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THE WIFE MURDERER by Devon

Pitlor, MA Econ.

I. Why Jasmine Cadieux needed


pancake makeup.

Jasmine Cadieux was a more than


beautiful model and earned a good
living from this, but either she or some
photographic assistant would always
need to apply make-up to a couple of
ugly scars on her forehead and on the
slashed upturn of tortured skin at the
base of her neck. When she was not in
front of a camera, Jasmine never
covered these scars, and, as Chris
Varlow, Jasmine's new love interest,
soon learned, she made sure that these
imperfections were always visible and
beckoned people in her own charming
unspoken way to ask where they came
from. She seemed to like her scars.
Jasmine was always candid and
nonchalant. It had even scared Chris a
little at first--the degree to which
Jasmine seemed, with the self-
assurance gifted to all pretty women,
to care very little what people did or
did not know about her. Chris felt
that, despite the glowing radiance of
her beauty, she ought to reserve a little
more mystery to her person. Jasmine
never did, but that did not diminish
her magic enough to relieve Chris of
his obsession. And now his obsession
with the working fashion model was
real. It haunted him daily. He was
smitten.
II. Where the scars came from

On their second date, which was a


walk along the waterfront down by
Coral Point Bay, Jasmine was bare-
shouldered and made sure the ripped-
up side of her neck was facing Chris
until, at length, he entwined his fingers
into hers and asked about the
scars...all of them.

"Damien used to beat me," she said


facing Chris with open, glowing and
honest eyes. "He was an ex-cop and
liked to hit women." She pointed to
the marks on her forehead and said
"broom handle." She pointed to the
ugly ripple on her neck and said
"twisted chain."

Chris then heard a very brief but


nasty anecdote about Damien with his
knees on Jasmine's chest choking her
with a bicycle chain. "He almost kil
leded me," she said lightly. "And now
very soon he is finally going to...." she
added, casually gazing out over the
bay. The small and harmless Pacific
summer waves gently broke against
the sea barrier, and the sun gave
notice that it was setting.

III. Another shoe drops

Nothing dissuaded Chris Varlow from


spending his every free moment with
the lovely fashion model, and three
days later, as they sat face to face in a
dimly-lit café in Railtown, she
entranced and enchanted him once
again to ask about Damien by opening
her huge and truly breathtaking eyes,
begging for a question. She had just
made Chris very happy by telling him
that---finally---she would sleep with
him that night. They had reached the
right point, she said, in their
relationship. Then she put one finger
across his lips, wiped some pink lip
gloss off the rim of her wine glass, and
said "What else can I tell you about
Damien?"

Chris stammered off a series of


questions broken only into short
phrases. It all amounted to Damien
going to kil l her. That had more than
troubled him for the last few days.

Jasmine smiled and removed her


finger from his cheek to where it had
wandered. She told him with the same
candor that she revealed everything
that Damien had kil led his first two
wives. Damien was brutal, jealous and
dominant. He wanted his wives to
"behave." If they did not, he beat
them. "He started early with me,"
Jasmine continued. "I just let him at
first. Then I threatened to leave him."
That's when he told me that both
Holly and Jenna were dead by his
hand. He was an ex-cop turned
bodyguard. He knew how to make
bodies and evidence disappear. The
police suspected him in both deaths,
but he was cleared each time for total
lack of evidence. Holly and Jenna are
still on the missing persons rosters.
You can look."

Chris did using his computer, and the


vanishments were detailed there as
well. Unsolved cases. Husband under
suspicion but cleared in both cases.
The women had just gotten sick of his
abuse and left. No one could state
where they went. But there were no
grounds to pursue Damien Cadieux.
All very mysterious, but clear cut.
Closed cases.

"He warned me that if I ever left him,


he would hunt me down and kil l me,
and no one would ever find him guilty.
'You'll vaporize,' he said. Just like
that, and he snapped his fingers. I've
got a good track record going. I kil l
bitches who don't behave. Behave was
one of his favorite words."

IV. A pretty model like Jasmine has


more than one pair of shoes.

