Just Call Me Helen - Completed
Author: CassidyandAnna

Chapter 1
My Name is Helen

Mary!”
    “No!”
    Actually, my name is Helen, is what I wanted to say in response, but I just leave it at “no” when the newest shout of, “Alexandra!” streams into my office.
    “Well!” Roy yells, “Whoever you are Jones, would you be so polite as to tell me what we are doing today? I’m bored.”
    “You are doing paperwork,” I call, and roll my eyes as Roy begins to grumble cuss words.
    Thinking of casework draws my attention to the newest file on my desk, crisp and smelling of fresh parchment. I pick it up, flip through the papers inside of it. Maggie. Her name rings out bright, like a tragedy, which is what the poor, dead girl has suffered. Sighing, I stand and tuck the folder under my arm, stride into the office where Roy is leaning back in his chair, feet up on the assistant’s desk, trying to balance an ink pen between his lips and nose.
    When he sees me, he falters in the task, tumbling gangly legs over each other in a rush to put his feet on the floor. The ink pen falls to the desktop. “Heya, Sandra,” Roy says. “How’s it goin’.”
    “No,” I say, and he frowns. This endeavor he has to figure out my real name has been going on since I hired him as an assistant detective three months ago. He has taken to calling me any female name that comes to mind as a guess to my real name. It stopped being entertaining after the second day he was here.
    “Well,” says Roy, “I was gonna tell you that your hair is wrong, but since you are in a foul mood, I guess I won’t.”
    Blinking, I turn to the mirror hanging by the office’s door. He’s right. There is a curl sticking out from under my detective’s fedora; I slap the case file onto Roy‘s desk and scramble to fix my hair. As always, Roy chooses to stick his nose where it does not belong, and opens the file.
    “Hey! We have an actual case!”
    “Yes,” I say, checking my makeup now that I am paranoid because of my hair mishap. It looks fine, unfeminine like always. Masculine features made by cover-up, who would have thought?
    “May I accompany you on this case?” Roy asks hopefully, trying his best to give me a charming smile.
    “No.”
    “You have to let me help! I’ve been keeping your secret for months now! No one else knows that you are a woman and I could have told at any moment. But, I knew that would ruin you and I don’t want to ruin you. Come on, Helga, let me help…”
    “No,” I say both to the name and his request.
    “Come on! Please?!”
    I remember when I first met Roy, he had been laid off from his job as a police officer for the local department. Looking for work, he kept coming into my private detective office, newly inherited from my deceased mentor. I turned him away again and again, but he was adamant about becoming my detective assistant. He had been a detective himself five years previously, but had quit after the murder of a little girl when the killer got away scot-free. Recently, Roy had the epiphany that he wanted to do the work again and I was the person he sought out to get him into the workforce even though I kept refusing him.
    Until, one night, I thought it was safe to let my disguise fade, when Roy came looking for the job yet again. He barged right in and found me tear-streaked, the fact that I am a woman glaringly obvious. And in this day and age, women cannot be associated with detective work. They’re supposed to be in the kitchen. We have no rights.
    Needless to say, in order to keep Roy’s silence on my gender, I finally gave him the job. But that doesn’t mean I actually have to let him do anything…
    “Please! Come on, I was a detective myself for five years, you know?” he says, just like he always says when begging to join a case. “I can help with this case! I’ve kept your secret, you know you can trust me.”
    For a moment, I just look at him until he repeats please and then I find myself saying, “Fine. You can come to the morgue with me. That is it.”

 

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