Last time, Della followed Mr. Jorgenson all around town and finally followed him into a hat store. We pick up from there.
"I wonder what he's buying in that shop," Della said despite herself.
"Probably hats," said the policeman,
He's a smart one.
raising his eyebrow once and then letting it drop down.
Della didn't let the policeman's cynical attitude dampen her spirits.
Realism, Della, not cynicism. Who's cynical about someone buying hats?
She tiptoed to the window and peered in the dusty window, watching Mr. Jorgenson nervously bring money out of her pocket
Out of...Della's pocket?
and purchase a very odd hat with a large brim and no top.
...That is, indeed, a very odd hat.
"I wonder what he wants that for," she asked herself aloud.
To put on his head, maybe?
The policeman shrugged and leaned against a tree, gazing at his fingernails lovingly.
Oh, great. This policeman stalks Della and has a fingernail fetish.
Suddenly Mr. Jorgenson turned and headed toward the fire door, and Della had to gasp and duck to stay out of the way.
She wasn't anywhere near the fire door, so I'm not sure why that puts her anywhere near him.
He walked right past her, not even noticing the tiny figure crouched in the corner, and soon she had to stand back up to follow him. She walked quickly, he walked quickly, and the policeman walked slowly.
The policeman is going to be left behind pretty soon.
Before long Mr. Jorgenson had made it all the way to Seventh Avenue,
The policeman was probably back at Fourth.
where he took a right and went into a tiny house. Della watched him come out of the house a moment later, and then decided she had better find out who was in that house.
Although, of course that means she will have to stop following Mr. Jorgenson.
She approached the big blue house
and knocked on the door, waiting patiently for a reply. "Is that you again, Marvin?" came a cranky voice from inside the house.
"No, it isn't Marvin, it's me, Della," said Della, opening the door and letting herself in.
She seems pretty confident that they'll accept her based on the basis of being Della.
"Well, come right on in, Della," said the cranky voice,
Doesn't sound all that cranky to me... I mean she let her in, didn't she?
and Della tiptoed into the kitchen
It's nice of her to be so considerate about making too much noise.
where an older lady sat rocking in a rocking chair. She looked up as Della walked in. "Don't believe I've ever met you before," she said, sneering at her prodigy.
Gah. The troubles of choosing COMPLETELY RANDOM WORDS in my sentences.
"I don't believe I've ever met you before either," Della replied, politely, fingering the necklace she wore around her neck.
Nope, no foreshadowing here. No... I'm serious. This necklace never comes up again.
The old lady leaned forward and picked up a pie. "I made these," she said proudly. "This morning."
It's a CRAZY PIE LADY!
Della nodded appreciatively. "I'm Della," she said.
I think The Old Lady already knows this...
"So you said." The old lady sighed and set the pie back down on the table. "Nobody wants my pies nowadays. Nobody cares about my pies. How sad. My name's Ninerva."
It's a CRAZY PIE LADY with no attention span!
Della glanced around the room at the paintings on the walls and the many cows that danged on the fridge.
"Are these all your children?" she asked, politely gesturing.
What the what the? Della is insinuating this woman's children are cows!
Ninerva looked carefully and shook her head. "No, they're my grandchildren," she said. "The ones on THIS wall are my children."
Uh... so Ninerva DOES have bovine offspring.
Della asked for a piece of pie, to be polite,
She really should, seeing as how she barged into this woman's house.
although if Mr. Jorgenson was visiting her, she could be a murderess!! But it never occurred to her,
Except that it just had.
so she brought out a fork and began to pick away at the pie. It was actually very yummy, it tasted like a woman had baked it. With a mouth full of pie, she poked away at the pictures the wall
She should really stop poking at the pictures on the wall. I can't imagine Ninerva will take kindly to that.
and asked about them. When she got to the end of the wall, she suddenly realized with a shock that Mr. Jorgenson was a picture on there!!
Apparently this was The Chapter of the Multiple Exclamation Points.
"How do you know him?" he asked, looking on the wall.
Nice of Mr. Jorgenson to join in on this conversation.
Ninerva turned and looked. "Oh, him! Yes, he's my grandson, too." She wrinkled her nose. "He was just here, as a matter of fact."
Apparently his presence is nose-wrinkle-worthy, though.
