Norm woke to the sound of someone pounding on his door. In the seconds it took to clear the cobwebs from his head, he
tried to tell himself that the events of last nights party had all just been a dream, but then reality came crashing through
the merciful veil of sleep. The horror of those events sweep over him again and his eyes filled with tears as he remembered
his poor, dead fiancee. The hammering started again.
"Who is it?" he yelled, looking at his watch. It was 6:00 A.M., far too early to be up, especially after last night.
He hadn’t made it to his bed until nearly 4:00 A.M. and then he had only slept fitfully until now.
"It’s Detective Saunders, form the police department," came the reply, "I have a few questions for you."
"Just a minute," said Norm, "Let me put some clothes on."
Before the words were out of his mouth the door burst open and Hank Saunders tumbled through, carrying with him a barrage
of splintered wood. The door hung half off its hinges torn asunder by a heavy shoulder. The detective stopped a few paces
inside the doorway and swept his hands over what had obviously already been a disheveled wardrobe. He stood glaring at Norm,
who was still sitting on the edge of his bed.
"That wasn’t necessary," said Norm.
"I deemed it to be necessary," answered the detective, in his most officious tone.
Norm shook his head, "The door wasn’t locked. All you had to do was turn the knob."
The detective didn’t have an answer, but instead became indignant. "I want to ask you some questions about last
night," he said, dismissing the smashed door frame with a wave.
"What do you want to know?"
"The deceased was your girl friend?"
"Fiancee," corrected Norm. "We were going to be married as soon as this gig with Tom Thompson is over."
"Very well, have it your way," the detective sneered. "Your fiancee was a very beautiful woman."
"Yes, she was."
"Did she have any enemies?"
"Not that I know of," said Norm. "Everybody loved her."
"Did she come to the party with you?"
"I was working. Do you take your wife to work with you?"
"I don’t have a wife, but this isn’t about me. How did she get there?"
"I don’t know. I didn’t even know she was there until . . ." Norm buried his face in his hands, as he was
overtaken by another wave of grief. When it subsided, he turned to the detective again, "Now if that’s all," he said,
"I’d like to get dressed."
"No, I’m afraid it’s not all. Mr. Jones I was wondering how you just happened to be the first one on the
scene, when Miss Park fell."
"Am I a suspect?" asked Norm.
"Everybody’s a suspect, Mr. Jones, until they’re cleared."
"I think I want to speak to my lawyer, before we talk any further," said Norm. "I don’t like where this is going."
"Oh, then I can assume you have something to hide?"
"You can assume anything you please, Detective, but I have to meet with Mary’s parents and help them plan her funeral."
"I don’t mean to be rude, Mr. Jones, but this is extremely important. If you have nothing to hide, I fail to understand
why you don’t want to talk with me."
"Because you seem to be accusing me of something here, Mr. Saunders," said Norm. " The woman I love was murdered last
night and I’m beginning to get the feeling that you’d like to pin her murder on me."
"Guilty conscience?" Mr. Jones
"I think this interview is over Detective," said Norm, as calmly as he could. "Now if I still had a door, I’d slam
it in your face, but as it is I’m asking you nicely to leave."
"You do realize you’re talking to an officer of the law, don’t you?"
"I do. Do you realize that I’m a trained body guard?" Norm was getting angry. "I know a hundred different ways
to kill a man with my bare hands and not leave a mark. Why would I throw the woman I love off a fuckin’ roof?"
"That’s the question, now isn’t it?" said Saunders, calmly. "I’m going to find out the answer too.
You can bet on that!"
"Well, while you’re out trying to convict me of a crime, I had nothing to do with, would you mind explaining to
my employer, how you came to destroy the door to one of his guest houses?"
"Certainly. I want to speak with Mr. Thompson as well, before I leave. Just between you and me, I know you’re both
in this up to your eyebrows and I’m gonna prove it."
The unkempt detective turned, strolled back through the doorway he had destroyed and turned up the short path, leading
to the main house. As he walked, he paused to smell a flower growing in a well-tended bed beside the flagstone walk. He turned
and looked at Norm, still standing in the doorway, clothed in just a pair of boxers. "You gotta stop and smell the roses,"
he said, then with a half-hearted salute, he again headed for the main house.
Arrogant bastard, thought Norm, but he’s about to meet his match, in Gretchen.
Tom was sitting at the piano, when he saw a man, in a dirty trench coat, coming up the path, from number-one guest house.
It was his habit to spend an hour every morning at the piano, either honing his musical skills, or composing new music. This
morning, however, he was just sitting there thinking about the previous nights excitement. He hadn’t seen much of what
went on. All he really knew was that a woman had been either murdered, or had committed suicide, he didn’t know which,
and that Norm knew her. Gretchen had ushered him away to the waiting limo, so quickly that there had been little time to find
out anything. His protests did no good. Gretchen, as always, did her job very well.
The man had come from Norms cabin. Really it was more of an outdoor bedroom, than a cabin. A very nice bedroom to be
sure, but it was a single room, with only a small bathroom. There were no cooking facilities, and nowhere to entertain. It
was a guest room, designed only as a place for guests to sleep.
Tom rubbed his tired eyes and walked to the front door. He opened it before the approaching gentleman had time to knock.
"May I help you?" he asked.
"Yes," said the trench coated man. "I wanted to speak with you about the party you attended last night."
"Are you a cop?"
"I’m a detective with the police force, yes. My name is Hank Saunders. I’m investigating the unfortunate
events of last night."
Tom nodded. "I can’t tell you anything," he said, "because my security hustled me out of there before I could see
"Yes, I know that, Mr. Thompson. That’s not what I wanted to talk to you about. I wanted to ask you a few questions
about a member of your band."
"The only band member there was Norm. They tell me he was involved with the dead woman. I didn’t know he even had
a girlfriend. He’s a very private man."
"This Norm, how much do you know about him?"
Tom thought for a moment, before answering. "I’ve known him for several years," he finally said. "I was in the
service with him. I left and became what you see before you, but Norm went on to be a Ranger. He’s a decorated veteran,
who has served his country to the exclusion of his own happiness. Now, when he finally began thinking about himself, it appears
his world has come crashing down. I would and do trust him with my life."
"So he’s got you brainwashed too?"
"Mr. Saunders," said Tom, "I think it’s time for you to leave. You may contact my lawyer, if you have any more
Detective Saunders wasn’t used to being spoken to this way. He opened his mouth to protest, but before he could
speak, Tom gently closed the door, leaving him staring at a brass knocker on a field of weathered oak. The interview was definitely
over, but Saunders wasn’t about to give up that easily. He would be back.