First and foremost I want to thank PapaGus for his editing on this and sage advice. Speaking of advice, I want to give a special thanks to Jounar for giving me a sounding board early on in this one. This one is not loaded with sex so if you are looking for fap material, this likely won't do it. If you are looking for a good story, I hope this suits you and I thank you for reading it and for providing feedback.
The phone rang and startled me out of my World War 2 reverie. My wife of ten years was away for two weeks at her annual convention. Joy hates all things war, while I am a huge WW2 buff. I own every war movie ever made so to make life easier I only watch them when she is gone.
I usually get my fixes when she has a girls' night out or a Saturday shopping spree with her friend Amanda, but twice a year she leaves for an extended period of time. In August she has to go to Indianapolis for two weeks to attend corporate meetings and training sessions.
In February she goes to the company convention for two weeks. This year's convention was in Houston. The convention is special because only the top ten earners in each state get to attend and Joy has gone for the last three years.
Last year she called me on Sunday and told me pack a bag and meet her in Miami. It turned out that she had won a drawing and the prize was a week for two in Miami. Needless to say I wasn't too disappointed to spend a week of the cold Colorado winter in Sunny Florida.
Every other time she's gone I binge on war movies. So far that Saturday I had watched "The Dirty Dozen," "Enemy at the Gates," and "Saving Private Ryan." I had bought sandwich meat and hoagie rolls and a five gallon bucket of cheese balls. I had just made a sandwich and had started in on my "Band of Brothers" box set.
Just as the boys of Easy Company were losing their spaghetti lunch after running up Currahee the phone rang. Part of my mind was cursing this intrusion on my binge; the other part was hoping it was Joy calling to tell me she'd won some trip to a warm place. Hell at that point I would have settled for a week in Houston where it wasn't 12 below zero at night and in the 30's during the day.
The caller ID claimed the call was coming from an unknown caller. I immediately figured it was my long time buddy Paul. The bastard knew I was knee deep in war this weekend and didn't plan on going anywhere.
"What do you want fucker?"
To my surprise the voice on the phone was a woman. "Um, I am trying to reach Roger Rigby."
The person using my given name caught me off guard. Most people call me Zeke. "This is Roger. What can I do for you?"
"Mr. Rigby, this is Detective Desirae Phillips of the Vail PD and I am calling because your wife has been in an incident and is in Eagle Valley Medical Center. She's in pretty bad shape and you should probably come here as soon as you can."
"I think you are mistaken ma'am. My wife is in Houston for two weeks at her company's convention."
"Are you sure about that Mr. Rigby? When did you last talk to your wife?"
"She called me last evening after her meetings. She was getting ready to go to dinner with her colleagues."
The woman on the phone read me off the address listed on Joy's drivers' license. It was our address alright, but how could Joy's drivers' license be in Vail when Joy spoke to me from Houston? "Whomever you have in your hospital most likely stole my wife's purse at the airport. Can I file charges?"
"Yes you can. I'll run the victim's prints to find out who she is. In the meantime I'll need you to come up here to verify your wife's belongings and sign a complaint. But you do need to hurry and get here in case this is your wife sir. She needs care consents signed."
"I'll be there in a couple hours," I said. I really didn't want to go on a wild goose chase but I wanted to prosecute this woman if she'd used Joy's credit cards.
I threw a few clothes in my duffel just in case I wouldn't be back by morning and hit the snow packed highway. During the almost two hour drive to Vail, I played many questions and answers through my head.
So there were two possibilities. The first was that someone stole or found Joy's wallet and decided to go skiing. "Why would someone go skiing with stolen shit in their possession," my devil's advocate asked.
Criminals aren't the smartest fuckers so why wouldn't one take a pilfered wallet skiing? "Do pilferers ski?" How the fuck should I know?
"So that leads us to possibility number two. It IS Joy and she IS in Vail. Why is she skiing in Vail when she's supposed to be at her convention in Houston?"
She might have won a trip and decided to get in a few runs before she called me. She did beat me to Miami by a day. "What if she didn't want you in Vail?"
