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Authors: Stacy Matthews

Tags: #Mystery: Cozy - New York

Stacy Matthews - Dear Mary 01 - Think Twice Before You Order

BOOK: Stacy Matthews - Dear Mary 01 - Think Twice Before You Order
Stacy Matthews - Dear Mary 01 - Think Twice Before You Order
Number I of
Dear Mary Mysteries
Stacy Matthews
Stacy Matthews (2013)
Mystery: Cozy - Kansas
Mystery: Cozy -ttt

Sid usually talks to her grandfather every day. She was so busy at work that she hadn't gotten the chance to call him in three days. When she couldn't get in touch with him, she decided it was time for a visit. That meant going back to the town where she was born and raised. Surrounded by people she had known her entire life, she hadn't realized how crazy they were—until she needed their help.














Copyright © 2013

Stacy Matthews

All rights reserved


This is a work of fiction. All of the characters,

events portrayed in this book
are either

of the
author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.


Dedicated to my Mom


Special thanks to all my friends for

re-reading this! You all

who you are!

And a special thanks to

Dawn Simmons

Jason Roden


June 6

Today is the first day of writing in my journal. I have been
feeling a little down for the last couple of months, so one of my friends
suggested I talk to a psychologist. I didn’t feel that I needed the services of
a professional, but I thought one session couldn't hurt.

I spent two hundred dollars to sit in a room with a woman who
asked, “What do you think?” for an hour. I think I should have spent the two
hundred dollars on a pair of shoes I’ve had my eye on. I find it difficult—no,
very difficult to tell someone I don’t know how I feel or think about anything
personal. I don’t know if it’s a Midwest thing or the fact that I just didn't
like that woman, but by the end of the session we both knew I wasn't coming

She did suggest one thing I agreed with. Since I wasn't
comfortable talking with someone face to face, she thought keeping a journal
would let me express my feelings. I told her in grade school we used to write
to pen pals, and I loved that. I asked if it would be okay for me to write to
an imaginary pen pal. She thought it would be great for me to write in whatever
format was the most comfortable; the important thing was for me to write.

So I don’t think the two hundred was completely wasted. The
journal will be like making a new friend, but one who can only listen and not
make any comments or give advice. I still thought you needed a name. It came
down to Mary or Blanche. I flipped a coin and it came up Mary. So here we go,

My name is Sidney Graham, but everyone calls me Sid.

I’m forty-three, five feet eight, with short brown hair and
brown eyes. I hate spending any time on my hair, so I get the easiest hair cut
possible, and that means short. I want to be able to wash, towel dry, run my
hands through it and be on my way. Thankfully, I have very thick hair, so the
short cut works for me. I don’t drink that often, I don’t smoke, and I try to
get some kind of exercise at least three to four times a week. It’s not that
staying fit has ever been that important to me. The problem is I love to eat and
don’t want to have to worry about how much weight I might gain if I didn’t do
some kind of exercise. I don’t enjoy going to the gym, and I hate running, so
that leaves me with walking. If done right, it’s an excellent workout. It also
gives me a chance to be alone. I walk to work and take the stairs instead of
the elevator when I can, but believe me, if it’s more than three floors, I’m on
the elevator. I don’t have the body of a model; it’s more like a wannabe
athlete that could do better if she put more time into it. I’m one of those
lucky people that have a great metabolism, but I am getting older, and I believe
the exercise can’t hurt.

I’ve decided to take a short sabbatical from work to sort out
a few things. I started feeling like I needed a change not long ago. What kind
of change I’m not sure, personal or professional, maybe both. I’m hoping I can
figure that out in the time I have off.

I'm originally from Edwardsville, Kansas. It’s a small town
half an hour away from Kansas City, Missouri. When people on either coast find
out you’re from a small town in Kansas, you can count on them making smart ass
comments about
The Wizard of Oz
. The two most common are “Does Dorothy
look like Aunt Em now that she’s older?” and, “Do you guys still have that
problem with talking scarecrows?” They think they’re being clever and witty,
but it gets old after the first thousand times you hear it.

I live in New York City now, and I have
to say this is one of the greatest places in the world. It really is a city
that never sleeps. Something is always going on. It was a big change for me to
go from a small town in Kansas to this. At work I’m either on the phone, in a
meeting, solving problems; whatever it is, I’m never alone. I am constantly
surrounded by people, so by the time I get home, I don't want to be around
anyone. That’s why I enjoy walking so much. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do like
people for the most part. I just don’t feel the need to be friends with
everyone I meet. The friends I do have I’ve known for more than twenty years.
It may take me a little longer to make friends than most, but once we are
friends, we will be friends for life. Some people would call me eccentric, but
I prefer the term “selective.” It’s starting to sound like I’m a hermit, but I’m
not. I may have hermit-like tendencies, but I do have friends I go out to eat
with, shopping, see a Broadway show, etc.

