Allen peeked over the hedge and surveyed the picnickers.
He looked down at the body and sighed. Mr. Farney was dead. The argument had been heated, but blows weren’t exchanged. Allen noticed his boss looked nauseated and was short of breath, but Farney didn’t complain that he was ill. He just fell down dead. If anyone knew they had argued, Allen was sure to be blamed for the death. Killed previous boss was a resume killer. Allen leaned down with shaky hands and grabbed Mr. Farney’s legs, pulling him into the hedge. Maybe no one would remember they walked away from the picnic together, and even if they did, Allen could say they parted ways when he was sent back to the office. Allen straightened his shirt and walked toward his car with a deliberate stride. When he reached his car, he smiled for real. No witnesses. His smile became strained when he saw Mary.
Mary hopped out of her car and waved at Allen, glad she wasn’t Farney’s gopher. Mr. Farney probably sent Allen back to the office to do some task while everyone else had the afternoon off. She cut through the grass in the hopes no one would notice she was late. Mary saw something shiny in the hedge. Curious, she walked over and saw Mr. Farney’s watch in the shrub, still attached to his arm. Mary slapped a hand over her mouth to stop the scream. She had complained to everyone about the pay raise he denied her. Mary didn’t want more responsibility, but she needed more money. Who didn’t? Surely no one would think she had anything to do with this. She couldn’t have moved the body, and it had been moved. She had watched enough Law and Order, and CSI shows to know that. Mary continued her journey to the picnic area with a worried smile plastered on her face.
Brenda’s turn at the buffet finally arrived. She was starving. Her plate was full by the time she stood before the desserts. She was pleased to see her bar cookies had been well received. Her eyes widened when she saw which dish she had brought. Brenda accidentally brought the container with nuts in the recipe. Everyone knew Mr. Farney was deathly allergic to nuts. She looked around but didn’t see him. She looked back at the generic container she used for potlucks. It was a throwaway from the dollar store. Her fingerprints were on it, but they were everywhere. She had come early to set up and had touched everything. Looking around again, she picked up one of the bar cookies and, pitching her voice to be heard, said, “These look good. Wonder who brought them?” She placed it on her plate and went in search of a seat.
More Flash Fiction by N. R. Tucker.