Why wouldn't she? Besides she's not in Vail she's in Houston. "How do you know?"
I talked to her last night. "Did you hear proof she was in Houston?"
Proof? "You know a dozen assholes sayin' y'all or a bunch of oil talk."
That's just stupid. "Did she call you from her cell or the hotel phone?"
She always calls from her cell. Why pay extra for a phone call? Besides, I dropped her off at the airport. "Did you see her get a boarding pass?"
No, I dropped her off and went to work. "Did you see her get on a plane? How do you really know she's in Houston?"
Well where the fuck else would she go? "Vail, obviously."
Come on. Who gets on a plane at the Colorado Springs Airport to fly to Houston Texas and then ends up in Vail Colorado? Vail is not in between Houston and Springs. "No shit Sherlock? Obviously someone flew her from Houston to Denver and drove her to Vail, or she never got on a plane in Springs and left directly for Vail."
It has to be an imposter. " ... An imposter, Scooby? Are we solving mysteries here?"
Fuck you! You know what I mean. Someone else stole her shit and got fucked up on Vail Mountain. "Why didn't Joy tell you she lost her shit?"
She doesn't know yet? She's embarrassed? I'm sure she has a good reason for not telling me. "Now who's being stupid?"
I'm stupid because I don't think my wife is getting some on the side? "No, that's being naïve. Stupid is trying to rationalize your naiveté against a voice in your head."
What evidence do I have that she's fucking around? "Other than she's in Vail when she's supposed to be in Houston?"
Yeah. Has she suddenly started dieting or working out? "No. She's always been in good shape."
Has she bought a bunch of new sexy clothes? "No. She still dresses like she always has."
Has she changed her hairstyle or her make-up? "No, she still looks like everyone in the 90's did. Dude you seriously need to bring her into this century."
She's not getting funny phone calls, she not acting sneaky and she hasn't denied me sex once. She doesn't have mood swings or any of the other telltale signs of cheating whorism. "Making up words doesn't prove your point, but you are correct. Being in Vail IS the only fishy thing."
So you admit she isn't fucking around? "I admit we don't know what the fuck is going on ... Yet. But yes Virginia there are cheating whores out there."
As I began descending the pass and looking for the exit that lead to Vail I asked myself one last question: "What if it is her and she is fucking around?"
Simple. I'll jettison the cunt. I have no room in my life for an unfaithful piece of shit that can't keep her legs closed.
"That's kind of rash isn't it? You have been married to her for ten years." True, but Elton Rigby didn't raise any pussies.
"He sure knew how to handle a cheating cunt." Yeah right.
My mom had been acting weird for a while. I was only ten at the time, but I knew she wasn't right. She spent a lot of evenings out with her friends, and my dad always seemed agitated. One afternoon when they thought I was at a friend's house she confessed to him that she'd been sleeping with her boss.
Dad threw her out of the house and she moved in with my grandma for a while. We kids got to see her every weekend, but dad insisted that we weren't going to be exposed to her lifestyle.
After several months they patched things up and mom moved back in, but it was never the same. Dad worried himself sick every time she would be more than a few minutes late from work. He finally made her quit her job and find something else.
If she went out for an evening with her friends, she had to check in or dad would call whichever bar they were at and ask if she was there. I swore to myself I would never live that way. Mom and dad stayed together until I graduated high school and then they divorced. Neither of them could live that way.
Dad had been a top notch detective until he found out about mom's affair. "What kind of cop can I be if she pulled that shit under my nose?" he asked me one night in a drunken stupor. It didn't take long for it to affect his job performance. He received an early pension after he had a nervous breakdown.
I rarely speak to my mother these days. In many ways I am sure it's because of her that my dad died. My mother had killed him inside, and it just took a while for him to succumb. Sure the doctors used big words, like leukemia, but that cheating whore might as well have given him aids.
I won't end up like my dad, letting a whore sap the life out of me. "Just don't end up like your fucking brother."
