Posted by: anniewilson | October 21, 2008

Yeah, I killed him. What’s your point?

Thanks to the lovely concept of of double jeopardy, I can tell you this story. According to the laws in this state, I can shout from the rooftops that I murdered my husband and there isn’t a thing that any court can do about it. My only regret is that he isn’t here so that I can thank him for providing me with the perfect defense to a murder charge.

I didn’t really want my husband dead, I would have preferred to remain happily married to him. But, he cheated on me again. I might have been able to handle the affair itself, but he wanted to leave me and that, I could not allow. At my age, given the choice, I would rather be a widow than another middle aged woman who was tossed aside by a cheating husband.

I remember the very moment that it occurred to me that killing the bastard was an option. I was sitting on my front porch chain smoking and swallowing sedatives in an attempt to stop the hideous pain that had been torturing me for months. From the moment that I learned about my husband’s most recent affair, I had been in a constant state of panic.

My life literally consisted of me wringing my hands and pacing throughout my house for hours every single day of my life as I worried where my husband was and with whom he was spending his time. When he was at home, I sat there wondering where the love that he once showed so passionately had gone.

Bedtime was the loneliest time of all as I laid next to my husband of 20 years. He slept with his back to me as I would lie there aching to be held, all the time knowing that I was nothing to him anymore except an obstacle keeping him from the woman that he wanted.

When I told my husband that his behavior was driving me insane, he responded, “You’re doing it to yourself. The only chance our marriage has is if you get therapy for your trust issues.” As asinine as it seems today, it was easier for me to believe that I was crazy than it was to believe that my husband didn’t love me anymore. So, I went to a psychiatrist. That’s where I got the sedatives, not to mention the anti-depressants and the mood elevators.

No matter how many pills I took, the pain never stopped. After a couple of months of psychiatrist visits, I was still as confused as I ever had been. The only thing that changed was my husband. His anger at me for existing beyond my usefulness increased and became much more evident. His daily phone calls from work had stopped long ago and when I would call him, the constant busy signal only served to strengthen my suspicions. As the truth continued to bang on my head, I began to accept it.

Accepting the truth didn’t make things any easier, especially when my husband was lying to me constantly. The constant state of panic would not abate. I prayed constantly for a brief respite from the pain that began in my gut and spread to every fiber of my body. Nothing would make it stop and I couldn’t imagine it slowing down anytime soon. The afternoon that I was sitting on my front porch wondering what in the world I could do to feel happy again, if only for a moment, was when I finally came up with a solution to my problem.

I don’t know where the idea came from, it just sort of popped into my head. But as soon as it did, my pain stopped. The sudden absence of pain convinced me that the idea was a good one. It only took about two minutes to make the decision and after that, I began planning to kill the source of my pain…my husband.

Suddenly I found myself thinking clearly for the first time in years. I perceived a resolve that I hadn’t felt in decades. For months I had barely eaten enough to keep a mouse alive and now I was ravenous. I was able to get rid of the constant suspicions because none of them mattered anymore. I had a murder to plan and that required a healthy body and a sound mind. I couldn’t afford to make any mistakes.

Once the decision to kill the man was made, the rest was easy. I immediately decided on anti-freeze as a “weapon”. That plan had a couple of hurdles to overcome but I was sure that I could make it work. First of all, I didn’t know how much anti-freeze it took to kill a man. I was afraid to look it up on my computer out of fear that the police would be able to figure that out. I didn’t know enough about computers so I figured that I had better go to a library to get the “recipe” for an anti-freeze murder. And, it probably would be a good idea if the library that I used was a good distance away from my house.

I drove to a library out in the sticks. I found out what I needed to know. Apparently, you can kill a person with one dose of anti-freeze but it had to be a good sized dose. I learned that the stuff tastes a bit like liquor so you could easily give a person a mixed drink with enough anti-freeze in it to do the job but the fool didn’t drink often enough for me to give it to him like that.

Besides, something in my mind told me that there was a difference in killing a person with one dose and doing it with a few small doses. Whether or not that makes sense, I don’t know and I don’t care. But one thing was for sure, we would be eating a lot of spicy food over the next few weeks.

On the way home from the library, I stopped at a gas station and bought a gallon of antifreeze. When I got home, I stuck it under my kitchen sink, way in the back where it wouldn’t be seen unless someone tried to clean out the cabinet and I knew that my husband wouldn’t be doing that anytime soon.

That very same day I made a mistake, I poured some of the poison in a glass of soda and gave it to my husband. He tasted the crap so I had to quickly think up some way to get rid of the drink without raising any suspicions. I dumped it down the sink and told him that I wanted to get him drunk so that he would make love to me. He bought that and drank a harmless glass of soda. I sat there wondering what to do next and I decided to make a pot of chili.

I always had to make two of whatever I made for dinner because he didn’t like onions or peppers or some other thing that I did want. So, he didn’t think a thing of the two pots of chili sitting on the stove. The poisoned pot had no onions and the other pot had plenty of them. And they were large onions so he would be sure to eat out of the right pot.

After one bowl, he complained of a bit of a stomach ache. He went and laid on the bed for a while and I did my best to comfort his cheating ass. I didn’t know what to expect. Would he croak right then and there? Would I wake up next to a dead man? Would he figure out what I was up to?

Anyway, eventually his pain went away and he decided that he needed to go to the store. I knew that he was going to call his mistress but it didn’t bother me anymore. My only fear was that he would leave before I had a chance to kill his ass. While he was gone, I decided that there wasn’t enough poison in the chili so I added a bit more. I thought to myself, “This is going to take a while.”

Well, I was wrong. That night things happened much more quickly than I had ever imagined they would happen. Although I didn’t see him do it, he must have eaten another bowl of the chili because when I came back in the house after doing some yard work, he was lying on our bed moaning in pain. I ran to his side and asked him what was wrong. He said, “My stomach is killing me!”

Under my breathe I said, “Give credit where credit is due. It isn’t your stomach that’s killing you, it’s me.” As I said that he went into a seizure that lasted for what seemed like ten minutes. From what I had read at the library, I knew that he had ingested enough of the poison to kill him unless he received medical care immediately and that wasn’t going to happen. I took the bedroom phone into the living room and waited for him to die.

As I sat in my recliner waiting for my husband to take his last breathe, I started thinking about how I was going to handle the police when they inevitably came to my house. A tiny piece of me felt guilty, not because he’d be dead soon, but because he seemed to be suffering. I dismissed that concern and went back to planning for the cops. At one point I heard him call my name so I walked slowly down the hall toward the room where my husband and I had made love so many times over the years. I started to get a bit nervous, I don’t really know why but I noticed that familiar feeling that I had been suffering before I came up with my plan.

I figured that was a good thing because I couldn’t be perfectly calm when the cops arrived. And, when I walked into my room and looked at my husband, I knew that the cops would be arriving soon. He was quite blue and obviously quite dead.

I decided to attempt CPR on him just in case the medical examiner would be able to tell if I had tried to save him. It was a hideous task but one that had to be done if I was going to get away with this plan of mine.

Then it occurred to me that the chili was still in the kitchen so I quickly poured it all down the sink and turned on the garbage disposal. I washed the hell out of every dish, pot or spoon that had touched the poison.

Next I had to get rid of the poison itself so I did that by pouring the rest of it into the radiator of my car. That car hadn’t moved in months because my husband wouldn’t fix the stupid thing for me. Once again, he was making things easy for me to kill him.

