Joanna Smitt Private Investigator, the sign on the frosted glass door read as William approached with the current Newspaper in his hands. The headlines read of a gruesome story about a young girl’s murder and the hunt for her killer. Although he held the paper in his hands he had yet to read the headlines, his only interest lay in the classifieds and that is where he found my office. When he knocked on my door I was just unpacking the last of the boxes from my move a week ago, fresh paint still hung in the air when his knock rattled the door and windows of the small box that was my office. I stepped over boxes and stacks of paper before my hand touched the doorhandle. When I swung open the door before me stood William, a young man with tired eyes and dark bags underneath his almond shaped eyes. His hair was dishevelled and his shirt was untucked.
“Are you the Private Investigator?” he asked with a strained voice.
“That is what it says on the door,” I smiled and moved boxes out of the way, allowing him to safely enter the office.
He took a seat on the black arm chair that sat on the opposite side of my large oak desk, the highlight of my dull office. After shutting the door behind me I carefully made my way back to my desk chair, light from my desk lamp lit up the desk while sunlight streamed through the venetian blinds as the stale summer air continued to circulate the room thanks to the ceiling fan.
“What is your name Sir?” I asked as I pulled my notepad out of the desk.
“William, William Scott…” he sighed and sat uncomfortably in his seat.
“What seems to be the problem Mr Scott?” I was writing his name down in the notepad when his story crossed my desk.
“I think my wife is having an affair, she’s been going out frequently over the last week.”
“This seems to be a common problem, for men and women,” I smiled as I dot pointed the information.
“I’ve not heard from her since yesterday when I left for work, she was not herself that morning…” he had not seemed to hear my snide remark but I began to become intrigued with his story.
“And have you been to the police?”
“They’re dealing with a possible murder, I am just looking for my wife who has been cheating on me,” he admitted, the sound of defeat drenched his voice as he finally looked me in the eye.
“I’ll look into it for you,” I agreed and handed him a form to sign after disclosing the potential and upfront costs. He happily paid and signed his name before thanking me, tipping his hat and leaving my office. He left behind his Newspaper and I was drawn to the headline, of course I had already known about the potential murder case as did everyone in the city but it was a new turn of events, as I read the news story I felt a shiver run up my spine as I read the words “body found in river, evidence links to a serial killer”. I added that to my notepad, at that moment I was not sure why I had written it.
That night, after clearing up my office I started on my first lead towards the Mrs Scott case. I went to Williams’s house where he told me he had last seen her, William lived outside of the city in one of the quiet inner suburbs, it was a humble house with a white picket fence and a path leading from the driveway up to the front porch. I went through the door and was invited inside by William. Everything inside the house screamed of signs of a happy family, there were family portraits strung up everywhere, embroidered blankets and cushions as well as scented candles strewn about on every spare bench space. Oriental rugs from their travels as a couple of twelve years were laid out on the floor in the living room and in the dining room under the table. There was a small TV set in the living room just opposite the couch where Mr Scott sat as I walked through the house. In the kitchen things started to get interesting, everything in the fridge was labelled, even milk. The outside of the fridge looked very much like the rest of the house, it was decorated with magnets from all over the country and To Do Lists and well as photos and important documents including a wedding invitation that was at least a month old. The dishes were still piled in the sink and to my surprise the oven was still on, quickly using a tea-towel I turned off the oven, careful not to distort any evidence. I then ventured upstairs where I would continue my search, so far there was no sign of foul play, just a happy family with a few idiosyncrasies, though I did note to ask Mr Scott about the excessive labelling. When I came to the master bedroom I realised there was only one bed, a single bed shoved up against the wall near the window. An Oriental rug lay on the floor and photos and candles sat on the dresser. Feminine clothing was found in the draws and her perfumes were scattered on the dresser along with her makeup and a hair brush with fresh blonde hair tangled up with the bristles. The rest of the room looked fine, it was the single bed that caused me to write in my notepad. Another point I would question William on. Now, there was only one other room besides the bathroom and William assured me it was empty and no one had been in it since they moved in five years ago. But still I had interest in that room, after finding nothing out of the ordinary in their bathroom I embarked on my search into the supposedly empty room. This is where I found the queen sized bed, more rugs were in this room too only they weren’t on the floor, they were rolled up and kept in the corner. Paintings and photos sat on the floor facing the wall and the light switch wouldn’t work. If anything, in this light it looked like a junk room, I reached for my torch and flicked on the light. As I swept the room with my torch light I noticed a few other interesting things, there were suitcases filled with male clothing stacked three high just beside the door, in the shadows. I made a final note before walking back down stairs to find William still sitting in front of the TV set.
“Can I talk with you a moment Mr Scott?” I asked as I looked over my notes again, high lighting the ones I wanted answers for immediately.
When I told him about my findings he simply hung his head, for a moment I feared that I was standing in front of a wife killer, until he opened his mouth. He admitted that he was not the smartest man and so his wife took it upon herself early on, to unnecessarily label everything in the fridge as his mother had done for him growing up. When I asked about the bedrooms he seemed embarrassed again but told me that it was once again his wife’s request for him to sleep in a separate bed. She no longer wished to share a bed with her husband and so made sure that by having the single bed made it impossible for William to enter her bed while she slept. From what Williams told me of his wife I gathered that she was a very vain woman, she kept up a façade to anyone who was visiting and hid her lies behind the bedroom doors. I felt sorry for the man that stood in front of me as he hung his head, I could tell that he loved his wife by the way he spoke of her. He never blamed her, he merely quoted direction that she had already given him. I reached across the air between us and gently stroked his arm to comfort him.
“I will find your wife William,” I promised and he offered a half-hearted smile.