Five years ago my brother Daniel walked in on his wife and her lover mid fuck. He didn't even have the courtesy to let them finish before he splashed their brains all over the wall with a 12 gauge slug. I go see him in Canon City a few times a year; if he behaves he might be out in another decade.
"So you don't want to be like your dad, nor do you wish to end up like your brother. Is there a middle ground?" Of course there is. But if she's a whore I want to do as much to her as I can and still remain on this side of the joint.
"Does anyone call it 'the joint' anymore?" Fuck, I don't know. Since when did you become the euphemism police?
"So are you going to be like one of them guys in the cheating wife stories on line that leave the cheating whore penniless and destitute, then ride off into the millionaire sunset with some brick shithouse babe who's secretly lusted for your ass all these years?" I'm sure there are a million of those waiting. No, if this turns bad I'll just have a life of continuous fuck buddies and friends with beneficial vaginas. "Smart man!"
The closer I got to the Vail exits the more nervous I got. Even my devil's advocate voice seemed to disappear. I almost pulled over to vomit before I got off of I-70.
The hospital wasn't all that hard to find. I had been to Vail a few times previously and had a general idea of where things were. I parked and made my way through the snow and sub-zero air to the main entrance to the hospital.
I hadn't had anything stronger than beer to drink since I had been married, but suddenly I really wanted a bottle of Jack Daniel's. I approached the information desk and identified myself and told the guy why I was there. He gave me a room number and I headed for the elevator.
When I reached the floor, I discovered that the room he'd given me was in the locked ICU section. I went to the nurses' station and told who I was there to see. She called someone and then told me to go to the door and wait to be buzzed in.
Once inside the secure area, I was met by a short blonde nurse. Her ample bosom was battling a set of buttons that were doing a heroic job of keeping her paisley top closed. "Your wife is being kept sedated," she said. "If it IS my wife," I thought. "You must prepare yourself. She's been horrifically injured and might not look herself. She can't hear you, but I want to be sure you can handle what you're about to see."
"I won't be surprised if I can't recognize her," I thought. But my voice did crack when I said "Take me in."
I wasn't at all prepared for what lay in that bed. I could see the swell of breasts, making the form a female. It was tall enough and built right enough to be my wife, but looking at the face I just couldn't tell. "Wow! Did she ski into every fucking tree on the mountain?"
"Oh no," replied the busty nurse. "She wasn't in a skiing accident. Someone beat her and left her in the ER this morning."
"Beat her? Left her? Faithful wives don't get their ass kicked and dumped at ER's."
I had to agree with my inner self, but I still didn't know enough to react. "I can't tell you one way or the other if this is my wife," I told her.
"Maybe this will help," she said as she lifted the blanket up to expose the woman's left thigh. Right there was all the proof I needed that it was her. I hadn't met too many women running around with Jiminy Cricket tattooed on their inner thigh.
I never fully understood why she got it, but she'd had it since just before we got married. It had been a last minute thing before her bachelorette party and she had never explained the significance, except to say that she'd always loved Jiminy, and it kind of symbolized her parents; Jim n' Yvonne. I never fully bought that answer, but it was the only one she was selling.
I had a hard time looking at her. The only time I had ever seen my wife in pain was also the first time I ever met her. My buddies and I had all gone to see Tool. We had a case of beer in the back of the van for an after show party.
After the concert we were having a grand old time when this girl came over and said her boyfriend wanted a beer. My buddy Chad told her she was welcome to stay and down a few with us, but we had no interest of providing for her guy. She begged one last time but Chad sent her packing.
A few minutes later I heard a scream in the direction that the girl had gone. I could see a few people pointing at something. When I looked closer I saw some guy kicking the shit out of a girl.
I have never had any use for guys who thought it was OK to beat a woman, so I jumped into action. I got over there in a flash and recognized the girl on the ground as the one who had asked for beer. The guy beating on her was about five foot nothing, and a hundred pounds if he was lucky. He definitely had a case of "little man syndrome."