A third shoe dropped about an hour


later after they had nervously
consumed a dinner of rice and lamb
tapas and shrimp dip. Jasmine told
him that Damien had come to Fever
Bay and was probably lurking around
in the trendy Railtown district right
now, watching them perhaps from
some unseen vantage point as they sat
on the café terrace. "He will probably
try to kil l me tonight," said Jasmine
as if she were discussing the imminent
delivery of a pizza. "He saw me and I
saw him outside my apartment last
night. Tonight will probably be his
night. He's an ex-cop, you know." She
found an emery board and began
applying it to her nails. Nail dust fell
on the café table. She blew it away.

Chris felt a frenzy of nervous tension


mount through his body. He became
taut and suddenly needed to stand up.
His fists automatically clenched. Here
he was with one of the most gorgeous
women he had ever known, a woman
he eventually might like to marry or at
least live with, but a woman who was
at this very moment being stalked by
an abusive and highly successful kil
ler----and a woman that didn't seem to
care much about it either. Too many
pieces of Jasmine Cadieux just didn't
fit. No one could call her stupid, that
was for sure, but she didn't seem very
clever either. She fumbled constantly
with facial cream and emery boards
on her long nails. Her face and body
were drifting all over America on the
style and cosmetics advertising pages.
It was hard to pass a magazine rack
without looking for her on the back
page promoting some string of sensual
chain pearls or some pair of chic, over-
tight dungarees. The public did not, of
course, know her name. She was
simply a model. He, Chris Varlow,
knew her name. So did Damien, the kil
ler cop.

V. Chris's gun.

Like many men, Chris kept a small


cartridge pistol in the glove
compartment of his car. He wasn't
exactly sure how to take the safety
lock off of it because he had tried it
out only once two years prior. There
was very little violence or crime in
Fever Bay. It was a calm resort town
with a quaint antique section where
guns were not requisite or even
discussed for that matter. Chris told
her had one and would use it to
protect her if needed. She laughed and
wiped some more lip gloss from her
wine glass. "Against an ex-Marine and
and ex-cop and an ex-husband?" she
giggled. "You've got to be kidding."

Feeling stinging tension, Chris puffed


up once again and pledged his
protective role and said something else
about the gun like that it could fit in
his pocket if he put it there.

"Well, don't go and blow


your...your....manhood off," she
laughed. "We were going to need that
tonight, remember?"

Chris mentioned the gun once again,


and Jasmine turned and looked at the
bohemian crowds walking down the
twisting streets of Railtown. She did
not look back until he stopped talking
and took her hand. The gun was
mentioned no more. When he excused
himself to go to the bathroom, he
darted out to his car and found the
little Ruger .25 under some oily papers
in the dash box. He looked it over,
spied the set safety button, and slid it
into his pocket, barrel up so that if it
did discharge, it would not blow off his
manhood. He wondered how he had
ever gotten into a position where he
might use it. Briefly, the thought of
driving off and leaving Jasmine alone
crossed his mind. But, thinking better,
he patted the gun and went back to
their table. The night had been ruined.
Fear and ugly images of a wife
murderer would give him erectile
problems for sure. He knew that. He
began fearing the programmed sex
more than the programmed kil ler.

VI. The time arrives.

The minutes stretched out long across


the table for Chris Varlow. Each
routine action brought him closer to
what might have been the most fearful
moment of his life: paying the bill,
tipping the waiter, standing up,
putting his arm around Jasmine's
waist and handing her her tiny purse,
walking to the door, entering the
street, trying not to let Jasmine see his
discomfort and fear. Chris glanced this
way and that way up and down the
busy pedestrian street. Jasmine did
not. She squeezed his hand and led
him back around to the parking lot to
his own car. She showed absolutely no
concern whatever. It began to enrage
Chris, who once again needed to pee
although he had just done that
minutes ago. A sworn kil ler was
waiting to strike. How would he do it?
What would he use for the kil ling?

"He likes guns," said Jasmine looking


out the side window of Chris's BMW
and no doubt reading his mind as she
always did. "He might could use
yours," she continued, "and make it
look like you did it. Another
disappearing wife would set off too
many alarms. They need to find a
body... my body...this time."

Chris was mildly shaken by the


expression "might could," which
seemed to come from a different
dialect than the voluptuous Jasmine
had ever spoken in before. It occurred
to Chris that he didn't really know
where she was from. She and Damien
had lived in a penthouse sort of place
in Chicago before she walked out on
him. That was all he knew. Damien
had, therefore, crossed the country to
stalk his prey.

