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Susan Furlong-Bolliger

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Death By Jello
By Susan Furlong-Bolliger
Friday, January 06, 2012

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Bailey isn't too thrilled with the fact that she had to bring a jello salad to her real estate office's Thanksgiving party, and even less happy when her boss suddenly drops dead after eating it. When the police arrive to investigate, Bailey soon finds that the world of selling houses is a LOT more cutthroat than even she had realized.


“Jello?” squawked Judith, eyeing me with disdain. “That wasn’t your assigned dish,” she pointed out. Judith was the uptight type. Which is probably why she was the top seller at Getmore Real Estate.

“Well, I happen to love jello,” Bill piped up, adjusting his collar so that it peeked out neatly from under his sweater vest.

“Yes, but Bailey was assigned a side dish, not dessert.” Judith took my deli container and gave me a nasty once over. “Did you happen to bring a serving bowl?”

I shrugged. What did it really matter? “Geez, Judith, this is just an office party, not fine dining.”

“What is that?” interrupted a voice from behind.

I cringed, and glanced over my shoulder to find our newest, youngest, and my least favorite associate, Ron Newbauer, strutting in with a large silver platter with a domed lid. Out of the four realtors in the office, he was the most egocentric, cut-throat jerk around; although, to his credit, he could sell houses. Even in the economic downturn, Ron was selling. In fact, he’d met the million dollar mark the first six months at the office.

“It’s jello,” I mumbled.

Ron chuckled. “Well, I brought the meat,” he said, lifting the dome with flourish. Rows of turkey, dark and light, were lined neatly on a bed of ruffled lettuce. “At least turkey is a traditional Thanksgiving dish.”

“Looks good,” I lied. I hated turkey. I looked around trying to find a way to escape. Conversing with Ron was always a downer. The guy could find a thousand ways to insult me.

“By the way,” he started. Too late. I bristled for what was coming. “Did you see my newest listing? Wicker Park. Nice, huh?”

I nodded, still looking around for an escape route.

He continued, “The listing price has too many zeros to count.”

“Good for you.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, good for me. What was your last commission, Bailey? Five hundred bucks?”

I blew off his comment and walked over to where Sally Hanson, our receptionist, was busy converting our seven-by-five conference table into a festive holiday setting. I grabbed one end of a disposable tablecloth and helped her position it so that the giant turkey wearing a pilgrim hat was precisely in the middle of the table.

“How ya doing, honey?” Sally asked, peering at me through double-layered eyelashes and tossing a blonde lock over her shoulder. Tonight, our long-legged receptionist was looking quite festive in a short black skirt and a slightly tight sweater featuring a giant horn of plenty across the front. For some reason, every time I saw her, that catchy Eric Clapton tune popped into my mind, “Lay Down Sally.” And, the tune seemed to fit. At least that’s what I’d heard. Although, I hate to listen to office gossip.

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