Author's note: the following story is purely a work of fiction and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. The author wishes to express his gratitude to Copperbutterfly for her editing to make this a better story.
"Ring-g-g-g!" came the insistent sound of our doorbell.
I looked questioningly at my wife, sitting across the dinner table from me. She shrugged and returned an 'I have no idea' look to tell me she wasn't expecting someone.
"Probably a salesman or some kid wanting to mow the lawn," I said. "I'll get it."
I got up from my half eaten dinner and started to the front door. I glanced at the hall clock, verifying that it was a few minutes after seven-thirty on a Thursday evening.
I opened the front door, prepared to turn away whoever it was. To my surprise, there were two men standing at the door, both holding police badges in folders for my perusal.
"Mr. Turner? Mr. Stanley Turner?" one of the men asked.
"Yes, sir, that's me," I answered.
"Is your wife Pamela Turner?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. Why?"
"I'm Detective Getz and this is Detective Johnson. Is your wife home?"
"Yes, she is. We're in the middle of eating dinner right now. Can this wait?"
"No, sir. We have a matter to discuss with both of you. Would you please come downtown with us?"
"What? What is that all about?" I asked, the tenor of my voice rising with annoyance.
The second policeman pulled the storm door further open and the first stepped forward. "Mr. Turner, I don't think you want to discuss this matter in front of your neighbors. Let's get Mrs. Turner and go downtown."
"Are we under arrest? Can you tell me why?"
"You are not under arrest at this time, sir. However I will tell you that both of you are considered persons of interest in a matter we are investigating. Now if you will just come with us, we'll see if we can get this issue handled."
Just then, Pam walked into the living room. "What's going on, Stan?"
Before I could respond, Getz said, "Mrs. Turner? We are Detectives Getz and Johnson. We have a matter to discuss with you and your husband. Please come with us to the station house."
Pam started to protest but Getz held up his hand and silenced her. "Ma'am, we can do this the easy way, with your cooperation, or the hard way, with handcuffs, but make no mistake about it — we are going to do it."
"Okay, let me get my purse."
She went to the kitchen with Johnson following closely behind her, then returned. Getz read us both our Miranda rights. "You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one..."
We made a little procession out to their car. We were split, with Pam in the front passenger seat while Johnson drove, Getz and I sitting in the back. Each time I tried to inquire about what was going on, Getz just put a finger over his lips in a shushing motion. It only took us a few minutes to get to the station.
We were escorted into the chaos of the front desk area and then past all the turmoil of what looked like a drunken brawl. The detectives led us up a set of grungy worn stairs. Johnson herded Pam into one interrogation room and I started to follow but Getz tugged my arm toward another room, so I followed him. I was full of unspoken questions.
The room was nondescript, painted in a sea green with a black painted concrete floor. There was an old metal-and-formica table in the center of the room with a straight-backed chair on either side. Getz waved me to one chair while he pulled out the other.
There was a tape recorder on the table. As he pressed the record button, he said, "If you don't mind, Mr. Turner, we'll record this session so there won't be any question of who said what later."
"That's okay with me, Detective, as long as you promise to provide me with a copy of the tape too."
He frowned, but slowly nodded his head in agreement.
"Let's get started, shall we? Mr. Turner, where were you last Saturday evening?"
I was surprised at his question and had to think back. "Uh, Saturday was August eleventh, right? Well, from... I think about five-forty-five until around six-thirty, I was eating dinner in my kitchen with my wife. From six-thirty until about seven o'clock, I read the newspaper. A few minutes after seven, my brother-in-law, Jason Jefferys, arrived and the two of us talked a while and then watched the Rangers and Red Sox baseball game on the tube. It went eleven innings so it didn't finish until about... twelve-thirty or twelve-forty-five, I think. After that, Jase and I talked a bit more about plans he has for building a deck. He left somewhere around twelve-fifteen or twelve-thirty, I'm not sure. I went up to bed and didn't wake up until... I dunno. I think it was about eight-forty-five Sunday morning. Why do you need to know?"
As I had been talking, Getz scribbled down notes on a legal pad. It looked like he was recording the times I gave him. Instead of answering my question, he sat back in his chair and perused the notes for a couple of minutes before leaning forward again and looking into my eyes.
"Do you know a Mr. Lee Thompkins, Mr. Turner?"
"Lee Thompkins? I don't think that name rings a bell, Detective. Should it?"
"I don't know, Mr. Turner. Would you have any reason to know your wife's lover?"
"My wife's what?" I screamed, incredulously. I came up out of the seat, ready to take a swing at this man who was besmirching my wife's good name.
Getz stood and glared back at me. "Sit down, Mr. Turner!" he commanded. "Are you saying you didn't know your wife had a lover?"
"I didn't and I still don't, Detective. What th' hell gave you the right to make such an accusation?"