Then there was the thought of sex with


Jasmine. Chris knew he was far too
nervous to do it right. He would have
to make an excuse. Shit, he already
had an excuse. A kil ler was on the
loose and was coming to get both of
them. Jasmine didn't seem to care. She
snapped open a make-up compact
from her little purse and relined her
eyebrows in the reflection of the
window. She was not, Chris noted,
looking at anything or anyone else but
herself. How could she be this
untroubled?

V. The legendary Bruell House.

The huge, gingerbreaded and filagreed


Bruell House had been constructed by
hoary railroad magnates during the
gold rush era. It was probably the
oldest structure in Fever Bay, a
complex array of connecting annexes
and a main, hotel-like lobby. Divided
into apartments now, it was
nonetheless an historical landmark
and had a silver plaque outside to
prove it. Jasmine rented there. She
lived in the modest sort of antique
luxury that seemed to mirror her
understated personality. The huge
building had balconies and staircases
on all sides. The architectural plan was
sprawling. It dominated the entire
view of the ocean. At once, it became a
place of fear for Chris. Damien could
be hiding anywhere. He could crawl
out suddenly from any nook or cranny.
He could rise up like the devil from
under an exterior staircase. The huge,
historical building was designed for
stalking, serial kil lers. Chris knew this
at once.

Jasmine's apartment was on the fifth


floor facing the bay. Under most
normal circumstances, he would have
admired the beauty of the view.
Tonight he just kept craning and
twisting his neck, looking for a
monster. Jasmine left him briefly in
the lobby and walked over to whisper
something to the concierge. The
concierge seemed to understand her
perfectly and shook his head in dutiful
agreement. She returned with a key in
her hand. "I always leave my keys at
the desk," she explained. "Let's take
the elevator."

Again she squeezed his hand, which


Chris knew was getting wet with
perspiration. His entire body jerked
with each pull of the ancient elevator
as it rose five floors and swung its
accordeon caged door open to a dimly
lighted hallway. Fear was making
Chris nearly wet his pants. A dark
hallway? Did Jasmine have no fear?
Who or what exactly was he walking
along with? A corpse? A woman about
to be kil led. And of course it would be
up to him to prevent that as best he
could. Only he could do it. But could
he? A swirl of doubt clouded his mind.
In a minute he would be in the
apartment of the most ravishing
woman he had ever set eyes on, and he
would melt into the yellow, greasy
butter of abject fear at the very
moment that should have been
triumphally his.

VI. The smell of lavender.

The apartment, cozy and small,


welcomed them with the fragrance of
lavender. There were fresh flowers in
vases on every shelf and chest. The
lavender smell wafted everywhere and
was driven by a slight breeze coming
from an open window near the small
dining room. Chris felt for his
upturned gun and found it still to be in
his pocket. Shouldn't he take it out
now and check the apartment from
room to room? Who had opened the
window. Again, as if scanning his
thoughts, Jasmine told him for no
particular reason, as he had not asked,
that she always left it open. "For the
seabreeze," she said.

Jasmine put her arm around his waist.


Chris knew that she knew now that
she needed to calm him. He was
trembling in visible motion He needed
to make some sort of move, either
embrace Jasmine or take out the gun.
But he stood frozen there by her side
and did nothing. He was certain that
he felt another presence. The kil ler
was already in the room. Chris could
sense it.

VII. Damien

And Chris was right. With a slight,


curtain-like shuffle, an enormous
ganolf of a man abruptly stepped into
the room from a side hallway which
led no doubt to the bedroom---where
they would most certainly not be
sleeping together that night, Chris and
Jasmine. Jasmine looked at the hulk
and blinked slightly. She was not
surprised. The hulking threat had a
gun in his hand, a much larger one
than the tiny pistol which was now
chafing the skin of Chris's leg. He
pointed the gun at both of them and
grinned with a certain sour
malevolence which left no doubt in
Chis's mind that the creature would
soon dispatch them both.
Uncontrollably, Chris squirted a few
dribbles of pee into his pants. He was
about to let the rest go and grab for his
own gun or fall to his own knees when
Jasmine spoke:

"Damien! You found me. How clever


of you. Of course, you were a police
officer, weren't you? You know how to
do these things. But still I am going to
have a word with the management this
time. I'm getting sick of this. This is
the third time someone has entered my
place from the damn scaffolding. We
need better security here."

