• Crime Perfect – Part One

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    CRIME PERFECT – Part One

    “Just kidding,” Kurt said. Janet wondered how many times she had heard him use that phrase. She hated it. There was nothing that he could say that would infuriate her more.

    They had been married for just a year now, he thirty-three and she twenty-two. After graduating in accounting from Arizona State, she went to work for Ernst and Young in Albuquerque. She had just finished her mandatory auditing hours, passed her CPA exam, and was doing a huge job at the Veterans Hospital. Then Kurtis Cabot showed up on the scene. He had movie star looks and was so smooth, so sophisticated. Six foot three, New England accent, GQ dressed. He knew just what to say and how to make her feel like she was special beyond any other men she had ever known. She knew she was smart and had a great sense of humor, and pretty, not stunning, but a very nice figure. He had a good job at Morgan Stanley as an investment advisor and told her he was making great money. After graduating from Amherst, he had gone straight to Wall Street before coming to Albuquerque. Married once before but for less than a year. One of her friends told her to be very careful, that he had a bad reputation. Janet wasn’t too concerned because in conversations between the two, she realized she was smarter than Kurt.

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    Engaged after two months and then married after three. The dream continued. They held the wedding on a Massachusetts lake where his parents had an estate. Then a honeymoon in The Bahamas at the Atlantis Resort. Looking back, Janet could see that she was Star Struck – completely swept off her feet. She really hadn’t met any of his friends or family before the wedding. His father, Winston Cabot, was very formal – a Neurosurgeon at Boston General. His mother, Juliette, dressed very expensively, but didn’t seem to have much of a mind of her own, looking to her husband for cues on what to say and how to act – it was evident from her tight facial skin that she had an intimate acquaintance with a plastic surgeon.
    Once when he thought no one was looking Winston gave his wife a glance of pure hatred, which made Janet very uneasy. Her mother-in-law told her that she and Winston preferred being addressed by their last name and that Winston should be called Doctor Cabot. She got the feeling that Kurt’s parents believed he had married below his rightful station in society. Juliette even ask which Sorority Janet had pledged at Arizona State, and then looked disappointed when Janet told her she had mainly concentrated on her studies. When Janet talked to Kurtis about her observations, he reassured her that he was nothing like his parents.

    In contrast, Janet’s parents had a shoe store in Santé Fe and considered themselves middle class. Her brother Bob and she were the first in the family to go to college. Their father Harold was old school and believed that his wife should wait on him hand and foot, and defer to his opinion on all aspects of life. Alice, Janet’s mom, seldom expressed herself about anything unless it was food or family. She cooked and cleaned and attended to what Harold wanted – that suited him just fine, and she seemed to accept that life. Often he brought up the fact that he had made every dollar that went into their life – the groceries, the house, the car, and the business – everything. That was what a good husband did – provided for his family. In fact before the marriage, Alice took Janet aside and told her that her own marriage was perfect – just remember that men want a good cook, a clean house, children and a special intimate relationship – which they enjoy much more than women. Janet didn’t say anything, but she was determined not to be like her mother.

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    During the first six months, the marriage had a few bumps – “more like suicide cliff jumping,” as she thought back. Among many things, Kurt treated her dismissively, downplayed her profession, and was extremely rough during lovemaking. When she protested about being treated this way, he just laughed it off and said he’d do better. He had an annoying habit of throwing money on the bed sometimes after sex, saying, “That was great, Babe, here is some extra money to spend.” She finally ask him to quit, saying it was demeaning and made her feel like a prostitute. Before the marriage a Pre Nuptial agreement was signed, which was fine with her since she was coming into the marriage with no assets other than her Honda, and he had a house, nice car, and supposedly a large bank account. He ask her to turn over her paycheck to him with the idea that he would invest it, promising to double her money every year. He gave her an allowance for the house and for her personal needs. She thought it a bit controlling, but other than that didn’t think much about it, although eventually he had her paycheck directly deposited into his account.

    She started to feel that Kurt really didn’t value her – much like his father devalued his mother – she knew he liked her body, but showed no respect for her as a person. He would make jokes about her lack of knowledge of politics or world affairs. She was more liberal than Kurt and he made it a point to tell her she was uneducated in this area or she wouldn’t be taking the wrong position. He would say things like, “You ought to put Santa Fe behind you and get out into the real world.” When she protested, he would say, “Oh, I’m just joking.” But it got worse and worse – if there was a French dish at a restaurant and she mispronounced the entrée name, he would make a big deal about her just being a Hick from the Sticks. She was humiliated at social events, both with just him and also with others, and the comments got worse and worse.

