The Amateur

When the police arrived, I was sipping a hot chocolate, reading the Sunday paper, in a velour bathrobe and fuzzy slippers.

I answered the bell without looking through the peep hole. Two uniforms stood at the door. One was average height, maybe a little less. The taller one had a mustache.

The short one asked, "Is this the residence of Martha Bloch?" in a practiced but stumbled hesitancy. He looked past me into the house.

"Yes, I'm her husband", I said, opening the door wider.

"Mr. Bloch?" he started, then paused, waiting for my nod. "A woman was shot and killed a short while ago, and we have reason to believe it was your wife."

I looked at him. I looked at the taller one, who looked back at me with no expression. I looked at the short one again.

"My wife is at church" I said.

"May we come in, sir?" the taller one said. "You'll want to get dressed."

I looked down at my robe and slippers, then back up at him, then at his partner. "Yes," I said, "Yes, come in."

I showed them into the living room, looked at them both again, while taking off my left slipper, and slowly twisting it with both hands, as my knuckles turned slowly white.

"I'll, um, I'll go get dressed." I said, and left them there in the living room.

My eyes were damp and red when I came back. They were standing in front of the glass case containing my gun collection, and my trophies. "I'm sorry I took so long." I said. "I didn't know what to wear."

I was wearing my charcoal suit, a black tie, and my slightly scuffed dress shoes. The suit jacket no longer fit very well, it was tight in the shoulders.