Thanks to my original Editors for this story — Zaffan, Gandalf4217 & Duffiedawg, and also to Dragonsweb & Sue who offered their suggestions for this revision!
I admit that I made a terrible mistake when I married Cynthia, and it was mostly my own fault. I had been terribly lonely that winter and, when I was introduced to her at a holiday party, I allowed myself to be smitten by her. She was a bit too young for me, being still in her early twenties while I was nearly twice that age, and pushing forty hard. Several friends did take me aside to warn me that Cynthia also had a bit of a 'checkered past' and was much more of a city girl than a ranch girl at heart. More fool me, I didn't listen to them. There were other more or less subtle hints from other folks right before our marriage that there would likely be some problems, but 'I was in love' and I had my blinders on firmly.
We were married and I thought the good times were here to stay but slowly but surely I began to see signs of the trouble that folks had been warning me of all along. The bloom was soon off of the rose, and what a very bare flower it became indeed!
I had inherited about 100 acres of good ranchland about an hour from Houston and, with careful maintenance, it always turned a good profit for me. My real bread and butter though was the management that I provided for about six other much larger local ranches that were owned by big city doctors, lawyers and the like. These folks were almost never present but liked to give the big shot appearance of having a 'weekend ranch in the country' that they could bring friends and family to. I provided daily supervision for their ranch hands and made sure that all of the important things got done. For this service, I was very well paid plus I usually received a nice bonus at year's end if their ranch had turned a profit, and I always made sure they always did.
I had most of my savings carefully banked, which was a good thing, since the minute Cynthia moved into my house I never could manage to set aside another penny.
To use the popular term, Cynthia was 'high maintenance'. Daily ranch life soon bored her to tears and she began taking more and more 'shopping trips into the city', sometimes not coming home for days, staying she claimed at her old condo, which she had kept after the marriage. There was a veiled whisper or two that she was 'seeing old friends' fairly regularly, but she was smart and I could never prove she was anywhere other than where she claimed to be.
By the third year of our marriage she was actively resisting any attempt I made to keep her 'under a budget.' She would max out one set of credit cards and I would seize the cards from her and cut them up, but she would just get brand new ones the next month. I even got a report from my local Savings & Loan that Cynthia had been trying to gain access to my savings account, even going so far as to forge my signature granting permission for her to transfer money from that account. The S&L branch manager was an old school friend of mine and called me to verify this unusual transaction in the very nick of time, but it was a close call I never wanted to have repeated. We changed all of my account numbers and locked down my account so that my physical presence would be necessary to make any future alterations or withdrawals.
My savings were now safe, but very little else was. Little knickknacks and odd pieces of old antique furniture that used to belong to my grandparents started to disappear from the house and my workshop, and when my mother's jewelry, which I had given to Cynthia after our wedding, also began disappearing; I knew things were getting very serious for us indeed. We had several major fights and I nearly threw her out of the house until she pledged to moderate her future behavior. For the next few months, her behavior was indeed improved, but she no longer fooled me, I knew she was now just biding her time and awaiting an opportunity to get both of her hands clutched tightly onto the rest of my money.
Divorce was not quite the shocking stain of sin that it had been in my parents' time in our rural community and I was receiving increasing hints from neighbors, friends and other townsfolk that when (not if) I needed to 'kick that bitch's ass to the curb for good', no one would think any the less of me. I did begin to speak with an attorney about a legal separation that would preserve my savings from her, since it had all been earned pre-marriage, but it was likely she would instead get a large chunk of my family ranch in the settlement, despite her history of outrageous and extravagant financial profligate spending. I was not quite ready yet to make this sacrifice, and decided I would wait awhile longer before I made any permanent decisions.
In early spring the following year, one of the ranches nearest our house had a large number of strange guests that came to stay for over a month. This large ranch was one of my management properties and was owned by a hot-shot criminal defense attorney in Houston. His guests were some members of a large regional motorcycle gang with a notorious history of drug running and violence. Their gang boss had just been acquitted (again) on a serious assault and battery charge, from beating a rival gang member into a permanent coma, and they were kicking up their heels and getting back down to business.