    She started to wonder why he was thirty-three before getting married again and why he had ended up in Albuquerque rather than still being in New York. He always apologized when he humiliated her and then said, “Can’t you take a joke, I was just kidding?” She ask him not to say things like that, and he would promise, but then revert back. He began to attempt to pick friends for her, and tried to make sure that they were always together in their free time. He even wanted to pick her clothes out. Janet started to feel suffocated. She began to notice little things – like no mail ever came to the house. Kurt said it was just easier to have mail come to his office and then he could deal with it during the day. He was starting to drink in the evening – not drunk – but moving from beer to scotch. He went out at least two nights a week with guys from work. He said it was to blow off the pressure of the securities business. When they were first married he had told her he loved her every day, now it was just after sex.

    They had talked about children, and Kurt felt very strongly that they should wait a few years until their careers really got going. Then one day doing the audit at the VA hospital, she ran into a urologist she knew – Dr. George Sanders. They got talking about their work. Dr. Sanders mentioned he was sure that Kurt’s vasectomy must have gone well, because he didn’t ever come in for a follow-up visit.

    Janet was furious. She went to Kurt’s firm to confront him. He had told her many times he did not want to have her come to the office. He was mad as soon as she walked in. He slammed his door. “What the Hell. I told you I didn’t want you to ever come to the office.” “You S.O.B, you had a vasectomy, didn’t you.” “Yes, I did,” Kurt said evenly, “It was to prevent testicular cancer from forming, just like women do when they have a radial mastectomy to prevent cancer.” Janet was so surprised at his quick explanation that she said nothing, other than she said she wanted to talk about it that evening.

    When Kurt came home he acted as if nothing had happened. Finally Janet called him into dinner and before starting the meal insisted that they talk. She ask him how he would evaluate their marriage. He laughed and said she was better in bed than he could have ever hoped for. Then he said he thought they had a great marriage. There was this great house, they could buy what they liked, they both had good jobs and cars – planning a vacation to Hawaii. “Heck, I’m even planning on getting some Botox injections before we go, just to keep my face looking young. I like our marriage just the way it is.”

    Not once did he say anything about their relationship or hint at asking for forgiveness for hurting her with his insults and mannerisms. Janet didn’t interrupt, but when he finished, she went over the things that she thought were dissolving their marriage. That he treated her as an inferior, was insulting to her, controlled her and didn’t show he loved her other than their physical relationship. She ask if he would go to counseling to see if they couldn’t get their marriage back on track. Kurt adamantly refused out of hand. He said that counseling was just a waste of time and that councilors usually had more problems than the people they were trying to help. Janet was so infuriated, that she yelled at him. “Maybe we ought to divorce since you apparently don’t want to make any changes.”

    Kurt jumped up, grabbed her by the wrist, and yelled, “There will never be a divorce, I’d rather see you dead first.” Then he calmed down and said: “Look, Just be patient with me, I’ll try harder to meet your needs and to be a better husband. “ And during the next couple of months he did make some progress, but then he began to slide back into his old ways – including some physical abuse – shoving and pushing her, demanding his conjugal rights. She became frightened. Rather than try again, Janet realized that she no longer trusted or loved him and that she wanted out.

    She didn’t talk to him about it, because of the reaction she knew she would get. She did go see an attorney that was recommended by Dr. Sanders, the Urologist. The Lawyer wanted a $10,000 retainer and she quickly realized that she had no access to that kind of money. He told her that she should go to her friends and borrow the money from them or her relatives. Janet did not want to approach her friends because she was afraid that it would get back to Kurt.
    When she went to her parents, her father was aghast at the idea of a divorce. Her husband was a good provider, they had a nice house, and she had spending money. If he had a few idiosyncrasies, then those should be overlooked. When she appealed to her mother, her mom looked over towards her father and said, “I agree with your Dad. I think you just need to work harder to please him.”

    She called her brother Bob, who lived in Idaho. After explaining what had happened, she told him about the divorce. “I knew there was something wrong, the first time I met him, but I didn’t want to say anything. You wouldn’t have believed me anyway, you were too starry eyed. I’ll go borrow the money for you at the bank tomorrow.” No, Janet said, “ Let me have some time to figure this out. I’ll let you know how you can help.” “ I ought to come down there and beat the living hell out of him. That’s what I ought to do,” said Bob.
    Janet looked closely at herself. She was grey and drab. Her self confidence and ego were at an all time low – every day she became more depressed. Even her co-workers mentioned it behind her back. She had to get out one way or the other. She felt she was going insane and that anything, including taking her own life, would be better than to continue living the way she was. She was afraid Kurt would never let her go.