"Where's my damn beer you fucking little bitch?" he screamed as he punched her. She had her arms up over her head trying to deflect his blows. "Answer me God damn you!"
By this point I had reached him. "Why isn't anyone helping this girl?" I asked myself. I grabbed his collar and pulled him off of her. "Leave her the fuck alone boy," I said. "We didn't give her a beer for you, because you're a fuckin freeloader."
"You best keep your nose out of my business before you get hurt."
I laughed at the idea of this puny runt raising a welt on me. He seemed to get more pissed off and started kicking the girl in the head. I grabbed him by his head and socked him in the mouth three quick times. I heard a crack on the second punch and after the third he dropped like a sack of manure.
I reached down and helped the girl up and started walking over to the van where Chad was already preparing an ice pack.
"He's not going to be happy you did that."
I looked to see a greasy haired bum looking motherfucker. "What's the little pussy gonna do? I tell ya what he's gonna do, he's gonna crawl back into whatever hole you fags crawled out of and hope he never sees me again."
I took her back to the van and we gave her ice. I saw the security team reach the downed loser. His buddies just seemed to stand around with their hands in their pockets as the cops picked the little guy up and tossed him into the squad car with the three other inebriated specimens they'd collected. I made a move to go over and tell them what he'd done when the girl grabbed my arm.
"Please don't. You've done enough for me tonight. No one has ever stood up to Garrett, let alone hit him. He'll probably go back to Wyoming now."
The girl had a very pretty face. Even with the Marilyn Manson contacts she was highly attractive. I had to ask myself once again why the best looking girls always seemed to go after complete douche bags.
We took her home after we were all partied out. She was going to have a shiner, but she seemed to be fine. After we dropped her off Chad tells me. "Dude, I think she wants you."
"Fuck dude. Why the hell would she want me? She was just grateful that I stopped that wasteoid from beating on her."
"I don't know why she'd want you, but she slipped me this for you."
He handed me a flap from one of the beer cartons. It was too dark to try to read it so I just tucked it into my back pocket to read when I had light. I wasn't about to have Chad stop under a street lamp or something, I'd never hear the end of it.
When I got to my apartment that night I looked at the carton flap. There was a phone number and the words "Call me Joy." My smartass voice immediately said "OK, I'll call you Joy." I then went to bed.
Two days later I called her. I didn't expect her to remember me, but when I told her who I was, she said, "I was starting to think you were never going to call me."
We ended up talking for an hour before she had to go do something. I enjoyed talking to her, and was pleasantly surprised when she called me that evening and we talked until midnight. That Friday night we went on our first date.
I took her to a nice little Italian place in the foothills, and then we went to a bar that featured live music. We drank and we danced and when the bar closed, I took her back to her place.
"Aren't you going to try to bed me," she asked.
"There'll be plenty of time for that later on. I'm not into first date sex. It'll more exciting to wait a few dates I think." With that I gave her a peck on the cheek and headed home. All in all it would be three weeks before I saw her again.
I didn't want to admit that every time I slept with a girl on the first date, things always soured within a month or two. I had grown paranoid I guess.
We talked on the phone almost every chance we'd get, but matching up free time seemed to be damned near impossible. If I was off, she'd be working. The one weekend we did have off, her Aunt Mary passed away and she flew to Florida with her family for the funeral.
Finally the weekend after her aunt's funeral we were able to go to a movie. I went to pick her up and was met at the door by her father. I wasn't sure what to expect when he asked me to come in. "Pleased to meet you Roger, I'm Jim."
He asked me what I did for a living, and asked if I had lived in The Springs all my life. Then he laid it on me. "Look son. You seem to be much better for Joy than that little loser was. Too bad he would never come and meet me," he said while wringing his hands together.
"He met me," I said with a grin. "I'm hoping he's smart enough to stay gone, but I doubt he's very smart."
"No he isn't. As a matter of fact I..." He trailed off as Joy came into the room. She smiled big when she saw me and gave me a hug. She wore a sexy dress that displayed her body in a perfect way. It enhanced every nuance of her body and made her a walking wet dream. I was suddenly rethinking my three dates before sex rule.
