TITLE: SKELETON KEY
Foley stared at the name painted on the shop window: Manley and Munion Lock and Key. God, how she wished she could scrape off Allison Manley's name. But the way business was going, the point could be moot by the end of the month. Allison had made a mess of Foley's life, but her death still brought in some lookie-loos who turned into customers.
Inside, the small lobby felt colder than the parking lot. Foley shivered and nudged up the thermostat. Metal shavings from the key grinder dotted the floor. Sweeping the place could wait. She lifted the walk-through section of the counter and entered the workshop.
Something felt wrong.
Her work area looked fine, the bins of wire and alarm system components sat undisturbed. Nothing was out of place. She hurried to the safe, crouched and spun the dial. The lock clicked. She yanked the handle and pawed through the contents. Most important, her cash still lay bundled inside. Foley settled back on her heels, staring into the dark interior.
Money untouched. Schematics secure. She leaned forward to sniff the locking mechanism. No tell-tale odor of oil or graphite. So why the heebie-jeebies? Foley stood and took a slow turn. Everything looked normal. But something was off. What? She closed her eyes and breathed deep.
Oh no. That smell. Soft, but with a slight edge. Partagas. Her dad's favorite cigar. He smoked other brands, but when flush, Partagas -- at forty bucks a pop -- was what he bought, smoked and stored in his humidor. Whey did she smell it now? Her eyes opened and her heart started racing.
No, no, no.
He stepped out of the storeroom, unlit cigar in hand. "Thought you might be that kid who works for you."
"Dad." Foley's hand flew to her chest while she did parole math.