Cake Batter

Friday sneaked its way on Camp Hattawata. Emma hummed her favorite song as she her pies baked in the oven. She wiggled her sweet butt when her song played on her phone. The diner had a few customers and the workers started preparing the food of the day. Emma waved to Ingrid and pointed to the oven. Ingrid knew what she wanted and checked on her pies.

"They look good, Mrs. M! The pies are good enough to eat! One looks like cherry and the other...is that chocolate?"

"It sure is, but it's called Mississippi Mud Pie. I had this recipe back when I used to work at a bakery. It is special because it's my own."

"What makes this Mississippi Mud so different?"

"One, I don't put nuts in the pie. Yes, it requires almonds in the book, but I know a lot of people have a nut allergy. So, bye-bye nuts. What I put in there instead are Rice Crispies."

Ingrid's eyes brightened from hearing this. "My favorite! That's brilliant, Ems!"

"Isn't it, Sug?" Emma laughed and went back to wiping the counter. She saw Saul and Kevin entering the diner, their stomachs growling. "Uh-oh! You two worked out without a meal?"

The boys nodded. "Yeah, the others are coming over soon. John and Peter are flirting with their girlfriends. Mario and Karl are...God knows what." Saul shook his cute head. "But anyway, they're coming over when they're done."

That part was true. Soccer became a popular sport over at the camp. Friday morning was when Amanda, Melissa and I practiced with John and his team. However, we had extra members. Miel, Kachina and Will came with us to beat the boys' athletic butts. And wow! I had never seen them compete! Our sisters cheered when Will kicked her first goal.

Emma chuckled. "Oh, I see. Well, I see that the six of you are teaching the Rho girls the ropes about soccer as well as the Etas. How are they doing?"

Kevin grinned and laughed about it. "You know about that too? Wow, your husband's a big mouth!" He looked at Saul and that guy stared at him as if he was gonna jab him. He soon stopped laughing and sighed. "Well, Emma, the girls from Rho are doing extremely well. Miel and Kachina are playing so serious! And Will came out on top."

"Of me!" Saul added as he beamed. He expanded his chest when he said it. Emma took that as an accomplishment for him and smiled at him. "Well, Saul, you are doing a splendid job teaching the Rho girls. I'm glad for you. Here, why don't you two sit down and I'll give you your menus?"

Ingrid came over and waved to Kevin and Saul. "Miel was excited when she told me all about the Eta's invitation to play in soccer. It's so wonderful the way she and Kendra started to talk like they're friends. Kendra and Miel have a lot in common! They both love soccer, they're both Geminis and they love detective stories. That last one blew me away!"

"Really?" Saul asked Ingrid in astonishment. "I didn't think someone as sweet as Miel ever had a thing for mystery."

Kevin grinned. "She told me about it. She said she loves problem solving, so reading a mystery book is like a walk in a park for her."

Ingrid nodded. "Yep! It makes sense since her parents work for the police. So, she wants to be a detective like her dad." Saul's mouth widened to a happy one, well happy with a little shock. "Who knew?? Well, she's going to be a hit with the people this summer, won't she?"

Emma came back with the menus and gave them to the boys. "You better believe it. And speaking of hits, Charles is going to be over the moon this coming weekend!"

Charles came out of the kitchen and smiled widely. "Oh yeah, I know for sure we're going to have a huge hit at this weekend's bar."

Kevin's ears perked and turned to the co-owner. "A bar? Are you opening a bar?? Do you have a distribution and liquors license yet?"

Charles's face turned to stone. "I don't like to sell any alcohol product. If it's in the food, the stuff would be steamed off from the intense heat. No, no strong stuff for this diner. We are doing this without too much of the stuff."

"He's an AA member." Emma explained, hugging her hubby from behind. The husband nodded as he embraced his wife. "Yeah. I quit the stuff a long time ago. Still need some support to keep myself away from it.

"Anyway, the bar I'm referring to would be the upcoming Pie Bar. This coming weekend, we're going to have a pie buffet. A whole sort of them! Your eyes would glue to the sight, I know it!"

"Really?" Saul grinned. The male co-owner nodded. "Oh yeah. I'll tell you boys a secret. I help my wife out by making some of the pies. I do all the hard stuff, by working on the dough and wash the fruit before cutting them. Oh, but the result of hard work is fabulous! When I make pies, Emma offer me her pie."