We actually ended up having sex on our next date after all. The night I met her father, she needed to be at work early the next morning and begged off any later activities, but with the caveat that I owed her.
We went to dinner that following Friday. I never picked up on any of the signals that I had picked up during our previous dates. I thought maybe she wasn't interested that night.
As I was driving her home she was suddenly struck with stomach cramps and told me she needed a bathroom ASAP. My apartment was just a block away so I sped there and let her in to use the head. She thanked me profusely as she ran in to use the toilet.
"Even if I was gonna try for sex, she won't want to now," I thought to myself. I sat on a stool and waited for her to finish her urgent business.
Several minutes later I heard the toilet flush. "Oh thank you," I heard her say as she entered the living room. I turned; the words "no" and "problem" ready to roll out coherently when my breath caught in my throat.
The Joy who had entered my bathroom had been wearing nice jeans, a knit turtle neck pull over and a leather jacket. The Joy that stood before me now wore only a pair of skimpy red panties and a pair of high heeled boots.
I must have really been gawking because she laughed and said, "Take your coat off and stay awhile." I took off more than my coat.
The next morning we went to breakfast at a mom and pop place just down the block. After breakfast, we didn't reappear until it was dinner time. I took her home Sunday afternoon. Before she got out of my car she said her damn boss will get killed if he ever asked her to work another weekend. "Can't keep a girl from her drug of choice," she said eyeing my crotch.
If I was still her drug of choice, why was she now in a drug induced coma? I followed the nurse back out of the care room to the nurses' station, signed a bunch of pages and then they handed me her personal effects. They didn't really want to have to keep track of her things.
"The police have already looked everything over," the nurse told me. There is an itemized list of everything in the bag."
At that moment the intercom buzzed and she picked it up and talked for a moment to someone. I could tell she was talking about Joy. She told whomever that she had just turned over her things to the husband. She then handed me the phone.
"Mr. Rigby?" queried the voice on the other end.
"Yes this is he."
"This is Detective Phillips again. I hate to bother you, but would you mind coming down to the police station and answering a few questions for us?"
I told her that I didn't mind and she gave me the address. I thanked the nurse and went back to my car. "Pigs think you beat her." Why would I beat her?
"Cuz she's a cheating cunt?" I have no proof of her cheating.
"You have to admit that her being in fucking Vail looks awful damn fishy." Yes it does, but there might be a logical explanation.
"Like what Virginia?" Like last year when she won the week in Florida. Remember? Sand, sex, sun and all the bikini clad ass we could ogle?
"OK. It's possible she won a trip to Vail, flew into Denver, rented a car, and got her ass kicked before she could give you the grand news." I admitted that it's fishy.
"Hey, I'm just sayin' that mistakes have been made." Yeah. Joy should have had me meet her in Denver so we could go to Vail together.
"But then she'd have to explain her boy toy to you, and you'd get all pissy, and involve lawyers, and marines, and nuclear warheads." Dirty motherfucking cheating skank ass whore! Damn it I'd love to choke the shit out of that cunt!
"DO you have any proof yet that she's had another guy's cock inside of her?" No.
"Do you have any proof that she's even seen another guy's cock since you've been married?" No.
"So until we know more, why be pissed off?" Aren't you the motherfucker who's pushed the cheating angle all the way up until now?
"Your voice of inner reason reserves the right to change its position." Asshole.
I got to the police station just about the time the sun was going down. At the reception desk I told the guy who I was and he called someone. Pretty soon a decent looking brunette and a tall Harry Reems look alike came out to greet me. The brunette introduced herself as Detective Phillips, and Harry Reems introduced himself as Deputy Sheriff Devon.
Philips seemed to be rather nice, while Devon seemed to be one of those pricks that just waited for someone to commit an offence. He looked at me like I was Ted Bundy about to rape his mother.
"Should I have a lawyer present?"
"Do you have reason to feel that you'd need an attorney?"
"No. I have nothing to hide."
