A Forest Dress

dress forest

Photo credit goes to: KL Caley

“Are you okay Mr. Dawson?”

“Yes — yes sir. Sorry for the interruption. I may have caught the same stomach bug as Ms. Carventon this morning. After all her work, she missed her own show. We were both here setting up but she left early complaining of stomach pains and multiple bathroom runs, and now I’ve got it.”

“I’m sorry to hear this but, I need to ask you more questions. I don’t know if anyone told you but that necklace  . . . “

“. . . is valued at about 220,000 thousand dollars. Ms Carventon told me about it being the main attraction. After everyone was done setting up their exhibits, I walked the hall just before opening the doors at noon, reminding myself of what was out there and where things were. It’s part of my job is to answer basic guest questions. 

“The necklace was there when I opened the doors and it was there when I closed them at 1:20 behind the last visitor. It was there, safely locked in it’s case.

“But no one came in after you closed the doors, correct?”

“No, Mr. & Mrs. Thielberg came in about 30 minutes after closing. I escorted them them in to pick up their mural.”

“So – about 1:50? And did you see the necklace at that time?

“No. It was closer to the top of the hour, I noted the time because I was also expecting the mannequin lady, um, I think her name was Ms. Klein, right at 2pm then the Gardner’s to pick up the necklace between 2:45 and 3pm but I really needed a break to use the bathroom again. 

I didn’t check the necklace while with the Thielberg’s because the mural and necklace were on opposite walls see, and the mural exhibit was closer to my table near the door. I stayed with them as they packed up and didn’t think to look over at it.  Maybe I should have, but I hurried to the bathroom as soon as they left.”

“Understood.  Awkward day to get ill — must have made your job much harder.   Did you note that time?”

“3:15, just over an hour ago.  The Gardner’s called at quarter to three to tell me they were running late. I escorted them in and that’s when we discovered that someone had lifted it. Nice folks. I’m so sorry this has happened to them, and Ms. Carventon is frantic. I’ve been her watchman for three years now and this has never happened before.”

“So, it must have happened between your 1:20 closing and 3:10. The hall was empty until you were with the Thielberg’s at 2:00.  What time did they leave?”

“Oh, they were quick; packed and gone in less than 10 minutes. When did your mannequin lady, Ms. Klein arrive?”

“Within just a few minutes after the Thielberg’s left. I heard her from the bathroom calling for me.”

“You were in the bathroom when she arrived?”

“Yes.  I had just sat down. My stomach was killing me.”

“Awkward, I’m sure.”

“I hope you have no idea, sir. With Ms. Carventon out ill, I was by myself. Arguably I should have been home also.”


“Couldn’t have been much later than 2:15 or 2:20.”

“What did she say?”

“Just, “Mr. Dawson?  Are you here?”

“I felt ridiculous answering her from the bathroom.”

“She was gracious and just told me she’d pack up the mannequin and didn’t try to have a conversation with a poor guy stuck in the bathroom.”

“Again – awkward.”

“I’ll say but you want to know how long I was in there. I think Ms. Klein had the hall to herself for no longer than 20 minutes. She was kneeling on the floor in front of the Forest Dress, closing up her mannequin case when I left the bathroom and joined her. She was finished and the dress was back on its stand as you see it now.”

“Tell me about the mannequin.”

“Oh that was interesting. It was very realistic, dark skinned head and bust,  a perfect balance of very nice looking without distracting one from enjoying the unique dress. It was  Ms. Carventon’s idea that came available at the last minute.”

“Last minute?”

“As we were finishing setting up, I got a text from Ms. Carventon telling me to expect Ms. Klein because she’d been able to free up the mannequin from a previous renter.”

“Do you still have that text?”

“Yes. By the time I got it, I was already worried about how I was feeling so was glad that Ms. Klein was nearby and able to drop by quickly to set up.”

“Did you see her setup and leave?”

“Um, no. I met her as she arrived and she was the last to setup as everyone else finished and left. I’m afraid I was in the bathroom again when she left, but she called out her good-bye.”

“Mr. Dawson, I know she’s home ill, but I need you to call Ms. Carventon for me.”

“Should be fine. She was awake and said she was beginning to feel better about an hour ago when I called to let her know about the necklace. Give me a sec. . .  Here’s her number and. . . Hello Ms. Carventon. Sorry to disturb but the police inspector is here and needs to speak with you.”

“Hello, is this Elaine Carventon? . . .  Very good. I’ll try to be short. My name is Bishop.  I need the contact information for your mannequin lady, Ms. Klein. . . . Oh? Mr. Dawson had a text from you just as setup this morning was near completion and . . . I understand . . .  No, If you didn’t then that’s my answer.  Thank you. Rest up and we’ll chat tomorrow morning.”

“Mr. Dawson, you and I are going to have a long day I’m afraid. I think I know what happened here. I’m going to need any security tapes and your guest list as possible witnesses. This Ms. Klein is: your poisoner, our thief and she was that mannequin.

From:  KL Caley’s New To Writing: #WRITEPHOTO


GW bio card 4

5 thoughts on “A Forest Dress

  1. Interesting take on the prompt. This read like a noir fiction – one of my favorite genres. Love the ending, did not see that coming.


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