The detectives remained stoic while the blue clad patrolmen loitering behind didn't even attempt to mask their snickers.
“Yes, there,” George replied as the detective felt around the edges of the wall.
George's wife, Jane, scowled in the background, peeking past the two uniformed officers. The junior detective turned and looked at her. “You didn't see anything?” he asked.
Jane shook her head and snorted. “I've told you ten times, I wasn't here.”
The detective admonished her with a stern look. “Please, ma'am,” he said, “there's no need to raise your voice.”
Jane pulled her head closer to her shoulders and backed away. “Well, it's true,” she insisted. “You keep asking me. I wasn't here.”
“Your husband came to see the house with the realtor and you didn't accompany him,” the detective persisted.
“Yes, right there,” George responded reaching over the detective's shoulder to wave at the wall that the detective had just finished inspecting.
“You're sure it wasn't one of these other walls,” the detective continued as he scanned left and right with his flashlight.
“No,” George insisted. “The back wall. The one you were just looking at.”
The detective turned and faced George. He drew himself up to his full height and George melted under his scrutiny. “And, you said that this elevator took you to a secret underground city?” the detective continued as he glanced at his notes from their earlier conversation.
“No,” George corrected him. “It took us to an underground tube that took us to the city.”
“Denver?” the policeman asked.
“No,” George almost whined. “A city under Denver. They called it a sub-urb.”
"That's eight hundred miles west of here."
"I guess," George replied.
"And you said it took you just a few minutes to get there?"
George didn't answer. His eyes began to dart between the detectives and his wife. He turned to the real estate agent standing across the basement room, and he simply responded with a sympathetic look.
The detective flexed his jaw and shook his head. “Well, there's nothing here now,” he said as he ushered George back out of the closet and into the basement playroom.
George waited for the detective to pass and rushed to the back wall of the closet. His hands raced over every surface as he muttered, “It has to be here.”
The senior detective whispered to the uniformed policemen to keep an eye on George while he went to talk to the wife. “Is your husband on any medication?” he asked.
“Yes, for his blood pressure,” she replied. Then her face brightened. “Oh, no, not that kind of thing,” she added.
“Not what kind of thing?”
“You think he's crazy,” Jane responded.
Before the detective could respond, George rushed from the closet and grabbed the detective by the shoulder. “You have to dig outside!” he shouted. “It has to be there.”
The detective wiped George's hand from his shoulder and admonished him with a look. “You want us to dig up the yard to find a secret elevator that took you to an underground city?”
The realtor standing in the corner shook his head and shrugged.
“Don't worry,” the detective spoke in the realtor's direction. “We won't have to dig up anyone's yard.”
“But you have to,” George persisted.
“No, sir, we don't,” the detective said with a smile. He pulled his smart phone from it's holster on his belt and held it up in front of George's eyes. “We have an 'app' that can find things that are buried.”
George regarded the instrument with suspicion.
The party left the basement and George watched with dismay as the detective waved his phone over the corner of the house where the basement closet was located.
The uniformed officers were openly laughing. One was waving his baton over the grass like a divining rod. The senior detective scowled in their direction. "What are you doing?" he called to them.
The one with the baton smiled and answered, "We have something over here. Oh, no," he added melodramatically and looked at the detective. "It's only a septic tank."
The other uniformed officer burst out laughing. "Yeah, it's a real pile of..." he began, but the detective cut him short with a harsh glare.
George scowled at them. When he turned back, he found his wife signing a paper on a clipboard that the junior detective was holding for her.
“What are you doing?” he demanded.
The senior detective looked deeply sympathetic as he walked back to George. “Nothing to worry about, Mr. Arkens,” he said softly. “The officers here,” he said waving to the uniformed patrolmen, “are going to give you a ride to the hospital to have you checked out.”
“Checked out!” George shouted. “For what?”
“Well, Mr. Arkens,” the detective explained, “your realtor said you hit your head on the overhead as you were going into the basement and you took a nasty fall.”
“I did not!” George insisted.
“You may not remember it,” the detective responded, forcing patience into his voice. “That's why you need to be checked out. It'll just be forty-eight hours.”
“Forty-eight hours!” George responded and tried to move away. “I don't have forty-eight hours and there's nothing wrong with me.”
The uniformed officers gently restrained him and led him away to their patrol car. The detectives tipped their hats to the realtor and escorted Jane to her car as the realtor dialed his phone.
“Yeah, they're gone,” the realtor spoke into the phone when the connection had been made. “No problem. They didn't find anything.”
There was a pause as he listened to the party at the other end and watched the detectives leave to drive Jane home.
“No, these things happen,” he added after listening a few moments. “We thought he was a good candidate, but he couldn't handle it. Some people just can't.”