Detective Phillips led me to a room and gestured for me to sit. Devon headed a different direction. "I am going to tape our conversation Mr. Rigby, do you consent?"
"Yeah, I have no problem with it. Sorry about the fucker incident."
"Sorry about what?" she asked.
"When I called you a fucker on the phone earlier. I thought you were a buddy of mine hassling me during my 'me time."
"Your "me time," she asked with a raised eyebrow. "What does that consist of?"
"World War Two movies. Joy hates them, so when she is out of town I sit and veg out on war flicks until she comes home."
At that moment Deputy Devon walked in and sat down. "Are we ready?"
"Yes," detective Phillips said as she keyed a switch on the wall that I assumed started whatever recorders were in the room. "For the record this is Detective Desirae Phillips interviewing Mr. Roger Rigby in the interest of case 1256g victim is one Joy Tanya Rigby. Ok Mr. Rigby, will you please state your name, age and date of birth for us?"
"My name is Roger Ezekiel Rigby I am 35 years old and I was born on December 16th."
"Can you state your address and occupation for the record please?"
"I live at 1467 West Danube Avenue in Colorado Springs. I am a brick mason."
"Can you tell us where you were between the hours of 6 o'clock pm last evening and 8 o'clock am today?"
"Well let's see. From nine in the morning yesterday until seven last night, then I was in Manitou Springs repairing a fireplace. From seven 'til eight thirty I was in transit from Manitou to Jerry's Bar on the North west side of town nearer my home. I left Jerry's around eleven, and I was home by 11:30. I was at home until you called me up here."
"Can anyone verify you were at these locations at these times?"
"Mrs. Blanche Donovan can verify my presence at her home in Manitou, Paul Hannibal can verify that I was at Jerry's, and my neighbor Steven Harper can verify I was at home at midnight, and again at three in the morning, and at six this morning as well."
"And how is it that Steven can verify you were home at those specific times?" Devon asked in a snotty voice.
"Because our dogs both need to piss and shit at the same times. Steven is a night owl and when he sees me out with my dog he always has to some out to say hi and let Bosco do his business."
They conferred for a moment then Phillips continued with her questions. "When was the last time you saw your wife?"
"Monday morning when I dropped her off at the airport so she could fly to Houston."
"Why was she going to Houston?"
"For her company's annual convention. Only the top people in each region get to attend, and this is the third year in a row that she's gone."
"What does your wife do?"
"She sells life insurance for Trans United. You know, the dorky fucking commercials on TV with the old Asian dude trying to tell the five year old how to prepare for the inevitable? Fucking kid can barely color on the paper and the guy is telling him to prepare so his loved ones won't be burdened. I keep thinking 'Hey asshole, let the kid watch cartoons while you go jump in front of a bus," I realized I had gone into a rant, but I hated their stupid commercial. "You know the ad I'm talking about?"
They both nodded. I cringed every time the damn ad came on TV.
"And did she fly to Houston?"
"Now that seems to be the million dollar question. I saw her carry her suitcase into the airport, and then I drove to work. I had an appointment I had to get to."
"You didn't go to the ticket counter with her?"
"No. I planned to. I had planned to get us to the airport an hour before she had to check in and clear the TSA point. I had hoped we could have breakfast together before she left."
"So why didn't you have breakfast with her?"
"When we were two miles from the airport, she suddenly remembered that she didn't grab her bag off of the bed and we had to go back home to retrieve it."
"How could she forget something as important as her luggage?"
"She claimed that she thought I had taken it to the car when I went to warm the car up."
"Why didn't you take the bag with you to the car?"
"Because when I told her I was going to start the car, the bag was still opened on bed. I didn't even notice she didn't have it when she finally got to the car."
"How often does your wife travel for her work?"
"Twice a year. Two weeks in February for the convention, and two weeks in August for meetings and training seminars in Indianapolis."
"And is the convention in Houston every year?"
"No, it moves around. It's been in Los Angeles, New York last year and this year Houston."