"Scaffolding?" grunted Damien still


pointing his revolver at her forehead
and eyeing Chris with equal menace.
"No, I got a passkey. All it took was a
little bribe to the Mexican girl who
sweeps the hallways."

"You always were a charmer, weren't


you?" laughed Jasmine. "And here I
thought you had used the stupid, left
over scaffolding and came in through
the open window. The scaffolding has
been up too long. It belongs to the the
next apartment. They were
sandblasting the walls for sea fungus.
This room was once part of a larger
unit. When they partitioned it off to
make more apartments, they promised
me they would block the scaffold off,
but they haven't. I thought you had
entered from the apartment next door
and walked down the scaffolding
outside my window. Next door the
apartment is empty and still being
remodelled. It would have been easier
for you, and no Mexican girl to give
witness."

Damien glanced at the open window


and then back at the couple standing
as before side by side in the middle of
the central room.

Chris felt his knees going weak. He


started to say something to Damien
about not being able to get away with
it this time but he could not find the
words. He released more urine into his
pants. His hands and feet trembled. He
knew he was going to beg for his life.
He would blabber his reasons. He
would pee some more into his pants.
But he knew he would not be
successful. He was already wondering
about death.

Damien clicked back the hammer of


the revolver and aimed it at Chris.
"Take your gun out of your pocket
and give it to me." Chris obliged him
immediately. He had no idea how
Damien knew he had a gun. That was
something he never found out. He
handed to tiny pistol to Damien who
received it in a gloved hand, clicked off
the safety, and aimed it with his left
hand directly into Jasmine's forehead.
"You're going to die now, bitch," he
snarled. "Say your prayers. Your
boyfriend here will have done it with
his gun. I was going to do it differently,
but his little toy gun makes it even
easier." Damien readied himself and
repositioned the gun so that the barrel
was directly pressed into Jasmine's
brow. Chris felt the room shake
around him and dropped to his knees.
A paroxism of fear clenched his entire
person. He noticed that his urine had
run down a pants leg and made a
puddle on the floor where he
crouched. As he dropped, he once
again noted the sublime smile of
disconcern on Jasmine's face. Jasmine
didn't seem to care about dying.

VIII. Conclusion

Damien jumped back a little when a


strong knock at the door broke the
tension of the moment. "What the
fuck?" he said.

"That will be the police," said Jasmine


softly. "I knew you'd be lurking
around, and I asked them to come by
and check on me sometime tonight."
The knock repeated. "What will you
do now, Damien? They will come in if
no one answers the knock. Besides, the
door is unlocked. You are about to be
caught and punished for...what were
their names...Jenna? Holly? Let them
knock one more time, and they will
enter."

Damien darted his deep, angry black


eyes around the room and backed
slowly toward the open window and
the scaffolding. The night was bathed
in perfect blackness. On the wooden
scaffold he would not be seen. He kept
both guns pointed at the pair. "Tell
them you are okay. If you don't, I will
shoot you both anyway. I promise I
will shoot you. I'll be on your scaffold
listening and watching" He swung one
leg out of the open window into the
black night, sneered menancingly at
them one more time, and perched his
other leg on the sill. He grasped the
top of the window frame to support
himself, then pulled his other leg over
the sill to allow himself to drop silently
onto the scaffold. Chris, still on the
floor face downward looking into a
puddle of his own pee, heard a sudden
shrill and muffled scream and a kind
of dull and distant thud from far
below.

Jasmine flung open the apartment


door, and there stood the bald and
obsequious concierge with a small
silver tray in his hand. On it was a
bottle of cognac and two glasses
decorated with a complimentary
yellow rose from the building
management. "As you requested,
Madame," he said politely as he
placed the tray on a small credenza by
the door and promptly left. Chris
began rising to his feet stammering
and looking toward the open window.
"Come and have a nightcap," said
Jasmine almost in a whisper as she
decanted an inch of cognac into each
glass.

"But what about Damien?," babbled


Chris. Whitefaced with fear, he stood
up and looked into the almost visible
darkness of the night beyond the open
window. "He's on the scaffold with
both guns...waiting..."

"Oh," said Jasmine, "that... Don't


worry. He won't be coming back."

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Devon Pitlor---- October, 2008