Then the guy laughed. Kevin was amazed by the Pie Bar itself. "Wow! Your wife is awfully sweet of her to give you her pie!"

"I know right?"

"So, what kind of pie does she make you? Lemon Meringue? Key Lime? French Silk? Me? I love French Silk!"

Saul smacked Kevin's back of the head. "Shut up! He's..." He pulled his friend over to him and whispered something to Kevin. The tall guy gasped. "Wow...that kind of pie! So...it's a...Honey Pie?"

Charles turned away with a smug look. "Not going to put it up there, but we do make honey pies."

Emma went tomato red as Charles turned back to the kitchen. Ingrid giggled to the thought, and Emma went aloof. "Don't start, Ingrid!"

"Come on, Emma, your husband's compliments are ridiculously cute. I mean the fact that him helping you turns you on like that. If I ever marry, I want my guy to help me around the house. That would get me plenty of energy to—"

"Ingrid, not in public!" Emma shouted. She covered her mouth and whispered to her employee. "You get so loud when you become excited, girl."

"Sorry." Ingrid piped. She took out the ingredients to make ice cream. "I'll start making the ice cream and I'll add the pies."

"That's my girl." Emma's color turned back and proceeded to write down potential flavors of the week. The door opened and Daisuke and Bertha came in with their regular clothes. Katie walked to them with the perkiest smile. "Hi! Welcome back to Cookies & Cream! I'm Katie, your server. May I ask how many people are there?"

"Four." Daisuke said. Katie looked behind the couple and found no other people behind them. She knew they were going to wait for the other guests. "I see. Would you like a booth at the far corner?"

"I think it's the best thing, Katie." Bertha said with a grim look. Ingrid placed four menus on the counter and her sister grabbed them. After a few moments, Katie came back with a concerned look. "Hey guys, Doc and Bertha looks like somebody died or something. Their faces look so melancholy. I mean, if sadness was a body of water, they'd be soaked from head to foot."

"You don't think one of the nurses died from exhaustion from last night's poison ivy rush, do you?" Ingrid asked Emma. The co-owner shook her head with disbelief. "Oh, that's nonsense! Shame on you for underestimating our fellow nurses! Besides, Tony said all the nurses are alive. He gave them food and perked them up that's for sure! Now let's not talk about their story. After all, it's not our business."

A few minutes later, Emma changed her tune when two police detectives entered the diner. Frank, the older, in his prime man came over with a younger male detective. Now those two were like day and night. Frank was older with thick black hair and he was rugged. His partner was perky and clean shaven with fresh teal hair.

"Hello, Frank." Emma said to the detectives. "Do you want your usual coffee?"

"We actually want breakfast, Mrs. Mersfield." Frank answered. "Doc called the station, telling our Lieutenant they made a discovery that might help our case. Are they here?"

"I'll take you to them." Katie said and led the two gentlemen to Doc and Bertha's booth. The waitress came back with a pale face. I happened to see her rushing to Emma and Ingrid as the six of us entered the diner. Miel noticed that look. She whispered to me that Katie knew something serious was going on.

I moved to Emma and sat on the stood. The co-owner handed me a menu without saying a word. Kachina and Miel sat between me as the other three girls sat with Saul and Kevin. Emma came to her senses and smiled at us.

"Hi girls, sorry for the silent treatment. We might have a breakfast rush in the next ten minutes."

"That's not what we read from Katie." Miel commented with her large eyes turning to Katie. "Katie, you seem to have this girl of the world approach. What do you think of this atmosphere right now?"

Katie squirmed and wiggled her hips. "It feels like a dark cloud dominated the place." She moved and put the order to the window. "Four coffees, two caramels, one heavy cream and one black."

"Katie." I said sternly. "Something obviously is going on here. Do you know anything about it?"

Katie's answered baffled me. "Not my circus; not my monkeys."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Kachina asked her with a surprised look. Emma seethed her teeth. "That was my doing. I told her whatever those four people in that corner booth are talking about, it's none of her business."

"But now we are re-thinking that." Ingrid added. "If only I was a fly over their heads."

Emma rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I'll tell you what you're going to see. My shoe before I swat your butt!" As Ingrid took back her words, Emma knew she made a good point. They do need to figure out what was going on. "We don't need a fly; we need a spy." She spoke softly, turning to Kachina, Miel and I. "You three can find out, won't you?"

We got taken aback from that idea. "You want us to do what now?" Kachina asked, her green eyes popping!

