Marci trembled. She'd killed him. She'd actually killed him with his own gun. Marshall Whitcomb had been blackmailing her for sex for over a year. Today had been the last straw. The pictures he had were damning. That she'd lain with him that first time, fucked him, was not the issue for her. The issue was that he'd filmed it and had demanded she service him ever since. He'd taken her almost weekly since that first mistake, but today she had determined to cut him off even if he did show the pictures to Mickey.
He'd taken her, laughed and fallen asleep secure in the belief that she was helpless to deny him. The gun had been in the dresser drawer; she'd seen it more than once over the past months. It had been a simple matter of getting up from beside him while he snored, getting the gun, and firing it once into his chest; he'd never moved after that. Now she trembled. She stared at the reddening sheets.
The gun lay on the floor where she'd dropped it. She took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. There was nothing for it. She had to call the police. It would be the end of her, her seven year marriage to a wonderful and kind man, a man she'd betrayed, an end to everything she loved. She'd considered killing herself, but it wasn't in her to do it.
Mickey, her husband, would leave her; she knew it. But, she at least wanted him to know the truth from her mouth before they hauled her off to prison or death row or wherever her last days would be spent. The tears came now. She was afraid and sad and guilty and despairing. She went to the phone and dialed.
"Mickey?" she said, as he answered. She sobbed and talked and somehow managed to get him to understand that she needed him now. He'd have to leave work and come to her. She needed him at least this one last time. It was bad, she said, very bad.
I sat on the arm of the chair and looked over at my stricken wife.
Oh, for the record, I'm Mickey O'Rourke. Age twenty-nine. I've been an electrician almost since I left high school when I was apprenticed to my uncle Donald. If it matters, I'm five-seven, maybe one-sixty, and average in every other respect. Likewise, if it matters, Marci is also five-seven, but one-ten, and darling in every way. Her longish brown hair, dark eyes, and very female build make her the envy of her peers. She is the love of my life.
The love of my life has cheated on me. Not once but over the course of almost a year. She'd thought to play just once, as she said, but had been caught up in a scheme by her black lover to blackmail her into continuing to service him. Now, he was dead, and I was faced with a decision.
I could feel tears rolling down my own face as I came to the only decision I could. Marci could not go to prison; it would kill her. I looked around for anything that might undermine the story that I would be telling the cops.
I felt strange. At that moment, I knew, I'd never loved this woman more. She needed me.
"Marci, this is the way it's going to play out. You will do exactly what I say. Am I clear?"
"Yes sir," she said, still sobbing.
"You will tell them exactly what I tell you to tell them and not another thing. Am I understood?"
"Yes sir," she said. Jesus, I thought, this is going to be hard.
Over the next minutes I laid it out for her. Her eyes got big when she realized what I was saying and my reasons for saying it. "No!" she said. "You can't. I did it not you. I'm the one that cheated, not you!"
"Marci, we will get the minimum if I plead temporary insanity. I'll do some time, but I will get out in a few years and we can start over. The way you did it; it could go down as murder-one that must not happen. I need you. We'll be apart for a while, but in the long run my way is best.
"Remember, what I say now. I caught you in bed with him, saw his gun on the night stand, picked it up and shot him in a moment of rage! Am I clear?"
"Yes, damn it. The cops will be here soon. Do not deviate from this story or we're both done. Got it," I said. She wrapped her arms around me and held me tight. I was sick at heart on any number of levels, but I had to do this for her and for me. Don't ask me about the logic of it. It just had to be.
She was still holding me tightly as the cops separated us. They cuffed me, read me my rights, and manhandled me out the door to the waiting cruiser. Marci was screaming at them to be gentle with me, but they ignored her. The dead man was a cop.
Marci was a good witness, and my lawyer Elsie Cass, was able to get me manslaughter with extreme provocation: I saw them fucking and lost it was the gambit. I was sentenced to ten years in state prison. There was the hope that I could be paroled in seven years.
I was allowed a visit with my wife while waiting to be transported upstate two days hence.
