when we can do it ourselves? Do you realize how many meals at Mel’s Diner you could buy for that three hundred bucks?”
I had to admit that she was good.
I’m not opposed to saving a few bucks if it’s a job that I can handle, but a man has to know his limits.
For instance, I can change light bulbs and replace light switches and sockets without electrocuting myself and usually, everything actually comes on when I’m finished, but I learned years ago that plumbing of any sort was not my cup of tea.
No matter what I tried to fix, it always leaked when I was through.
Cars are another thing that I have never mastered.
I have friends that brag about changing their oil or putting on a new set of brakes, but there is not a doubt in my mind that if I tried, I would be washing my windows with 30 weight.
Consequently, I’m on a first name basis with the guy at Jiffy Lube.
House cleaning. Not a lot of experience, but how hard could it be?
I drug breakfast out as long as possible, but I finally had to face the inevitable.
“Ok, boss. What’s the plan?”
“Why don’t you start with the ceiling fans and give them a good dusting.”
“Ceiling fans?” I protested. “They’re up in the air. How could they get dirty?”
“Have you even looked at them lately?”
I had to admit that I had not. I climbed on a chair and discovered that the blades had grown a fluffy coat of fur.
“I see your point,” I said. “What are you going to do?”
“I’ll dust and polish the furniture. I don’t want you touching our breakable stuff. No offense.”
“None taken.”
I found our stepladder and a rag and climbed up to the first fan. I wiped the blade clean and gave it a shove. Blade #2 whacked me in the back of my head.
“SON-Of-A ----” I muttered.
Just then Maggie came into the room.
“What are you doing?”
“Cleaning the fans just like you asked,” I said, rubbing my head, “and trying to decapitate myself in the process.”
“Why don’t you use the thing?”
“What thing?”
“Hang on.”
She came back into the room with a big furry circular thing on a pole.
“Here, this is what you’re supposed to use to clean the blades.”
“Where did that come from?”
“You bought it when you bought the new fans.”
“I did? Really? Where do we keep it?”
“In the utility closet.”
That explained a lot. The utility closet is where we keep things like the vacuum, the squeege mop and the broom. I don’t go there.
The thing actually worked pretty well and when I was finished I reported to the crew boss.
“Fans are done. What’s next?”
“The toilets and the floor around the toilets. Scrub them all.”
“Why do I get the toilets? You use them too.”
Maggie grabbed me by the arm, drug me to the bathroom and lifted the lid.
“See all of that yellow stuff? How do you suppose that it got there?”
Nothing sucks more than that moment in a discussion when you know you are going to lose.
“Okay, okay, you made your point.”
I was up to my elbows in Lysol disinfectant when there was a knock on the door.
“I’ll get it,” Maggie yelled.
A moment later, Jerry and the Professor were standing in the hallway watching me wash the yellow spots off of the floor. Not one of my prouder moments.
“We were on our way to Mel’s for lunch and we thought we’d invite you to accompany us,” the Professor said, “but I can see that you’re --- ummm --- otherwise occupied.”
“Yes, cleaning day, unfortunately. Sorry, I’d love to come.”
“One of those necessary evils,” he continued. “Were you aware that most of the dust particles in a home are from the 2 to 3 pounds of dead skin that we shed each year?”
I had to admit that I didn’t know that.
He forged on, “And did you know that the dead skin and dust mites in a mattress can double its weight in ten years?”
I didn’t know that either.
Jerry had been watching me scrub the offending stains.
“Walt, do you know what a clitoris, an anniversary and a toilet all have in common?”
Maggie poked her head around the corner. “I know the answer to that one --- men always miss them!”
“Very funny,” I mumbled. “Don’t you guys have somewhere to be?”
“Indeed we do,” the professor said. “We’ll eat a piece of Mel’s banana cream pie for you. You know, the one with the meringue this high.”
“Thanks a lot!”
