THIRD TRAGEDY STRIKES LOCAL BUSINESS
Pershing employee Brad Connelly also had a statement to make concerning the recent spate of deaths.
"It's just incredibly bad luck. Lyle and Daisy Pershing are the best people I know. They don't deserve this. Linda, Becky, and Jalil didn't deserve this, either. They were all really nice people and hard workers. I can't explain what happened, but we're going to be extra vigilant from now on. The safety of the staff here is important to us all."
But Jalil Singh's death is not the only mysterious thing to have happened at Pershing Daisies in the last week. Employee Bob Halprin has not been seen since Thursday evening. There is, however, no indication that he is dead, or that foul play is involved.
"He's done this before," Daisy Pershing said. "Once in a while, Bob decides he's been mistreated in some way and disappears for a few days. I expect he'll be back next week to make sure we all missed him. He's a strange person, but he really cares about the plants. He'll be back... assuming nothing has happened to him. I guess we can't make that assumption after everything that's happened."
Further, one or more vandals broke into the nursery Thursday night and did several hundred dollars worth of damage. A total of seven garden gnomes and five other pieces of garden statuary were smashed. The only clue left behind is a bear skin. Police are unsure of the meaning, but Detective Beasley fears that it could be a sign of gang warfare.
"We don't want anyone to panic, but leaving this sort of symbolic item is often connected with gang activity. If we start seeing bear symbols around, we'll know we're on the right track."
And how does the newest Pershing employee, Buffy Summers, see the situation?
"I think it's just been an incredible run of bad luck, and I've always been lucky. I'm staying."
When asked if she thought she was in any danger, she said she felt she wasn't.
"I have this funny feeling it's over. And if it isn't, well, I'm good at taking care of myself. I expect to be here a long time."
Trend or Terror
by Claire Olney
There was a mysterious death at Pershing Daisies on Wednesday night - the third in a matter of months.
Jalil Singh, 20, originally of Bangalore, India was found dead on Thursday morning by co-worker Buffy Summers, 22. Singh had apparently died sometime the night before, after he was left to lock up the business for the evening.
"When he didn't show up for work in the morning, nobody seemed all that worried," Summers told this reporter. "I guess he'd been late a few times, working on computer stuff. I really didn't expect to find him in the vines like that."
Coroner Susan Whipple quickly declared the death the result of an animal mauling.
"I don't know yet exactly what kind of animal it was, but something small. Possibly rats or squirrels."
Singh's throat had been mauled, and a significant proportion of his limbs had been consumed by the creatures in question.
"It was definitely more than one animal," Dr. Whipple admitted. "I'm just not quite sure what kind yet. It would be a good idea for members of the public to be careful in the vicinity of any small animals moving in groups of two or more."
Animal Control took Daisy Pershings' pet beagles, Primrose and Poppy, into custody after the body was discovered. The dogs were later released when Dr. Whipple's autopsy confirmed that the bite marks on Singh's body were too small to have been made by beagles.
Police have not yet determined any connection between Singh's mauling and recent reports of wild animal attacks in Shady Hills cemetery.
"We're looking into the matter," said Police Detective Joseph Beasley. "So far, we don't have a link. We'll just have to see what develops."
Singh's is the third mysterious death at Pershing Daisies in a matter of months. Linda Fowler, 19, was found run through with a pair of hedge clippers last June, and Becky Gates, 22, died in July when she drowned in a birdbath. Both deaths were ruled accidental by Dr. Whipple.
Breaking his previous silence in this matter, Lyle Pershing had this to say:
"We don't know why this is happening. In the thirty years we've run this nursery, nothing like this has ever happened before. Linda, Becky, and Jalil were all decent, hard-working people. Daisy and I miss them, and share the grief their families are going through. We all pray that this will be the last tragedy here."