She was a resident here at Beemoor Village. Slightly older than me, I would guess. Mid-sixties probably. Nutty. Some kind of aging hippy with low-cut, long flowing dresses. Birkenstocks. No bra. Never a bra.
She called herself a yoga instructor because twice a week she sat with four or five other old hags, half of them in wheelchairs, straining to stretch an arm, theatrically inhaling and exhaling, tilting back their chests, shoulders and heads, then letting them cave in on themselves again and again as they nearly tumbled onto the ground. They reminded me of the inflatable balloon-like air dancers flailing around and folding in on themselves in tire center parking lots.
From my balcony, I could see their tiny circle out behind the community center, every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. With binoculars, I could clearly make out Joanne, the self-proclaimed yoga instructor, waiting until she had her “students” close their eyes before turning her own head this way and that, trying to catch a glimpse of whomever might be heading to the coffee bar or lining up for the shuttle bus to the mall. I mean are yoga instructors supposed to do that? Aren’t they required to live by a code of honor and integrity? Isn’t that what yoga is all about? Or am I thinking of Buddhism? Well, whether we’re talking about yoga instructors or Buddhists, I’m pretty sure they are not supposed to be busybodies. Are they? Are they supposed to even care who is doing what with whom? Are they supposed to trick their students into believing that their teacher is meditating right along with them, intently transporting herself to a better, more serene place, eyes shut, when she’s really peeking through a half-closed eyelid, wondering why Lisa Finkelbean is boarding the shuttle to Yang’s Nail Salon rather than doing her yoga exercises? What kind of spiritual role model is that?
I know I sound sort of cold-hearted given that she was found dead just yesterday, and a bloody mess at that. And this kind of talk probably makes me a suspect, as well, seeing as how she was found dead and bloody in my bed.
Detective Callahan was in his mid-forties, fit but not athletic, the kind of guy blessed with a rapid metabolism or the willpower to resist fast food and doughnuts, but not the motivation to regularly visit a gym. Under a full head of black hair were sloping, bushy brows and sad eyes that were echoed by a mouth drooping at the corners. In the middle of it all was a long, slightly bent, fairly narrow nose.
“Jack, how would you describe your relationship with the deceased?”
“Is it okay if I call you ‘Jack’ or would you prefer ‘Mr. McNamara’?”
“Jack is fine.”
“How would you describe your relationship with the deceased, Jack?”
“We didn’t really have a relationship, per se. By that I mean that we didn’t interact regularly. We virtually didn’t interact at all, except to maybe say hello when passing. That kind of thing.”
“Where would you two ‘pass’ each other?”
“Oh, maybe in the coffee shop in the Community Center. Some place like that … always here on the Beemoor grounds. Maybe by the pool. Maybe I saw her by the pool once.”
“You never visited her in her apartment?”
“Detective, I’m not even sure where she lives. I mean I know she lives in Building 5, Uplift! but I’m not sure which unit she lives in … or lived in, I guess you would say … now.”
“And she never stopped by here? Never stepped foot in your condo?”
“No, no, not once.”
“Well, there was one time, at least,” he said as he tilted his head toward my bedroom, now occupied by two crime scene investigators.
“Right. That’s right. I guess she did come by—or was brought by—this one time. This one tragic time.” I made a point of lowering and shaking my head slowly.
“Brought by? Do you know of anyone who would bring Ms. Barry to your place and then … butcher her?”
“Whoever it was that killed her.”
“Where were you last evening, Jack, between six and eight o’clock?”