Maggie stuck her head back in the door. “When you’re finished with the toilets, you can run the vacuum.
“Swell,” I muttered.
As I fired up the old Kirby, I remembered a one-liner that Jerry had used in his comedy club act.
“Is it a good thing if a vacuum really sucks?”
It brought a smile to my face and I really needed it.
I had just finished the bedroom and had started on the closet. The shoes were lined up neatly on the floor, but I saw a big piece of lint under one shoe.
I bumped the shoe with the Kirby to move it out of the way and suddenly, “THWACK!”. The Kirby had sucked up the shoelace which had wound around the revolving head. The poor shoe was lodged against the head and the motor began to smoke.
I quickly shut the thing off and surveyed the damage.
The sweeper head looked like the first time that I had tried to cast an open faced reel --- nothing but a tangled mess.
I was just getting the thing undone when Maggie came in.
“Don’t ask.” I said.
She looked over my shoulder. “How long have you been working on that?”
I looked at my watch. “About fifteen minutes.”
“How long would it have taken you to pick up the shoe?”
She didn’t wait for an answer. I hate it when she does that.
After the mess was untangled and the smoke cleared, I finished the vacuuming and headed to the kitchen.
“Let’s clean out the fridge and we’re done,” Maggie said.
“Really?” At last there was light at the end of the tunnel.
I pulled the wastebasket to the fridge and opened the door.
I don’t spend a lot of time in the fridge. I get milk for my cereal and Arbor Mist from the shelves in the door. Everything else is pretty much a mystery to me.
I did recognize the first thing that I pulled out. It was the remains of the burrito grande that I couldn’t finish at the restaurant a couple of weeks ago, so I had had them wrap it up for me. I was pretty sure that the green stuff on it now wasn’t verde sauce.
Maggie told me to get rid of anything that had expired.
With most of the stuff, I didn’t even have to look for a date. The penicillin growing on the surface was a good clue.
I saw a cartoon of sour cream and wondered if they even bothered to put an expiration date on it --- isn’t it already sour?
By the time I had removed all of the offensive stuff, the shelves were nearly empty.
I was tying the trash bag when Maggie came into the kitchen.
“Are we finished?” I asked, trying to sound as weary as possible.
“Just one more thing,” she said with a sly smile.
“What could possibly be left to clean?” I asked, exasperated.
“The shower. I was hoping we could work on that together.”
Maybe it would be a good day after all.
An excerpt from Lady Justice and the Book Club Murders, coming this fall.
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Published on July 16, 2012 13:32 • 237 views • Tags: housecleaning, humor, lady-justice, mystery, robert-thornhill
The National Association of Book Entrepreneurs has chosen Lady Justice and the Vigilante as the winner of the Pinnacle Book Award for the Best New Mystery Novel for the Summer of 2012. Lady Justice And The Vigilante (Lady Justice, #7) by Robert Thornhill
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Published on September 06, 2012 10:30 • 247 views • Tags: humor, mystery, vigilante
After last night's debate,you might want to read Lady Justice and the Candidate.

There has to be some hope for the future! Lady Justice and the Candidate (Lady Justice, #9) by Robert Thornhill
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Published on October 12, 2012 07:44 • 146 views • Tags: candidate, humor, mystery, politics
Lady Justice and the Vigilante received Honorable Mention in the 2012 Southern California Book Festival.
http://www.southerncaliforniabookfest... Lady Justice And The Vigilante (Lady Justice, #7) by Robert Thornhill
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Published on October 18, 2012 07:49 • 186 views • Tags: humor, mystery, vigilante
Lady Justice and the Candidate just received the Pinnacle Book Award from the National Association of Book Entrepreneurs as the Best New Mystery Novel for the Fall of 2012. Lady Justice and the Candidate (Lady Justice, #9) by Robert Thornhill
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Published on December 11, 2012 10:53 • 155 views • Tags: author, award, humor, mystery