For the most part they left me alone whenever I entered the property. I showed no interest in them and they apparently had been told that I had a right to be there on the ranch, and they mostly left me alone to do my job. I've never spent much time in the city and know nothing about illegal drug manufacturing, but it was pretty obvious that they were cooking up something there in one of the barns. There was always a bad smell in the air near that barn and the gang made sure that I stayed well away from it.
More importantly for me, it was calving season and for the next few weeks I was going to be as busy as I could handle, spending parts of each day, and some nights, on each of my management ranches and handling my own stock. I didn't realize until much too late that I had spoken far too freely to Cynthia of my concern about the 'drug factory' next door and, while I had been away every day and most evenings, she had been paying a few visits of her own to our new neighbors.
I found out entirely by accident one evening, while I was mucking about upstairs in the main hay barn of the attorneys ranch, looking for a spare hinge for a cattle gate I thought I had remembered seeing once, now hidden under the hay up there somewhere. The bikers were all absent elsewhere and I had the run of the place to myself for several hours, until I heard the sound of their bikes returning about evening.
I had finally found the hinge and was ready to leave, preparing to walk outside right past them when I noticed a strange sight - Cynthia was riding on the back of the gang boss' bike, and she was quite skimpily dressed in a ragged old pair of skimpy short cut-off shorts that showed most of her ass and a shirt she had tied into a halter top around her bra-less tits with most of the buttons undone. I stayed inside the barn and moved back upstairs to a dark corner where I could see outside a little bit through a crack in the barn wall. With the doors and upstairs windows also mostly open I could hear nearly everything said fairly clearly as well.
The gang talked openly in front of Cynthia of their drug manufacturing and plans for distribution of their product later on in the week out of state and it appeared as if it had been settled that Cynthia would be riding along with them!
The evening wore on and everyone seemed to be getting nicely drunk and there was a good deal of fairly open, public sexual activity beginning between the bikers and their girlfriends. The boss (a guy named Mike), took Cynthia by the hand and lead her into the barn and right upstairs into the loft where I was hiding so they could fuck on a comfortable hay bale, rather than the hard ground. At the last second, I dove between two large hay bales to stay hidden and listened to the sounds of their screwing for a big chunk of the evening, and a lot longer than I would have prefered.
I hadn't enjoyed listening to the sounds of my wife screwing her lover, or rather just one of them, as she apparently had already 'done' most of the gang (including the women) as a part of her initiation, apparently much earlier in the week. But, it was worth every second of it as I learned that the two of them were planning on killing me before they left for on their drug delivery trip to Arkansas in two days!
Specifically, Cynthia had taken out a large insurance policy on me a few months earlier and with an overdose of a 'new drug' that the gang was distributing, and the results would appear like a heart attack. Supposedly, there weren't any tests that could detect the traces of that new drug yet, so they were certain they were going to get the big insurance payout. They were also unhappy that I knew too much about their manufacturing operations and I would probably have been silenced before they left town anyway.
The plan was that she would leave with them for a week or two, supposedly 'visiting friends in the city' and come back to find herself a rich widow with the insurance, and sole possession of the ranch and my savings. Naturally her new friends would be right there by her side in those difficult days to help her enjoy her new fortune.
Tomorrow, it was agreed, that a gang member named Billy would help her poison enough items in the kitchen and refrigerator to ensure my demise while she was gone.
"Poison as many things as possible, do the cleanup later as necessary!" was the crux of the plan.
About midnight, they finished up their screwing for the evening and moved back to the ranch house for the night. A few hours later when everything had been quiet for a good long time, I finally dared to come out of hiding and I quietly snuck an oblique path back home, keeping well out of sight.
"What was I to do?"
I must have said that at least thirty or forty times during the rest of the night. I could leave the ranch and run, file for immediate divorce and accept losing half of the ranch, but I would still have to remain worried that I knew too many of the gangs secrets and they would find and kill me sometime soon to ensure my permanent silence. Listening to Mike's talk with Cynthia, I got the impression that they were just the bottom rung of a very high and steep pyramid of wealth and power, and that they had very powerful and obscenely rich friends that they served, and were in turn protected by. I wanted absolutely nothing do with this.
