Juggernaut by Nancy Springer

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When Marietta Becker goes undercover at a singles dance to investigate the homicide of five men, she thinks she's discovered one of the saddest places she's ever encountered. When her husband suddenly appears and is immediately recognized by the dance regulars, Marietta realizes there are a lot of reasons to want to kill someone. A short story.


“Good Lord, why am I doing this?” Marietta whispered, teetering in her strappy high heels, immobilized at the door of the hotel ballroom. On a logical level she knew exactly why she was there: five murdered men, that was why. Despite her red flirty-skirted dress and the “Sunlit Chestnut” temporary dye covering her gray, Marietta Becker was on duty, her badge tucked into her capacious purse. Just doing her job. But on a woman’s gut level…good grief, a singles dance? With a disco ball, of all things, spinning a slow juggernaut from the ceiling and hurling flakes of confusion onto the women sitting at the circular tables, the men standing in the shadows, a few couples looking awkward on the dance floor? Lord, she’d been married almost as long as she’d been a cop; she didn’t venture to places like this. “What am I doing here?” Marietta complained aloud.

“Honey,” answered a woman about her age crowded next to her in the doorway, “I ask myself that same question every blessed week.”

Marietta hadn’t expected the other women, who should regard her as competition, to speak with her, but she tried not to show her surprise as she turned. “Really?”

“Sure. But it beats sitting home alone.” Prim in a business suit, the woman slapped a name tag that said Pat onto her blazer above her left breast. “Your first time?”


“Well, come sit with us. Smile,” Pat coached, leading the way into the dark of the dance.

Following, Marietta felt men’s glances slide over her like soap. With her teeth bared, she peered through the candlelit gloom. Somewhere in this room, most likely, smiled a murderer.

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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