As soon as I had poured the last of the antifreeze into the radiator, it occurred to me that I had better crank the engine to get the fluid to circulate a bit. As I ran around my house looking for the key, I cursed myself for not being more prepared. I guess I should have thought things through a bit more, but it was too late to worry about that now. I found the keys and hoped that the engine would turn after sitting for so long.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the engine, it was the transmission that was bad. The only thing that my husband had done to that car was start it occasionally so when I finally found the key, the engine did turn over. “Thanks honey.” I thought as it did.

I only let the car run for a moment and then I had to get rid of the empty jug. Once again, my husband made that easy for me. Too lazy to get rid of used motor oil properly, over the past few years he had just taken the old oil and poured it into old containers. Some were motor oil containers and some were antifreeze containers. I wiped the jug free of any fingerprints and then I put on a pair of gloves that came with my hair dye and took the jug into my bedroom. I had to put some one’s fingerprints on the jug and the only fingerprints that should have been on it were his. So, I took his dead, cold hands and placed his prints all over the jug. Then I took the jug and tossed it under the house with the rest of the containers that he had thrown down there.

I flushed the gloves down the toilet and then I flushed it two more times for the heck of it. Next I went back into the kitchen and washed the sink again. This time I poured some bleach down the drain and then I turned the water on to wash away any trace of my actions. I quickly grabbed a clean bowl and put some of my chili in it and left it on the kitchen table as though someone had just finished eating it.

Now it was time to call the police.

My hands were shaking so badly that it took three attempts before I could dial 911. As soon as I heard the dispatcher ask, “What is your emergency?”, I began crying. It wasn’t an act, for some reason that I didn’t understand, I was sobbing uncontrollably.

“My husband is blue!”

That’s all that I could say. I said it over and over again and before I even heard a response from the dispatcher, I heard that unmistakable knock on my door that could only be the police. I dropped the phone and opened the door. “Didn’t they send an ambulance?” I shouted at the two officers standing on my front porch.

“Yes ma’am, they’re right behind us.” I was stunned. I never reported a crime, I told the lady that my husband was blue. I couldn’t believe that the cops got to my home before the ambulance. Then I recognized the officers as the same two cops who had come to my home two months before.

That day I had been the victim of domestic violence and I guess they assumed that it was happening again. It was a Monday evening when I had seen these two officers last. I had taken my husband’s credit cards out of his wallet that morning before he left for work. I did that because I didn’t want him to spend any more money on his whore. He didn’t notice that they were gone until he had already left work. I guess he was on his way to her trailer when he realized that the cards were not in his wallet.

I was sitting at my computer reading my email when my husband burst through the door and started banging his fist on my keyboard. I grabbed the kitchen phone and tried to call 911. But, as most abusers do, my husband pulled the phone out of the wall. I ran to grab the bedroom phone but he was right behind me. He ripped that phone out of the wall as well. I turned to run out of the room and he picked up the beside table and threw it at me. Since I was running away from him, it hit me in the back and I fell into the hallway wall, knocking over a half circle table full of knick-knacks that I had inherited from my grandmother.

The Friday before that happened, I had surgery to remove a tumor from one of my parathyroid glands. The wound was still fresh and in the struggle, blood had oozed from the incision. At that point, I didn’t know the blood was there and neither one of us knew I had gotten through to 911 before he ripped the kitchen phone out of the wall.

I kept running. By the time I was out the back door and almost to the end of the driveway, the cops were walking toward me to offer their help. I didn’t know that my neck was full of blood but I did know that I was bleeding from my leg and my head. One of the officers assumed that my husband had slit my throat. When he asked me if my husband had done that, I laughed without even thinking. “No sir,” I responded. “I had surgery last week. But the rest are all from him.”

I don’t think he heard me because as my husband walked out the door to face the police, the cops both tackled him to the ground and cuffed the bastard. I realized that I was still laughing and I thought that it might be considered an “inappropriate reaction”. But then again, who knows what appropriate behavior is in such a situation?

My laughter turned to tears as I began to feel the pain. I felt it in my legs, my back, my head and most of all, I felt it in my heart. They took him away and he eventually pleaded guilty to one charge of domestic violence. He was sentenced to time served as he had no one to bail him out of jail before his trial. His trailer dwelling tramp certainly didn’t have the money. And I wasn’t about to get him out so that he could see her again.

In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, my husband was continuing to set up a great defense for me to use should I be charged with murder.

While he was in jail, I had no idea if he’d ever be back and I didn’t know how I would pay the bills. Out of work due to a serious illness, I did the only thing that I knew to do. I took everything of his out to my carport and put up a huge sign at the end of the driveway that said, “Betrayed Wife Sale”. The little sale didn’t take in too much because I didn’t care what I got for his stuff. Later I found out that I had sold a few very expensive tools for less than five bucks. Also, I got five bucks a piece for every idiotic karate movie that the man had in his stupid DVD collection. All in all, I took in about three hundred bucks that day. That might have bought a few groceries, but it wouldn’t go much further than that.

The following day there was a blurb in the local newspaper that simply said, “Seen on Polk Street, sign saying, Betrayed Wife Sale”. I didn’t know about that until some local women brought the paper to show me. They all picked up a few bargains as well.

Anyway, the two familiar police officers asked where the “blue” man was. I directed them to the blue man who was lying on my bed.

“Yep, he’s gone.”, stated one of the cops. “Did he finally hit you one time too many?”

“No officer, I found him like this when I came in from gardening.”

Just then I heard the other officer requesting a “meat wagon” into a microphone on his chest. That offended me and I let him know it. “He’s not a piece of meat, he’s my husband!” Then I let the tears flow again. Once they started, I couldn’t make them stop.

I thought to myself, “What would a wife do if her husband was lying in front of her as dead as a doorknob?” At that moment I threw myself on top of the body of the man who tried to steal my life from me. Although I begged him to wake up, I prayed that he wouldn’t.

I felt quite justified in what I had done. In my mind, it was self defense. Not in the way that most people define self defense, but it made perfect sense to me. It was his life or mine and when the decision is between me and a lying cheat of a husband, it’s not even close. I win hands down.

The activity that followed is mostly a blur in my mind but I do remember bits and pieces. I remember someone asking me questions such as, “Did your husband have any illnesses that you’re aware of?” “How did he act when he came home this evening?” “Does he do drugs?”

“Yes, he does. But nothing that would kill him.” That was true. The man did smoke weed on a daily basis but that shouldn’t kill a person. He even stole MY weed a few times to smoke with his mistress.

As I watched the rescue squad zip my husband up in a body bag, my knees buckled and I fell down right there in my bedroom. I didn’t lose consciousness, but I was quite dizzy and very nauseated. The police asked me if I needed medical care and I told them that I didn’t. A few of them took some pictures of the room and before they left my house one of them asked me if I would be available should they have any questions for me. I assured them that I would and off they went.

I stood there in my living room wondering what to do next. I went into my bedroom and noticed that even though he had his pants on, the fool had soiled my sheets when he lost muscle tone. At least that’s what I figured it was. So, I changed the nasty smelling sheets and threw away the mattress pad before any of the stuff reached my mattress.

Then, I started cleaning my house. I was a bundle of nerves and I could not sit still. I went into my kitchen and dumped out one of my kitchen drawers on the floor. I sat there deciding what to keep and what to throw away.

About ten minutes into my chore, I found a bottle of sex lotion that I had never seen before. I knew what that meant. The son of a bitch had screwed his wench in OUR bed. It could have only happened while I was visiting my daughter a few months earlier.