I wasn't much of a drinker and I needed to have a clear cool head so I had just a small shot from a bottle of Southern Comfort that Cynthia kept in the pantry. She drank a good bit on occasion and this was one of her favorite drinks. I didn't care for the stuff myself and thought it tasted like medicine, but her talk of poison had already unnerved me, and other than tap water, her bourbon bottle was the only thing I could assume was safe to drink.
Medicine, that gave me a bit of an idea!
I made a fast pre-dawn run over to my main barn, where I had my office and kept most of my supplies, and opened up the small veterinary medicine refrigerator and looked over its contents carefully. Most animal drugs are dangerous when taken by humans but I didn't want anything 'fatal' - just something that would make everyone sick enough that I could call in the Sheriff for a raid on their drug lab, so no one would be likely to get hurt or be able to ride off and escape. Nothing seemed to fit that profile, until I saw a long forgotten amber bottle in the far back bottom. Most of the label had worn off, but I remembered it was an experimental drug my vet had given me a few years ago, to clear up an especially bad case of worms in a cow when several other more conventional drugs hadn't worked.
If a eyedropper full was enough for a 1400 pound cow, then a few drops should be more than enough of a dose for a human, but in the end, not knowing how much each of them would drink, I ended up pouring about half of the small bottle of the liquid into the Southern Comfort bottle, and I was still sitting looking at that drugged bottle trying to decide what I wanted to do with it next, when I heard voices almost at the front door. I had no time to run upstairs and hide, or to get out the back door, and how I managed to squeeze myself into that tiny laundry room closet that used to have a built-in ironing board in it, I will never know. Fortunately, I'm a pretty skinny guy.
I had hid myself in the nick of time, Billy and Cynthia had come to start laying down their poison traps for me, and any remaining guilt I felt about poisoning them in return was soon gone. My so-called loving wife of three years really did want me dead!
It seemed to take them hours to open every jar and bottle inside the refrigerator to add their poison, and if that wasn't enough, Cynthia then mixed a batch of fresh lemonade (my favorite drink) and added a goodly dose of poison into that as well. If I had known nothing of the plot, I would have drunk that lemonade today without any question and I would soon have been dead.
They left about noontime, and just before leaving the house they noticing my doped bottle of whisky, still on the table, and they grabbed it and took it with them. I was now alone to finish the rest of my plan.
I grabbed a change of clothes to last me a day or so, until I was sure they had left, and poured out a tall glass of lemonade into a glass, but then I promptly dumped it down the drain, leaving the used glass on the counter, so if she checked back, it could be assumed that I had definitely taken the poison. I then spent the day, semi-hidden on one of the more remote ranches that I handled, trying to stay well out of sight, hoping that none of the other ranches had any cows with sudden calving problems. Sorry gals, they were going to have to wait!
I assumed that, like the previous night, the gang wouldn't start up any really serious drinking until evening, plus I had no idea how long it would take for the cow worming medicine to start to churn up their insides. In the end, I decided not to call the Sheriff's office to make my report of a drug manufacturing lab on the Richard's ranch until nearly midnight. Nothing did seem to happen overnight, and the Sheriff's Drug Task Force didn't even arrive there until nearly noon, hours after the gang had apparently left, probably sometime earlier in the morning.
I made statements, and showed them where the drugs had been made. There did seem to be some decent evidence left behind for the Sheriffs folks to collect, so they all looked pretty happy and called in a statewide APB for the biker gang. I made more statements to the effect that my wife Cynthia had often been seen with them lately, and was 'quite possibly' with them for their little business road trip. This earned me lots of sad faces for my marital woes, and I received a lot of quite good, and free, divorce advice.
One of the Sheriff's Deputies, a very nice lady officer that I vaguely knew, by the name of Brenda, sensed there was a good deal more going on than I had 'fessed up to, and she asked if we could go over to my place to sit and discuss things for a minute, and I agreed. I wasn't really in the mood to talk, but she was rather decorative, and she did have rather nice and kindly looking eyes.
Brenda was 'local', her family having ranched in the area for generations. She had gone to the local Junior College and earned a Law Enforcement degree and then worked for quite a few years in Houston as a local Constable. She had returned home about a year ago and was quickly working her way up the Sheriff's hierarchy. Not a few folks were already saying that Brenda could become the next County Sheriff when our old long-time incumbent retired in another few years.