DEATH IN THE FACULTY ROOM- CHAPTER XXIV

I just had to get out of the meeting. My first reaction was that they, whoever they were, had gotten Mama Pags. It must have had something to do with me, or my snooping around. I was feeling all of the guilt that I could feel. How did I mess up like that by getting someone so nice involved? After the meeting, I raced up to the office and asked Miranda if I could call home and tell Daphne. she said it would be fine. I noticed that Miranda did not seem to be in bad spirits, just her usual self. That was odd considering a long time faculty member had died suddenly.
I got Daphne on the phone and told her, in a loud voice, that Mama Pags had passed away last night from a heart attack. Her gasping ceased as she said, “You know that they killed her, don’t you?” I answered in the affirmative. I could not really speak my mind. I told her, in a very quiet voice to call Mr. B. and tell him what happened.
Someone at the FBI had to get a hold of the body and do an autopsy. I was not aware of Mama Pags family in the area, so it might not be so hard to do it quickly. Boy was I wrong. When I came home that night, Baumgartner called me and said that the family had picked up the body and it was Mrs. Pagliarulo’s wish to be cremated, so it was done immediately. There went all of the evidence of murder.
A week or so later there was a public memorial service for Mama Pags. It was done in a local funeral home. Since it was a weekday evening, I felt that it was done so that there would not be an overwhelming number of people there. I was correct. There were maybe 100 people, many of whom were former students. The family seemed to be very small. I had no idea how many children she had, but there were two sons in their thirties. There did not seem to be any small children around. The rest of the family, siblings, cousins and so on all seemed to be stern looking people, not the kind that might be related to Mama Pags.
The priest gave a pleasant homily about the value of people’s lives and especially Mrs. Pagliarulo’s effect on so many of her students. While the priest spoke, I looked around the room to see how people were reacting. There did not seem to be any tears at all. A few of the people, other than the family, seemed to have come together. They stood off to a corner and just looked like they were uncomfortable.
Not that I am Catholic or anything like that, but I thought that the Church frowned upon cremation, unless there was a mass, at which, the ashes were present. I knew that the ashes had to be buried and not spread out on the ground or on water. The whole memorial seemed out of kilter to me.
There were a few faculty members present, who nodded to me, but took no time to come over to say hello. I guess they thought the same thing about me. I would have taken Daphne with me, but Dougie was having a bad day and she had to keep him home with her.
As I was leaving the church, I spotted a car parked down the block. One of the windows opened and a hand seemed to be waving to me. I did not see anyone else around, so I walked over. It turned out to be Baumgartner. He was sitting in the back seat with someone. He asked if I had seen anything peculiar at the memorial. I told him of the few things that seemed out of whack. He nodded his head. He then pointed to the person sitting next to him. She was all dressed in black. I assumed that she had just come from the memorial service. In a way, I was correct. The person in the back seat was Mama Pags.

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