Now it didn’t matter what was on the mattress. I didn’t want to sleep on it again. And I didn’t want to look in anymore drawers.

All by myself, I dragged the mattress out to the end of the driveway. I knew that the city came every Thursday to pick up stuff like that so I just left the mattress, box spring and frame right there on the sidewalk. Where the strength to drag all of that stuff out of my house came from, I do not know.

That night I collapsed on my couch, exhausted from all of the day’s activities. I had taken a couple sedatives after the cops left and they were starting to kick in. The last thing I remember was smiling at the thought of my husband’s mistress wondering why he hadn’t called her that evening.

I was right, the city did pick the junk bed up the next day. As I watched them load it onto their truck, I saw a car pull into my driveway. Two men in suits stepped out and walked to my door. I opened it before they had a chance to knock.

“Mrs. Cardis?”, asked the taller of the two.

“Yes sir. Can I help you?”

“I hope so. We have some questions to ask you regarding your husband’s death.”

I invited the two officers into my house and then I led them into my living room. The tall one sat on my burgundy chair and the shorter one sat on my couch. He sat right on the spot where my husband sat while he watched television.

He watched a lot of television. He had no friends, no hobbies, no interests at all unless you count women that he worked with. It seems as though the man has “dated” at least one woman from every single job he has ever had.

There was one at Franklin Electronics but he dumped her as soon as I found out about that affair. He was dumb enough to give her our number and she called one evening after we had eaten dinner. There was another one at Sears but he didn’t dump her as quickly.

I had suspected something with that affair but as usual, I had no proof. Just a nagging suspicion that something was going on. I don’t even remember what made me so chary with that one. I do remember that I knew he was screwing someone at work and that there were only two possibilities, it had to be one of the two bimbos who worked the front desk at the Sears service department, either Lori or Ellen.

I did confront him about my feelings but without a tape of him actually boning the bitch, he wasn’t going to admit to one damned thing. I even found a phone number in his pocket but when I called it, a guy answered the phone. I sort of let it go for a while and tried to get the thoughts out of my mind.

One day he and I were sitting in the living room chatting when the phone rang. It was his boss calling from the service center 40 miles away. I looked at my husband talking on the phone when I had an epiphany. That service center had a different area code than we did. I didn’t have the thought for more than a second before my mouth opened and said, “Oh! I had the wrong area code!”

The sudden deep breathe he took as he continued talking to his boss told me that I was right. As soon as he hung up I dialed the phone number that I had found only this time I dialed a different area code first.

“Hello?” said an older woman.

“Can I speak to Ellen?” I had a 50/50 chance and I guessed the right one. Ellen came to the phone. I hung up and looked at my idiot husband as he mumbled something stupid about how Ellen’s father had some land for sale.

My husband never had two nickles to rub together from the day I met him to the day he left. We couldn’t afford a piece of land in the boonies. Especially one with no house on it. He actually expected me to believe that he had this chick’s number so that we could make a land investment.

But still, he denied any wrongdoing. There was no way in hell that he was going to admit to anything unless I had caught him red handed. I figured out that he only broke off the earlier affair because he had no idea what that one said to me on the phone. He had no idea what lie to make up. Also, by now I guess he figured that if I stayed for one I would probably stay for another.

We bickered for a while and then things went back to “normal”. I didn’t discuss it and he didn’t ever buy any land.

One night he was being particularly nasty to me for no reason. He went to bed in an attempt to avoid explaining his behavior with me and quickly fell asleep. As soon as he did, I started looking for evidence. I had no idea what I was looking for but I’d know it when I saw it. I knew that there could be no other reason than an affair for his spiteful treatment of me. I picked up his keys and went out to the driveway where his work van was parked. I opened the door and found exactly what I was looking for.

He couldn’t lie away a love letter and that’s exactly what I found. The idiot didn’t even try to hide the stupid thing. He left it sitting right on top of the console.

I took the letter and walked into the house, down the hallway and into our bedroom. I turned on the light. Half asleep and still acting like a pompous ass, he shouted, “Turn off that goddamned light!”

“Uh…no. If I did you wouldn’t be able to read your whore’s little love letter that I found in the van.”

That got his attention.

He tried playing stupid and when he did, I actually argued with him. When he said that nothing was going on between the two of them, I repeated what was written in the letter. He denied it and I said, “Here, look at what she wrote!”

He took the letter and I never saw it again. His story was that he had driven 40 miles to “say Good-bye” to Ellen and she gave him the letter. Doesn’t every married man break up with his mistress in person? He admitted to “hugging her” and of course SHE touched HIS dick. He was sucking her face at the time, but it was Ellen who did the real sex stuff, my husband just sat back and let her.

My relationship with another guy saved my marriage after that affair. There was nothing but friendship between the two of us but I knew that the guy wanted me. He worked with my husband and he knew about the affair. He certainly felt no loyalty to my husband but like an idiot, I did. And the thought of competition drove my husband right back to me.

You know, there are two things that I can point to if asked, “What are the two biggest mistakes that you’ve ever made in your entire life?” The first one is that I broke up with a guy named Mike to marry my husband. The second is that I chose my husband over the guy who wanted me during his affair with Ellen.

Do you have any idea what it does to a woman to have to deal with a cheating husband? I let it happen, I take responsibility for that. But accountability isn’t my point. My point is that ever since I felt the need to fight for my marriage, I haven’t accomplished a damned thing of any import. How could I?

Being married to a cheating man is like the Viet Nam War. First of all, the cause isn‘t worth the effort. Secondly, the enemy doesn’t play by the normal rules. A cheater will suck every resource that you have and then leave you when you’re depleted of any reserve that you might have had. And as they leave, they complain that you’re too much of a burden to carry anymore.

It’s not as though I didn’t want to accomplish things. And as a single mother of three kids, I did. I went to college and graduated with honors. I could have done anything I wanted to do. If I wanted to be President, I would have at least become a Senator in the effort. Of that, I have no doubt. But my desires were always simple, all I ever wanted was a partner for life. Just someone who would always be there, no matter what else happened. I just wanted a husband. The way I was raised, that wasn’t out of the question. I never wanted to be alone and that’s what I was faced with if I let my husband leave me.

And that’s why I had two police officers sitting on my couch. I had no reason to think that they suspected me except for the fact that I was the spouse. I decided to play it pleasant.

I offered them a cup of coffee they refused it. They immediately began treating me like a suspect and I immediately asked them to arrest me or leave. I’ve watched enough Greta Van Sustern to know that I needed to shut up and “lawyer up”.

I inhaled a breathe of guilt like the one that “the deceased” had breathed when I picked up on Ellen’s area code. As I held out my arm indicating that the door was to my right, I wondered if the cops had noticed the rise and fall of my chest. I dismissed that thought as irrelevant and watched quietly as two officers in cheap suits walked out my front door.

Although retired and living in Florida, my father is an attorney so I called him immediately. He listened quietly as I told him the basics, my husband is dead and the cops seemed to be pointing the finger at me. I waited for him to ask me if I had bumped off the fool but he never did. Later I learned that in this country, only the husband/wife relationship is protected to the extent that one spouse does not have to testify against the other. The parent/child relationship has no such protection. I think I learned that from Greta as well.

Anyway, my father said that at this point, I should just keep doing what I was doing. Nothing. I should just keep my mouth shut and he would make a few calls to see if he could find me an attorney. Neither one of us knew then that we needn’t have bothered. I put the phone down and sat on my recliner. I thought to myself, “Dad will fix this.” I knew it was foolish the moment that it crossed my mind.

