(Please comment: What does this short scene reveal to you?)
Formalities over, Detective Niemi watched Margaret Tapio for several seconds before asking, “Did you happen to see anyone or anything yesterday?”
Margaret bit into the edge of a Vanilla wafer, took a sip of coffee and replied, “No, not really. I mean no, I didn’t see anything. You know anything of interest to you.”
“So, you saw something then?” Niemi inquired
Margaret focused on the cotton tablecloth as she scraped at a piece of embedded red candle wax, “No, I didn’t see anything. All I know is that Jacob came running over to tell me his grandfather had been shot. That’s all I know.”
Niemi caught Trooper Stephanie Miller’s eye, nodded his head a fraction.
Trooper Miller commented, “I’m sure it was quite a shock to you. It’s so quiet out there. You don’t expect something like that to happen, do you?”
Margaret looked at the trooper, “No, you don’t, but then again every year you hear about someone getting shot during hunting season. People just don’t think. I stay away from the woods, this time of year. It’s just not safe.”
“Were you close to Mr. Saari?” continued Miller.
“No, not close, but he was a good neighbor. We’ve lived across the road from each other for years. When my husband passed, he just started taking care of the lawn, plowing my driveway, helping out when I needed some handy work done.” Margaret paused, “I just don’t know what I’m going to do now.”
Trooper Miller paused for a count of four and then asked, “So yesterday, you were home all day, right?”
“Yes, I was. Well, not really all day. I did go up the road for a walk early in the morning.”
“And you didn’t see anyone or anything? Would you have noticed?”
Margaret shifted in her chair, looked out the kitchen window, “Like I told the Detective, I didn’t see anything. I just keep to myself.”
Having left Margaret Tapio’s, Miller was backing out of the driveway when she swore and hit the brakes hard. Sheriff Saari, who had pulled in behind the State car, hopped out of his vehicle and walked up to Miller’s window. Miller lowered the window several inches. Sheriff Saari leaned on the State car, hands wide and chirped, “Hey Troop, Detective. So did old lady Tapio have anything to say?” He smirked, “Well, I’m sure she had plenty to say, but anything of interest?”
Niemi shook his head slowly, “No, nothing of interest.”
Saari nodded, “I didn’t expect so.” He looked around. “Well, I best be going. Was out riding around to see if I spotted anyone didn’t belong, but it’s been quiet out here. Always is.” Saari leaned in closer, stared at Niemi, “Well, if Tapio happens to remember something, you keep me informed, ok?”
“Niemi nodded. “Sure thing Sheriff.”
As they drove off Miller asked, “Why do you put up with him?”
Niemi just sat quietly looking out the passenger window.