Elaine Curtis got out of her car and wrinkled her nose. Without thought, she whipped out a notebook and pen from her blazer pocket and wrote, Eau de cow dung tinged with a hint of skunk wafts through the warm, early autumn air. Underlying this delicate bouquet, one detects the subtle notes of old motor oil and rotting compost. Welcome to Constable, New York.
She lifted her head from its inch-close proximity to the notebook, her writing faint in the dying glow of the setting sun. She patted her pocket to reassure herself her audio recorder was there, though she wouldn't use it until absolutely necessary as she looked over the weathered farm.
Flanking the hard-packed dirt yard were two barns, one obviously newer and sporting nearly unblemished white paint. Cows lowed from its dark interior, no doubt the chief producers of the sweetish rancid stench that layered the air. The other barn was much older, its paint long worn away to expose wooden boards gone silvery with age. The emerald green nose of a tractor peeked out of the gloom of its shadowed door. A window in the loft weeping tufts of straw looked over the tire-marked space between the two structures.
The farmhouse sat several yards back beyond the barns, a tired-looking but sturdy two-story structure peeling white paint. It was situated in such a way as to make equidistant points between the three buildings. The Bermu-dung Triangle, Elaine wrote and snickered to herself.
Two pickup trucks sat before the farmhouse, one an old Ford rusting quietly in the yard sitting on cement blocks and a newer F-350. They were perfect complements to the barns. "Past and Present Still-Life," Elaine muttered, squinting to read her own writing as her pen scratched letters onto the paper.
The low hums of two vehicles pulling into the yard distracted her from her writing. A white utility van with the large letters NCP emblazoned on its side and a silver Explorer parked next to her Cavalier.
Carol got out of the Explorer, her red hair eternally frizzy despite the lack of humidity in the air. "That's Carol Boudette, not Burnett," she'd said the moment she and Elaine had met. "Make sure you get it right. I've had enough stupid jokes about my name and people tugging my earlobe to last me a lifetime."
Except for the red hair, Carol bore no resemblance to the famous comedienne. She had model-perfect features that irritatingly required no makeup. She had once been married to a professional hockey player. Elaine could understand the woman's frustration, especially since Carol rarely displayed any of her famous near-namesake's sense of the funny.
There was certainly no humor present in her demeanor when she was on a case. "No perfume, right?" she asked, looking critically at Elaine's outfit of tan slacks and sleeveless silk blouse over which her navy velvet-trimmed jacket hung. Elaine didn't own jeans and T-shirts, and she refused to wear her workout clothes when in a professional situation. If the clothes got ruined, so be it. At least she had worn sneakers for tonight's investigation.