I love my father but he hasn’t always “fixed” things. Sometimes, as any other parent does, he did more harm than good. I know that he has always done what he thought was best and that he did what he did out of his love for his children. But his ideas were somewhat outmoded by the 70’s. His attitude toward women was still the same as it was when he was 25. But it was a time of massive social upheaval and not all parents of the day were equipped to prepare young people for the transforming roles that they would be expected to play.

I think it was the end of my sophomore year of high school when I approached my father about college. At school they were telling us to start making plans and many of my friends were doing just that. So, when I asked my father what the plan for me was, his answer flabbergasted me.
“I have three sons to put through school. If I used the money on you, it would be wasted when you end up pregnant.”

Pregnant? I was a virgin. I didn’t even have a boyfriend. I was suffering from a hideous case of unrequited love but that wouldn’t get me pregnant.

You know, there are two comments that my father made to me that I remember to this day. I remember them word for word and I find them both just as perplexing today as I did the day he made them. One of them was the comment that I just told you about and the other was the one he made when I tried to get an education all by myself. It wouldn’t have cost him a dime. He wouldn’t have had to lift a finger. As a matter of fact, the best thing that he could have done at that point was shut up and do nothing. Oh, how I wish he had.

I graduated from high school in 1976. It was a great year. The Bicentennial was a year-long party and with my high school graduation, it was a busy year. And on January 1rst of that year, the Army created a plan that allowed you to enlist 6 months before you had to show up. I was interested.

Even as a child my parents didn’t know where I was most of the time so as a 17 year old, they certainly didn’t ask any questions when I left for hours at a time. I spoke to a recruiter and he began taking me to all of the tests and physicals that were required. Like a fool I answered “Yes.” to a question on a physical that I could have just as easily said “No.” to. No one would have ever known. But I told them that I had hay fever and that bought me a battery of pulmonary tests at Great Lakes Naval Hospital.

Then I was sent to a classroom filled with recruits, mostly men. The women were glaringly outnumbered. When a nurse put a box of syringes on my desk, I thought I was supposed to take one and pass the rest down the row. But they were all for me. Then and now, needles have always been one of my biggest fears. They rank right up there with spiders and cheating husbands. I didn’t know if I could handle those needles. There were so many that I couldn’t easily count them.

The nurse knelt down next to me and started sticking those needles in my arm one at a time. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t say, “OUCH!” and I couldn’t refuse. I was going to be a soldier. I was surrounded by men who didn’t think women should have been there in the first place. The worst thing that I could do was back out so I sat at that desk while needle after needle went into my left arm. Then, the needle monster went to my right arm and began again. I stared straight ahead in stunned shock until it was over. I was sure that I was pale. But eventually, it did stop. I felt like I would melt at the desk from weakness. I took a few breathes and recovered from the trauma I had just been through. I would rather get shot in the arm with a bullet than a hypodermic needle.

For being such a “trouper”, the recruiter took me to on a tour of the naval base. On the way back to the office, he said, “There’s only one thing left and you’ll be in the United States Army.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“Your signature! The papers are at the office, you can sign them before you leave.”

I thought about my parents. For some stupid reason, I thought that I had to talk to them before I signed papers as important as the papers waiting for me back at the office.

“Let me tell my parents before I do that. They don’t know anything about this yet.” I think that surprised him.

That’s probably the only argument that the recruiter couldn’t counter. He didn’t even try.

When he dropped me off near my car I assured him that I would be back as soon as I apprised my parents of the situation. Surely they wouldn’t have a problem with my plan. After all, my father served in the 101rst Airborne Division and he always seemed rather proud of that. Of course, he was a man.

My father was the only person home when I walked in the door and actually, he was the one that I feared would have been angry had I signed those papers without discussing it with him first. So, if I told him that moment, I could get back to the recruiter’s office before it closed. He could tell Mom.

He was in the living room reading the newspaper when I walked in the house. He barely looked up from the paper as I told him what I had done and what I had planned on doing. I finished my pitch with, “And that way I can go to college. If I leave right now I can make it before the office closes.”

His composed comeback rocked my world and influenced the direction of my life in ways that I wouldn’t fully comprehend for another 10 years:

“If I thought that a daughter of mine had nothing better to do with her life than to go into the Army, I would be sorely disappointed.”

I was rather disappointed myself.

That was early February. By the end of March my virginity was a distant memory.

While I waited for my father to call me back with a plan…any plan, I wondered why the cops would have treated me the way that they did. Although I knew that this would be a coroner’s case, I didn’t think that the coroner arbitrarily checked for antifreeze. But I really didn’t know.

Then it occurred to me that the cops wouldn’t have had enough time to get any results back so certainly they didn’t know about the antifreeze yet. They couldn’t possibly have known that quickly.

So why did they treat me like that? There couldn’t have been any evidence, I didn’t leave any. Or did I? Was it a hunch? No, if it had been a hunch they still would have been friendly. At least they would have started off friendly.

There was something that I didn’t know. I pretty much figured that out. I just couldn’t figure out what it could possibly have been. That bugged me and it was a tad frightening but I had already decided that the worst case scenario was prison and although I would try to avoid it, it was a price that I was willing to pay.

I sat in my recliner and worried about what the cops had. If it wasn’t evidence or a hunch, it had to be a person. Someone said something to the cops. That had to be it.

When my husband had the affair at Sears, everyone knew about it before I did. I was literally the last person to know. Once the affair was out in the open, his co-workers would approach me and say, “I knew that it had to be something like that! You wouldn’t believe the things we heard him saying on the telephone!”

Why didn’t they tell me when they first figured it out? If they all “knew it had to be something like that”, why didn’t anybody ever give me the first heads up? Even the guy with the crush on me never told me until I figured it out by myself.

It occurred to me that I was probably not the only person to know about THIS affair. And of course, there was the whore herself to consider. I had no idea what stories she was told when the two of them tried to justify their own actions by demonizing me. In a perfect world, she would have been arrested for the murder instead of me. Then she would go away for a long, long time because a jury isn’t going to like an murdering adulteress. They were much more likely to be rather sympathetic to my cause.

Those are the types of things that I thought about as I waited for my phone to ring with the name of a good defense attorney. Then, all of a sudden, I noticed the silence and it was actually deafening for a split second. Time seemed to bend for a moment and that split second seemed to last forever but the ring of the telephone snapped me back.

I grabbed the phone from the table next to my recliner, “Hello?”

A male voice queried, “Jean Cardis?”

Thinking it was someone that my father had referred to me I said, “Speaking.”

“Mrs. Cardis, how do you feel about the accusations being levied against you by your husband’s mistress?”

Ah. That’s why the cops acted like they did. What a bitch. How did she find out he was dead? He hadn’t been gone for 24 hours yet.

I have no idea how she found out that he wasn’t coming back anytime soon. That SOB had so many secrets from me that to this day they still pop up every so often. Just a few weeks ago I found two pair of ugly ass underpants that obviously belonged to a fat chick. And his last bimbo was certainly one of those.

Looking back and considering how the trial went, I sometimes think that instead of using antifreeze, I should have gotten a gun and shot him in the head. I could have made him admit to everything he had ever done. Can you imagine how good that would have felt? Every time he told a lie I could have pumped a bullet into a different part of his legs until I made it up to his offending body parts.

Oh well, it’s too late for regrets. I chose antifreeze. If that nut Lynn Turner hadn’t just killed a second innocent man with antifreeze, I doubt they even would have checked for it. As a matter of fact, I know they wouldn’t have. It was mentioned at trial. At that moment my problem was the media. They assumed that I knew that my husband had a mistress. I decided to play stupid.