    Then fate seemed to take a hand. Kurt had ridden into work with a friend from the office. He had asked Janet to drop his car off at the Jiffy Lube close to the her work and then pick it up after service. He told her he would call for her to come and get him when he was ready. After work he played handball and then stopped at a club for a few drinks. He called Janet at 9:00 PM with a slurred tongue and told her brusquely to come and get him immediately. He tried to get into the Lexus, but was so unsteady he couldn’t open the driver’s door. Janet helped into the passenger side where he slumped down.

    They drove in silence towards the house. About a mile away, the car suddenly left the road at forty-five mph and crashed into a steel telephone pole fifteen feet off the asphalt. The car hit the pole on the front passenger side, crushing it back. The air bag exploded on Janet’s side, but she still got a broken arm, a concussion, bruises on her face and cuts on her legs. Kurt’s air bag did not deploy and he was not wearing his seat belt. Crashing through the windshield, he hit the pole, dying on impact. The next thing Janet knew she could feel a paramedic putting braces around her leg.

    She ask immediately about Kurt and found out he did not survive the crash. Her emotions were mixed. She had wished him dead at times, but he was her husband and she had some tender memories. She decided not to think about it right then.

    Kurt’s parents flew in immediately. They had lots of questions for Janet. Why did she steer off the road, why hadn’t Kurt been using his seat belt, why didn’t the airbag deploy for hell’s sake, it was a Lexus? Why didn’t she let Kurt drive that night? Janet was patient and told them it was Kurt’s car and she didn’t know anything about the seat belt problem and had no idea why the airbag didn’t deploy. She did remember a glare of headlights just before the impact. Kurt was drunk and that is why she was driving. Dr. Cabot immediately began screaming about suing Lexus and anyone else he thought might have some responsibility. They took Kurt back to Massachusetts for a closed casket burial. The house was in a trust, but his parents said she could stay there for at least six months.

    Janet was panicked because Kurt had controlled all their finances and she only had her small checking account. Her co-workers, Dr. George Sanders, and her brother all assured her they would provide whatever she needed, including a place to stay. She ask her brother to find out where all the money had gone from her paychecks and to see if there was a chance of getting it back.

    Then the fireworks started. She found out from the local Police department that Dr. Cabot had hired an investigator to look at all aspects of the accident. He had inferred that somehow he thought the death was fishy – and that he had a hunch that somehow Janet was involved. He said that his son had been complaining about his wife and that she was always trying to get more money from him. The investigator came to the house and she agreed to be interviewed. Why not, she had nothing to hide. – there was no reason for an attorney to be present. The next thing she knew there was a call from a police detective. She was frightened and ask if an attorney should be present. “I can’t tell you,” he answered, that is your own choice.” That made up her mind – she asked if she could wait until she had a representative. He said that would be okay, but would like to see her by the end of the week.

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    She asked around and found Faun Jacobson, a lawyer and female advocate who impressed her right away. Faun went through the story of the accident; ask if there had been any past dealings with the police by either she or her husband. She also ask if the marriage had been a happy one and found out it had been miserable. When Janet asked about a retainer, Faun told her that could wait until later. Then she set up an appointment with Detective Rencher. Everyone was cordial to start, coffee, soft drinks and water were available and they all sat around a conference table.

    Faun immediately asked what the purpose of the meeting was. Rencher said there were some questions that they had to ask to finally close the file on this case. He started out by asking Janet if she knew why the airbag didn’t deploy. She said she didn’t know anything about Kurt’s car, she rarely drove it. Then he said if she knew anything about the seat belt, why Kurt wasn’t wearing it. Again she said she didn’t know anything. When she started to give an explanation that Kurt rarely wore his seatbelt, Fawn stopped her, then ask the detective where all this was going. He said that he just had a couple of more questions. He wanted to know what happened – why the car left the road and smashed the passenger’s front side into the steel pole. Again Janet said she couldn’t remember other than she was driving down the highway one minute, then seeing the glare of oncoming headlights, blackness and then waking up in pain.

    Faun said, ”Look this interview is over unless we get an answer to why we are even here.” Rencher said, “Well here are the problems, the air bag on the passenger side had been disabled, there was a gold relay switch under the dash that had been removed and was missing – it deactivated the bag. The seat belt could not be fastened because the receiving end had a thin black piece of plastic stuck in it. “Who do you think would do those things?” It was very quiet in the interview room.

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