"Evidence, Mr. Turner. Hard facts. Sunday morning Mr. Thompkins was found murdered in a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency downtown. Would you care to guess who registered for the room, Mr. Turner?"
The implication deflated me in a hurry. I slumped back to the chair. "My wife?" I asked in a barely audible whisper.
"Yes, your wife, Mr. Turner. Now tell me where your wife was supposed to be Saturday night."
I inhaled and tried to control my rampant heartbeat. "She was going to do some shopping and then go to the movies with my sister-in-law, Katie Jefferys. It was something the two sisters did most weekends, unless we had something else to be done."
"What stores did they frequent?"
"I... I don't know. They went to the mall and... damn, Detective, she hit almost every store."
"Where were they going to the movies?"
"At the Cineplex in the mall. That's where they always went."
"Uh, huh. On Sunday, did she tell you what movie they saw?"
"I... I don't... remember if she did. She might have and I just wasn't paying attention."
"Do you know what time she got home?"
"Uh... no, I guess I was asleep when she came in. She was in bed when I got up in the morning but... I don't know when she got there."
There were several moments of silence as Getz scratched out something on the note pad. My mind was in a whirl of unanswered questions but the overriding thought of my wife being unfaithful after seven years of marriage was keeping my thoughts from falling into any sort of logical pattern.
Finally I asked, "Detective, other than the room being registered in my wife's name, do you have... uh, evidence... that they were actually... lovers?"
Once again he leaned back in his chair and studied me intently before finally answering. "First her fingerprints are all over the room so we know she was there. Perhaps most damning evidence is that he was found laying on his back naked on the bed. His... ah, genitals were covered with bodily fluids. They are a mixture of his... and hers."
"There's no doubt about that, Detective?"
"None. Sorry, Mr. Turner."
I sat back and let the implications sink in. If Pam had been meeting a lover every Saturday that she and Katie had been "going shopping and to the movies," then she had been cheating on me virtually all of our seven years of marriage. Pam and Katie had made a practice of getting together every weekend. Shee-it!
"Let me guess, Detective. You figured that I had learned about my wife's lover and went to take him out. Is that why we're here?"
"Well, let me tell you, Detective, if I had known about the son-of-a-bitch, I might have done just that! Unfortunately I was too dumb to suspect anything was going on."
"Mr. Turner, I tend to believe you but we'll have to check out your alibi. Please wait here."
He got up and left the room. Left me to my rambling, raging thoughts of my wife's infidelity. Until a few minutes ago, I had thought that I would do anything for Pam, even giving my life to insure her well-being. Now... now I wasn't so sure. No, that's not really true. Now I was pretty sure I wouldn't do anything to make the slut's life any better. In fact, I was beginning to think of ways to make her life a living hell!
While I sat there thinking about the jumble of facts that had been dumped on me that evening, my emotions ran the gamut from self-pity to despair to passion for revenge to... whatever. I couldn't keep my thoughts channeled in one direction long enough to make any real decisions... except one. I knew that my marriage was effectively over. I might have to live with the bitch for a while longer until this issue was resolved one way or another but it wouldn't take the form of a marriage any longer.
When the door began to open again, I glanced up at the wall clock and was surprised that it was just a few minutes before ten o'clock. Detective Getz walked in and resumed his seat.
"Mr. Turner, your alibi checks out so we're going to let you go home. Please don't leave the city without letting me know."
"What about my wife?"
"We're going to let her go with you... for now."
"No, Detective, you are not going to let us go."
"You came to our home and hauled us down here. Now you're going to arrange to take us back home." I emphasized 'back home' and he gave me a smirky smile.
"Okay, Mr. Turner. Detective Johnson will take you and your wife home. Please wait downstairs by the front door. He'll be right there."
I went downstairs and waited near the door, keeping out of the way of people coming and going. It struck me as odd how many people came through a police station at that time of night; guess that showed what a sheltered life I'd led!
When I spotted Johnson and Pam coming toward me, I noticed immediately that she had been crying; her face was wet, her eyes were swollen and she kept a tissue dabbing at her tears. She was huddled into a shell, as if trying to curl herself into a protective ball. She kept her eyes on the floor, never looking up at me. That started a new round of questions soaring through my mind: who, or what, were the tears for?
Johnson put us in the back seat of his car, then climbed into the driver's seat and backed out. We were barely underway when Pam put a hand on my arm.
I shook it off and hissed, "Don't touch me, bitch!"
She cringed as if I had struck her. I have to admit that I wasn't far from it — I wanted to make her hurt physically just as much as she was making me hurt mentally. I gritted my teeth and reminded myself that I did not strike females!