"Marci, for godssake quit the crying. I need to talk to you," I said.
"Okay," she said, but she continued bawling.
"Look, I'll be okay. We'll write, and maybe you could visit me once in a while. Okay? It's kind of a long drive, but once in a while," I said.
"Every month, my husband, every month. I promise," she said.
I smiled. I hoped she would. But, I knew it was going to be hard on her. We would lose the house. She didn't make enough to keep it. But, she'd be able to get by. I was sure of that. And when she visited I would advise her. I knew she'd listen to me. She needed me still, even with me behind bars. And there was still the mail, I knew she'd write me.
My first exposure to prison life assured me that I had done right to take the fall for her; she could not have survived it. For that first year, she did indeed visit me every month. The visits were poignant. She assured me she was fine and refused to consider moving out of the house. She said she'd work extra to make the payments. I could see she was worried though. Something seemed not right, but then, she was under a lot of pressure. It was clear to me that my being inside was tougher on her than it was on me.
About the middle of my second year of incarceration, she began to miss our visitation schedule. She wrote me each time that she was working overtime to keep the house. I couldn't fault her for that. We loved the house, but I did miss her visits.
By the third year her visits were down to three times for the entire year: our anniversary month, my birthday, and Christmas. Things stayed like that thereafter. She was always apologetic and made few meetings we did have as much about me as possible.
It was Thanksgiving of year six that I caught a break. The prisons were too full. The governor was releasing inmates not considered a threat to the community. I was paroled. It was so sudden that I had had no time to even inform Marci. But, I decided that I wanted it that way. I would surprise her.
The warden literally kicked me out two days before thanksgiving. I'd be home for turkey and mashed potatoes. God, how I was looking forward to that.
There were several cars parked in the driveway and on the street in front of my house. I was all smiles.
Entering the front door, I noticed a crowd of people I didn't know. They looked me up and down. Some nodded others went back to their business. I headed into the kitchen. The scene I witnessed made my blood run cold.
She didn't see me at first. His hands were all over her ass. She broke the kiss. She saw me. "Mickey!"
I stood there stunned. I'm sure my mouth was hanging open. "Marci? Marci! What the hell!" I said. I was beginning to lose it.
The man looked at me and didn't exactly smile, but he looked—glad. "Mr. O'Rourke, I presume," he said. "Glad to see you're out. It makes things a lot easier. Marci and I have some things to tell you."
I just stared at him. He came toward me and offered me his hand. I looked at it and slugged him. The fight didn't last long, but I won. Well, I won the fight. I also got a free ride back to the pen. A half dozen witnesses testified that I'd punched first and stomped on his face when he was down. Well, they didn't lie. I wanted to kill the bastard.
Marci had screamed just as she had that last day with her former lover. She screamed again this time as they cuffed me and hauled me away to serve out what figured to be the rest of my term.
I'd made the papers. "Con beats man half to death." Not, exactly true, but Mr. Howard Willens would be eating mostly liquid meals for a while.
In county jail waiting to be transported yet again, Marci tried to see me. I refused. There was no point in it. Our life together was over. At least my lawyer, Elise Cass, without me even being present, was able to dissuade the judge from adding on to my sentence. She was also able to reinstate my potential for parole. That turned out to be a lucky break for me. I was again released a bit more than a year later. But, this time, I didn't go home; I didn't have one.
Marci had driven up to see me at Christmas, but I wouldn't see her. Let her rot. She dumped on me, and that was that. I did get a few letters from her. I was going to send them back, but I read them—call me curious. Her loverboy had moved in with her. It had initially been the idea for him to pay rent and thereby we'd save the house. But, she'd fallen for him, and she was sorry-blah-blah-blah! She was going to divorce me and marry him; she hoped I'd understand. She still loved me, but we both had to move on. Not a word about the sacrifice I'd made. I wondered if her asshole lover knew the truth; I doubted it.
I seethed at night, but only for a while. I refused to feel sorry for myself. I'd done a good deed, I told myself, and I could feel good about myself for that.
.... There is more of this story ...