“I found Reema…I mean her body this morning when I opened the salon.” Sheetal spoke with a trembling voice.
“Did she come to the salon before you?” Bansal interrogated.
“No, she had a color and highlight appointment at 11.30 so she wanted to simulate the look on the software here before she could try it on her client. I had a spare key home thus gave her the key to stay back and lock it herself. Little did I know of her suicide plan and bringing my hard work and this salon to dust I wouldn’t have given her the key. She died and with her she took down my brand name too.” In an instant the tremble vanished and a streak of vengeance reflected on her face.
“Suicide…you already proclaim this suicide? Anyway, give us a list of people who work here and we will call you again if need be.” Exclaimed an irritated Bansal withSeema obsessively adoring her own beauty every other second in the glass wall.
“When did you last see her?” Bansal asked the meek looking girl in her early twenties.
“Just before end of my shift at 16.00.” Priya replied staring at the ceiling. Priya looked simple, un-confident and extremely shy. Her demeanor and style a distinct contrast from the panache and aura the place carried.
“Did she mention anything noteworthy?” he continued.
“No.” she stared at Rajeev who just entered the room.
“Yes officer can we please make this quick, I have to leave early for a photoshoot.” the six feet tall and chiseled bod Rajeev placed his feet on the nearby chair throwing his bike keys and Marlboro box on the table.
“sure.” Bansal reciprocated with a sly smile. “How long have you been working at the Sharp Cut Salon?”
“around six months.”
“And Reema?” Bansal continued picking up the Marlboro pack fidgeting with it.
“Well, the star of Sharp Cut would complete 3 years if she did be alive. There is no point asking me shit, I was on my weekly off, worked in different shifts plus I barely knew her. My clients are different than hers.” He grabbed the Marlboro box from Bansal, “I don’t like anyone touching my belongings.” Getting up in a fit of pique he left without turning back.
Bansal looked at Deshpande, “What do you think sir? Reema Lewis, a young 24-year girl is found mysteriously dead at this posh salon with both her hands slit with a sharp instrument most likely a scissor. The owner Sheetal Verma, yes the renowned socialite discovers the body at 11.00 am when she opens the salon. Reema was a peppy, friendly person having the highest high profile regular customers and was an extremely accommodating co-worker. Don’t see a motive for suicide.”
“And murder? Who was she really close to here.” Deshpande contemplated the thought.
“Murder…” Bansal paused “cannot be ruled out. “Ruby…..” he looked outside the glass wall as Ruby entered “Ruby was Reema’s best friend.”
Deshpande looked at Ruby, everything about her shouted wacky. She wore loud makeup, hair quite short, trimmed almost bald on one side, tattoos all over her hands and legs. She turned the chair and sat placing her hands on the backrest of the chair looking confidently at Bansal.
“How well did you know Reema? I mean just as a co-worker or beyond…. personally too? Bansal questioned.
“Sh…sh…shee….waa…was mmy b..b…b..best ffffriend.” Ruby tried to reply with a lot of effort given her stammer.
“Was she worried or tensed…Did something bother her? Why would she commit suicide?” Bansal’s eyes met Deshpande’s echoing the same thought, a girl with a heavy stammer with this high confidence…seemed unlikely in most cases.
“Sh…shh…She waa…was a happy person and never crossed anyone. She worked well and her clients were most of the television actors around Lokhandwala. She was a bit worried about the loan she had taken to buy a flat where she and her mother lived but that cannot be something she would give her life for. She was full of life and wouldn’t go down with such dejection.” She spoke slowly managing her stammer.
“And love? Boyfriend?” Deshpande intervened her talk.
“She had a boyfriend since last six months but I had never seen him. She seldom spoke about him, never took his name. The only time I would see him is when he would come in the evening to pick her up. He has a sexy bike and always wore a helmet so never saw him.”
“Do you think it could be a murder?” Deshpande gazed at Ruby trying to get a reaction.
Her face turned pale even the heavy foundation could not hide it. “M..M…Murr..murder?” “No…Can’t be….or may be A..Ammaarr…she had a huge argument with him..yes I remember now. That morning she had an argument with Amar over keeping the scissors and other instruments in the sterilization box after use. He never liked her.” Ruby started spilling the beans.
“And how did the fight end?” Bansal scribbled on his notepad.
“As always Sheetal mam interceded as Amar is very close to her and she cannot lose Reema too. But when I went to the pantry…I saw…” she stopped again sipping water from her sipper.
Bansal and Deshpande waited for her to talk as Ruby got up and ran to the dustbin in the pantry. She returned and placed the crumpled piece of tissue in front of the pair with trembling hands.
“Will kill her!” was written in a red lipstick “I thought it was Amar’s short tempered outburst and thus took it lightly, I shouldn’t have” she burst in tears.
Deshpande picked up her sipper and handed it to her, he smelt his hands…the sipper was slippery and his hands smelt of very strong fragrance.
Bansal tossed the notepad on the table…”Amar…motive…he could be our man…but why wasn’t he on our interrogation list? Why is Sheetal camouflaging him from us? And the boyfriend…how do we get him to this table….the chances of a suicide do seem to rule out.”
Deshpande’s mobile blinked as he smiled, “the forensic report has arrived.” He announced.
To be continued…
The above story is written by one of my favorite bloggers Shweta Dave. The original post can be found here. She is a master at writing dark mysteries and finds the most innovative and creative ways to weave a web of wonderful tales and poetry . If you would like a dose of versatile creativity, I would recommend her blog Sunshine and Zephyr.
Sometimes we bite more than we can chew. I’m supposed to end this mystery and am mystified myself about it. Let’s hope that I’m able to provide suitable and justifiable ending to this alluring tale!