As I said before, in a perfect world, that bitch would have been convicted of killing the fool herself. And, if I had gone to the cops first and pointed the finger at her, she might have been the one on the defensive. But, that would have been stupid of me. I watched enough Cops and American Justice to know that most people screw themselves. If every single person clammed up and refused to talk to the cops, very few crimes would be prosecuted successfully. Actually, there was as much evidence against her than there was against me. I had nothing to worry about but her and her stupid mouth.

After a moment of silence, I answered the idiot on the phone.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He started to ask another question but I hung up the phone and pulled the cord out of the wall. I needed a minute to figure out how to handle the many phone calls which were bound to come in as soon as I plugged that phone back in. If one reporter could get my number, they all could.

I hadn’t planned for that particular contingency. I hadn’t planned for a few things. I never even gave the funeral a thought. But now I had to throw one together quickly. When we were in Scotland, my husband told me that he wanted to be cremated and then tossed in the River Tweed. But that was a long time ago.

I didn’t think that I wanted to honor his wishes at that point so I didn’t make any plans to go to Scotland but I did want to burn his ass. Of course, I didn’t know if that would be feasible if the coroner was going to be holding onto the body as evidence. I figured that one way or another, they would release it relatively quickly, perhaps within a week. So, I did have a few days to consider that. I sort of wished that his family would deal with all of that crap. After all, they liked him. But I was his wife and it was my job.

So, I made plans for a nice, tasteful little memorial service although I didn’t know who would be coming. He had no friends that I knew of. Of course, there were a LOT of things that I didn’t know about my husband.

At one point it occurred to me that his family had to be told. There was no love lost between me and them in the first place. Add to that the fact that the week my surgery was planned, he suddenly and unexpectedly had to go visit his mother on the other side of the continent. I was sure that there was much more involved with that little trip than he ever let on to me. I was having surgery and he was going on vacation. My guess is the timing had something to do with his whore.

I was sure of that when I dropped him off at the airport. He acted as though his whore was quite close and he didn’t want her to see him kissing me good-bye. I don’t know exactly how, but I know that his family was in on scamming me that week one way or another. None of them were known for being honest. I have to say, that dead bastard came by his dishonesty honestly.

As I sat there wondering whether or not I should call them, it occurred to me that the whore had probably already done that. I certainly didn’t owe his family anything, I had reason to dislike them that had nothing to do with their most recent collusion. There was no reason to change the way I acted now that I had offed their son and brother.

I smiled as I crossed one more annoying little chore off of my list when the unmistakable sound of police banging on my door boomed through my house. They shouted a few things but the first words I remember hearing were “search warrant” so I stood up and walked the 7 feet over to my front door and opened it. There were 3 of them at the front door and 3 more at the back door. I had 6 cops in my house at one point. I so didn’t care.

I sat on my couch and thought about it for a minute, what could they find that could possibly hurt me? Nothing. If there was anything, I didn’t know what it could be. Detective Heinrich asked me if there was an attic or a basement in the house. He was one of the cops who had treated me poorly earlier. I was glad he was there, he gave me a reason not to speak to ANYONE. I pointed out the attic and then I lead him out the back door and pointed to the entrance of the crawlspace.

I walked back in the house, poured myself some iced tea and sat down at my kitchen table because now they were tearing my living room apart. I watched them as they did, thinking to myself about how I was too sick to do my spring cleaning that year. Between me being sick, the affair and the hideous way my husband treated me, I couldn’t accomplish much. I sat at that table sipping my tea as I remembered the time he whipped his keys at my head. He said it was an accident and I wanted to believe him, so I let that go. I also let it go when he punched our bed with me in it.

All he said that time was, “Oh, sorry, I thought THAT was your leg!” It was always an accident. Anyway, now I felt well enough to clean the house.

I came back to reality when a few cops started dumping things out of my kitchen drawers. I recognized one of the cops. He had come to the house during the one and only altercation that ever made me look bad.

My husband and I had been arguing. It wasn’t about an affair (not that I knew about anyway). It was about a lie he told me. That man would lie about anything. I lived the last year of my life not knowing if ANYTHING he told me was true. The lying itself caused me so much anxiety that I ended up taking Xanax to get rid of the dreadful feeling in the pit of my gut that would never go away.

That particular lie had something to do with a Christmas party at his job that he lied to me about. He didn’t want me to know about it so he told some stupid lie and then hoped that I wouldn’t call while he was out drinking with the office staff. Like most liars, as soon as I confronted him with knowledge of his lie, he immediately turned it around on me and became violently angry. He didn’t have to actually be violent TO me…he was quite aware that I was terrified of an angry man. He blew up at me for something stupid and that effectively shut me up.

What he did next was totally unnecessary.

He marched into our bedroom and picked up a little statue that my grandmother had left me and he threw it at the wall, shattering it into a million pieces. He was always man enough to break stuff, but never man enough to be honest in the first place. When I saw the pieces of my grandmother’s statue fall on the carpet, I decided to calmly reciprocate. I walked into the spare room and picked up a truck that his grandfather had made him when he was a little boy. I took it outside and tried to smash it on the trunk of his car. It was rather smart, I was damaging two things he cared about.

I didn’t call the police that time and I never did find out who did. I just assumed it was a neighbor and forgot about it.

So, that’s what I was doing when the cop who was looking under my kitchen sink first came to my house. I was sure he remembered me even before we made eye contact. I had forgotten his name but I would learn soon that it was Mike Osborn. I watched him as he reached into the corner that hid the anti-freeze just two days before.

That made me think of the anti-freeze jug and I glanced out my kitchen window. I noticed that the police were taking each and every single jug out of my crawlspace. It didn’t concern me, they wouldn’t find any of my fingerprints on them. But it did snap me back to my “planning” mode. I was a criminal now and I had to act like one.

I wondered what an innocent person would do in this situation. I asked Detective Heinrich how much longer the search would go on.

The smart ass responded, “Until we find what we’re looking for.” That reminded me that search warrants had to be somewhat specific. They can’t just let the cops go fishing in your house. I asked him if I could see the search warrant. It took a couple tries but I finally got an answer.

“I don’t have it on me, somebody else does.” He didn’t know who had it. Mike Osborn was still in my kitchen and he had heard me questioning the detective. He said, “Come over here Mrs. Cardis.” I walked around my kitchen counter and looked down at the pile of stuff on my kitchen floor.

As I looked down I heard Mike say, “You stay right here, I’ll get it for you.” I didn’t really answer him at all because I had noticed something sitting off to the side of the main pile of junk. It wasn’t mine.

It was a bottle of foundation for a very dark skinned woman. I was about as white as a white woman could be and there was a bottle of dark foundation sitting on my kitchen floor. I remembered the compact that I had found in our car that my husband said had to have been my sister’s. Neither of my sisters are dark enough to use the colors in the compact either. As I looked down at the foundation, I realized that he had lied about the compact.

And it wasn’t just that the nit wit lied, he made me look stupid while he was doing it. He went out of his way to make me feel guilty for even bringing it up. I thought about all the times that I would be suspicious after he would lie to me only to hear him tell me that I had “trust issues” and that I was becoming “paranoid”. Lately he had been blaming it on my cancer. More than once he told me that, “I don’t know what it is about cancer but it’s making you delusional.” It was one such comment that prompted me to tell my doctor about my “paranoia”. He said that there was nothing about parathyroid cancer that would make a person paranoid and he gave me a prescription for Prozac.