When we got home, I jumped out of the car and went inside, not waiting for Pamela. I took the stairs two at a time and went into our bedroom — 'our' bedroom? Ha! Not anymore, it wasn't! Going to the chest, I pulled out a drawer of her clothes, carried them to the guest bedroom and dumped the contents on the bed. Four trips emptied all of her stuff from the dresser. Four more trips emptied the closet of all reminders of her. I raked all of her toiletries into the large waste basket and dumped them on the bed. After that trip, I locked the bedroom door, took off my clothes and went to bed.
Not that it did any good. I couldn't sleep. My mind was whirling a mile a minute and none of the thoughts were good. Along the way, Pamela knocked on the door and asked me to let her in. I ignored her. It took her a half hour to get the message and finally leave me alone.
Friday morning, I showered, dressed and went straight to my car, looking neither right nor left to see if Pam was up. I stopped for breakfast at Denny's before going to work. I should have known that was a lost cause; I couldn't get anything done.
At ten-thirty, I went to my boss' office and told him I was having problems at home and needed to take the day off as a personal day. He agreed, albeit I could see he was dying with curiosity. I drove to the Jefferys' house. Katie was surprised when she opened the door. She had a rather worried look on her face.
"Katie, I need to talk to you please," I said rather sternly.
She held the door open for me to enter and pointed to the kitchen. When I sat at the table, she poured me a mug of fresh coffee and sat across from me.
"Katie, I now know that when you and Pam left our house Saturday, you didn't go shopping and to the movies. I want the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth now please. Tell me what you did."
I thought she was going to cry. Her face screwed up and there were tears at the corners of her eyes just waiting to fall. Finally she screwed up her courage.
"We... we did drive to the mall, just like we always do. I pulled into the parking area by Lord and Taylor, just like we always do. I got out and went inside. I shopped for a while... maybe... three hours. Then I went to the Cineplex, bought a ticket and watched a movie. When it was over, I drove over to the Big Boy Restaurant and had a late snack. Then we drove home about... I don't know for sure... about one o'clock."
"Whoa! You've left out a few important details, Katie. When you got out of your car at the mall, what did Pam do?"
In a very quiet, little girl voice, Katie said, "She got out too."
"And then... ?"
"She got into the car next to us."
"They drove off."
"When did you see her again?"
"At the restaurant... at about twelve-forty."
"So... you last saw her at about... say, seven forty-five or eight o'clock and not again until twelve-forty. Is that right?"
"Yes." Again she spoke so softly I could barely hear her.
"And this was your regular routine, wasn't it?"
"When was the first time you did that?"
"Uh... the Saturday after you got back from your honeymoon."
"Seven years ago?" I exploded.
"Yes," came the little girl's voice again.
"And you... you, my loyal sister-in-law, didn't have the guts to tell me that my wife was cheating on me all that time. In fact, YOU HELPED HER!"
Katie flinched, as if I had just struck her. "I tried to tell her it was wrong and that she was jeopardizing her marriage but she wouldn't listen to me. I couldn't rat on my own sister."
"Hm," I mused. "I wonder how many times you've cheated on Jason..."
"Never!" she shouted. "Don't you tell him that I cheated on him. I never did!"
"No? But you did lie to him, didn't you?"
Katie started to cry. I got up and stormed out of the house.
My next stop was our bank, where I moved half of our assets to a new account and had my name removed from the original ones. Calls to my benefits coordinator and my insurance agent changed my beneficiaries from Pamela to my sister, who lived over 1,200 miles away. It took several more calls to cancel all of our joint credit cards.
I decided to hold off on initiating divorce proceedings until the issue of Thompkins' murder was resolved. If Pamela wound up going to prison for killing her lover, it might impact what my legal action would be — I didn't really know.
By mid-afternoon, I decided it was time to brave the bitch, so I headed home. The house was dark with all the blinds and drapes closed, but I was sure Pam was home. Her car was still in the garage. I got a Coke from the fridge and went to my recliner in the den.
Ten minutes later, Pam came creeping down the stairs quietly in her frumpy old robe. It wasn't too dark to see that she had not brushed her hair and her face was still a mess. She'd obviously been doing a lot of crying.
She stopped a few feet from me. "Stan, can we talk about this? I still love you."
"Woman, you don't even know the definition of the word love," I spit out.
The tears started again, rolling down her cheeks. "I didn't mean to hurt you."
"You didn't mean to hurt me? What th' fuck did you think it would do when you fucked somebody else right after we got married?" My voice was a few decibels higher than I meant for it to be.
There was a pregnant pause, during which the only sounds were her sobs.
"Who th' hell is Lee Thompkins?" I demanded.
"I met him in college."
"You met him in college! And you've been fucking him ever since, right?"
She just cringed but didn't respond. Her silence was response enough.
"If you loved him enough to want to screw him through our marriage, why didn't you just marry him in the first place?"
After a pregnant pause, she answered in a barely audible voice, "Because he was already married."