"Pipe down!" Ingrid shushed us. "Come on, we need to know what those guys are talking about. There's no way I would go there without a good excuse. You guys? You can sit down near them and order your usual. Katie could be the good leading point to ease you in there."

Katie picked up her coffees and put them on the tray along with a carafe and a bowl of cream. Ingrid called her over and gave her a plan. Emma whistled her tune, pretending she had nothing to do with the whole thing. I was up in the air about this, but a thought came to me. What if it had something to do with Rose?

"Okay, we'll do it." I said to Ingrid. Katie was nervous when we followed her to the corner. The tray with the coffee cups shook under her hands. She had our menus under her other arm as she led us to the seats nearest to the corner booth. That corner was quiet, not much of anything going on there. You can read "War and Peace" all day it was so quiet.

"Okay, girls, please rest as I serve the coffee to the next table." Katie suggested as we sat down. She whisked away to the corner. We were not exactly behind them, but we were an ear's distance. Of course, there was an extra specialty Kachina had where hearing failed. Kachina could read lips, and it was particularly useful when Daisuke, Bertha and their guests started to talk.

"So, Daisuke, what is this news you had to tell us?" Frank asked the doctor. I glanced over at the doctor. He was firm and serious about what he had to say. Kachina was in the focused mode when Frank egged the doctor to talk. "Come on, you were excited when you called me."

"I'm so excited too." Michael said chugging his coffee. His accent was rough yet rather sexy. It sounded like he grew up in some edgy neighborhood. So he was more of a street smart sort of detective. "I mean, if it involves this case, I'm all for it."

"Calm down, Jersey." Frank said to him. "Well? What's the tale, nightingale?"

Daisuke sipped his black coffee and set it down on the saucer. "We may have a breakthrough. There is the fourth way to give a nut allergen to someone. We found a solution last night. You might want to settle your stomachs first before I tell you this."

"I only want to remind you, Doc, what you're about to tell is only your opinion. Know this." Frank said to him. "All right? Now then, what is this discovery?"

"You sound as if you are already doubting the doctor's words." Bertha folded her arms, glaring at the police officer. We barely breathed now. Miel and Kachina started to lift themselves, wanting to know what that doctor was going to say. The nurse pursed her lips, making sure the officers didn't make a fool out of her friend.

With a long inhale, the doctor said it. "Gentlemen, we believe someone injected the almond essence into Rose's system."

Frank stared the doctor. "Almond essence? As in bitter almonds?"

"It is possible that she was poisoned by cyanide without any intention. However, whoever injected her that dose of almond has knowledge of her nut allergy."

There was complete silence for only a minute. It must of have been a short one to one of the police officers, because he laughed. "Are you serious?? Come on! Someone 'shot' Orlando's mom with some almond bullet."

"Hey it's possible!" Bertha wanted to slap that officer. Bear in mind, she thinks boys his age were men first, (name career here) second. It would give a lot of maturity to make her think otherwise. "You have heard of I.V., right? Someone would have added the almond liquid into the IV when anyone is not looking."

The police detectives turned to one another and turned back to the Daisuke. "In your honest opinion, would you ever think the I.V. is the last place as a cause of death?"

"You're in the hospital surrounded with good nursing staff. An I.V. bag is something you, as a patient, would never consider having anything tainted in there."

Bertha smacked her lips. "Yeah, Dick, I would never think of that sack of liquid is bad! The needle is a huge pain in the ass. But I trust that eating assistant with my life! I should know. I've been in the hospital for a year."

Michael's stomach growled. He laughed with a red face. "Eh, sorry. I guess I'm hungrier than I originally thought."

"It's either your stomach talking or your large intestine?" Bertha asked him. She said that so loudly, if we were drinking any beverages, we'd spat them all over the shock of it! Apparently Bertha had a lot of "talk shit" epigrams you can fit into three Rolodexes. I guess she grew up surrounded by people that talk with their asses. "Sweetheart, drink something with ginger. Your stomach will thank you."

Michael turned to ask Katie for ginger ale when he caught sight of his ex-girlfriend. Michelle came over with Pearl and Grace to order their their meals. He gulped when he saw her. Frank saw how pale his partner went when Michael turned back.

"Something bothering you, Jersey?"

"My ex is here! She's at the counter with her pals!"

Frank turned to see a slender brunette with perky knockers and perfect makeup. Frank took a good look at the New Jersey native. He gave a soft whistle and turned back. "You dumped someone like her? If I was with her, I would never let her go."

