The drive to the zoo was most likely one of those impulse things. Galloway's report that he had made an arrest on the old man Flanagan murder got me to thinking about those stops we made on that cab tour. With Mary O'Hara enlightening me on the unknown Molly in this case, I thought it might be time to revisit those stops.
There she was, the former Mrs. Benjamin Brown, still in her glass booth, still smiling and taking money, still handing out zoo maps and answering questions, still clinging to the belief that she still was Mrs. Benjamin Brown. I just had to find out how crazy this broad really was.
I waited for a lull in the foot traffic and when the coast was clear, I approached her window. She and her Irish accent started to make her spiel before looking up to see who this new shadow had her window might be. "Is this your first ..." Then when she did take the courtesy to look at me, I was rather impressed that she recognized me, "...ah, you're back for your visit. One dollar, please."
I pulled out my badge and slid it through the opening at the bottom of the window. "Mrs. Brown, my name is Lieutenant Ian MacKenzie, Boston Police Department."
She answered with a blank stare, almost as if she were frozen in panic.
"Mrs. Brown, could you answer some questions for me?"
She did manage a nod, placed a BE RIGHT BACK sign in her window, then exited out the back door of her booth. She headed to a picnic table over to the right under some sprawling, exotic tropical tree. She took one bench, I took the other.
She started. "Officer, what is this about?"
"Ma'am, last Sunday a young lady was murdered and ...," I stuttered a bit for I was worried that the words might set off some sort of bizarre psychotic reaction, but then pressed on "... and we believe she may have been an acquaintance of your ..." (should I play along or not was my next thought) " ... your husband."
No reaction, just a glassy gaze from those hypnotic green eyes.
I tried to break through that stare, "Mrs. Brown? Mrs. Brown?"
She finally broke from her trance, "Officer, I'll have you know that Benjamin was with me last Sunday night. It was the birthday party for our daughter Kelly. She was four years old and we had all her friends over. And besides Benjamin has no so-called female acquaintances. He's a good and faithful husband."
I thought that an amazing leap of thought from my mere mentioning of her being an acquaintance and providing a delusional alibi for her fantasy husband.
"Well, Mrs. Brown, I have to check these things out to see if there is any truth to the matter."
"Well, there is no truth to this, Officer," her indignation rising.
I made a few more attempts at find some sort of rationality, but eventually I knew this was going nowhere, "Well, thank you, ma'am. And wish a happy birthday to your little girl."
"Thank you, Officer. She is such a wonderful little girl. You must come over sometime and have dinner, I'll have Benjamin give you a call."
i walked away dumbfounded that anyone could seem so sane one moment and so crazy the next.
Before cranking Old Gray, I took a few seconds to let that whole bewildering experience set in. "Unbelievable!"
Then as I reached to turn the key in the ignition... "Wait a minute. Didn't old Flanagan tell me that Mr.s Brown little maternity mistake take place over fifteen years ago? Lord, this is one crazy, screwed up gal!"