The make-up obviously meant nothing to the cops, they left it there on the floor. Mike handed me the search warrant and that’s how I learned that this was all a result of the whore’s testimony. Some bimbo that I had never met but who was screwing my husband was trying to mess ME up and that wasn’t going to happen.

After taking in what the warrant said, I asked Mike who Saundra Glenn was. He asked, “Don’t you know?”

“No sir, I’ve never heard of her.”

“She’s your husband’s girlfriend.” I stared into his eyes for a moment and then I told him that I had to go take a pill. He followed me into my bedroom and watched as I grabbed my purse from behind the dresser. I reached in and pulled out a prescription bottle. It had my Xanax in it. I opened it and poured one into my hand. I reached into my bathroom for a cup of water and when I turned back, that cop was searching my purse.

“Better me than anyone else. They’d take all of your medicine” OK then, I thought to myself. I’ll let the man search my purse. All of my medicine was in my purse. The anti-depressants, the sedatives, the mood elevators, all of it. He seemed to know what most of the medicines were but he didn’t know fluoxetine. He asked me what it was and I answered him, “It’s generic Prozac.”

He looked at me and smiled. “Are you SURE you didn’t kill your husband?” He said it in a joking manner and I responded with a small chuckle. That very moment I saw an officer pull two pairs of panties out from the back of the closet that I shared with the sonofabitch. That bastard had hidden some whore’s panties in OUR closet. I knew they weren’t mine because one pair was black and one was red. I never wear red or black to bed, too slutty. But exactly what you’d expect to find on a trailer dwelling, husband stealing whore like Saundra Glenn. Now I had a name to put to all of my thoughts.

Mike mistook my reaction for sadness and he led me out of my room and out the front door of my house. It occurred to me that he could be playing nice cop…after all, cops can be mighty crafty little suckers. But it didn’t matter to me, I enjoyed his company, especially under the circumstances. I wasn’t the least bit worried about the search going on in my house, I knew they wouldn’t find anything.

Right then Mike said, “Well, we’ve never been formally introduced so I wanted to say hello, my name is Mike Osborn.” I said that “It was nice to meet you.” and left it at that. I was sure he already knew my name.

Mike was tall and thin but well proportioned. He was rather handsome once I took a good look a him. He had an easy smile and an honest nature about him. If he was playing me, he was doing it well. Not that it would do him any good, but he was gaining my trust…such as it was to give at that moment.

It was late afternoon by the time the police started walking out with bags and bags of potential evidence. I watched them load their vans from one of the two chairs on my front porch. I thought to myself that whatever they had wasn’t nearly as telling as some of the things they tossed aside. If anyone had recognized that stuff for what it was, it all would have been evidence of a motive.

As the last uniformed cop walked out of my house, Mike shook my hand, apologized for the entire situation and then he sauntered over to his cruiser and drove away. I started to walk into my house when Detective Heinrich was about to walk out. I didn’t know there were anymore people in my house.

He sort of stopped and blocked my way to ask me if I “would mind answering a few questions?”

“Oh…yes…I would. Now get the hell out of my house.”

“We could just bring you in for questioning.” What makes cops think that if a person won’t talk to them outside of the police department that they would speak to them inside the stupid place?

“Do what you have to do.” That was my answer to him and then I looked at him and with my head, I motioned to him to move out of my way. I could tell he was annoyed. I turned around and waited for him to walk out the door and then I slammed it.

I made a few more phone calls that had to be made. It was time to tell my children. Their step-father was as dead as he could be and I have no idea how he died. I was right, the whore called my in laws. The in laws began calling me as soon as I plugged the phone back in to call my kids. I answered the first call but his mother was shouting something at me, obviously as drunk as usual. I hung up on her and that was my reason for not speaking to any of his other family members. He didn’t have much in the way of family, just a mother, a step father, a half sister and her family. Oh, he had two kids as well. I called my youngest stepson’s wife and told her to tell the boys that Pop was dead. All of the family members lived out of state so I figured this might be the last quiet night I would have in a while. I had no idea how right I was.

I started cleaning up the mess left by the police. It took me hours but I finished that night. I didn’t know what the whore had touched so I started throwing just about everything away. As I bagged up my despicable husband’s belongings, I found more evidence of his dishonesty than I ever wanted to find. It was pretty hard to believe, after all, I had searched the house quite a few times myself over the past year and I never found anything except that compact in the car. He was obviously quite secure in his ability to convince me that I should believe him and not my lying eyes.

I found receipts from restaurants that I never went to, more sex lotion, a tie in a gift box that I never saw before and a vibrator. Like the tie, I never saw the vibrator before either. I thought of the time I asked him to make love to me only to hear, “Making love to you isn’t as intense as it used to be.”

I guess not. He never bought me sex toys or lingerie. I thought about how painful this would all be if I hadn’t fed the bastard anti-freeze chili. I couldn’t be too angry, after all, I did get him pretty good. But I was still quite hurt. At about 2 AM, I finally fell asleep on my couch, wishing the next 24 hours were already over.

When I woke up the next morning, I turned on the television to find out that I was the story du jour. The press didn’t quite indict me outright, but they certainly did compare me to Lynn Turner, the women who had gotten greedy and killed two men for their insurance money. She had gotten away with the first murder but the second one was one murder too many. She had been convicted of her second anti-freeze murder that past March.

I was convinced that her notoriety was the reason that I was being scrutinized. When the whore spoke to the police, she told them that my husband told her that I would kill him with poison. I doubted that was true but it didn’t really matter. According to the news, the medical examiner checked his kidneys for calcium oxalate crystals, a sure sign of ethylene glycol poisoning. He found it. I decided to take an extra Xanax that morning because I was sure that I was going to need it.

Then, just to be on the safe side, I laid about 50 Xanax in the middle of a piece of tape, all in one long line. Then, I put the tape on my right leg. I did the same thing with my pain medicine only I taped it to my left leg. I would be quite glad that I had done that before long.

I dressed myself for my husband’s memorial service with as much care as I dressed him in his casket. We both wore blue jeans and a t-shirt. I buried him in the t-shirt that I made for him years ago. On the front it said, “Mark and Annie: Forever and ever Amen.”

There was a picture of us on the back but the whore wouldn’t have to see that, the front was good enough. I just assumed that she would show up at the service and I was right. She walked in with his family.

I think that I could have lost it right then and I probably would have if Mike hadn’t been right behind the whore and the family. He walked over to me and asked if there was anything that he could do for me. I took his hand and asked him to walk up to the casket with me. None of my family had gotten there yet so Mike was actually the closest thing I had to support at that moment so I took advantage of him.

My knees shook a bit as I walked up to look at that asshole one last time. I stared down into his casket and it was as though our entire relationship flashed in front of my eyes. I thought of the first time I met him. I thought of so many things, good and bad. I thought about how we made love every single night for the first 7 years of our marriage and how he wouldn’t make love to me at all for the past year until he got sick of listening to me whine about needing to feel him close to me. He’d do me just to shut me up. That thought confirmed that I had done the right thing. I didn’t care what happened to me from then on. He got what he deserved and there isn’t a thing anyone can say to convince me otherwise.

