Plain Old Magic

by Sasha A. Palmer

This is part three. Read the suite from the beginning


 “It’s a difficult town to fit in, Sergeant.”

“It’s Bill, Mr. Miller.

“Right. It’s a tough place to fit in.”

“How so?”

“Just is. I’m from out of state myself, but my son was born and raised here. Still he never felt he was a local.” Mr. Miller fell silent.

“I heard about your son,” Sergeant Parker said, “I’m sorry.”

“He was twenty-three,” Mr. Miller nodded slightly, “How old are you, Sergeant?”

“Forty-two, Sir.”

“He would have been thirty-six now. Hard to believe.”

The front door of the house next to Mr. Miller’s half opened quietly, and a little head with a halo of blond curls peeked out from behind it. The head turned, registered Mr. Miller and Sergeant Parker standing in the driveway and ducked back inside. The door closed.

“What was that?” said Sergeant Parker.

“That would be Liz Benson,” Mr. Miller explained.

“Was she afraid of me?”

“Why would the old girl be afraid of a policeman?” Mr. Miller answered with a question.

Sergeant Parker had no idea.

“Guilty conscience perhaps?” Mr. Miller suggested. “Yep. There’s a thought. Why don’t you investigate her, Sergeant?”

Sergeant Parker stood staring.

Mr. Miller grinned. “She wasn’t afraid of you,” he said, “she was avoiding me.”


“Oh, it’s a long story. She hasn’t spoken to me since…forever.”

“Old grudges?”

“Beats me, Sergeant,” Mr. Miller shrugged his shoulders. “You know…” he paused, “…my son, he was an only child…had this puppy, loved it to pieces. Introduced it to Liz, said, Ms. Liz, this is my brother.He meant it, too. He was about four then. And Liz goes, What a cutie! Looks just like my sister’s puppy. It died, isn’t that something?…That’s Liz Benson for you.”

“Interesting folks around here, uh?” Sergeant Parker said.

“Don’t like strangers much,” said Mr. Miller. “Specially from a big city.”

“I thought that has changed.”

“Some things never change, Sergeant.”

“Tough to fit in.”

“Right. You’ve got an advantage, though. Great to have a police sergeant for a neighbor.”

“Thank you.”

“Just take it slow. You’ll be all right, Bill.”

“Thank you, Mr. Miller. Appreciate it.”

Sergeant Parker was walking to the car when from the corner of his eye he saw Liz Benson. She’d made it down the porch steps already and now hurried toward him, smiling and waving her little hand.

“You must be our new neighbor,” she said in a surprisingly young voice, “I’m Liz Benson.”

“Sergeant Parker. Bill Parker, Ma’am.”

“Welcome, Bill, welcome,” she beamed. “You know, you look just like his son,” she quickly gestured in the direction of Mr. Miller’s house, “just like Johnny! Can you imagine, fell to his death one day, isn’t that something?”

Now that Sergeant Parker saw Liz Benson up close, he found that it was impossible to guess her age. She must have looked exactly the same for many years. Would look the same forever. It’s funny, as he stood there on the sunlit sidewalk, Sergeant Parker suddenly felt very small. Just a boy. No more than four years old.

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