Chapter 1: Nice to meet you ma’am

The large man burst through the door of the wood-paneled office with a victorious flurry and trumpeted, "Hello Dorris!" A wide grin dancing across his face.

The ancient woman sitting behind the over sized computer monitor looked like she was hungover from drinking a little too much at her 150th birthday party the night before. “You got ‘em then sir?” she croaked, her voice was proof of her recently escaped smoking habit. She gave up smoking a few years ago and now she chomped on gum like it owed her money.

“Of course I did Dorris, don’t you know who I am?” Theo sighed, his grin unwavering, as he plopped onto the leather couch and began to prop his feet up on the neighboring coffee table as he leaned back contemplating his victory.

Theo was in his mid-30s and just over six feet tall, his daily uniform usually consisted of brightly colored Hawaiian shirts, cargo shorts, and flip flops. He had shaggy light brown hair and scruff covering the lower half of his tan face.

Right in the middle of reclining, Theo saw an ancient hand come out from behind the astonishingly outdated monitor and give a single harsh snap. He immediately changed the trajectory of his feet placing them on the floor. Theo cleared his throat and without a trace of his previous smugness he reported, “It was the alligator wrangler's dentist”.

“Called it. Where’s my money, sir?” Dorris croaked, popping a hand out to receive her winnings. Theo rose from the couch and fumbled in his pocket to produced a $1.00 bill, then gently placed it in Dorris’ weathered but rock-solid grip. “You did,” his eyes narrowed, “how do you always know?”

“I don’t always know, I just only bet when I’m sure. Also, TV” she shrugged and pointed across the room. Theo looked where she was pointing and saw a small antiquated TV set that was supported by an old wooden TV tray with tarnished brass legs. The TV was in fact playing some old murder mystery show as always. “With that case closed, we have enough money until the end of the month”.

Then without smiling or breaking eye contact with Theo, Dorris fidgeted in her front desk drawer until she found what she was looking for, she brought her hands above her head and tugged on the string of a mini pull-string confetti cannon raining miniature streamers all over her hair and desk.