Mr. Bostwick led us into the living room, which was small and shabby and comfortable. He smiled as we sat down, and he addressed my employer. "You're a detective, Miss Sleet, and they are indeed a mystery, so I might as well tell you up front that I know none of the answers."
"Aren't you curious?"
"Of course. But I'm curious about a good many things that I know I'll never learn. And, to be honest, if not for them I'd probably have to go live with my daughter and her kids. Which would be miserable for all of us, but especially for me."
He smiled. "I try not to ask them too many questions. I gather they are treated as freaks at school every day, and I know that it bothers them. I get the impression that their attempts to 'act normal,' and 'fit in' have been less than successful. But they shouldn't feel that way in their own home, too."
He smiled at my expression. "Marshall," he said, "were you popular in high school?"
I was surprised at the question, and I shrugged. "I guess so. I played sports, and I was pretty good, so that helped. I didn't drink, which was considered very odd, but mostly the sports made up for it."
"How about you, Miss Sleet?"
She laughed, nearly dropping the cigarette I was lighting for her. "Of course not," she said. "I was taller than most of the boys, and thinner than I am now – if you can imagine that – and I had absolutely none of the skills and interests expected of a girl my age in my town."
"How were you treated at home?"
She smiled, exhaling a cloud of smoke. "Very well. With complete, if sometimes bemused, acceptance. And you're right, it made a huge difference."
He nodded. "By the way," he said, "do you know a good lawyer?"
"Yes, a very good lawyer, in fact."
He smiled. "Does he make house calls?"
"He'll make this one. He visits U-town once a week or so to meet with us. I'll ask him to stop by."
"I'm always here. Well, we go to the park quite often on the weekends, when the weather is good, but I assume he comes during the week."
She nodded. We were both imagining Stu's wife's reaction if he had decided to work on a weekend.