It was a farewell dinner. Elisa had decided to leave Frankfurt forever. Faraway from the city where she was born, took her baby steps and visited its kindergarten, school, and university to New York on another continent.
A close aide of hers by the name of Michael had thrown a dinner party for her. While the snowflakes fell outside continuously, the guests assembled at an oval-shaped dinner table in the living room. Elisa was flanked by Michael on the left and Peter on the right. Michael’s wife, Lena sat next to him. Two more acquaintances settled between Lena and Peter.
Chicken and mushroom soups adorned the center of the table. Pork steaks, loaves of assorted bread, green-salad bowls, and chocolate cakes cut in rectangles ran around them. As Elisa leaned closer to Peter to grab the soup bowls, a strange but familiar perfume scent entered her nostrils. She shuffled her feet and stood nonplussed.
“Do you need something?” asked Michael curiously.
“No,” she murmured and sat down sheepishly on her chair.
After her father’s death a few months back, she always felt alone in the crowd and wanted to start a new life in the USA. Life had taken quite a sharp turn suddenly, throwing her completely off balance.
“Oh! It is getting quite warm here,” complained Michael’s wife, plunging a loaf of bread into her soup.
“Unfortunately, the knob of the heating system is not turning on either side,” answered Michael.
Everyone pulled their sweaters out and rolled their sleeves up. A chain with a pendant embossed with a crocodile sprang up across the collar bone of Peter.
“What a splendid design!” exclaimed Michael while others nodded in affirmation.
A streak of sweat trickled down Elisa’s face, and her spoon clinked sharply against the soup bowl. She picked a piece of tissue paper and dabbed at her face. But she decided to hold her nerves and get at the truth.
After dinner, they decided to have a ball dance. While Michael chose his wife, the two other acquaintances made another pair. Elisa and Peter made the last couple.
As Elisa inched closer to Peter and their arms met in the air, the strong scent of his perfume almost made her wobble. But she regained her poise and looked into his eyes. He looked quite a passionate man. As they swirled together, Peter’s pendant again flung out and glared at Elisa.
She moved her hand gingerly into his deep pocket and plucked a weapon out. It was a pistol. Brandishing it, she screamed, “Where were you on the night of November the ninth?”
The other dancers suddenly stopped in complete shock.
“I killed your father in front of you,” he hollered.
Michael and the third man huddled and took hold of Peter. The criminal in the garb of a businessman was handed over to the police. Michael regretted that the murderer had been his close business associate for so long.
Elisa paid a real homage to her dead father.
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