The moment Della had been waiting for! She leaned forward in her chairs, hearing eagerly the words tumbling from the mouth of the older woman. "And he said? He said?" she asked, a tongue in her mouth.
We- It-- Maybe if-- Nope. No hope for that sentence at all.
"He said he might be in trouble." The older woman frowned. "In fact she said he WAS in trouble."
She? Who is this she you speak of?
Her eyes moved up
I'm assuming they actually just glanced up, didn't physically move further up her forehead.
and she said suspiciously, "Are you a policeman?"
"No, but I have one outside gazing lovingly at his fingernails."
"No, no, I'm not," Della assured her, although she thought secretly, But I've got one outside!
As I thought!
She turned her attention back to the woman and said, "Did he say why he was in trouble?"
But Ninerva was suspicious now,
It's about time!
and nothing could convince her to tell anything more about her grandson. She closed her mouth and mimed silence,
She wasn't actually silent. She was just miming it.
indicating that she intended to say nothing more to Della about anything. Slightly disheartened, Della turned and left the premises, returning to the policeman, who sat out side under a tree waiting for her return.
After all this persistently following her, he was content to just sit outside under a tree waiting for her?
"Any leads?" he asked, cheerfully, putting away the book he had been reading while she had been otherwise occupied.
"No, not really," Della said. "He said he might be in trouble, which might mean he'd killed them, might it not?"
She's making some awfully big assumptions here.
The policeman didn't seem to be sure about this, so he just shrugged his head and said, "I'm not sooo sure,"
"Like, I'm not sooooooo sure, totally!"
and he and Della kept walking.
"We can check with the gun people!" Della suddenly said with a smile.
Er... yes. The gun people.
"I'm sure they could tell us when he actually bought the gun!" And off she skipped to the gun shop.
That has to be one of my favorite lines ever.
"I'm sorry, we can't tell you that," said the gun man at the gun shop.
It does make sense that a gun man would be working at the gun shop, I must say.
"We don't let just anybody know who buys what guns. That's just not fair to the rest of the world."
"If we let you know, then before you know it, every person will come in here randomly wanting to have a list of all the guns their Facebook friends have ever bought!
Della put her hands on the counter and looked so sad. "Oh, please, it's so important! I have to know! My puppy's lift depends on it!"
Yes. Her puppy's elevator depends on this.
The gun man stroked his chin, then accidentally upside a cup of ink and it poured everywhere.
Where do you keep cups of ink? Why, on a gun shop counter, of course!
"Oh, darn!" he yelled,
Very clean-cut young gun man.
grabbing a towel from the counter and wiping furiously.
At least he keeps towels right next to the ink cups. Both equally handy in a gun shop.
"Now I shall have to get the manager!" and he rushed off to the backroom, anxiously, searching for the manager who appeared to be hidden.
The manager dreads when people come back to tell him yet another cup of ink has been spilled. He knows there has to be a solution to this, but he hasn't thought of, ya know, moving the cups of ink OFF the counter yet.
When he was gone, Della quickly rooted through his desk
Almost as if she planned it!
and found a piece of paper that had exactly what she needed. Eagerly she returned to the policeman outside and gave him the piece of paper, proudly. "Look what I found!" she said, neglecting to say WHERE she'd found it.
The policeman examined it from all angles, upside down and rightside up,
I am beginning to seriously doubt this policeman's police abilities.
before pronouncing it okay
"No, this paper is NOT going to blow up in your face unexpectedly."
and handing it back to Della. She began to read it. "It says he only purchased the gun a few days ago!" she says. "Which means he must have bought it to kill my parents!"
Logic, Della. LOGIC.
The policeman shook his head. "Coincidence, coincidence, it could be a coincidence."
I have occasionally sung that to my siblings when I want to be particularly annoying. It sounds a bit like "Button, button, who's got the button?"
"I don't believe in coincidences, Mr. Policeman," Della said boldly.
Now would be a good time for Mr. Policeman to reveal his name.
"I believe in fate. I believe he was fated to kill my parents who hate their date with death on that very day."
"But then nobody could have stopped them," the policeman said.
Della didn't really want to hear that,
Although she was really the one making that point.
she placed her hands over her ears and sang "LA LA LA LA LA."
Excuse me? My MC has been replaced by a two-year-old.
Then she decided she'd better go home and discuss this all with Dax. He would have sensible ideas.
