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"Yes, this is exactly the way I found the apartment when I got home from work." Joyce saw a flicker of red from the corner of her eye and tuned toward the window. The male cardinals vied for position at the bird feeder—one at the feeder, one in the Forsythia, and another a few feet from there in the Nanny-berry. Two females foraged on the ground under the feeder. "And you didn't move anything?" "No. But I told you that already." Joyce glanced the name pinned above the officers badge. "Look, Officer Blunduer." She felt her lips twitch when she heard his name out loud. This was no time for smirking. "Why would I lie about something like that?" Officer Blunduer scribbled a few notes and looked at her without lifting his head. The effect was the same as when Joyce's fourth grade teacher looked over her reading glasses at her. "My husband never leaves the house like this. I expected the table to be ready for dinner." When Officer Blunduer failed to respond, she added, "Like usual." "Your husband usually fixes dinner?" "Yes." "And he sets the table? "Yes." Forsythia-cardinal, impatient, flew to the feeder, unseating the first. Nanny-berry-cardinal flitted to the forsythia. The females remained unruffled, foraging under the feeder. "Why do you keep asking the same questions, over and over again?" Joyce willed Officer Blunduer eyes to meet hers. "It just that this paper. This paper is from last week." Officer Blundeur paused waiting for a response from Joyce. "Yes." "Doesn't that strike you as odd?" "This whole thing is odd." Joyce turned back to the window. The cardinals had vacated the feeder. A gang of grackles raked seed onto the ground with their beaks. Soon the Blue Jay would arrive and restore peace, she thought. "And that's the thing you find odd about all of this?" Joyce felt heat rise up her neck and prickle through her scalp. Officer Bludeur bowed his head and scribbled.
That was a bit unexpected. Thanks for reading!