Getting Old Is Murder

GLADDY GETS GOING

Hello. Let me introduce myself. Iím Gladdy. Actually, Gladys. Iím a self-proclaimed P.I. Thatís right, a private eye. Operating out of Ft. Lauderdale. When did I get into the P.I. biz? As we speak. My credentials? More than thirty years of reading mysteries. Miss Marple and Miss Silver are my heroines.

In case you were expecting someone like whatís-her-name with her "A" is for this, then "B" is for that, you know who I mean--working her way all the way to Z. Well, thatís not me. Iíll be lucky if I make it to the end of this book. After all, I AM seventy-five.

You think seventy-five is old? Maybe, if youíre twenty, itís ancient, but if youíre fifty, it doesnít seem as old as it used to. And if youíre ninety, well, seventy-five seems like a kid. You ought to see those spry ninety year old 'alter kockers' trying to hit on me for a date. When I look in the mirror, I donít see that older, faded, wrinkled stranger who barely resembles someone I once knew. I see a gangly, pretty, eager seventeen year-old, marvelously alert and alive with glistening brown hair and hazel eyes.

Did you know that when you get older, and the brain cells start to turn on you, the nouns are the first to go?

For example, 'whatís-her-name' I just threw at you, I meant Sue Grafton, and this time it only took me about two minutes for the brain synapses to make the connection and pull her name up out of the cobwebs of my mind. Sometimes it takes days. All the while, it was on the tip of my tongue. My poor tongue must be exhausted from all the information I keep stored there.

Hey, you young ones--laugh. Wait 'til you get to be my age. Then the laugh will be on you. Youíll ask the same questions we all ask--where did the years go? How did they go by so fast? And even worse--where did all the money go?

Enough with all the philosophy. The question for now is--how did I get into this private eye racket? Before I retired, I was a librarian, so if you say this is a strange career move, I would certainly agree.

I was minding my own business in Lanai Gardens, phase two, building Q, apartment 317 on South Oakland Park Blvd, Lauderdale Lakes, when a few of my neighbors died too soon. Considering that the youngest of us is seventy-one and the oldest eighty-six, this is not something unexpected. I mean, EVERYBODY is on the checkout line. For example, we used to have five tables of Canasta, now weíre down to one. The Menís Sports Club used to fill four cars on Sunday, going out to Hialeah, now the only members left are Irving Weiss and his pal, Sol, from Phase three. Even the nags that broke the guys' wallets have gone to thoroughbred heaven.

As I started to say--I was beginning to suspect foul play.

I am convinced that these deaths to which I am referring are not natural. There is a killer stalking Lanai Gardens. Nobody believes me and certainly not the police but I intend to prove it. But before we give a hearty welcome to Gladdy Gold, P.I., you need to meet the rest of the gang.