"Christie, it's 1102 hours. Why hasn't she made contact yet?"
Dimwit. That's military talk.
"I don't know, Jeff. Let's just hope she calls."
"You know I don't really understand. If your sister can call you, why doesn't she just tell you where she is?"
The look on Jeff's face was one of genuine confusion. I wasn't sure whether to feel sorry for him or pity him.
"Because Jeff, she has ethics. Unlike some people I know. She promised someone she wouldn't tell me where she is. And since I don't know where she is, ergo, she is missing."
I sighed, half out of tiredness, half out of being exhausted.
Jeff was silent for a while. The phone rang. So much for silence.
"What took you? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, thanks for asking. I was...preoccupied."
"So...um, how do you feel being missing?"
"To be honest,it's not very nice. I can't find my favourite perfume, 'Alabama Mackerel', and this view of the beach is ..."
"Hey lady, enough with the chit-chat! Make with the instructions!"
The voice on the other side was loud enough to be heard. Sounded like someone hadn't had their Oreos and pasta this morning.
"Yeah, so your next instruction is..."
I waited with bated breath.
"Don't wait with bated breath. You'll die of asphyxia one of these days."
"Aaarrggghh! How do you always know?"
"Twins." She replied by way of answer.
My sister could be quite concise sometimes.
"Yeah, so now you have to look for me at the Funky Town motel-cum-zoo, three miles east. I'll call you at two o'clock."
There was a clicking noise as she cut the call.
Surprisingly, Jeff was still silent.
"Jeff, are you catatonic?"
"No, thank you, I take Benadryl."
I almost giggled.
"So, did Agatha tell us where she is?"
"She told me to go to the Funky Town motel-cum-zoo."
"Well, shall we leave?"
"Not yet. She also gave me a clue."
Jeff perked up. He asked gleefully, "Do you want me to call Forensics?"
"Jeff, remember, your jurisdiction ends at the borders of Disneyland."
"Oh right." Jeff's face fell.
"But don't worry, I figured it out. You see, being twins does have its perks. I know, that my sister's favourite perfume is not 'Alabama Mackerel', it's 'Parisian Alley Cat'. She was trying to tll me where to look for her. We need to find out where in Alabama, you can find mackerels."
Jeff smiled, an absent, vacuous smile that gave me the idea he had not heard my brilliant deduction.
"I was just thinking of something. It's quite funny." Jeff's smile widened.
I was right. He hadn't heard a word I'd said. Two brilliant deductions in one day. I was getting better.
"What is it, Jeff?"
"Your names, your's and your sister's, together they make the name of that famous crime fiction author, that old lady, now what was her name again?"
"Agatha Christie?" I ventured.
"Oh yeah, that's the one. Bet you never thought of that." Jeff was chuckling now.
"Oh my God, Jeff,how did I miss that? You've changed my life forever. How come I never thought of that?" I tried to make it sound as insincere as possible.
I suppose there must have been a small whooshing sound as the sarcasm flew right over his head.
"That's because you're not a trained FBI field agent." Jeff wagged his finger at me, his tone almost patronising.
I groaned again.