Tuesday, April 19, 2016

New Lieutenant Morales Mystery: A Reservation for Murder

I know that quite a few people have been waiting for the next Lieutenant Morales mystery following Dead in the Water.  Well, here is the first chapter of A Reservation for Murder:

 A Reservation for Murder

                                       A Lieutenant Morales Mystery

                      “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

                                                Sun-Tzu, Chinese general and military strategist, (400 BC)

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”

                                                Hotel California



                                                            THE DIARY

 I killed two people today. Helluva way to start the New Year.

 The man got what he had coming. But I do feel bad about the woman; I actually liked her, but I had no choice. Under the circumstances, I could not leave any witnesses. As they say in the military, sometimes there is collateral damage. Put another way:  shit happens. May she rest in peace.

             I probably shouldn’t be writing any of this down now or ever.  Someday, it will probably come back to haunt me.  But, you know what? Right now, I just don’t care. Since I can’t tell anyone about what happened, unless I write it down and see the words in black and white describing what happened, it does not seem real. 

It all began about two weeks before Thanksgiving. I was sitting in my office about 5:30 in the early evening when my cell phone rang.  Because I was getting ready to leave the office, at first I wasn’t going to answer the phone.   I just wanted to go home and have a nice dinner with my wife and kids.  It was a Tuesday and so we were having meat loaf.  We always had meatloaf on Tuesdays.   But, because the phone continued to ring, something in the back of my brain said that this call might be important.  And so, against my better judgment, I answered phone.     

            You wouldn’t think it was possible, but my whole world was changed forever as a result of that stupid phone call.  As, I think back on it now, answering that call was probably the biggest mistake of my life. We all probably would have been better off. And two people would still be alive. But thoughts like that are useless now.  The deed is done.

            A soon as I picked up the phone that early evening, the caller began, without any preliminaries, "Your wife is having an affair."

"Who in the hell is this? “ I screamed into the phone. “What are you saying? You’re crazy.”

 The voice on the other end did not answer my questions but instead more forcefully than before repeated the phrase. "Your wife is having an affair. “

Before I could say anything more, the caller hung up the phone. I frantically tried to check out the name and number of the caller on my cell phone but everything was blocked. I even called Verizon but they said they couldn’t help me either. Something about the phone being an untraceable throwaway, like the kind that the drug dealers use to communicate with their clients.

At first, I refused to believe some anonymous bastard who calls at the end of the day and makes such an absurd accusation. I guess it’s a little like when patients are told that they have terminal cancer and only a few months to live. They say that their first reaction is almost always the same: disbelief, “It can’t happen to me.”

 My wife having an affair, no, that's just not possible. The caller must be mistaken.  The caller must have dialed the wrong number. Those were my initial reactions.

 We had been married almost 15 years. Yeah, our marriage wasn’t exactly perfect. Like most guys I had fooled around a little bit.  You know how it is.  Guys will be guys.  But my wife, no, I was sure, no way.

But you know how it can be sometimes?   Some things can just gnaw at you. Well, that call was one of those things.  I just could not get it out of my head.  It was there when I woke up in the morning and when I went to bed at night.  In between, throughout the day, it seemed like that call was just about all I thought about.

A few days after receiving the call, I began watching my wife closely at home. All of a sudden, just [1] about everything she did seemed to me to be suspicious.  If she went to the grocery store at night, I sometimes followed her.  I particularly noticed that she started getting these phone calls in the evening, sometimes even after ten o’clock. She never received those kind of calls before. When I asked her about them, she simply said she was working on a special Christmas gift for me.  She said that she had to make some sort of special arrangements for the gift through the seller on EBay.   She claimed that the guy who was selling the gift could only talk to her at night. It sounded fairly plausible at the time and anyway, I really wanted to believe her.  She was just thinking of me, that’s all.  What a relief.

  But the thought of what that anonymous caller had said would not leave me. A week or so later, I decided that I had to confront her with what that caller had said to me. I was burning up inside and I had to know for sure.  Was that anonymous caller right?

So, after dinner one evening and after the kids had gone downstairs to play in our new rec room, I took her into the den and closed the door. I said to her as casually as I could, “You won’t believe this, babe, but I got this call a couple of weeks ago.  Some guy called and said you were having an affair.”

