Jean Marie Ward

fiction, nonfiction and all points in between

Clear as Glass

by Jean Marie Ward

It wasn’t until after she murdered her husband that Rita met the man of her dreams.  Detective Jorge Garcia was tall and fit with warm brown eyes and hair so black it gleamed.  Considerate too.  Rita could tell from the way he handled the crime scene interview and eased her through the stages of sudden widowhood.  Rubbing her shoulder with just the right amount of concern, he handed her tissue after tissue.  It was enough to make a grown woman weep—if she hadn’t already been blubbering, “What’ll I do?  How will I tell his mother?  This will kill her.”

One could only hope.  Unfortunately, Rita’s mother-in-law had the constitution of a rhinoceros and a disposition to match.  She’d never forgiven Rita for being the goy in the family.  Dear Jorge had no idea what he was letting himself in for when he volunteered to break the news. 

“You’re so kind,” Rita sobbed.  She pressed his large hand between her small ones.  The pulse in his wrist jumped as she fixed her gaze on his.  “Your wife is a lucky woman.”

Jorge’s soot black lashes dipped.  He cleared his throat.  “She didn’t think so.”  He laughed nervously.  “We’re getting divorced.”

Straight, handsome, available and a little dim.  What more could a woman want?  Well, money of course.  But Rita wasn’t greedy.  Her share of her of her late (“As in dead!” her brain sang) husband’s estate would more than keep her in minks, Mercedes and the house in Malibu for the rest of her life.  Still, Rita couldn’t help wondering if a relationship founded entirely on deception could endure.

Not that coming clean about Candy and Babs, Tina at the office and Holly at the gym had done her husband any good.  Rita’s nostrils flared, and she stuck her head between her knees to hide a ferocious grin.  Her arms shook with the memory of the glass ceramic skillet connecting with the back of the bastard’s skull.  Bone and brain squelched, then he dropped—too quickly for her to savor—to the tiled kitchen floor.  There was surprisingly little blood.  No splatters on her clothes that she could see.  After starting the dishwasher, she’d left the house for a lunch date with friends.  Nobody at the restaurant noticed anything during the two hours she was on display.  Any lingering trace evidence on her person was covered with her frantic, fore-doomed efforts to revive him when she returned.

Her husband’s lies, on the other hand, were lifesavers.  If “Mama’s perfect boy” hadn’t insisted on maintaining the illusion of a kosher kitchen to pacify the old battleaxe, their cupboards would’ve been filled with le Crueset or chef-branded copper-bottom pots.  The evidence of what Rita had done would’ve been embedded forever in microscopic dings and scratches.  Forensics couldn’t help but find it if they looked.  And they would.

But the bottom of the custom-made, high-sided skillet was as slick as only glass can be.  Bleach-enhanced detergent and the heat of the sterilizing dishwasher did the rest.  Rita could almost imagine the dishwasher’s little green indicator light winking at her.  In this weather, with the kitchen door left open by the “frightened burglar” who tore her husband’s Rolex and crass diamond rings from his unresisting corpse (and dumped them in a trash can slightly out of the way of her route to her lunchtime destination), time of death would be a moving target.  This wasn’t a perfect crime, but there wasn’t anything they could hang on her a good criminal lawyer couldn’t shoot down.  She hadn’t even known about the other women until today.

More good lies.

Rita wondered if Jorge would be unfaithful to her.  He spoke a few words to the forensic photographer, and the woman glowed.  She grew taller, straighter and slimmer in front of Rita’s eyes.

Rita decided she would keep the glass pots after she and Jorge were married.  For old time’s sake.

-The End-

(This story originally appeared in The Samhellion, December 26, 2008)

(c) Jean Marie Ward 2008-2009