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Let’s continue with the progressive reading of chapter one with Email #2 of A TRIAL OF ONE BY MARY E. MARTIN
“You’re not afraid of a little work, are you? Do I have to hire a private detective?”
Harry shifted in his seat. Norma was not above bullying in order to mislead him for her own murky purposes. But if she had any more information, why send him on a pointless and costly venture? No doubt, it would be fun to scour Europe for the money, he thought, as visions of medieval towns flashed before him. But he would have to account for every penny on a court audit of his expenses.
Harry jumped when a birdlike hand pinched his knee. Glancing sideways, he saw the beady eyes of a tiny, wizened woman boring into him. Surrounded, he thought.
“Donald, what have you done with my money?” Her bright red nails dug into his kneecap. “You always were a deceitful child,” she gasped, and then spat out, “You’ve spent it on that hussy, haven’t you?”
Norma muttered in disgust, “Stupid woman! Doesn’t even know her own son. See what I mean, Harry? Lunatics everywhere!”
A nurse hurried down the veranda. “Mrs. Burke! That is not your son, Donald.” Swiftly, she removed the offending hand from Harry’s knee. “So sorry, sir.” She smiled apologetically. “I’m sure you understand.”
She held Mrs. Burke’s hand firmly until she lapsed into reverie. Harry rubbed his knee.
Norma was halfway down the steps. “Take me for a walk, please. We can talk privately in the garden.”
Carrying her cane, Harry rushed to catch up with her as she hobbled through the trellised gardens. In the glaring sun, the bees hummed among the blood red roses drooping in the heat. At last, he steered her toward a bench in the shade.
Norma pointed to the residents standing motionless in the field below. Old faces squinted upward in the sun, transfixed by the circling crows. “Look at those fools. They’re waiting.”
“Something to happen.” She shrugged. “They’re mad, you know.” She plunked herself down on the bench and continued, “I do not belong in this insane asylum.”
Harry raised his hand to quiet her. “You know, Norma, I can’t get you out of here.”
Despite her prior confessions of murder, Norma was fond of changing her tune.
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