I looked at his mouth and I could see where the undertaker had sewn his lips together. He would never most certainly never lie again. I noticed a pink rose lying next to him and I knew exactly how it had gotten there. Just to be sure, I asked the guy in the dark suit and he confirmed that the “heavy set black lady” had visited an hour before anyone was supposed to be there. She was so persistent that they let her in. I could have been angry but I decided not to be. I just took the rose out of the casket and pulled the petals out of it. Then, I tossed the stem and the petals all in the trash can by the door. I did it rather dramatically and with a smirk to the whore. The smirk was meant to tell her, “Yes, you stupid slut, I absolutely DID kill the bastard.” I am 100% positive that she got my message.

The tacky bitch must have thought that I was upset because of what she had done with the rose. That wasn’t it at all. I seriously doubted that she knew anything about what really made me angry when I found the rose.

The week before I croaked the SOB was our anniversary. He brought me roses. I was looking at them when it occurred to me that there were 4 different colors of roses, and three of each color. But there were only two pink roses. I knew in a heartbeat what had happened, he gave the whore one of my anniversary roses.

If there was any doubt, he wiped it away when I pointed it out to him. “Hey, there’s only 11 roses in that vase.”

“You know, I thought it looked a little skimpy for a dozen roses.”

That fool had never seen a dozen roses in his life. He was so stupid that he didn’t even realize how his answer gave him away. I sure as hell wouldn’t be making that sort of mistake.

I sat down and Mike sat next to me. My kids walked in together at the same time. They all came up and hugged me as though my husband had just died a tragic death instead of the jocular death that it was. The preacher dude walked up to the podium and said a few words that you usually associate with a funeral. When he said the 23rd Psalm, my mother-in-law started crying. I wondered if she was drunk yet.

After the service was over, my kids wanted to come back to my house with me but Mike tried to talk us out of it. When I put up an argument, he gave in easily and we all drove over to my house which was only round the corner. Mike had insisted on driving me home so I went with him. On the way, he told me that I was most likely going to be arrested for murder later on that day.

I decided that Mike wasn’t playing the “good cop”, he was playing a good friend. I didn’t know why, but I certainly appreciated it.

When I got home I went into the living room and waited for all of my children to show up. A few other people were walking into my house but I needed to speak to my kids. Suddenly I noticed my sister. I didn’t know where she came from. I grabbed her by the arm and quickly told her what Mike told me. I asked her to keep everyone away from me and my kids so that I could tell them what was going on. Everything was happening pretty quickly and I had no idea when the cops would come for me or if they’d let me turn myself in as I promised Mike I would do.

I hate having things out of my control so I asked Mike if he would go to the store to pick up a prescription for me. He was happy to go and my sister was happy to give me the keys to her car. I wanted to be in control of when I went to jail.

She distracted the handful of people who were gathered in my kitchen and I told my kids to follow me without asking any questions. The car was parked around the corner and no one saw us walking out of the house. I loaded the kids into the car and started driving. I went west because there was nothing that way at all. I figured the cops would look for me in the other direction if they decided to look for me at all. I pulled into a Waffle House and parked my sister’s car around back. I took the kids in and we all sat down at a booth.

They were all confused but too stunned to ask any questions. I don’t think they even knew what questions to ask.

“You kids know how much I love you, right?”

All three of them answered at the same time, “Yes Mom.”

My daughter was the first one to ask a question. “What’s going on? Why did we sneak away in Aunt Marie’s car?”

“Because I wanted to tell you kids something and I wanted to do it alone. It appears as though I’m going to be arrested for murder later on today.” My daughter and my oldest son both started crying and I said, “Oh my God! It’s nothing to get so upset over! I’m innocent, they can’t send an innocent person to jail for murder!” I was trying not to draw any attention to us but it didn’t seem to be working very well at all. There was a waitress missing a few teeth standing by the register staring at me. I didn’t know what was going through her mind but I decided not to take any chances and just leave. I tossed a ten dollar bill on the table to pay for the coffee we ordered but never drank.

Then, we all got into the car and I turned to go back east when I pulled out of the Waffle House parking lot. I only went east for about a half a mile, then I turned left and headed west again, ending up on the same road that I had started out on. I passed one entrance to The Kennesaw Battlefield and pulled into a parking area so that I could have a chance to spend a bit of time with my kids before I turned myself in.

At about the same time, Mike was driving around looking for me. He was probably a tad angry about being sent on a wild goose chase for a prescription that didn’t exist. If he knew me better, he wouldn’t have worried, he would have known that I would be coming back by myself. I said I would and I meant it. I could see him standing on the sidewalk and I decided to turn myself in to him. I felt good about that.

By the time I pulled up to my house, there were a couple of police cars parked at the end of my driveway. I parked my sister’s car about a block away and I started walking toward the mob of cops that were outside of my house. I stopped, hugged my kids once more and walked toward Mike with my wrists together so that he could handcuff me.

He said, “No, behind your back.” I obliged and put my arms behind my back. He slapped the cuffs on me and I looked at my kids before I got in the police car and smiled at them. They smiled back at me and then I plopped myself down on what turned out to be a very hard back seat. I didn’t expect that at all. You just assume a back seat will be cushioned. Well, police car back seats aren’t. But, police handcuffs are easy to get out of. I slipped my left hand out of the handcuff and brought both of my hands in front of me. The seat was still hard but at least I wasn’t sitting on my hands anymore.

Detective Heinrich opened the door closest to me and said those words that you hear on TV so often, “You’re under arrest…you have the right to remain silent…” That’s all I needed to hear because that’s exactly what I planned on doing…remaining silent.

When he was done reading me my rights, he shut the door and walked away. Heinrich never noticed my hands folded neatly in my lap with the handcuff lying off to the side of my leg. I laughed out loud and I was just about to SAY what I was thinking when it occurred to me that there could be a camera or something recording me. So to myself I thought, “That is one dumb detective.” I hoped that the rest of them were as stupid as this guy was although I pretty much doubted that they would be.On the way to the jail, I reached up my pants leg to get a couple of pain pills and a Xanax. I was actually able to swallow them dry but I had a horrible burning down my throat. I couldn’t wait to get to jail because I was in serious need of a swig of water.As we turned into the jail parking lot, I noticed the minor media frenzy that seemed to be taking place.I asked the cop if “that was all for me” and he answered me, “Yep. It’s ALLLLLL for you.” Then I told him that I was scared and that I needed some cold water.I couldn’t just ask him for cold water, when you want something from a man you have to admit to some sort of weakness or vulnerability. I chose to use “fear” as my weakness. It seemed to fit the situation well.He said that he would get me a drink and then he pulled up to the “drop off” area. With the car still running, he got out and walked around to a door that seemed to lead to the guy behind the window to my right. He came right out with a paper cup full of water. He opened the door and immediately went to unlock the cuffs. By the time he absorbed what he was seeing, I had the cup in my hand. I poured it down my throat in one long gulp and then I crushed the cup and aimed for the trash can off to the side. I made the shot.”2 points”, I said out loud to no one in particular.“What happened here?” asked the big burly bald cop dressed in a black uniform.”I slipped it off of my left hand. It’s OK, I’ll put it back on.” So, I did. I grabbed the other ring of the handcuffs and then I slipped it back on. Next I asked, “OK, now what?” He shook his head and lead me through some doors that were operated by someone other than the people walking in.

I glanced at his chest and saw his name…K. O’Brien. We stopped long enough for Officer O’Brien to sign some paperwork and chat with some lady who seemed to be in some form of authority. I thought that seeing an Irish cop was a good sign.

I think that’s the moment that it all sunk in. I thought to myself, “This is jail, it doesn’t get any worse than this and I can handle this.” At the time I didn’t notice it but that’s the first time I became insanely happy with the way I was handling everything. This was cool, it was all good. I was so happy that the happiness seemed to give me an energy that I hadn’t possessed since childhood. That feeling was another good sign. What a drastic change from years of fear!