There was absolutely no change in her expression as she responded as calmly as I had been, maybe even more so, “You have got to be kidding, honey.  How could you possibly believe some jerk who calls you up and makes a crazy claim like that?  You know I only love you.” She grabbed me around the waist, hugged me and kissed me hard.

That night we made love for the first time in what seemed like months. Things were good again, just like that.

She sounded so convincing in her denials that I just had to believe her. I even felt sort of foolish that I had doubted her and accepted at face value what some anonymous caller lied to me about my wife.  Who do I believe?  This stranger or my lovely wife?  The choice was easy at the time. That nasty caller was just trying to stir me up so I would do something crazy. But the caller was wrong and when I found out who it was……well, that would have been a very different story.

But then it all came crashing down on Christmas day. Of all days on the calendar, it had to be Christmas!  My favorite holiday of all.  I happened to get up early that Christmas morning, even before the kids. When it comes to Christmas, I have to admit, I’m like a little kid myself. I can’t wait to get started. Even though it was still early and dark outside, I went downstairs as soon as I woke up to see what gifts were there.  My wife was still sleeping.

I first turned on the Christmas tree lights.  The tree was all sparkly with the white lights and silver ornaments we had hung the day before. I was in the best mood.

Then I began sifting through the presents my wife had piled high under the tree, looking for that special gift she had promised me. I found a large box wrapped in gold foil with a green Christmas tag and picture of Santa taped to the top of the box.  “This is it,” I thought.  But then I looked at the tag a little closer.  The tag was addressed to “MS". Who the hell was MS? The tag also read, “With all my love forever.” What kind of crap is that? She had never written or said anything like that to me--- ever.  Instantly, I realized she had mistakenly put a gift for her lover under our tree. That was it.  I was sure now that she was having affair. The caller was right after all.  The only question is with whom? Who could this bastard MS be?

When my wife came downstairs a few minutes later, she must have realized her mistake because she grabbed the gift from under the tree and ran upstairs with it where she apparently hid it because I never saw it again. I don’t think she had any idea that I had already seen it.  I made a quick decision not to say a word to her at the time about the gift. After all, it was Christmas and the kids were now up and opening presents. Why create a fuss now? Now that I knew it was true, it could wait until after the holidays.  And my actions then would speak louder than anything I could possibly say now or ever. Much louder.

“MS," who in the hell could that be?  I pondered that all day that Christmas day, ignoring my kids as they played with their new toys. The next day, back at work, as I was sitting at my desk, I realized that there was really only one man it could be. One man with those initials who was such an asshole that he would even dare to fool around with my wife. Once I knew who it was, I had figure out how to make him pay.

I t was a couple of days later that I finally caught up with him.  When I confronted him, of course, he denied it. He swore up and down that whoever told me that he was having an affair with my wife was lying.   But I didn't believe him for a moment.  His reputation had preceded him. When I pulled out my gun, he could see I was serious and he started begging for his life, like some sniveling little kid. I couldn’t stand it anymore. Unfortunately, it was just then that the woman appeared in the room.  She must have heard him begging me for his life and came to the room to see what was going on.

Then it all happened.

I shot them both. Blood splattered everywhere in the room. Both of them fell to the ground moaning, but I could see the looks of disbelief on both of their faces before they fell.  I had to finish them off with a second bullet. It was the humane thing to do.

 After I removed the bodies from the room and stashed them in the trunk of my car, it took me almost three hours and four bottles of Clorox to clean up the bloody mess. I was pretty certain I got it all.

I know one thing: No one will ever suspect me. Never, not me. Not in a million years. HAHA, Hell, they won’t even find the bodies.  They are long gone. I made sure of that. They will just be two missing persons. 

 And even if they do suspect me, what in the world are they going to do about it? Nothing!

I remember reading once something that Shakespeare wrote in one of his plays, “Murder will out.”  But all I have to say to that is, “Not this time, Will.  No way.  Not this time.”


Dead in the Water

I just wanted to let everyone know that my mystery novel, Dead in the Water is free just for today on Amazon for Kindle.  If you decide to download the book, please consider writing a review on Amazon and Goodreads.  Reviews are the lifeblood of independent authors like me.  Thanks.