“How come we haven’t heard from you yet, June?”
“Maybe because I just got here.”
He pointed at a pile of crushed empty beer cans on the coffee table.
“So you been throwing a few back this afternoon?”
”Like I said, I just got here. Why don’t you tell me why you’re here so we can talk about what I found in my bathroom, okay?”
“So there’s a dead kid in your bathroom?”
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“You’re not conducting the investigation, June. Sandy, go back to the bathroom and check it out—don’t touch anything.” The kid stood there for a couple seconds, blinking.
“Get going, son,” the Sheriff commanded. “Speaking of touching anything, have you stayed clear, June?
“Meaning I looked at him fifteen minutes ago and felt his forehead—it was cold. And no, I’ve never seen the kid before and yes he was dead.”
“So you’re a medical professional now June?”
June was about to come back with the F-word but thought better of it, even though they’d gone to high school together and had known each other twenty-five years.
Just then the deputy yelled from down the hall.
“Oh my Lord.”
The Sheriff ordered June to sit down and clumped toward the john.
“What is it, Sandy?”
“It’s Bud Gunderson. Looks terrible.”
The sheriff bent down and felt the kid’s neck and forehead.
“That’s because he’s dead, son. Done been for hours. You knew this kid?“
“We played football together.”
“So he was friend of yours?”
“No,” Sandy said. “He always treated my sister like shit but I guess it don’t matter much now.”
“I guess not.” The sheriff whipped out his phone and called the medical examiner. With the phone still on his ear, the sheriff walked back out to the living room.
“Doc, I need you at June Viren’s place. We got a stiff in the bathroom here. No blood or obvious wounds. Definite rigor setting in.”
“June, you’re moving into the center of this thing, okay? The kid’s dead in your house; you live here alone; you’re here now; and I haven’t heard anything from you about how all this could have happened. The deputy’s going to have to run you into the office while I wait for the ME. See you in a couple hours.”
June thought ahead. This thing might involve her son since he knew where she hid the spare key and he and some friends must have drunk all that beer. And someone was talking, otherwise the sheriff wouldn’t have arrived right after she got home. It’d take him awhile to figure things out. She was innocent, but they’d need witnesses from the café where she worked to corroborate that. She decided to clam up and demand a lawyer, even if they kept her a couple nights in jail.