A different mystery
The Swinging Foot Case
My eyes kept going back to the swinging foot. Up and down. Side to side. Sandal hanging on the toes for dear life as the heel tapped against her foot.
Sandy, a new client was talking and I was having a difficult time focusing on what she was saying. Swing. Swing. Tap. Tap.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“Can you help me, Ms. Marigold?”
I’m Sunshine Marigold. A little joke my mother played. She wanted a happy child after my crying brother. She thought if she gave me this name, I would always be happy. And generally I am. But that swinging foot.
“Yes. I think I can help you,” I replied, trying to remember what Sandy Wilson had told me.
I run Marigold Investigations. We investigate the backgrounds of men and women for anyone becoming involved with them. We check for black widows, black widowers, players, their finances, any jail time, other marriages/relationships, etc.
“I really need to know about Howard,” Sandy was saying. Swing. Swing. Tap. Tap.
“Give me some more background information.” I spoke watching that foot. It seemed louder. Slap! Slap!
“He’s 34 years old. About 6’1 and 185 lbs. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He says he’s never been married and no children. He’s from Amissville, VA.” Sandy leaned forward. “I’ve got lots of money. I want to know he would marry me without it.” She leaned back in the chair, crossed her legs and continued swinging her foot. It seemed the more agitated she became, the faster she swung her foot and the louder the sandal hit her heel. Swing. Swing. Slap! Slap!
I got up from my desk. “Would you like something to drink?” I needed to calm her down. Either that or I was going to find a stop watch to time her foot speed.
“Yes. But just water,” she answered.
Wham! I turned from the small refrigerator to see her sandal lying on the floor next to a metal file cabinet.
“What happened?” I asked.
She looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I tend to swing my foot when I’m upset.
“Not a problem.” I handed her the water and picked up her sandal. I placed it on my desk, hoping she would leave it there. No such luck.
“Thank you,” she said as she slipped it back on. Almost by sheer will, she was trying not to swing her foot.
“I think I’ve got enough information for right now.” I told her as I stood. “I’ll check out everything you told me and get back to you.”
Taking the hint and standing too, Sandy asked, “How long does this usually take?”
“I can usually have the information for you in about two weeks. I will call you to come in as soon as I have something”
“Thank you.” And with that she was gone.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I poured myself a shot of whiskey. Whew! I feel like I’ve run a marathon just by being in the same room with her swinging foot.
The next two weeks were busy. I tried to give Sandy’s case to one of my operatives, but they were all just too swamped. So the “Swinging Foot Case” as I liked to call it became mine.
I called Sandy and set up an appointment. She was back in my office a little over two weeks after my first encounter.
I groaned inwardly as I realized she was wearing sandals again.
“So what have you found out?” she asked. She was seated across from me and automatically crossed her legs.
“It seems that everything he has told you is true,” I replied. “He’s from Va. He won a football scholarship to Virginia Tech. He studied engineering. He’s never been married. He had a high school sweetheart that moved to another state and he really hasn’t been that serious with another woman.” Swing. Swing. Tap. Tap. “He’s never been in any kind of trouble except for one speeding ticket. He has no children. He’s healthy and doesn’t have any sexually transmitted diseases that we can find out about legally.” Swing. Swing. Swing. Tap. Tap. Tap. “He pays his bills on time and pays his taxes. And just so you know, he has his own money. He may not have as much as you, but he’s comfortable. I think you’ve made a good choice.” I stopped talking and watched her. She was really going to town with that foot. Swing! Swing! Swing! What could she possibly be upset about now?
“Are you ok?” I asked her hesitantly. I was watching the sandal. I wanted to make sure I ducked if it went flying again.
“Yes. I’m fine.” She answered. “I know you’ll think this is silly, but he asked me to marry him and I wanted to find something bad out about him.”
“Why?” SWING! SWING! SLAP! SLAP!
“I’m scared of commitment. I’ve been hurt so many times that I just don’t think I could go through it again.” SWING! SWING!
“But things like that happen to all of us,” I told her. “We get nowhere by not taking chances. This guy really checks out. I’m no expert on human behavior, but I think you ought to at least give him a chance.”
SWING! SWING! SWING! SLAP! SLAP! SLAP!
I ducked behind the desk as the sandal whipped past me and hit the metal file cabinet again.
“You have got to stop that!” I hollered at Sandy. “My nerves can’t take it anymore! I can’t concentrate on my job or helping you with that swinging foot and slapping heel going on.” I stood and picked up the sandal. “Now you can’t have this back until we have completed our business.” I sat back down. “WHEW!”
“I’m sorry.” Sandy’s eyes were downcast. “I really lose more friends that way but I can’t seem to help it.”
I began to laugh. I just couldn’t help it. I handed her the sandal and said, “I’m really not mad. We ALL have our quirks that we just can’t seem to overcome. I guess that’s what keeps life interesting.”
When she laughed with me, I knew we were going to be just fine. She had a wonderful man in her life and I had just made a friend.