I have no idea what suddenly made me suspicious. Kimberly and I had been married almost fifteen years and I had never, ever had a reason to doubt her and then all of a sudden, there it was — I believed that my wife was cheating on me.
I can't put a finger on what it was that first made me believe that Kim was unfaithful, but the feeling was there and it just wouldn't go away and yet despite having no real reason for having that feeling it grew stronger each day. I guess maybe it was a lot of little things that finally added up. Like quickly hanging up the phone when I would come into the room, not being there when I got home from work and rushing in with a bag of groceries and saying that she'd gotten hung up. Once maybe, but three times in two weeks? And then there were the 'girl things.' Over the last five years Kim had gone to maybe one, possibly two Tupperware or Avon parties and suddenly she was out two or three nights a week. A Mary Kaye party at Sheila's, an Avon party at Betty's, baby shower for this girl, bridal shower for that one and so on.
It was one of those parties that did Kimberly in.
It was a Tuesday and I'd just gotten home from work. Kim had dinner ready and as we ate she told me that she had to run over to Becky's for a while after dinner.
"We are planning a surprise birthday party for one of the girls and we are going to work on the guest list and the details. I shouldn't be gone long, maybe a couple of hours."
She hadn't been gone an hour when the phone rang and it was her sister. Kim's father was in the hospital following a heart attack and Kim's mother was trying to round up the family. After I got off the phone I grabbed the address book, got Becky's number and gave her a call.
It was ten-thirty when Kim got home.
"Sorry I'm late. It took a little longer than I thought it would."
"Got a lot done did you?"
My tone of voice got her attention.
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"How am I supposed to look when I find out that my wife is a cheating whore?"
"What! How dare you say that to me!"
"It is pretty easy Kimberly. I take the facts as I know them, process them in my mind and then form the words and say them."
"You are insane Jim if that is what you are thinking."
"Not my fault that you are stupid Kim. If you are going to sneak around you need to make sure that your alibi is on the same page."
"What are you talking about?"
"Your father is in the hospital Kim and your mother was trying to reach you so I called Becky. Imagine my surprise to not only find out that you were not there, but that she hadn't seen you in over two weeks. I thought that was a weird thing for her to say especially since last Thursday you said you were at Becky's for a Mary Kaye party."
Kim's face drained of color and her eyes got big. "I ... I..." and I interrupted her.
"Save it Kimberly. Whatever lie you are getting ready to tell I don't want to hear. Go call your mother. When you are done talking with her don't bother coming to the bedroom. I've moved all your stuff to the spare bedroom; you will be staying there until I figure out what I'm going to do."
"What do you mean by "Figure out what you are going to do?"
"Call your mother Kim" and I left the room.
Half an hour later the bedroom door opened and Kim came into the room.
"I told you that you have been moved to the guest bedroom. I don't want you in here."
"We need to talk."
"No we don't. You might feel the need to talk, but I don't feel the need to listen. What you really need to do is to concentrate on the family that you will still have come next week."
"What does that mean?"
"You can't get a divorce form your mother and father — they will still be around long after I'm gone."
"Divorce? I don't want a divorce."
"I didn't want a cheating wife either, but I got one."
"It isn't what you think Jim."
"Of course it is. I'm sure that you will try to put a nice spin on it, but it is most definitely what I think it is. Just leave Kim. Go worry about your father. Go comfort your mother; just leave me alone."
"Dad is okay. He is resting comfortably and mom is over at my sisters. My biggest problem right now is right here."
"It isn't a problem Kim. Problems are things you work on, try to solve, try to fix. What we have here doesn't fit any of those definitions."
"How do you know that we can't fix it if you won't even talk with me about it?"
"It doesn't matter Kim. You have been sneaking around behind my back. Even if you were to say you were sorry and promise to never do it again you have still already done it. You can't possibly have been with me for over fifteen years and not know how I would behave if you did what you have done and I found out."
"I didn't set out to do it Jim. I love you too much and I think too much of my marriage to you to have done that."
"But you did do that."
"What does that mean?"
"I'm being blackmailed. It is either do what Ben wants or he will send me to jail and not just any jail, but to prison."
"Well I did say you would try and put a nice spin on it."
"It's true Jim, Ben is blackmailing me."
"Who the hell is Ben and what did you do that is so terrible that he can send you to jail?"
"Ben is a cop and I didn't do anything, but that won't matter because Ben says he can make it happen and I believe him."
"I suppose I'd better listen after all. What the hell is going on?"
Kim took a deep breath and then she told me the story.
It had been a legitimate Avon party and she was on her way home. Shannon, one of the girls she knew, had left the party to find that her car battery was dead and Kim was giving her a ride home. The two women were talking and laughing and Kim was not paying attention to her gauges as she drove until the red and blue lights started flashing in her rear view mirror. Her eyes dropped to the speedometer and she saw that she was driving fifteen miles an hour over the limit. She pulled over and when the cop, a large black man, got out of the patrol car she rolled down her window. When he came up he told her why he had stopped her and asked for her license, registration and proof of insurance. He took her paperwork and went back to his car. Several minutes later he came back, told her what he had written her up for, explained everything to her and the handed her the clipboard and asked her to sign the form. As he bent down to hand her the clipboard he suddenly dropped it, stepped back and dropped his hand to the butt of his gun and ordered Shannon and Kim out of the car.
