A Yooper Christmas Mystery

PART ONE

I suspected trouble the minute my best friend Cora Mae hopped on the back of the snowmobile with the guy she met at the bar. Cora Mae, buryer of three husbands and on the hunt for number four, doesn't have any common sense when it comes to men. This one wasn't from the Michigan Upper Peninsula. Not that you can trust every Yooper you meet, but this one had a shiftier look than most out-of-towners.

And I tried to warn her.
"You can't just up and take off down the trail with him," I told her. "You don't even know his name."
"Ted," she said. "Have you ever heard of an evil Ted?"
"What about Ted Bundy. Remember him? Serial killer?"
Cora Mae shot me a withering glare. "We're only bar hopping for a little while. Next stop-Perkins."
"Where's he from?" I wanted to know.
"Relax," she said, meaning she didn't have a clue.

Herb's Bar was crowded since it was Friday night and that meant pay day. The locals were seeing if they could run through their entire week's pay all in one sitting. Cora Mae's new friend slapped some bills down on the bar and helped her bundle up in her black fake fur.

I followed them outside into the crisp December night. I hated to see her do this but I couldn't think of a way to stop her. Ted gave me a look. I didn't like it one bit.
Cora Mae let him put on her helmet and adjust the straps. She pretended I didn't exist while my breath steamed around my face and the frost air bit at my ungloved hands. Snow was falling fast, already starting to cover up Cora Mae's fake fur.
"She's going to freeze in that coat," I said. "I have bibs in my truck. Let me get them."
"She's fine," the guy said.
Then they left me standing in the sled's fumes.
I wasn't at all surprised when Betty, my contact in Perkins, informed me that Cora Mae and the stranger on the snowmobile never showed. I'd watched them head south on the trail. If they weren't in Perkins, where were they?

(to be continued next Thursday)

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