"Mother, this house has a market value of $80,000. Chad is offering you over 12 times that much. You can easily find a better place to live with less upkeep and a dishwasher." Bud had sat silent for most of the evening since Chad had arrived. Chad had come to talk, but Bud needed to be heard. "Mother this is a chance of a lifetime. Mr. Lewis says that they are ready to cancel the project if you don't move soon You will be left to battle with the neighbors that are angry at you for holding out."
Bud Everly apologized to Chad Lewis and broke out the bottle of Cognac that Chad had offered as a gift upon his arrival earlier. Chad Lewis spoke first, "I thought you said you could convince your mother to sell. Bud, you're letting me down and you're letting yourself down. We had an arrangement and your mother can't get in the way of that."
As the sun came up the next morning the weather was as crisp as apple cider and hot as a Roman spa. Detective Sonny Broshears had gotten the call shortly after 10 AM. The dispatcher had simply said that old lady Everly had died. Fell down the stairs. The TV repairman found her when he arrived to fix the satellite system. Paramedics were already on the scene. Though he was vaguely familiar with the isolated house on the outskirts of town, he had never met the widow.
Sonny brushed the bagel crumbs from his jacket as he drove down the long lane. He mentally noted that the house was tidy and compact with a well-manicured lawn as green as the love of money. The summer heat had erased all traces of last night's storm and as he meandered the gravel drive Sonny pulled in behind the ambulance and walked toward the house.
A paramedic was waiting in the yard and Sonny asked, without introduction, "Has another officer been on the scene"
"No, the Examiner is on his way but your the first cop to show," the EMT droned.
Sonny studied the drive and thought out loud, "The whole area is wet. What was she doing Watering the lawn"
The paramedic offered, "No, they've probably got sprinklers. Probably automatic. They were off when we got here at about 10 O'clock."
"Well, who was parked in that spot there that's still dry It's about the size of a police cruiser. Are you sure nobody has left" Sonny asked.
"You're it, the one and only." The paramedic seemed disinterested and Sonny went inside. He met a second emergency worker at the top of the stairs. The paramedic informed Sonny that the body was still at the bottom of the stairs and it looked like she had taken a pretty nasty tumble. She was dead before they had even arrived.
Sonny glanced at the morning paper, still unread, lying on the kitchen counter. "I'm Detective Broshears, in charge of the investigation. Why don't you guys just go outside and wait for the Examiner. In the meantime, don't touch anything."
The widow Everly's crumpled body lay in an unnatural heap at the foot of the stairs. Sonny studied the