She had become so fixated the knot in the centre of the interrogation room's scarred oak table that her whole body leaned into it like a tree in a wind storm.
So intent was her focus it seemed all consuming, causing the detectives to jump inside their sweat-soaked blazers as she snapped her head up to say, "You couldn't kill anyone wearing flip flops."
"Excuse me?" said the shorter of her two interrogators.
The good cop she assumed. An assumption based solely on the fact that he was the larger of the two men (his partner being a freakishly tall man who could not have weighed much more than she did). Blame Santa but she couldn't help but equate fat with jolly.
Though to be honest neither of them had been overly friendly towards her, not at all like on T.V. The heat in the station was making everybody cranky and on edge.
She turned her eyes towards them, trying to ignore the magnetic pull of the table knot, then silently stood up and began a slow march around the table. The detectives watched her in a silence broken only by the hum of the overhead fan and the sound her leather sandals made as the slapped against the heels of her feet.
Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. To a sum total of 32 thwacks before she was back at her chair, looking up at them expectantly. She was rewarded with more silence and a raised eyebrow from Detective Tall.
She was a bit surprised. These men were supposed to be cracker-jack crime fighters, but it appeared further explanation was in order.
"He was shot from behind, you said. At close range, you said. Well you can't just sneak up on someone if you are wearing flip flops. They are WAY too loud."
A full minute went by as the detectives looked at her, then at each other, then at whoever was behind the one-way mirror filling the back wall of the room.
"I'm sorry Mrs. Marshall. But I think we're having a misunderstanding here. We brought you up from the holding cell because you told us you had an alibi," said Detective Tall.
"Yes," she agreed.
"Ma'am, it's late and I'm tired, and frankly, I'm sweating like a pig. So maybe we you can just go on ahead and give it to us," said Santa Cop in a tone that made her think perhaps he wasn't the good cop after all.
"I just did."
"My flip flops. I've been wearing them all day. Even at supper time when Ethan was shot. He was shot around supper time, you said."
Santa sat down at the table and ran his hands through his hair, then down along his pant legs to dry them off. She tried desperately not to look as disgusted as she felt.
"Ma'am, were you or were you not in your house around 5 O'clock?"
"No. I wasn't"
"No... I was in the garden."
"So when your husband was being shot in the den, you were not in the house but directly behind the house. Is there anyone besides you and your dead husband to attest to the fact that you were not the one doing the shooting?"
"But it couldn't have been me! You heard the noise these shoes made. How could you kill anyone in shoes like these? Especially someone like Ethan, who everyone knows could hear a tap dripping from four rooms away?"
"So ma'am what you are telling me is that in fact you do not have an alibi. You have a dead husband, a murder weapon in your car, and million dollar life insurance claim to send off. But you do not have an alibi," said Santa, becoming Grinch-ier by the minute.
"Well it's an excuse then, whatever," she said allowing some annoyance to creep into her finishing-school perfected voice.
"And this "excuse" is the audible volume of a pair of sandals you may or may not have been wearing at 5 o'clock today? I have that right," he said leaning across the table.
For a wild minute she thought he might be sucked into the vortex at the centre of the table knot. But looking at him stuffed into his large rayon suit she knew it would taking quite a lot of sucking on the part of the vortex to accomplish that feat. So she was forced to rebut.
"Of course I was wearing them then! I've still got them on haven't I?" she said, now using the frosty tone usually reserved for her housekeeper and nanny.
From the corner of the room Detective Tall made a gesture into the mirror and walked over to the table.
"O.K. Well I think we are about done here Mrs. Marshall. We're sending someone in to take you back to holding."
"Holding? You mean you're keeping me here?" she said looking confused. What part of this were they missing? She tried one more time to explain.
"You just wouldn't kill your husband wearing flip flops. Barefoot surely, in trainers or even stilettos if you were a little kinky, but you just cannot kill a man wearing flip flops!"
"Be that as it may Ms. Marshall, if I were you I'd seriously start thinking about a meeting with my lawyer," he said opening the door for a uniformed guard who took her arm in his clammy hand and helped her to her feet.
"Oh this is just ridiculous!" she snapped as she was turned towards the door.
"Well ridiculous or not, I'm thinking you might be getting a little scared just about now," he said, a small smile playing on his lips as she was led out of the room.
Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.
"The innocent have no fear detective."
"Nor do the pathological Mrs. Marshall."