Lillian took Officer Reynolds’ advice and was driving the two miles to the park to do her walks. The cop was right. There were several joggers and walkers on the pavement that looped around the man-made lake. Pumping her life away on that first day in these new surrounds, she thought about the person who was killed and the peculiar behavior of Kurt Marshall. How would Kurt have done this? Did he stab the guy or use a gun? Seeing that the blood was around his head, stabbing probably wasn’t what was done. A gun with a silencer on it? Possibly. But Kurt was just coming home. Did he have time to do the killing? There were too many questions for her to process while exercising. She wasn’t a multi-tasker by any means.
At lunch, she sat at her kitchen table trying to sort out the information she had about the crime as she ate her tuna sandwich. She usually wasn’t one to get involved in other people’s business, but this had her curiosity spilling over into her daily life. Something — actually several things — were either wrong or missing in between the data she had thus far. It was time to take the chance and go over to Kurt’s for that cup of coffee — that is, after peeking into his backyard. If he has patio furniture, I can suggest sitting outside. A little safer that way.
Kurt’s gate to his backyard was on the other side of his attached garage. When Lillian opened it, the hinges squeaked. “Shhh,” she whispered to the gate. She peeked around the slightly opened doorway. Not only did he have furniture out there but his deck was screened in to keep the bugs out. The door going out from the patio was facing her way on that side. Perfect.
Lillian rang Kurt’s doorbell. She waited, not knowing if he was home or not. His car wasn’t in the driveway and the garage door was closed. She was going to try the doorbell again when she heard movement just inside the door. When the door opened, Kurt was standing there wearing shorts and a polo shirt. He automatically, probably from habit, opened the screen door.
“Hi Lillian. Did you decide to take me up on the offer of coffee?”
“As a matter of fact, yes. Kurt, I’ve been thinking about what happened this morning,” she said as she stepped over his threshold, “and there seems to be so many parts missing.” She knew she was taking a risk by being so open about why she was there, but neither coyness or manipulation were her fortes and she knew it.
The wide hall she walked into went from the front to the back of the house. She could see out the picture window in the dining area to where his screened deck was. The furnishings in Kurt’s home were modest. It looked like every piece had a practical function. It was somewhat of a surprise to Lillian after seeing what was on his deck. The patio furniture not only included places to sit and in-tables for drinks and food, but there were skinny tables that were a little higher for potted plants. Her only thought was that maybe he spent more time out there than within his four walls.
“I see you’re eying my deck. Would you like to enjoy your coffee out there?” he asked as he pour coffee into mugs that were sitting on the dining room table.
“Yes. It looks beautiful out there.” She smiled walking to the door just to the left of the window.
After Kurt and Lillian got comfortable in high-backed padded chairs, Kurt asked the obvious question. “What parts do you think are missing? We don’t have the resources that the police do.”
“Well, why should we need to find anything that we should already have?” Kurt looked bewildered at her so she went on. “How many of your neighbors do you know?”
“There’s you now. Uhmm… there’s the next door neighbors on either side of me… I guess that’s it.” Lillian nodded. “I haven’t been here all that long, just under two years.”
Lillian smiled briefly before responding. “And you probably won’t know any more unless there’s another traumatic incident either. And how well do you know any of us? I can tell you that I know pretty much zilch about you.”
Kurt had drunk half his coffee. He placed his mug on the table next to him, leaned forward and propped his elbows and forearms on his knees. “Okay, so you want to know more about me?” Lillian just looked expectantly at him as she sipped her coffee. “Truth of the matter is this; I do know that young man.”
She sat up straight trying to find the table next to her so she could put her mug down. My intuition was right. Help! She finally got the mug to the in-table without incident, but she was shaking inside. “I’m afraid to ask…”
“No, I didn’t kill him. He was my nephew. I had kicked him out two days ago because he had drugs on him and in the bedroom I was letting him use.” He sat up straight again as he sighed deeply.
Part 4 will be published next week.