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A Nagging Sensation (Ep.1, Pt.3)


In the quiet of the library sat a lone figure. Surrounded by newspapers, Rue Dobbs sat squinting, hunched under a cozy table-mounted lamp, a yellow notepad at his side. His mouth moving as he silently read to himself, the man could have been the only being left in the universe as unaware of his surroundings as he was.
It was a good thing Rue had no enemies.
Turning a page, Dobbs thumbed for the next portion of the article he read, then settled back to reading, chin on his hands.
Eventually sorting through his pile, Rue grabbed what he needed and tiptoed to the copier, fishing for quarters as he did so. With a look around to make sure the librarian wasn’t looking, his fished out his special quarter-on-a-string and made his copies without spending a cent.
Mission accomplished, he took a furtive glance around and tidied his small stack of papers and left, waving to the librarian, Lizzy, as he did so, the woman shaking her head with a smile and locking the doors after him.

#

Staring up at his whiteboard of ideas, Rue leaned heavily back in his chair. He’d made remarkable progress in two days considering the safety deposit box was long closed and the person with whom he most desperately wished to speak was very very dead and therefore not offering much insight to his doings.
Need a break. Big time, he fretted, looking at the calendar on the wall. He had until Friday to come up with the money or he’d be out on his ear. Not for the first time, Rue cursed himself for not asking for half up front. But no that would have been unprofessional! Suckered by a short skirt and pretty eyes, he rubbed his hands through his hair making it stand on end.
This mystery couldn’t be all that hard to solve – after all, he’d managed to get a back story on some of the items that Rebecca sought – if they were put into the right hands, their presence would be known. So whomever had the collection was either keeping mum about it or simply did not know what they had.
Looking over to the list of Mr. Dawes’ known relatives, Rue nodded. Tomorrow he’d have to pay the sister, brother, and Ted’s two children a visit. In the meantime… he turned ‘round in his chair and hauled the laptop on to his lap. Quickly entering a few keystrokes he again watched a few snatches of archived footage from when the man in question had died.
“… the car was found off a pier in Lake Michigan Sunday evening, and in a strange twist it turns out that the man had also shot himself while in the car,” the tinny voice sounded from the speakers, “No word at this time on the exact circumstances leading up to this bizarre accident that has been ruled by police as a suicide. This is WGN News, Chicago.” The clip ended and Rue sat back in the chair, staring off into the distance.
Something didn’t add up. Something nagged at his mind. But what it was he didn’t yet know.

#

Uncapping his pen and sticking the end between his teeth, Rue added few words to his board, linking “Safety Deposit” and “Suicide” with the word “Timing?”
Too many unknowns,” he settled back into his chair, immediately starting up again to write “Motive?” under the words “Safety Deposit” and “Timing?” with a startled exclamation of discovery. Turning ‘round to the desk, he grabbed a messy stack of papers – financials he’d gotten off of… well, never mind whom. Point was, he had ‘em with no questions asked. Shuffling through the stack, Rue found what he sought – medium-small deposits, increasingly small, one after the other, in a short time span just before Ted’s death, followed by a sudden increase, the trickling pattern repeating one more time before Ted’s demise. The timing corresponded with some lovely overdrafts and overdue credit card bills and Rue recognized the all-too-familiar pattern. 
The man was pawning, Rue mused with sudden recognition, wondering which shop he’d have used. Near work or near home?  
Elated to have found a likely motive for both Mr. Dawes’ suicide and removal of his wife’s jewels from their safety deposit box, Rue jotted off a quick list of potential shops in the area, based on their proximity to his victim’s general movements as well as their reputations, creating a shortlist of half-a-dozen. With a flourish, Rue added a few more notes to his board, indulging in a whimsical doodle before heading off for the night, giving his stack of eviction notices a regal, dismissive snap of the fingers as he passed.