Martha's pastor was being very efficient.
The police had released her body, and not knowing what to do,
I had called him on Sunday. He was quite upset about the whole
thing, and talked about police tape and not being allowed to
hose down the lawn, and how awful this must be for me. He said
he would handle everything, he knew a very respectful Christian
funeral director that several of the parishioners had used before
and liked very much, and if I wanted a closed casket it could
all be handled very soon, and be very tasteful,
He said a lot more, all very quickly, sometimes several times.
He seemed to want it all to go away quickly, and I told him to
do whatever needed to be done. He looked at me like I had given
him some great gift, and said he would not let me down.
I got several calls. The funeral director, and what seemed like
half of Martha's church, some sobbing incoherently and calling
me "poor dear". The pastor called a couple times, once asking
about a list of Martha's friends and relatives. He had a list;
they all went to his church.
Murphy the detective came over for another visit. He brought along
another man, not a uniform, named O'Toole.
"Do you know a Ralph Petersen?" he asked, not waiting for any
I said I didn't.
"Do you remember where you were on May 23rd at 9 pm?"
"May 23rd?" I said. They watched as I got up and walked
into the kitchen to look at the calendar. "That was a Friday."
I said. "At nine o'clock Martha and I would be watching
Sex and the City
. That's her favorite show."
Was her favorite show.
"Just the two of you?" Yes.
"Could your wife have known a Ralph Petersen?" I didn't know.
"Mr. Bloch, we'd like to see any letters your wife may have
received in the past few weeks. Does she use email?" She did.
"Then we'd like to see the computer she used. Did she use any
chat rooms or message boards?" I didn't know.
I showed them into Martha's bedroom, and told them they could
have anything they needed. They searched the room for papers,
and carried the computer out to a large car in the driveway.
"Who is this Petersen?" I asked. The other fellow grinned like
he had just won a bet.
"He was killed on May 23rd, outside
Our Lady of Grace Roman Catholic Church,
in West Babylon," the detective said.
"The bullet was from the same gun that killed your wife."