I’ve just gotten out of another failed relationship. Yes, I’ve
had relationships, but none of them seem to last very long. I know what you are
thinking: What did all of those relationships have in common? Of course, the
answer is moi. At this point I think it would be best for me to continue
building a relationship with Grandpa Graham and figure out what direction or
path I would like to see my life take. He’s actually the reason I started
writing to you today.

He is the only living relative I have. I try to make sure I
call him at least a couple of times a week. I can’t tell if it’s irritating to
him, he likes it, or if it makes him feel as though I am treating him like a
child. I haven’t called him in three days, but lucky for him I’ve made up for
it today and called him three times. I’ve had to leave a message every time, so
maybe he isn’t so lucky. I think this message will either get his attention or
make him throw the machine away. What do you think? “Hi, Grandpa, it’s Sid
again. Just wondering where you are. I'm sure you are just out with Charlie or
one of your other buddies, but I am starting to get a little worried. This is
the third message I’ve had to leave. I am up to ‘
fallen ten feet from the phone and you’re lying there in agony, you can’t reach
it but can hear the messages I’m leaving.’ In fact, I think I’ll call one of
those places that have the little necklace you wear and push the button if you
need help. Call me as soon as you get in.”

I worry about him living on his own. I’ve been reading how
the number of missing elderly has been on the rise. Of course, those people
suffer from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, neither of which Grandpa has,
but in my mind I can just see him aimlessly wondering around. I decided to call
the police department there and see if they could send someone over to check on
him. That’s nothing you could or would ever expect from a large city, but in a
small town it’s no big deal. I talked to a very nice woman who said they would
send an officer over to the house. If Grandpa was there, the officers would tell
him to call me, and if he wasn’t, they would leave a business card letting him
know I was trying to reach him.

Having grandparents of her own, she understood the concern
when you cannot get in touch with them. She said she would let me know if the
officers made contact with him. I thanked her for being so understanding and
would be waiting for her call. I have a feeling had I started with my “ten feet
from the phone” theory, the conversation would have been much different.

You know what? This really is better than a session with a
doctor and a lot cheaper. Can you imagine how much money I would have had to spend
on a counselor just to get this far?

But I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Seeing as how
you’re a new friend, I need to tell you a bit more about myself, a lot more
actually. That will have to wait until I’m on the plane. Fortunately, the
dispatcher called just as I was getting ready to clean my apartment. FYI, I’m
not the best housekeeper, so there was plenty to do. She said Grandpa wasn’t
there. The officers had walked around the outside of the house, and there
were no obvious signs of a break-in. Everything seemed to be fine, no broken
windows or open doors, so they left a card like they said they would. At
this point that was all they could do.

It didn’t sound as though there was anything wrong at
Grandpa’s, but there had been enough time between phone calls that I had worked
myself up into a pretty good frenzy.  It doesn’t seem to take much to get
me into that state lately. Besides, I thought he might
be happy to see me. I’m not sure if we are at that point in our relationship
where just dropping by is okay, but this is one way to find out. I had
conveniently packed a bag earlier, so I grabbed my journal and called a cab.
I’m headed to the airport to catch the first flight back to Kansas City. I hope
it’s not too long of a wait.

Talk to you in a bit.



Dear Mary,

Two things; It’s only an hour until the next flight to KC and
I can’t believe how much I enjoy writing in my journal.

I especially love the fact that people leave you alone if
they think you are busy. They don’t ask what time it is, they don’t try and
make small talk. It’s great. While we were waiting to board, no one said a word
to me. Once I was in my seat, I got my journal out and started writing. Right
now the little kid sitting in front of me is peering over the top of the seat
just staring at me. Thanks to my new pen pal, I can concentrate on writing
instead of having a staring war with a three year old. Honestly I wish I had
started one of these years ago.

All this rushing around and catching the next flight home
reminds me, I haven’t been back since Dad’s funeral. I have wanted to come out
and see Grandpa before now, but I have been so busy at work I just haven’t had

When Grandpa and I first started talking, I was a little
worried that the only thing he may have been doing was sitting at home being
depressed and doing yard work. Mrs. Bartley is the one I get updates about
Grandpa from. She’s in what is unofficially known as the Edwardsville Mafia.

