THE PERILS OF LOUELLA:

Chapter 150: Louella Gets Fingerprinted

by Alice Cherbonnier

LOUELLA felt like giggling as the interrogation continued. His socks! They're white! And his tie-it's so wrong with that suit! The she began to study Officer Kenner. "M." Kenner, the badge said.What's her first name? Madge? Surely not Melanie! Probably Mary, she mused as the pair studied computer printouts.
Detective Anderson looked up. "It appears Mr. McQuay printed out everybody's e-mail in the office over the past month," he said. "Can you explain why so many of you wanted to get rid of him?"
"Well, we didn't really mean `get rid of him' in the sense of killing him," she said, mouth dry. "We were just upset because he was always talking about the bottom line, and productivity, and hinting about letting some of us go, and we didn't know who was going to be fired, or why, or when, so we were nervous, and acting a little silly."
Officer Kenner frowned and nodded.I wonder if she has it in for any of her bosses, Louella thought.
"Well, you know, Miss Preston-excuse me, isn't it Miss Pryzbylewski? Would you mind explaining to me why you're using an assumed name?-it's interesting that all of you who wrote some pretty violent wishful thinking were women."
"My name? Well, people were having a hard time pronouncing and spelling my real name, so I made it easy for them. You wouldn't understand, with a name like Anderson." She had hoped he would smile, but he didn't. "And, well, this office is almost all women, and I guess we don't feel very physically powerful, and we're all word people, so maybe we were using the e-mail to vent our frustrations in a safe way. At least, we thought it was safe. We had no idea Mr. McQuay would spy on us."
"Well, I'd hardly call it `spying,' Miss... Preston. Over seventy percent of employers check their employees' e-mail."
"Well, there ought to be a law against that," Louella muttered. "It's an invasion of privacy."
"No law against it that I know of," he retorted. "You'd be surprised how easy these computer nerds are making our work these days."
Louella screwed up her nerve and asked, "So how did Mr. McQuay die?"
"We can't tell you that, miss," said Officer Kenner.
"How do you think he might have died?" asked the detective.
Leading question! Leading question!, thought Louella, glad for her legal education thanks to television cop shows.Maybe it's time I asked for a lawyer. Then she reasoned, If I ask for a lawyer, they'll think I have something to hide. Then she quickly corrected herself. They think I think they'll think I have something to hide if I ask for one, so they figure I won't and then they can trap me. But hey, I've got nothing to hide. Talk away! "Stabbed?" she hazarded.
Again, significant looks passed between the officers. Uh, oh, thought Louella. Bull's eye!
"We'd like to take your fingerprints, Miss Preston, to exclude you as a suspect," said the detective, neither confirming nor denying Louella's guess.
Officer Kenner opened a narrow black box and laid out a sheet of paper with ten squares on it. "How do you spell your real name?" she asked, starting to fill out a form.
Louella wanted to bolt and run.

- TO BE CONTINUED -

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