They huddled together again and then Denton asked me, "Mr. Rigby, do you know of anyone who would want to harm your wife?"
"No one that I know of, well except for maybe a few of her would be customers."
"Why would they want to harm your wife Mr. Rigby?"
"Well, the way the company puts their sales force in your home to sell you shit is kind of a scam. Most of the people she sees are people who have signed up for a free child information kit. My wife calls them up and tells them she has their kit and she has to see them face to face to present it to them. Once she's given them their kit, she lays a life insurance pitch on them. Real high pressure shit too."
"Was she meeting clients in Vail?"
"How the fuck should I know? Her ass is supposed to be in Houston with others who pull the same shit."
"Do you know of anyone she may have been with?"
I gave them a list of her co-workers I knew. Some of them had maybe gone to Houston with her and could say why she was not there.
Devon sighed and looked over at Phillips. "Ok Mr. Rigby you can go. Are you planning to drive home tonight?"
"No, I suppose I'll find a motel."
They gave the usual "we'll be in touch" admonishment as I left. As I drove back to the hospital I realized that I had way more questions than I had answers. Was Joy fucking around on me? I had no solid proof but it seemed fishy to me that I dropped her off at an airport a week ago so she could fly to Houston Texas, and she ends up in a hospital bed in Vail Colorado less than a week later.
When I got back to the hospital I was informed that visiting hours were done for the day but I was welcome to return at seven in the morning. I asked the security guard if he knew of any cheap but decent motels nearby. He told me that decent was no problem, but in Vail during ski season "cheap" was a relative term; it meant you stayed with relatives.
I politely laughed at his quip and headed back into the cold. Then I remembered that I had Joy's belongings. I pulled the manifest list and looked it over and didn't see what I was looking for. I looked at the items that the police had asked not be returned.
The only thing on that list was a prescription bottle with 5 Percocet pills in it. Joy had a root canal done three weeks prior and hadn't needed all of her pain pills. I wasn't sure why she carried them with her though.
When I saw that her boots were on the "returned" list, I looked through the bag to find them. Joy's "traveling boots" went everywhere she traveled. Inside there was an almost unperceivable flap. Inside this flap you could hide credit cards, or more appropriately a motel room keycard. Her reasoning was that if she hid the room key in that flap, we'd still have access to our room if we were mugged while out and about.
I found the flap and sure enough there was a keycard in it. Only problem was it was just a blank card. It didn't have a color scheme or any identifying logos on it. It was pure white, so that if you dropped it while you were skiing you'd be fucked.
So now I had a key to her room, but not a clue where her room was. "Where's her cell phone dumb ass?"
Her cell phone! I looked at the list and didn't see it, then I looked in her handbag to see if she'd secreted it away. It wasn't here. Actually this was a good sign.
Months ago my neighbor Steven had a problem. His life partner Joe was having to buy a new cell phone every few weeks because he'd lay it down somewhere and forget where. Usually it was on a store shelf or restaurant table. Steven, who was a software developer for a company that specialized in aps for cell phones made an ap that could use the GPS in a cell to track it down.
Joy had lost a few phones too so he gave me a copy of the ap for her phone. It was nice. I could open the ap and put her cell number into it and it would give a distance and direction. When you got within a mile it got more specific. The only problem was, it couldn't tell the difference in altitude.
I found this out when she lost her phone at a store. She was damn sure it was still in that store. When I fired up the ap it lead me not to the store, but back home. Once in the house it led me to the couch. I looked all over the couch; under it and even under the cushions. The it struck me that our bedroom was over the living room.
Upstairs the ap pointed the way into our bedroom, and there between Joy's nightstand and the bed was her cell phone. The nice thing was the ap ran off of the phone's memory power, so if the phone was off or the battery dead, the phone was still locatable.
So I opened up the ap on my phone and immediately it told me I was 4 miles northeast of Joy's phone. I started the car and began driving a meandering path towards the mountain.
When I got to the base of the ski area it led me up a road to several posh ski lodges. "I don't know who he is, but he's got class." Shut up fucker. I have things to see before I come to any conclusions.
