Murder with PeacocksI had become so used to hysterical dawn phone calls that I only muttered one halfhearted oath before answering.
"Peacocks," a voice said.
"I beg your pardon, you must have the wrong number," I mumbled. I opened one eye to peer at the clock: it was 6:00 A.M.
"Oh, don't be silly, Meg," the voice continued. Ah, I recognized it now. Samantha, my brother Rob's fiance. "I just called to tell you we need some peacocks."
"For the wedding, of course." Of course. As far as Samantha was concerned, the entire universe revolved around her upcoming wedding, and as maid of honor, I was expected to share her obsession.
"I see," I said, although actually I didn't. I suppressed a shudder at the thought of peacocks, roasted with the feathers still on, gracing the buffet table. Surely that wasn't what she had in mind, was it? "What are we going to do with them at the wedding?"
"We're not going to do anything with them," Samantha said impatiently. "They'll just be there, adding grace and elegance to the occasion. Don't you remember the weekend before last when we all had dinner with your father? And he was saying what a pity that nothing was blooming in the yard in August, so there wouldn't be much color? Well, I just saw a photo in a magazine that had peacocks in it, and they were just about the most darling things you ever saw...."
I let her rattle on while I fumbled over the contents of my bedside table, found my notebook-that-tells-me-when-to-breath, flipped to the appropriate page, and wrote "Peacocks" in the clear, firm printing I use when I am not in a very good mood.
"We're you thinking of buying or renting them?" I asked, interrupting Samantha's oration on the charms of peacocks.
"Well--rent if we can. I'm sure father would be perfectly happy to buy them if necessary, but I'm not sure what we would do with them in the long run." I noted "Rent/buy if necessary" after "Peacocks."