The Case of the Lucky Legs
concerned. I'm trying to help you. I've had the experience and I have the knowledge. You won't accept my help. You sit there and arch your eyebrows at each other and exclaim, 'What? Us go to see Frank Patton? Ha, ha, ha! Don't be silly.'
    "Then I come up to the apartment and find both of you girls in a lather of cleanliness. You've got bathtub hysteria. You can't get into the bathtub quick enough. You've drawn two baths, and one of you has hardly jumped out of the bathtub before the other jumps in."
    "What's wrong with that?" demanded Marjorie Clune aggressively. "I guess we can take baths if we want them."
    "Oh, certainly," Mason remarked. "Except that the police will see the evidences of those baths this early in the evening and wonder if you didn't have some reason for taking them."
    "What reason could we possibly have for taking a bath that the police would be interested in?" Marjorie Clune demanded in that same haughty tone she had used previously.
    Perry Mason turned on her savagely.
    "All right," he said, "if I've got to hand it to you, I'll hand it to you. The police would say that you were washing off blood stains; washing blood off your stockings; washing off blood that had spattered on your legs when you stood over Frank Patton."
    The girl recoiled as though he had struck her a physical blow.
    Perry Mason pulled his big boned frame from the chair, stood towering over the two young women.
    "My God!" he said, "have I got to pick on two women in order to get the truth from them? Why weren't there any clothes in the bathroom? What did you do with the clothes you took off? And you, Marjorie Clune, what did you do with the pair of white shoes that you were wearing when you came from the apartment house?"
    Marjorie Clune stared at him with eyes that were wide and frightened. Her lips quivered.
    "Do… do the police know that?"
    "They'll know plenty," he told her. "Now, let's come down to earth. I don't know how much time we've got, but we might just as well face the issue frankly."
    Thelma Bell spoke in even, expressionless tones.
    "Suppose we were there? What difference does it make? We certainly wouldn't have killed him."
    "No?" asked Perry Mason. "You wouldn't have any motive, I suppose?"
    He turned back to Marjorie Clune.
    "How long had you been here before I arrived?" he asked.
    "Just a m-m-m-m-minute," she quavered. "I didn't take a c-c-c-cab. I came on the street car."
    "You were in Frank Patton's apartment, in the bathroom, having hysterics, talking about your lucky legs?"
    She shook her head mutely.
    "Look here," said Thelma Bell quickly, "will the police know anything about Marjorie being there if the officer who saw her on the street doesn't connect her in some way with the crime?"
    "Perhaps not," Perry Mason said. "Why?"
    "Because," said Thelma Bell, "I can wear that white coat with the fox fur collar. I can wear the little cap with the red button on it. I'll swear they belong to me."
    "That will just put you on the spot," Perry Mason said. "The officer probably didn't remember the face as much as he did the clothes. He'll see the clothes and figure that you were the one he saw. He'll identify you as being the one."
    "That's what I want him to do," said Thelma Bell slowly.
    "Why?" asked Perry Mason.
    "Because," she said, "I wasn't anywhere near the place."
    "Can you prove it?" Mason inquired.
    "Of course I can prove it," she said savagely. "You don't think I'd put myself in a spot like that unless I could prove it, do you? I want to give Marjorie a break, but I'm not foolish enough to get myself mixed up in a murder rap in order to do it. I'll wear those clothes. The officers can identify me all they want to. The officer on the beat can swear I'm the one he saw coming from the apartment. Then I'll prove to them that I wasn't there."
    "Where were you?" Perry Mason asked.
    "With a boy friend."
    "Why did you go home so early?"
    "Because we had a fight."
    "What about?"
    "Is it any of your business?"

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