"Don't you have a wife?" Bertha asked the senior detective. Frank grinned and winked. "My wife is my number one girl, Bertha." He got up and stretched his arms. "If you don't mind, I should call the Lieu and tell her what's up."

Daisuke leaned over to Bertha. "Do you think he believe us?"

"He better! I don't want our information to go to waste!' Bertha chugged her coffee in one go. She slammed her mug on the table, the sound gave us the shivers. Michael waved his hands to her, his voice rather shaky with a chuckle. "No need for aggression, Bertha! He's going to talk to the Lieu what you told us. He's probably also going to ask permission to issue a warrant."

"For what?" Daisuke asked. The young detective gave his cocky smile to him. "Frank wants to search for that I.V. bag with the tainted liquid. If it's still there, we will have to take many of the people involved to the station. That includes Dr. Caliber, and he is the number one suspect of this homicide."

There was a shadow among us. The three of us turned to see Michelle standing over the startled Michael. We didn't see Michael's whole face, but we had the idea he was surprised to see her there! I mean one moment she was with her friends, and then ZAP she was standing over Michael. And wow! I've never seen a Jersey rage until that moment. "You're going to arrest Caliber?" She asked the detective. Michael panted over her snarled face. "Now hold on...we're not going to arrest Dr. Caliber immediately first. Second, we are going to only search for a weapon. It's possible there would be a trace, maybe even a fingerprint. Dr. Caliber will be off the hook if that evidence isn't pointing to him."

"Then why is he a number one suspect?" Michelle's teeth flashed to the young dick. He grew a backbone. "Why do you care, Michelle?? This is none of your business!"

Bertha and Daisuke watched this back-and-forth argument like a Wimbledon match. Miel, Kachina and I looked at it as some primetime TV. "It is my business! He's like a dad to me! Spencer is a sweet man!"

"So was Harold Shipman." Michael pointed out. "He was also well liked, yet he poisoned hundreds."

"Look, Michael...I know! I know Spencer! He made a Hippocratic oath not to harm! He's a loving man!"

Michael groaned out of frustration. "You know what? You're making this difficult to explain. He's innocent...until proven guilty! Note the word proven!"

"BUT you're making him seem like he's the guilty one!"

"Because he's a DOCTOR with a lot of EXPERIENCE with MEDICINE! He also knows a lot about poisons."

"So?"

"Wouldn't you be suspicious of him if you found out one of his patients died under him?"

Michelle's lips went shut. Michael stood up and chugged the rest of his coffee. "I thought so."

Michelle got her words back. "But Spencer would never kill Rose! He loved her!" If she wanted to take back anything she said, that would be number two. She had revealed a secret affair between an avuncular doctor and his patient. She was the only one who knew this up until a few days prior. She wished she took back what she said.

We saw Michelle blush beet red and took off. Grace and Pearl saw her running and wanted to ask her if she was okay. She pushed them off and ran out the diner. Frank came back with concerned look. "Jersey, what was that all about?"

"I told her about Caliber's possible suspicion, and she went overboard."

Frank shook his head. "We're not going to suspect Dr. Caliber, Jersey. He's in the clear." He turned to Daisuke and Bertha and gave them a nod. "Caliber's record is clean. All of his patients came out alive and a hundred percent."

"Well, that's good news!" Michael said to his senior partner. "Michelle's gonna be really happy that Caliber's off the hook!"

"Right. Now let's head over to the Orlando waste management place." Frank pats his partner's shoulder. The young guy's face gave us three a snicker. He started to retaliate to Frank as Katie came back. "Well, what's the scoop?"

"Didn't you hear about some doctor being a possible suspect??" Kachina asked her. "For a smart person, you are incredibly dense."

"We heard all of that! We want to know about what went on before that woman went over to the police!"

Miel coughed and answered in a calm matter. "The doctor stated that Rose Klein may have died from a nut allergy. Someone injected an almond essence into her system on the day of her surgery."

Katie went stunned. "That's...diabolical!"

"Tell me about it!" Kachina answered. "Let me tell you, that threw me off the loop, I don't know about you two."

"I feel like my stomach is sinking into my bowels." Miel commented. "I need something to calm my nerves." She moved to the counter and asked for a ginger. Kachina followed her friend to the counter. I stayed for a minute, staring at the door. My concern was Michelle. I felt she was hurt.

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