April 6, 2020
I dress carefully the next morning and brew a full pot of coffee because Sergeant Romano is coming to interview me. We will need to maintain proper distance according to the new rules, so we will talk outside, on the patio in back of my house. I move two lawn chairs and a small table to the patio, and wait.
When he drives up, I see that he is a youngish man, probably under fifty, and he has another policeman with him. The second man is taller, younger, and extremely skinny. I’ll need another chair. We meet, awkwardly I think, in the side yard and I do the Namaste greeting I learned in exercise class. The policemen both nod. Sergeant Romano sends his skinny partner to my garage to fetch another chair. I pour the coffee and offer the cream and sugar.
Sergeant Romano starts. “We thank you for talking to us, Mrs. McKenna, and I want you to understand we are here on a fact-finding mission. You are not in trouble,” he says, grinning.
I nod, warily. I know this is what they say sometimes when you really are in trouble, but my curiosity outweighs my doubt.
“The house across the street; we were admiring it when we drove up. It was the house of Victor Anderson, and as you probably know by now, Judge Anderson is recently deceased. Why do policemen talk this way? “How well did you know him?”
I pause, considering where to begin. “We were good friends for almost forty years. He and my husband, Richard, were very close. We . . . goodness! We were neighbors! This is a friendly little neighborhood. Our sons—well, his son Martin was a good deal older than our Chris, so they weren’t friends growing up, but—” Uh oh! I’ve already screwed up. I didn’t mean to mention Martin because that will bring up a whole can of worms.
“We know about Martin, but before we get into that, tell me. When was the last time you were inside his house?”
I know Romano is expecting me to say something like “last week”, but I have to be honest. “The day before yesterday. Victor’s sister, Susan, we call her Sukey, was there and I dropped in for a visit.”
Romano’s eyebrows raised slightly. “Why was she there?’
“I didn’t ask, but I suppose she wanted to see how things looked. Did Victor leave a mess? The house will probably go up for sale soon, I imagine.”
“Was it a mess?”
“Not at all. I only saw the kitchen and the parlor, but it was as neat as a pin.”
“Has anyone else gone in since Judge Anderson passed? As far as you know?”
I have to think about that. “His grandson, Matt, was the one who found him, but that was before . . . and Megan, Matt’s mother. That’s all I know.” I shifted in my chair. “May I ask? Do you suspect anyone? Any . . . as they say, ‘foul play?’”
“As far as we know, nothing. No.” Romano looked uncomfortable. He took a sip of his coffee and peered at his partner over the rim of his cup. “We suspect a drug overdose. An accident, probably, but we need to check into the circumstances surrounding his purchase of these drugs.”
It was plain as day to me. He had said more than he meant to say. “Well, just between you and me and the gate post, let me tell you. You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think Victor Anderson bought drugs and overdosed himself. He did not do drugs! He did not buy drugs, and you’d best be looking into who did, and why, and how they got it into Victor’s body! I strongly suspect it did not happen with his permission.”