It never occurred to me to look under the bed. Actually, that was the second mistake I made. The first had to do with the keys.
But it all starts with the ring. The ring had been a family heirloom, last passed down by my grandmother to Rita, my wife. That was before we divorced. When we did, I let Rita pack up everything she owned; the only thing I wanted back was the ring. To her credit, she did not make much of a fuss. All she said was that she loved that piece of jewelry and would be willing to pay for it. However, she did come around eventually and pressed the ring into my hand just before wheeling out her luggage.
This happened yesterday. The same evening, my precious heirloom had a new owner. Amrita is smart. She is attractive. And she works in my office as a receptionist.
Just for the record – since people tend to be so judgmental in such matters, Amrita did not cause my divorce. Though she did trigger a mild heart attack this morning when I discovered that both she and the ring were gone.
I woke up to an empty house and looked everywhere for them. I found neither. The safe was untouched and my wallet lay on the bedside table where I’d put it last night. But the ring – that family heirloom worth lakhs of rupees – had disappeared.
By the time the cops arrived, I had almost given up hope. In spite of my telling them to go look for Amrita, they insisted on checking the house first. When one of them entered the bedroom, I watched with growing impatience as he poked and prodded at everything.
Squatting on the floor, unmindful of the dirt, the cop squinted into the gloom under the bed. “Get me a stick,” he said. I fetched the broom and it took him nothing more than a minute to reel in the finger.
I recoiled in horror, but for only a second. The unmistakable sparkle of the diamonds made me look at it again. Dried blood caked the edge of the ring, close to where the finger had been cut off from the palm. But otherwise the ring was untouched, unscratched.
Now I looked closer. Not that I notice such things, but the pink nail-polish on the finger was the exact same shade that Amrita had been wearing last night. Anyway, the ring was back and that was all that mattered.
Like they say, it all turned out fine in the end. The police berated me for letting my ex-wife walk away with the house-keys. After about 30 minutes of this, I offered them all that was in my wallet. They accepted it and left.
Later I also discovered the blood-covered knife in the kitchen sink. It had been Rita’s favorite. Sharp enough to cut meat in one swift stroke, she always said.