The knocking was swift, sharp, and not entirely unexpected. Sandra Donningham opened the door to find a handsome, clean shaven man with piercing brown eyes.
“Good afternoon, Ma’am. Sorry to disturb you.”
Sandra smiled at the man’s precise accent. The careful consideration to pronounce syllables. She couldn’t help parroting his crisp pronunciation. “It’s no problem. How may I help you?”
“My name’s Lester. Detective Lester Evil.”
She chuckled. “What a peculiar name.”
“Yes, well. I’m not sure if you’ve heard but there’s a manhunt underway in this area. We’re searching for a suspect in a string of break-ins. A few convenience stores, gas stations. Then the armed robbery at First Capital, on Durham Ave?”
“Not to cause alarm, but our suspect was last seen in the vicinity. As I said, we’re sweeping the area, knocking on doors and spreading the word.”
From his jacket, Lester produced a picture. A still from a bank surveillance camera, zoomed and focused on a man with a ponytail, beard, but otherwise the spitting image of the well-kept individual on her porch step. “If you see this man, do not approach him. Please. Call authorities immediately.”
Sandra took in the picture, cocking her head. “Hmm, sure this isn’t a picture of you?”
Lester conceded the point with a nod. He rubbed his chin, as if to be sure a beard hadn’t suddenly sprouted across his cheeks. “Yes well, the suspect happens to be my brother. I suppose there may be a slight resemblance,” he said, somewhat bashful now.
“A resemblance? I’ll say. Are you twins?”
Sandra flung her hair back, batted her eyes and set a polished red fingernail to the photo. “A handsome devil, if you ask me.”
Lester blinked several times, his face flushed. Two patches of pink bloomed on his clean-shaven cheeks. “Again, not to cause panic, but Mucho Evil is extremely dangerous. If seen you should contact authorities. Or me.” Lester produced a card.
Sandy looked up from the photo, a lingering touch on Lester’s hand as she took the card. “Are you asking me out, Lester?”
“Of the house? No, evacuation won’t be necessary. At least not at this time. I would, however, keep your doors and windows locked. Only as a precaution.”
A small laugh escaped Sandra’s mouth. She covered it and shook her head. A Google Maps Prius whirred by, watching everything, capturing all. “Okay Lester. I can assure you. I will take precaution.”
“Yes, please. Until we apprehend him.” He tipped his hat. “Good day, Ma’am.”
Sandra watched him the way one might watch a determined toddler set off to fly. Detective Lester Evil turned as he reached the sidewalk, nodded again to Sandra. She held the card between two fingers in a salute.
Lester set off for the next house. Sandra smiled, smacked the car against her palm, then turned away. Closing the door, she was still smiling.
“Okay Mucho, he’s gone.”
A figure appeared in the doorway, the late evening sun finding his tattooed shoulders. He gulped down the bottle of beer in his hands then belched. “You did great, babe.”
Sandra flung the card at him. “Oh the poor thing,” she said, leaning against a wall, her chest rising and falling, as if she’d just run a marathon. “He asked me to take precaution.”
Mucho swooped in and wrapped Sandra in his arms. “Lester has always been a stick in the mud.”
Sandra pulled away, starting for the windows. Mucho watched her fiddle with the latch, craning her neck to gaze intently outside. He let out a grunt. “What are you doing?”
Again, Mucho came over and took her in his arms. “Are you still thinking about him?”
She shrugged, leaned back and took him in. “I don’t know. He was sweet.”
“I’ll show you sweet.” Mucho leaned in to kiss her. Sandra set a palm to his chest. “Mucho, why don’t you take a shower, maybe shave?”
Mucho smirked. “You want me to shave?”
Sandra went back to the window. “Uh huh. Maybe cut your hair too.”
Mucho started for the steps. “I don’t believe this.”
Hearing the water upstairs, Sandra found the card and looked it over again. She slapped it against her palm, smiling despite herself. Mucho began singing, deep and soulful, the songs that used to make her melt in his hands. But they no longer touched her the way they used to. For the first time in her life, Sandra gazed out the window, thinking about precautions.
*In response to both the Writer’s Digest prompt – Lesser of Two Evils and #BlogThursday from the Fiction Writers Group.