Officer James Brucier looked a little embarrassed, as Harry opened the door. “Hello, Jim. What brings you to my door today?”, Harry asked.
“Well sir, it’s like this. We got a complaint. Seems someone was concerned something untoward was going on here.”
“Might as well come in. Untoward? Just what sort of untowardness did this complaint specify?”
“Nothing specific sir, just wanted us to check up.” He nodded politely to Helen. “Ma’am.”
“And may I enquire as to who lodged this complaint?”, Harry asked. He was beginning to get a bit pissed off. He had no doubt one of his neighbors had observed his arrival home, with Helen in tow. Probably Mrs. Howe, who spent her time on her upstairs balcony, watching the neighborhood through her opera glasses. He vaguely recalled her coming out of Safeway about the same time he did.
“Now Mr. McOliver, you know I can’t tell you things like that.” Jim all but ground his toe into the carpet, wishing he were somewhere else.
“Jim, if an official complaint was filed, it’s your job to follow up. I understand that and I don’t blame you. But if the matter ever comes before a judge, you should know three things. First, I’ll win. My lawyer is the salt of the earth. But in court he’s a mean son-of-a-bitch, my mean SOB. Second, whoever brought the complaint will have to come forward – accused gets to face the accuser, remember? Third, I will totally destroy whatever persons meddle in my life. I’m a private person, doing nobody any harm – and I don’t like being hassled. “
“Please, Mr McOliver. I’ll just go back to the office and say it’s all right here. Okay?”
“No, Jim, I want the name. I have my suspicions, but I want to nail it down.” He paused, considering. “Jim, you recall 3 or 4 years ago? Your wife was working two jobs to support you and the baby while you were going to school. Your car broke down and wasn’t worth fixing, even if you’d had the money, which you didn’t. You bought a good used car – think your wife still drives it – for $1, right? How come it only cost you $1?”
Officer Jim Brucier looked thunderstruck. At the time, he’d been broke and had zero credit. He’d been told it was a gift from a friend, although none of the friends he knew could have afforded to give him a car. The truth sank in and left him helpless. “It was Mrs. Howe”, he admitted.
“Thank you, Jim. You can report that there is nothing untoward going on here. I will deal with Mrs. Howe in my own good time and my own way.”
The officer almost ran for the door.
“Just a minute, officer”, Helen said. “On my behalf, please. Tell this Mrs. Howe person that the silverware hasn’t been stolen or Mr McOliver murdered. Tell her you that you just found us naked on the floor fucking like teenagers.”
Officer James Brucier stopped dead in his tracks and looked at Helen in astonishment, then a chuckle erupted and turned into a guffaw. He nodded to the two of them and left, shaking his head.
Harry laughed. “I think that’s the last we’ll hear from Mrs. Howe. I’d wish he would actually quote you, but I expect he’s too polite. But it does make up my mind for me about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. This may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you want to see the shit hit the fan, stick around.”
“I haven’t anything better to do”, Helen said. “What do you have in mind?”
“You’ll see. It’s time for some people in this town to be taken down a notch. I’m gonna make it happen.”
“Good!” Helen said. “Always wanted to see the high and mighty get their comeuppance. You might be a pretty decent person after all, despite your fancy house.” She grinned at him and he grinned back.
“Now, let’s see what clothes we can find that fit you. I suggest you junk what you brought and we’ll run over to Target and outfit you.
“Soon”, Helen said, and there was a new tone in her voice. “Just in case the officer does quote me to Mrs. Howe, we wouldn’t want to make a liar out of him, now would we?” And she let the robe slip off as she sank to the floor.
“Helen”, Harry began, “you’re sexy as hell but I’m not a young man any more.”
“Do you need me to teach you?” she asked. “Take your clothes off, Harry. Now.”
With a smile which was partly resignation and partly anticipation, Harry complied.