The sharp ringing sound of the doorbell broke into his peaceful slumber and, with a groan, he pulled the pillow over his head and tried to block it out to no avail.
The next noise to hit his ears was the turning of a key in his front door lock and he tried to bury himself even deeper into the covers hoping she would mistake him for a pile of bed clothes and go away.
The sound of footsteps walking into the foyer of his apartment crawled up his spine and he tried to make a hole in the middle of the matress so that he could curl up and stay buried forever...or at least until a Godly hours like...say noon.
A cheerful humming buzzed to him like the an irritating insect and he growled, clutching the covers tight, knowing what would come next.
A pregnant pause and...whoosh....the covers flew from him landing in a heap on the floor, the cool air hitting his bare chest and waking him up the rest of the way.
He cracked one sleep encrusted eye and glared at the woman standing over him with a grin on her face.
"You are a cruel, cruel woman," He rasped in his sleep roughened voice and she laughed.
"I'm your sister and it's written in the sister's contract that I have to irritate you at any opportunity. Besides, you're the one that gave me the key to your apartment."
"That was for emergencies only," He grumbled, rubbing at his eyes and yawning before sitting up at the side of his bed.
Moving from his tiny bedroom to the connecting kitchen, she called back, "Someone's got to get that lazy ass of yours up in the morning."
A pause and then,"What do you want for breakfast? Your choices seem to be green pizza, green sweet and sour pork, green lasagne or something that is unidentifiable...but green."
"Hummm, seems you've got a decorating theme going for the inside of your fridge."
Standing, he stretched and headed for his even smaller bathroom.
"I'll eat on the way to the office."
"Good choice, I think something talked to me in there. In spanish. And I don't think it was complementing my choice of ensemble."
Marcus grunted as he went about shaving and brushing his teeth.
He and his twin sister Melody had been working together for a two years now. That is to say they were co-owners of the Dockerson Agency, a good old-fashioned detective agency just like their father used to have. Actually it was the same agency their father used to have and they had inherited it on the death of their parents in a car crash those same two years ago.
A quick shower later he was dressed and heading out the door with his younger twin.
"Anything on the docket?" He asked as he slid into the passenger seat of her clunker.
"Nope," She shook her head before pulling out into traffic. "But if we don't get to the office on time Margret will end up sending the police after us."
"We would have to be missing for at least 24 hours before the police would do anything and they would only come if Margret didn't get it into her head to come after us herself, guns blazing."
Melody grinned and smoothly passed the car in front of her. "What can I say? At least we know we have back up if we ever need it."
Marcus snorted. "In the last six months we haven't dealt with anything worse than a bad divorce. I don't think the .45 she keeps in the desk drawer is going to be needed any time soon."
"I thought she kept the .22 in the desk drawer and the .45 behind the water cooler."
Marcus looked at his sister as they pulled into a parking spot in front of the agency and got out.
"I am not going any further into this conversation."
"Humm, you could be right, for once. I say we don't think about it too much."
Walking into the office, a first floor, three room affair, they were suddenly stopped as a thwap was heard and Melody stood stock still, her eyes rolling upward to where several envelopes had been placed on her head.
Following the line of the hand that held the envelopes, Marcus spied their secretary Margret standing to the side of the door and looking at Melody with upraised eyebrows.
"So tell me, Carnac," She said referring to an old bit by Johnny Carson, "What's in the envelopes."
Melody went still, closed her eyes and begin to chant for a moment before her eyes flew open again and she said,"Bills!"
"Amazing," Margret moved from the door to her desk in the open reception room. "How do you do it?"
"Easy," His twin replied moving to the coffee machine and filling a styrofoam cup with Margret's special brew. "What else do we ever get around here."
"True," Margret, a woman in her 50's but as energetic as a 20 year old, said tossing the letters on her desk. "And, hopefully, we get you two some work so those bills can get paid. Not to mention my salary."
"Mmmm," Melody said as she sipped at the coffee and, before she could say more, the phone on Margret's desk rang.
"Dockerson Agency," Margret's tone had gone from lighthearted to professional in seconds. "Yes, yes, they're here Lt. Jackson. Hold one moment and I'll let you speak to Marcus."
Handing the phone to him, she said,"It's Lt Jackson."
"So I gathered," He grinned and put the phone to his ear wondering what the police leutenant of the small Nowhere City Police Force wanted of their small agency."
"Dockerson here," He said in clipped tones to the phone.
"Marcus," Jeremie Jackson's smooth voice flowed from the phone reciever. "I've got a case and I'm going to need your help."
"Someone been vandalizing the gravestones again?"
"Not this time. Someone's dead. More than one someones and the case is...a little strange." There was a pause then a long sigh as if Lt Jackson was resigned to asking for their help but not liking it at all. "Can you meet me at the station in an hour. We'll pay you your usual consultation fee, of course."
He looked over at his sister who was making a face but then shrugged and nodded. Jackson and she had had a relationship going for a little while until he discovered there was more to Melody than met the eye. That something more had scared the big-city-cop-turned-small-city-cop out of the relationship but not out of their lives.
"Okay, we'll be there," Marcus affirmed. "And, Jackson? You're buying breakfast."