FRAMED: Episode 2


Austin Ford parked his truck in an empty parking spot in front of Ross’s Diamonds. His pal, Young, had called and said he had a project—a minimal pay project—for him. He suspected a narcotics ring being run out of the art shop next door to the Blossomville frame shop. No stronger evidence existed other than a hunch and a group of known felons keeping the place in business.
Young wanted to plant him at the frame shop next door to run surveillance on the art place. He’d get a meager salary for framing some pictures for an old woman named Violet Sterling.
Danny acted like the woman mattered to him, and Austin never turned down the thrill of an undercover operation, no matter how little the pay. Still, he’d thought he’d matted his last picture the day he graduated from the academy. Apparently not.
The Blossomville police force needed a nonlocal to run the operation and lucky for them, he’d been between sessions at the academy. Three months on teaching, with one month off between each graduating class, he always looked for contract work in the off months. Unlucky for him, he was now stuck the next few weeks in this little sleepy town, framing for some helpless old woman, all the while trying to uncover what was really going on. Only old people owned frame shops, and she’d probably broken her arm while falling from a bad hip.
Merry Christmas to me.

At least he got to keep the minimum wage salary she’d pay. He’d consider that his added bonus for spending his time in little Mayberry, and for the possible pile of paperwork he’d have to help Danny do if he did indeed uncover something during his stint.
Mayberry with a drug problem. Austin shook his head. Who would have thought?
He checked the awnings of the storefronts and found Framed across the street from where he parked. In the window, different size picture frames hung from fishing wire, each one overlapping another to make a window display. Definitely a display done by a woman. If a man owned the shop, there wouldn’t be anything in the windows.  The name said it all.

Read the entire article in the September 2019 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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