The E-Mafia includes Mrs. Ruby, Mrs. Holtz, Mrs. Edmonds, and
Mrs. Bartley. These women are the ones that take care of the newly widowed men
in town. They make sure they have enough to eat, the house is clean, and their
laundry is done properly. It all started because a widower’s daughter thought
it would be best if her father learned how to do all of these things for
himself; Something to keep him busy and not feeling sorry for himself.

Legend has it that was the one and only time they gave in.
Then it happened. They saw this poor man walking around town and all of his
clothes were a dingy shade of blues and blacks. They vowed right then and there
nothing like that would ever happen again while they were alive. Because of one
man’s inability to separate whites from colors the Edwardsville Mafia was born.

Some say Texas actually got their State slogan “Don’t mess
with Texas” from the E-Mafia. It’s well known around these parts that you don’t
mess with them.

Even though Mrs. Ruby lives next door to Grandpa, I don’t
like to be on the phone for an hour or more hearing the business of everyone
else in town, and you can never actually be sure about the accuracy of her

Mrs. Bartley is how I found out Grandpa has more friends than
I do, and he does everything but sit at home feeling lonely and sorry for
himself. According to Mrs. Bartley he and his friends always seem to be doing
something or going somewhere. She said Charlie Crossland is the friend Grandpa
spends most of his time with. Charlie is about twenty years younger than Grandpa,
so that would put him in the neighborhood of 67.

Even though they had known of each other for years, their
friendship didn’t start until about five years ago after Charlie’s wife died.
Grandpa knew what it was like to lose the love of your life, so he tried to get
Charlie out of the house. He took him bowling, fishing, anything he could think
of to get him up and moving. Grandpa told me if it had not been for his “mall
buddies” he probably would still be sitting at home thinking about Grandma.

Grandpa finally convinced Charlie to join the mall group.
Even after five years, Grandpa said it hasn’t been until these last six months
that Charlie has truly started coming out of his shell.

I’m finding things are much harder to explain when having to
write them down instead of verbalizing them. For instance how do I explain
Grandpa to you, or anyone for that matter? At first glance you think, “What a
cute little old man.” It’s only when you have spent time in Edwardsville that
you realize every old man in town looks exactly alike.

He has snow-white hair and the bluest eyes I have ever seen.
When I was a kid I wanted my eyes to be that color, but I got stuck with brown.
He wears overalls, and with the exception of one good suit, I think they are
the only clothes he owns.

He and some of the other guys in town go to the Redwood Inn
in the morning to have breakfast, drink coffee and talk about the “old days.”
No wonder people their age are up so early in the morning, there’s no way
anyone could sleep with all that caffeine in their system. It keeps them off
the streets, which in my eyes is a win-win situation.

I was going to tell you more about myself
I, where do I start? I’m the marketing director for a large company in New York
City. It is a great job and I’m lucky to have it. I’m just not happy doing it
anymore. I’m not sure what-if anything has changed.

As far back as I can remember, whenever my Mom would come
home from the grocery store, I would make up commercials for the products she
bought. I would practice them for hours. When my Dad would get home from work,
I would do 15 minutes of commercials, “brought to you in Technicolor by Sid
Graham.” I always got standing ovations. I have a feeling that played a big
part in my decision about going into the world of marketing.

When I was a sophomore in high school, advertising still held
my interest and it was time to start thinking about colleges. I ended up going
to college in Arizona. They have one of the best schools for marketing. I knew
to really make it in this field I would eventually need to move to New York. Of
course my mother had wanted me to stay in state and go to school then get a job
locally, but that’s not what I wanted. She adjusted to the fact I was going to
school out of state, but when I had to tell her I had been offered a job at a
firm in New York, you would have thought I shot her. She said “Don’t you love
us anymore? The next thing you know we will only see you on holidays and
birthdays, then it will be the occasional card on holidays if we’re lucky!” she
could be so dramatic. I went home as often as I could. I have a tendency to
overreact, and I may worry a little more than necessary. Okay a lot more than
can’t imagine where that comes from.

The thing I don’t understand is that I never overreact or
worry at work. No matter what happens, I’m cool as a cucumber. I’ve convinced
myself that the overreacting is a lovely little trait I get from my mother,
along with the worrying. It has to be genetic. I would hate to think I could be
this bad on my own.

Well we are coming into KCI Airport; time to get my things

Talk to you later

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