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Recently, Thomas and I spent a week in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Our first night, he mentioned a strong bleach odor in our hotel room. I made an off-hand remark about it being in an upcoming episode of CSI: Spring Break Central.

“I guess we should have brought the blacklight, after all,” I said.

“You know that’s a bad idea. Remember our stay in Texas?” he reminded me. “We vowed to never bring it again.”

“But just think about it, we could solve a crime. We could do interviews and follow the clues and once we found the culprit, we’d get free margaritas our entire trip.”

“We already get free drinks.”

“Yeah, but this time we’d have earned them.”

“We paid for the trip, so I’m pretty sure we already earned them.”

“Which Hardy Boy do you want to be?”

“Excuse me?”

“You know, I’ll be Nancy Drew and you can be a Hardy Boy.”

“No role playing,” he said. “Can’t we just relax?”

“Of course, we can. After we solve the murder.”

“How about this,” he said. “You solve the murder and I’ll be at the beach.”

“But I need you to be my sidekick. Watson to my Sherlock. Fred to my Daphne.”

“I’ll be a ‘no’ to your ‘yes’,” Thomas said.

“Fine,” I slipped my feet into sandals, “but keep an eye out for clues.”

“It’s my top priority,” he kissed my forehead.

“You’re the best!”

He was definitely not the best.

I did all the surveillance on my own cuz he was either sleeping, playing in the ocean, swimming in the pool or eating tacos. He tried convincing me that since I was using the sense of sight, he was using the other four senses.

Apparently, he’s better able to concentrate his hearing with his eyes closed; water-based activities were the sense of touch cuz negative vibrations from the murderer could travel through water just like electricity; eating tacos was a two-fer cuz he could smell the faintest whiff of guilt-pheromones underneath the guacamole, seasonings, and grilled meat; and scarfing down four tacos without keeling over meant there was no poison on the premises.

He was useless.

I ended the day with no leads, but at 2 a.m., the hot flashes started. I threw off the blankets and saw a flash near the ceiling above the television.

At first, I thought I imagined it. Maybe the sweat dripping into my eyes was mingling with my eye liquid and creating some sort of chemical reaction that caused the flash.

I leaned over, thumped Thomas on the top of his bald head and whispered, “Wake up.” The guy didn’t even move. Just like when he’s awake, he’s no help when he’s asleep.

I wiped my sweaty forehead on his T-shirt. And held my eyelids open. I stared at the spot on the wall, and just like waiting for the sound of a smoke detector with an intermittent dying battery, I soon gave up. Mostly cuz my eyeballs dried out.

It was time to use my ninja investigative skills. Since I’m considerate, I didn’t turn on the lights. I shoved key cards, sunglasses, hats, sunscreen and nail clippers to the side of the dresser. I turned the TV until it hit the wall and climbed up next to it. And I waited.

Forever.

Which was fine because it gave me time to hypothesize about what was making the flash. I tossed around several ideas, and one came to the forefront ... a video camera.

It was so obvious. The previous occupant of the room was a CIA operative whose cover was blown. He knew a visit from an assassin was a for sure thing. The operative attached the camera to the wall to assist in identifying the John Wick wannabe.

Oh man, I’d figured it out. Above me was the answer to all my questions. I just needed to reach it. In the corner of the room was a metal garbage can. I placed it upside down on the dresser. With one foot on it and the other on top of the TV, I stretched as high as I could.

Thomas flipped on the light, “What are you doing!”I lost my balance and fell smashing my shin on the edge of the dresser. “I was trying to get the video camera.”

“That’s a smoke detector.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“But it’s flashing.”

“It probably needs new batteries.”

“Why isn’t it beeping?”

“I imagine it would be annoying to guests.”

I noticed the gallons of blood running down my leg. “Uh-oh.”

The hotel doctor slapped on a large Band-Aid. “FYI, hotel policy requires rooms with excessive blood injuries be sanitized. You’ll be upgraded to a new room.”

We gathered our things and as we exited our contaminated room, I overheard housekeeping, “This is the second time this week someone’s fallen off the dresser in this room. Last time there was blood sprayed on the walls.”

“See,” I whispered to Thomas. “Totes a CIA cover-up.”\

Krista Vance is a former Champaign resident. While she now calls northern Colorado home, she spent five wonderful years in Champaign and misses great friends, corn and big-sky sunsets.