I'm sure they are keeping quiet. If the police questioned you, be honest, and that's just what I had done. I am a woman of my word. I'm sure Mrs. Miggins didn't say any lies, either. She never was one to speak up, especially when her dog would dig around in my begonias. But that Mr. Garth…
It was 8:35 in the a.m. when Police Lieutenant Conroy rang my door bell. What an unchristian hour to disturb someone, even if it is "official police business." Everyone knows that 9 a.m. is the earliest time to call on a neighbor. I shall have to speak to Mrs. Conroy about him at the next Sunday Social. I had just finished making my chamomile tea when he started to pound on the door.
"I'm coming," I called. I clutched my robe closed and slipped my Clarks on. When I opened the door, there he was, with two fine young sergeants and that stern look on his face. He always meant business. "Lieutenant, whatever can I do for you?"
"May we come in, Mrs. Lee?" he asks, but I hadn’t said a word before he walked right in as if he owned the place. "I'm sure you know why we're here. Where's the money?"
"I haven't the foggiest, Lieutenant," I told him. The nerve of him, barging into my house at such an hour and then accusing me like that. We talked just the day before, you see. I gave him my statement, and I told him that, but apparently he wasn't satisfied. Why, I remember when he was knee-high to a jack-rabbit and twice as mischiev-e-ous. It feels like just yesterday I caught him traipsing about my garden with that pop-gun of his, playing cops and robbers. I can't even remember how many times I warned him about the garden. But Mr. Lee took care of that now, didn't he?
Where was I? Oh yes, this morning. "We have a witness who says he saw you grabbing a bunch of the money that flew out of the car, Mrs. Lee. We need it back," he says. A witness? There's no such thing as "a witness." It was Mr. Garth, as sure as pie. He never was very trustworthy. You know, back in '78, he was the one who told us that his best friend, Bobby McGee, you know the fella, with the beard and the cauliflower ear? He was the one that told us Bobby was cheating on his poor Marybell. And with Molly Miggins, no less. Never one for secrets, that Mr. Garth.
But I digress. "I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about. I told you yesterday that I wasn't home. I was in town at the market." That's what I said.
"We checked on that, too, Mrs. Lee. The market was closed on Monday because of the shoot-out at the bank next door," he says.
So I say, "I know. That's why I had to turn right around and come back home. It ruined my entire day." I swear, detectives nowadays. You all watch too much TV, you've lost touch with reality. To think that a God-fearing woman like myself would lie to an officer of the law. I never!
So he says, "Funny. We had the roads blocked and no one saw you on the road. In fact, a neighbor across the street swears that your car was in the driveway all day."
Can you believe it? Ms. Trencher? The hussy. "Well that can't be true, Lieutenant," I said. "You know Ms. Trencher is getting old. Why, just the other day she forgot to untie her dog all day. He got tangled in his leash and my Jason had to rescue the poor animal. He still has the poor beast and is nursing it back to health."
"About that," he says. "No one saw her dog tied up, and Ms. Trencher claims that your son threatened to kill the animal if she didn't give him the money she picked up." As if my son, who works night and day to afford medical school would kidnap some poor dog and then ask for a ransom! The nerve! It's Ms. Trencher, I tell you. She must have picked up the money and is trying to blame me so she can keep it all to herself. Did I ever tell you that she used to keep her daughter locked in the closet if she didn't finish her chores on time? And I'm sure I saw bruises on that child more than once. And she never goes to church.
But the Lieutenant would hear none of it. "Ma'am," he says, as if I didn’t practically raise the child. "Ma'am, do you mind if we look around?" Well, I had nothing to hide, so I said "sure" and off they went. They tore apart the whole house and found nothing, as God is my witness. Then one of the sergeants sees that shed out back, the one I haven't used in years, not since Mr. Lee died, God rest his soul.
"Ma'am, we're going to have to check your shed, as well," he says. So they go out there and open the shed. And you know what happens next. There's Ms. Trencher's dog, muzzled and caged, with all that money just sitting there.
"I haven't been out here in years," I told them, but they arrested me right then and there. I tried to tell them it had to be the Collinses. They live next door. I'm sure they could get to the shed. You know, officer, I never did see the Kelty boy after he got their little girl pregnant. I'm not one to spread a rumor, but I used to hear them digging at night. But that Lieutenant Conroy. I am going to have to have a word with his wife once this whole matter is settled. Arresting me. So unchristian.