The indicator finally told me that I was within a half mile as I turned down the drive way to a lodge. It was four stories and I saw a lot of Lexus and Audi products in the parking area. I was glad I had driven Joy's BMW instead of my older work truck.
I saw that there were two entrances to the lodge. One led past the front desk to the restaurant and lounge area, while the other led directly into the hall way. I opted to take the second entrance. I figured I'd have less to explain if I didn't pass a clerk.
I entered the hallway and moved down the hall. The indicator on my phone claimed that Joy's phone was in room 114. I tried the keycard and got nothing. Nonplussed, I went back down the hall and climbed the stairs to the second floor. I moved along until the indicator claimed that Joy's phone was in room 214. Once again the keycard failed, so I made my way to the stairs and the third floor.
I paused outside of 314. It struck me that I didn't have a plan. Should I walk into this room and beat the shit out of the occupant? Should I call Detective Phillips and ask her to come? I didn't know if anyone was even in the room, let alone the person who had beaten Joy.
I listened at the door for a moment. I couldn't hear a TV or any voices so I stuck the keycard in and the light flashed green as the lock disengaged. I pushed down on the lever and the door started moving inward. I opened the door fully and stepped back expecting something to come flying at me.
The room was dark, and I could see very little of it from what illumination snuck in through the open door. I cautiously edged my way in until I found the light switches. I kept my back to the wall as I flicked the switches on. The entryway light came on as did a single lamp on the far side of the room.
I felt like a cop or a soldier clearing the room. I kept my back to the wall as I pulled the door closed. I engaged the security lock and put my back to the door.
I couldn't see much in the bathroom nor could I see the entire room. I debated on clearing the main portion of the room first. "What if someone slips out of the bathroom?" That thought made me think that I should do the bathroom first. "What if someone is hiding just around the wall and they slip in behind you?"
Just shut up if you're not going to help. "Lips are sealed. But I do get to say 'I told you so' when someone ass rapes you because you're not really a cop."
I finally managed to ignore my inner voice and I reached in and turned on the bathroom light. No one came out of the head wielding a hatchet, nor did anybody slip out from the main room and brain me.
I then moved to the main room. As I reached the corner of the entry way I could see about three quarters of the room. I simply stepped around the corner and saw that there was no one in the room. Joy's suitcase was on the neatly made bed and her cell phone was charging on the nightstand, and her laptop was sitting on a small table by the window.
It suddenly struck me that the room looked too sanitary. It didn't look like anyone had been in the room prior to that moment, but it also didn't look like a professional hotel maid had made up the room. I went back into the bathroom and took a good look.
There were a few water spots in the sink like someone had tried to clean it, but without any real cleaning products. The soap was in the soap tray in the shower, and not in a wrapper. The towels that were at the bottom of the small stack of towels weren't as neat as the ones on top and they were damp.
Someone had tried to make this room look as if it hadn't been used already. The bed was made, but the comforter just didn't hang evenly. "You should have been a cop." Speaking of cops, I wonder if I should call them. "Why? It doesn't look like she was beaten here."
I pulled back the comforter and saw the sheets had been slept in, but no signs of violence. None of the walls looked damaged. I grabbed Joy's phone and sat down at the table with it. While I waited for her laptop to boot up, I looked through her phone. It was easy because Joy had never been one to password protect anything.
As I was opening her lap top I was suddenly struck with the thought that nobody knew where I was. I first called my sister Beth and asked her to go take care of my dog. I didn't tell her exactly why I was in Vail, just that I had some things to deal with and I'd be home in a day or two.
My next call was a little harder to make. I called my father-in-law Jim and told him everything I knew. He, like me, hoped it was a case of her winning a trip again. I told him I'd call him the next day after I had talked to the doctors.
The last call I made was to my cousin Hugh. Hugh was a detective with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department. He lived just three miles from me, and we spent a good amount of time together. He told me to be sure to let the Vail PD know I found out where Joy had been staying.