In her rear view she saw the passenger side door of the cop car open and another cop got out and he too had his hand on his gun. Frightened, both women go out of the car and the cop told them to stand off to the side and told his partner to watch them and then he took a long look inside the car with his flashlight. Then he asked who the black leather purse on the front seat belonged to and Shannon said that it was hers.
"You admit that the black leather purse with the plastic envelope containing a grassy looking substance is yours?"
Sharon was confused and she said, "The purse is mine, but there is no plastic envelope in it."
The cop told his partner to walk Shannon over to the passenger side window and look inside and describe what he saw. His partner looked in and said he saw a black purse with a plastic envelope sticking out of it that contained what looked like dried leaves. He had Shannon look in and she said she saw it, but had no idea what it was and that it wasn't hers. The cop had her get the purse out of the car and spread the contents on the hood and Shannon said that none of the contents of the purse were hers. The black cop picked up the wallet, took out the driver's license and compared the picture to Shannon and then he asked who Brenda Zeeman was. Brenda was another of the women at the Avon party and Shannon had grabbed the wrong purse when she left. He had Shannon and Kim make out statements and then he went back to his car for several minutes and when he came back he had the two women sign their statements. He took the plastic baggie and told the girls that they would probably be hearing from an investigating officer the next day and then he let them go.
"That doesn't sound like anything that can send you to prison."
"If that had been all there was to it no, but there is more."
The next day the cop, Ben, has called her and asked her to meet him for coffee. Kim said she didn't think that would be s good idea and he told her if she wanted to stay out of jail she had better be at the IHOP on Sixteenth at noon.
"The local office of the DEA is desperate to get a couple of drug cases going so the office won't be shut down and everyone transferred out. If you don't meet me I'll have to give them your signed confession."
Kim was curious as to how the statement she had signed could be construed as a confession and so she had agreed to meet him. Ben cut right to the chase. He showed her a copy of the statement she had signed only it wasn't the one she had written out. When he had gone back to his car he had rewritten her statement and Sharon's statement in the form of a confession and had given them to the girls to sign. Thinking that they were the ones they had written out they had signed them and handed them back. What they had actually signed was a confession admitting to possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of resale.
"So sweetie, unless you do what I want I will turn your confession over to the DEA and they will probably use the RICO Act to seize everything that you own in addition to arresting you."
Kim told him that it would just be his word against hers and she would deny it. He had laughed at her.
"Just how far do you think that will go? The word of a confessed drug dealer" and he waved her confession at her, "Against the word of a sworn officer of the law?"
Kim said Shannon would back her up.
"Don't be stupid sweetie, she is in even worse shape than you are. When we had her take the purse out of the car and spread the contents out on the hood she put her fingerprints on the plastic bag of grass so from her we have a signed confession plus physical evidence. You are toast sweetie, unless you do what Paul and I want."
Kim asked who Paul was and Ben told her that Paul was his partner and then he told her that even as they were speaking Paul was meeting with Shannon and giving her the same story. Kim then asked him what he wanted and Ben had smiled at her and said:
"I've always wanted a taste of white pussy and here you are. I want your pussy baby and I want a lot of it. You come when I call and we will have a good time. Don't come when I call and go to jail and then watch how your hubby behaves when the DEA seizes all of your assets."
"Since then I've been seeing Ben and sometimes Paul two or three times a week."
"Ben and Paul?"
"Yes. Sometimes Shannon can't get away and when that happens I have to fill in and when I can't get loose she has to take care of them both."
"So you have been fucking two different men for months now?"
"Alone or together?"
"Usually alone, but sometimes together."
"Why? Why didn't you come to me and tell me what was going on?"
"I couldn't. If I had it would have ruined us. The DEA would have seized everything including our bank accounts and we wouldn't have even been able to hire decent lawyers. And even if we got a good lawyer and won it would have taken us years to get anything back from the DEA. Read the papers; they are a law unto themselves. People get found not guilty all the time and never get their assets back. It was easier to just do what Ben wanted and hide it from you and that's what I did."
I just looked at her and shook my head. "Go to bed Kim, we will talk more in the morning."
"What are you going to do?"
"I don't know Kim, but I'm pretty sure that you aren't going to like it."
The next morning I told Kim to sit down and write out everything that had happened after the night she was stopped by the cops.
"Why do you want that?"
"Because I want it all clear in my mind when I attack the problem. The more I know the more effectively I can plan."
It took her two hours and she said she had probably missed a thing or two, but finally she was done and she gave it to me to read. The first part I already knew because she had told me of it up to and including her meeting him for coffee.
"The next morning after our coffee shop meeting the policeman, Ben Thompkins, called me and told me to be at the Motel 6 on Washington Street by noon and to get a room. He told me to wear high heels and nylons and except for them he wanted me naked and ready when he got there. I did what he told me and I was waiting as he wanted when he arrived.