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July 14, 2006

 
Chapter Four
Without calling in help from a forensic pathologist, I couldn’t really be sure how Jackie had died. I guessed that she either hit her head during our struggle or I choked her...maybe a combination of both. It didn’t really matter, as I saw it. She was dead and my goose would be cooked either way.

Even though the tape had evidence of me acting in self-defense, they’d pin a manslaughter charge on me for sure at the very least. I’d be found guilty and I’d do time. What good would that do? I asked myself. Would it bring Jackie back? No. And I was no killer, in spite of what had just happened.

I looked at the clock again: 7:05. I’d have to hurry.

I went to the kitchen and put on some vinyl gloves that I use when I’m cooking. You know, to cut up hot peppers and stuff without getting anything on my hands. It’s a bitch if you get pepper juice on your hands then take a piss. Very painful. I went back to the living room and did a quick visual survey.

Her hand bag was on the floor near the body and I searched the contents for a hotel key or rental car key. If she had come by cab, I was sunk. Lo and behold, there it was...Hertz had put her in the driver’s seat and I began to have some hope.

I dumped the entire contents of her purse on the dining room table: two pairs of sunglasses, a wallet with over $300 cash and a hefty stack of credit cards in it, lipsticks, eye makeup, house keys, gum, mints, a couple of ink pens, airplane tickets and her cell phone. I picked up the phone, unlocked the keys and checked her call log. It looked like the last call she had made was to her sister in L.A. around 11:30 the night before. A quick check of her plane ticket showed that was around the time of her scheduled arrival at Detroit Metro. Probably just to let her know that her flight arrived okay, I thought. The call log also showed no received or missed calls since she landed, and none of the rest of the dialed numbers were mine. I let out a sigh of relief. Nobody knew that she had made it to my place.

Good.

First, I had to get rid of the car before she was reported missing and the police got involved. After that, I’d worry about the body. I figured that if I dumped the car somewhere, it would be at least a day before the cops got involved and a couple more days before they actually figured anything out. Plenty of time, I thought.

I looked out the kitchen window and saw a white Mustang was parked across the street. I didn’t recognize it from being in the neighborhood. The rental key was from a Ford and that meant it was probably the car Jackie had driven here in. Again, good. That meant even if somebody saw it, they couldn’t say for sure that whoever drove it here had come into my house unless they actually saw her do it. Since I lived right across from a water treatment plant and the house next door was vacant, I was pretty sure that nobody saw anything. It had been late. A forty-minute drive from the airport put her here well past midnight on a weeknight. I crossed my fingers and rolled the dice.

After making sure the place was locked up, I went out the side door, slid into the rental car and started it up. Nice car, that Mustang. Jackie always did have good taste in cars.

I drove it several blocks away, to a particularly desolate area just off Van Dyke. It looked more like Baghdad than Detroit over there, with burned out homes and empty lots filled with rubbish and piles of tires as high as your head.

I parked the car in a driveway next to one of the shabbier abandoned houses on the block, pulled it as far off the street as possible and left it, keys still in the ignition. Candy to a baby.

It wouldn’t be hard to imagine a woman from out of town getting lost in this area and being car-jacked, robbed and killed. Happened all the time in Detroit, I told myself. All the time.

I took half of the money from her wallet, then dropped her purse near a rusted out 55 gallon drum around which a group of crack-heads could often be seen socializing. My hope was that somebody would find the money and credit cards, try to use them, get caught and be arrested. With any luck, they’d get a quick conviction on something even if the cops couldn’t turn up a body. Case closed and I’m home free. I strolled back to my house as nonchalantly as possible, resisting the urge to whistle. So far, so good.

I had just one more problem to get rid of: Jackie’s body.




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