Well, Dax *is* probably the most levelheaded of Della's friends. Which isn't saying much, considering the only other friend we've met is Jeff.
Dax was at work when she called him, so she left a message on his voice mail on his cell phone. "Call me, please," she said. "I have some important things to say!" Then she violently slammed the phone down
She has... some phone skills to learn. To say the least.
and wandered around the apartment aimlessly, hoping to find something to do.
When she finally found it, the doorbell rang,
Well, that was terrible timing.
and he curiously looked up to see who it was. She ran to the door, peeked through, and it was amazingly Dax!
She was happily Della.
She yanked the door open and squealed, "You got my message!"
"Message?" said Dax. "I just brought you food." He showed her the McDonald's bag he held in one hand. "It was less work than cooking," he informed her.
"Not that you are a drain on my time or anything... oh no."
"I love McDonald's," she assured him, and the two of them walked into the kitchen to eat. Sitting down, she pulled out a chicken nugget and munched on it.
That will probably consist of her whole meal.
As she munched she handed him a piece of paper, in fact the very one she had filched from the gun man's shop.
I actually figured out what piece of paper it was on my own, but thanks.
When she told him how she'd obtained it, he gave her a funny look. "Don't you think they'll remember you and then arrest you?" he said, his eyebrows going up and down.
"No, not me!" she said. "Surely not!"
All right. I have a suspicion that was inspired by Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. There's a part in that movie I always make fun of, when Santa comes down through the chimney and they try to arrest him and he jovially responds, "Not me!" and tries to leave. This is very reminiscent of that.
Dax nodded argumentatively,
So... was he agreeing or not?
and looked back down at the paper. Then he looked up and pushed it away from him with his fingertips. "I haven't a clue what you want me to do, Della," he said honestly.
Honestly, nor do I.
"Oh, I just want you to figure it all out," Della said cheerily. "You're smart enough, you can do it."
Well, that's not asking much, is it?
Dax shook his head. "I'm not so sure about this. After all, I haven't got my thinking cap on."
"Go home and get it," Della said.
"One moment," said Dax, and he ran out the door. A moment later he was back with a giant red baseball cap in his hands.
It--- I-- Why--
IT REALLY EXISTS?
Dax, I thought you were smarter than that!
"Now I shall do it," he pronounced, putting the cap upon his head. A moment passed, and then another, and Della was impatient. "Well? Well? You have the answer?" she said, jumping from foot to foot.
She was doing the tribal Waiting For Answers dance.
"No," he said, taking it off and scratching his head. "It must be broken."
Oh no! Not the broken thinking cap!
Only then did she catch the look in his eyes and exclaim, "It was all a joke!"
"Indeed," he said, taking a bow and throwing the baseball cap onto a cake.
The cake came with the McDonald's meal, of course.
"You know I joke."
"I joke sometimes... you know that, right?"
Della frowned. "This is no time for joking, young man!" She scolded him with her finger. "You be serious and solve my problem!"
Sheesh. She's so temperamental.
Dax sighed. "But they're your problems," he said with a feeble sigh.
Protest stronger, Dax. It's true, you have absolutely no obligation to solve this random murder with no evidence.
Della relented not at all.
So Dax sat back down on the couch, the paper in his hand, and looking it over carefully, up and down, trying to figure out what each individual figure must mean. It didn't mean very much to him, he had to admit to Della, as he read each figure and who had bought which guns. "Probably doesn't mean much to anyone except for the gun man," he said with a grumble.
"But you can figure out!" Della said, frowning.
"I am an ARCHAEOLOGIST!!!" Dax screamed at her. "I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING!" And he shoved the paper into her hands and ran out into the street.
One of my other favorite moments. For, really, the first time in the story, Dax reveals that he might be just as insane as Della is.
Della sat in shock, on the couch, her flowered couch.
Enjoy my knack for details?
She had the papers in her hands and wasn't sure what to do with them, so she put them in a folder and put them in a filing cabinet. Then she stood at the window, hands clasped behind her back, and watched as Dax entered his head. She couldn't believe that had just transpired.
I can't say I saw it coming either.
She wanted to go back and redo the entire evening over again, except this time she and Dax would get along swimmingly and everyone would be happy.
Probably her parents would be alive, too.
Maybe she should call him and find out if he was okay or not. Maybe not.
Ah... To call or not to call.