Mark and Brian were sitting in the Borg family living room, their shoes had been slipped off and left by the front door at Sandra’s insistence so as not to spoil the cream carpets. She was in the kettle making the tea and looking through her cupboards to find a few biscuits for her odd guests.
“So,” Mark began, “I just want to get this straight before we begin. You had a dream that you met your boss on holiday and killed him, and then when you woke in the morning your boss was indeed dead, in a foreign country, with all of your identification lay around him?”
“Uh-huh.” Brian nodded.
“And how do you know Ernie’s wife, exactly? An affair, perhaps?” Mark asked, his eyebrows raised with excited expectation.
“No, no way. Actually, we met at Christmas. The office had a party at the conference centre by the canal and we bumped into one another at the bar.”
“I see, and he introduced you?”
“She was alone. Actually, it was the oddest thing. I’ve been to a few parties with work and she has always been there but never standing with Ernie, and she was certainly never introduced to me by him.”
“So she introduced herself to you?”
“I suppose she did, yes.”
As they spoke the front door opened and closed in quick succession and a man paced past the hallway door and through to the kitchen. Mark sat forward in his seat trying in vain to look around the corner at the man.
“Who was that?” Mark asked.
Brian had scarcely noticed the door until his attention was drawn to it by Mark’s questioning.
“I don’t know.” Brian shrugged.
“A man just let himself into your boss’s house and walked right through it. Does that not strike you as odd?”
Brian was holding his face in a way that indicated he was not following.
“If you lived with a woman, and a man opened your front door, walked through your house, and went to meet said woman in the kitchen, what would you think to that?”
Brian’s eyes widened.
“I’d think that he was hobbling the horse!”
“Precisely!” Mark grinned smugly, his finger pointing in the air, “I, ah- think.” His eyebrows ruffled with confusion.
There was a rustling from the kitchen and the door closed lightly as Sandra brought a tea tray through from the kitchen.
“Missus Borg, if I may be so bold, who is the man in your kitchen?” Mark asked, wasting no time in getting to business and also collecting the custard creams lay out on the tea tray and putting them safely away in his inside pocket.
“Oh, that’s just a friend of mine, Tony.”
“Yes, Tony Harris. Councillor Tony Harris, you may know him from–“
“You are having an affair with a councillor? Surely their ethics and morals would never allow such a thing!”
Sandra’s face flushed with redness.
“Who are you two?”
Brian picked up his cup.
“I work. Worked. With your husband. You might recall, we met at the Christmas party?”
Sandra looked at Brian a little harder.
“I think so, yes.”
“Missus Borg,” Mark again interjected, pulling one of the custard creams from his pocket and stuffing it into his mouth whole, spitting crumbs across the room as he continued, “for how long has the councillor been, ah, -- laying the proverbial pipework?”
Her heart sank. Had it really been so obvious?
“Oh, well. How did you—?“
“A man does not simply walk into a woman’s home without knocking unless he is in some way involved on a very personal level with her.”
“It hasn’t been long. A few months I think.”
“A few? How many?”
“Well. It has been, oh, let’s see.”
She looked into her tea cup.
“It has been over three years, now.”
Mark and Brian exchanged a glance.
“Missus Borg, has the councillor ever expressed to you any feelings of love?”
“Well of course. He tells me all the time!” she said, looking back at Mark, her tone implying he was asking for his reasoning behind the question more than it answered it.
“And I suppose a woman as beautiful as yourself finds herself showered with gifts from a man as well-to-do as the councillor?”
She shook her head, “No. As a matter of fact, he has never bought me so much as a breakfast.”
This fact interested Mark a great deal and he stood to ponder. He always found a good pace around helped him to ponder. Scotch helped as well of course, especially a pacing ponder with a glass of scotch, on the rocks. The rocks helped him very much.
As he pondered how best to ponder he heard the back door open. It failed to close.
“Missus Borg, I don’t suppose you happen to have some scotch, do you?”
It happened that she did. And as luck would have it, some ice too.
“Might I trouble you for a glass?”
She stood to retrieve the scotch from the kitchen and, as she left the room, Mark reminded her to close the door behind the councillor.