"Fine, Calvin. What's going on over there? Have the cops been back?"
"Oh, yeah. They were all ovah the place yesterday. Came an' questioned us all again, an' searched the house from top to bottom."
"Did they find anything?"
"Hard to tell. They weren't givin' anything away. They took a lot of stuff away wit' them, though."
"Oh, the big box of candy, they took that. An' a tube of toothpaste and a bottle of mouthwash, an' all the other stuff out of the medicine cabinet. They put all that stuff in one big bag. Oh--an' one funny thing--they took away da kine big bottle of suntan lotion. I ask them why they do that, an' they say, the chief said get everything, no matter how silly, so they did."
"What about food? Did they take any of that?"
"They ask Concepcion, and she jus' laugh at them. Said, you think we keep ol' rotten food around? And anyway, she told them I ate everyt'ing Helen ate, except the chocolates. But they took one bottle of wine. Asti Spumante, it was. We had some of that Sunday night. I told them I had some, and anyway, it would be flat now, but they took it anyway."
"Sounds like they were really loaded down. They must've looked like delivery men from the grocery. Listen, Calvin, I need a lot of information, so you might as well sit down."
"Too late--I'm sittin' already. What you want to know?"
"First, what did you and Helen do Sunday?"
"Let's see. Sunday afternoon we went ovah to Galleria Mall, what you call window shoppin'. We didn't buy anything except some of those big chocolate-chip cookies an' some coffee. Helen liked to go window shoppin'.
"We went in all kin' of places. Radio Shack, the pet shop, the place where they have all da kine funny gadgets, two bookshops. And we looked in the windows of all the dress shops, even the ones fo' fat ladies. Helen said it made her feel good to look at those fat-lady dresses an' know she'd nevah have to wear them again.
"Then we went home an' had dinner. After that, we went sit on the lanai an drink Spumante and watch the boats go by. Eh! I almost forgot. Helen's lawyer came ovah that night."
"Sammy? I didn't know lawyers made house calls on Sunday. What did he want?"
"I don't know. Denise came out when we were sittin' on the lanai, and said Helen's lawyer been come to see her, an' Helen said, 'Oh, hell, I forgot he was coming. Show him up to my sitting room, Denise, and tell him I'll be with him in a few minutes.'
"She grinned at me and said, 'I'm going to finish my drink first, very slowly. He's just brought some papers for me to sign, anyway.' So she did. Finish her drink, I mean. Took 'bout fifteen minutes. Then she went in, and I waited till she came back."
"How long was she gone?"
"Eh, not long. Twenty minutes, half hour. She had one funny look on her face when she came back, but she wouldn' tell me why. Said, 'nevah mind'. She just thought of something strange, was all.' After that, we went up to bed."
Mentally I added "opportunity" to Sammy Burkett's account. Now if I could just scare up a motive... This started me on a rare bit of soul-searching. Why was I so down on Sammy?
That one was easy. I didn't like Sammy Burkett. Furthermore, he was slippery as a greased eel, and I was sure he was concealing something I would want to know if I knew about it. Too, he was probably the least likable person in the case so far, if you discounted Sister Nell, whom I hadn't met yet, and wasn't eager to. It's always nicer if you don't like a murderer.