“Sometimes, it really sucks being right,” Chief Thomas Grady grumbled.
The inside of the Lander home looked like a battlefield, blood everywhere. Soaking in bath of bleach and bloody water, right there in the kitchen sink, was a top of the line, executive chef series Santuko knife. Next to it, a tire iron rested halfway in the sharply scented liquid.
“Chief! I got something out here!” Kline called from the patio.
With a pair of BBQ tongs, Kline lifted out a partially-burned designer label dress still reeking of lighter fluid. The charred tag read size six. A quick check of Rosalyn’s closet revealed that she also wore a size six dress.
“It’s almost so deliberate that it looks like a plant, ya know, like she’s being set up.” Kline muttered.
“I know what you mean,” the chief replied. “For her sake, I hope she’s got an explanation for this mess. Wait, do you hear something?”
The sound grew louder as Kline and Grady searched for its source. Sandwiched in the sofa cushions, they uncovered the latest, top-of-the-line iPhone. The alert chimed that a new voicemail was received. Moments later the phone rang again and the Caller ID simply read, Emily.
“Do you think we should answer it, Chief? We might get some more evidence.”
Grady pulled his latex glove tight and pressed the “answer call” button. He was still fumbling to press the speaker phone option when a woman’s voice came through the speaker.
“Mitch? Mitch is that you? I’ve been worried sick! Where are you? Was there an emergency at the hospital? Why didn’t you call me or send a text or something?”
“Ma’am, this is Chief Grady. To whom am I speaking?”
“Oh God! Chief Grady is he alright? Was he in a car accident? Oh…sorry, this is Emily Fontaine. Mitch and I, um, he was supposed to meet me last night but he never showed.”
“Do you two work together?”
“Among other things, yes. Mitch and I have been seeing each other for a while now and last night he was meeting with Rosalyn to tell her he wanted a divorce. Afterward he was supposed to come to my place to spend the night.”
“Oh…” Grady sighed. “ Ms. Fontaine, do you have an alibi for last night? Can anyone confirm you were home alone?”
“I wasn’t exactly alone but, wait, did you say alibi? Oh God! What happened? Where. Is. Mitch? Tell me, damnit!”
“Ms. Fontaine, would you kindly give me the address where you are right now? I have a few questions for you?”
Within a couple of hours, Chief Grady returned to the station accompanied by Miss Emily Fontaine.
“Chief, am I glad to see you!” Poole exclaimed. “Rosalyn Landers is getting downright hostile in there. She’s demanding that I let her go home.”
“She can wait. Where is Myra Goldstein?”
“She’s still here. Do you want me to bring her to your office?”
“Yes, please and then I want you take Miss Fontaine’s statement.”
At Chief Grady’s insistence, Myra sat down in the chair directly across from him.
“I’m sorry to keep you waiting, Mrs. Goldstein. May I call you Myra?
“Of course, Chief.”
“Please, call me Tom. You’re among friends here, Myra. I just have a couple of quick questions for you then you’re free to leave, okay?
“First, I want you tell me everything about your morning from the time you woke up until I saw you on the beach. Can you do that for me, Myra?”
“Sure, Chief, I mean…Tom. Well, I woke up this morning, the same time as usual, and I made breakfast for Ben and the kids. Breakfast burritos for the kids and an egg white breakfast sandwich on flatbread for my husband. After they left, I had a cup of coffee and a Greek yogurt then I put on my yoga pants and this t-shirt. I was planning to go for a run through the neighborhood. After the other day, I didn’t want to go back to the beach but….” Myra paused, as if carefully reflecting on the words she wanted to speak. “When I stepped outside, Rosalyn was sitting on her front stoop. It almost seemed like she was waiting for me. She jumped up, calling my name and waving. Then she begged me to go jogging on the beach with her. I told her I didn’t want to. If I never set foot on that beach again it will be too soon but she was so insistent. I remember, she took my hand in hers and she looked so sad, so lost, and she said if I really was her friend, I would come with her. It was so strange, almost like she had a premonition that Mitch was down there and she didn’t want to go alone. She held my hand, even as we reached the beach, and pulled me back as I started to work up to a jog. Usually we run close to the water’s edge but she held me back, said she wanted to stay away from the water. Then, all of the sudden, she squeezed down real hard, it felt like she was going to crush my bones and she said, ‘Oh my God, look’. Next thing I knew, she was calling the police station and you showed up.”
“I see,” Grady responded. “So, would you say her behavior seemed…peculiar?
“Have you noticed anything unusual about the Lander’s behavior of late? Did Dr. Lander seem more withdrawn? Were they fighting more? Did they seem to have any…”
Grady’s sentence was cut off by a high-pitched scream. He sprang from his desk and Myra followed at a safe distance. There in the middle of the station, Rosalyn Lander was having a meltdown.
“What’s SHE doing here? Don’t believe a single word that lying whore has to say! She’s made up all kinds of lies about me and my husband. In fact, I’ll bet it was her. She’s the one who murdered my husband!”
“Murdered?” Chief Grady questioned, hoping she’d play right into his hands. “I thought you said he was attacked by a shark just like the other bodies found on the beach.”
The realization that she’d deviated from her own story struck Rosalyn Lander like a ton of bricks. She tried to back-pedal, stammering and hurling accusations at the “lying home wrecker”.
“Home wrecker?” Emily Fontaine sneered. “You murdered your husband because he wanted a divorce, you crazy psycho! If your home is wrecked it’s your fault.”
“That’s a lie!” Rosalyn shrieked. “Mitch loved me and ONLY me!”
“Really? Then why did he leave a copy of THIS at my place?” Emily pulled a thick packet of papers from her purse and waved them in the air. “Petition for Divorce, name of person filing for divorce, Doctor Mitchell Everett Lander.”
“You bitch! I’ll kill you too and then the both of you can rot in HELL!”
“Rosalyn Lander, you have the right to remain silent.” Chief Grady recited. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and to have him present with you while you are being questioned. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you, if you so choose. You can decide at any time to exercise these rights and not answer any questions or make any statements. Do you understand each of these rights as I have explained them to you?
Rosalyn stood there for a moment, eyes blinking wildly, as if still trying to comprehend what had just happened.
“Rosalyn, do you understand your rights?” Grady asked calmly.
In a flash, she bound across the room with claws bared. Her fine, manicured nails dug deep into Emily’s flesh. The station was in a state of chaos, pandemonium had broken loose, stunning the deputies. With lightning fast reflexes, Chief Grady removed the Taser from his pocket and hit the deranged Mrs. Lander with 50,000 volts. She dropped to the floor, muscles spasming, as she lost control of her bladder.