I used to pray, “God, please just make it stop hurting, that’s all, make the bed stuff stop.” I never dared pray for the happiness that I felt as I was lead into a holding cell with an orange jumpsuit lying on a cement bench. The authority lady watched me as I changed into the jumpsuit. She was chatting with some lady behind bulletproof glass. She would really have had to be paying attention to her job to have noticed the tape on either side of my legs. I had prepared myself quite well.

When I walked out, she asked me to show her the bottom of my feet. Whatever.

She directed me to another room exactly like the one I had changed clothes in. I walked in, sat on the cement bench and then I stretched out. The pills that I took in the police car were definitely kicking in.I didn’t get to fall asleep because I still had to be “booked”. They had to fingerprint me and take my picture and do whatever they have to do. I got a bracelet sort of like a hospital bracelet only it had a picture of me on it.

The guy who “processed” me couldn’t have been 5′ 5″ tall. I towered over him. But, like most cops down in these here parts, he pumped iron to give his short self some huge muscles. I still felt as though I could hold his forehead out with my palm while he swung at me and he would never land a punch. He was just so tiny. I don’t know if it went with his small stature or if he sense my confidence, but he behaved like anything but an alpha male. He was almost submissive. Poor little guy.

When the little guy was done with me, I sat there, chained to a metal bench. I was sitting there when Mike walked in.Without thinking I shouted, “Hi Mike! I thought you’d never get here!”

We got a few strange looks. Mike walked straight to the lady behind the bulletproof glass who seemed to tell him something but I couldn’t hear what it was. When he came back, he looked at me and apologized as he led me back to the room with the cement bench. That was the third good thing in a row. I sure the HELL did the right thing!”

Why would you apologize? I’m fine! I wish SOMEONE would believe me.”

“How can you be so fine?” he asked me with a truly puzzled look on his face. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Because I’m innocent. Duh.”

I couldn’t read his reaction but I didn’t really care. As I was going back to my cement bench, I noticed a telephone that I hadn’t noticed before. I asked if I could use that. It turned out that the phone in that room was the last free phone that I would have access to for a while.

I assured Mike that I was fine and eventually he left. I walked over to the phone and called my father. I got his machine so I left a message on it asking him if he had found an attorney yet. In the meantime it didn’t really matter, I wasn’t going to speak to anyone with or without an attorney.

I couldn’t think of anyone else to call right then. I wanted to call my kids but I also wanted them to have a little bit of time to let things sink in. And, I was so tired. I stretched out on the cement bench again.

That time I did fall asleep. And when I woke up, I wished I hadn’t. There were 4 more women in that holding cell and not one of them spoke English. I had no idea why they were there but I could see that one of them was seriously drunk or high on something, I couldn’t tell. They were all pretty freaky looking and they just never, EVER shut up!

Luckily, some deputy chick came and got me before I had to take another pill. She took me to “population”. I was official.The cells were actually dormitory style. They were all in a circle and the circle had pie shaped wedges cut out for each pod. There were about 50 people in each pod. There was a guard in the middle of the circle who controlled the doors. I walked in ahead of the deputy chick and another deputy chick opened a “pod” door for me. I said goodbye to one lady and hello to the other. Then, I walked in and found myself a cot closest to the guards. There as no special reason, it was just the first empty cot that I came to and I wanted to go back to sleep.

I heard my name called from behind me so I turned around. There was a guard passing linens through the door to me. A woman who looked like Anna Nicole Smith walked up and took the linens. I didn’t know what to think of that. Was she going to steal my linens with a guard right there?

Nope. She walked toward me and said, “C’mon, let’s go get your house ready.”I stood by and watch as 3 other prisoners made my cot up for me. It didn’t take long before I realized why…I had become quite famous over the past couple of days and I was so preoccupied that I never really noticed the extent of my infamy.

Anna Nicole asked me a few questions but it was obvious that my answers were the same for everyone, I didn’t do a thing. I was out in the yard gardening and when I went back into the house, the asshole was blue. At this point I could call him an asshole, remember, I just found out about his affair.

Anyway, I decided to take control of the conversation. I asked Anna a bit about herself. She explained that she was awaiting trial for armed robbery and aggravated assault upon a police officer. The person she armed robbed was a guy who she had met one night and they ended up doing drugs together. They did all of her drugs because he promised to go to his ATM and get more cash for drugs when they ran out. Well, he lied. They were in his car and when she realized that he was “dicking her around” about the cash, she pulled out a knife and held it to his neck. Somehow, the cops ended up behind her and they jumped out of the car and took off in different directions. She thought that she had put the car in park but she had actually left it in gear. The cops took off chasing them and the car she was driving moved backwards and hit the squad car. That was the aggravated assault upon a police officer. At least that’s what she told me.

It was either talk about myself or ask the others to talk about themselves. I chose the latter. So, for the rest of the evening, I heard more stories than I can remember now.

Dinner was awful. The food was so disgusting that I couldn’t tell you what most of it was. It was some sort of meat by-product covered with some sort of congealed gel substance. There was also a salad but it was wilted from the heat of the “meal”. The only thing we had to drink was a small carton of some sort of fruit-aid stuff.

Finally the guards called lights out and I was able to lie down and enjoy some peace and quiet. The cot wasn’t comfortable at all and my back started to hurt so on one of my trips over to the rather public toilets, I reach down and grabbed another pain pill. That helped and I was able to sleep although in the morning I woke up with a dreadful backache.

After another trip to the bathroom, two more pain pills and a sedative, I sat down to eat breakfast. I looked down at a tray with a HUGE pile of cereal in it and one pint of milk. There was also some sort of sweet bread. At breakfast you also got your lunch, a bag full of of bread and something that resembled bologna.

The only thing that I wanted was the “blue pack”. The blue packs were like gold in that jail. They were instant coffee and it was at the top of every trade that was made at mealtimes. I drank by funky blue pack coffee just in time to be called out of the pod. Apparently, “someone” wanted to speak to me. No one knew any more than that.

Outside the pod area there was a room that had stairs in it leading up to visitor windows. I started walking up the stairs when I saw that it was Detective Heinrich. I started to go back down stairs but there as a guard behind me that didn’t seem to like that idea. I walked up the stairs and sat across from Heinrich.

“How are you doing in there?” he asked as if I was a terrified shrinking violet type. I just looked at him.”Things went a bit crazy there, didn’t they?”

Was that a question? I had no clue.

He started using therapeutic conversational techniques that I learned in college psychology class. Every so often you hear a cop say something to the effect of, “He thought that he could outsmart us but he didn’t know what he was up against.” Well, I know damn well I can outsmart the cops if they keep sending me this sort of moron.

It’s not as though I feel superior to these cops, it’s more like they’re underestimating me. They’re used to people who break down and confess or slip up on their story. I wouldn’t be doing either.

Heinrich was quiet for a moment and then he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “You and your husband have been having problems…” It was a bad attempt at an open-ended question. I could have answered yes or no and you never ask yes or no questions when you’re trying to get answers out of someone. It occurred to me that Heinrich was an idiot.

After he asked me a bunch of stupid questions about my husband and the day he died, I squared my shoulders and sat straight up. I spoke to him for the first time.

“Listen Detective, I have nothing to do and nowhere to go. I can sit here staring at my lap all day and if you want to entertain me while I do that, it’s fine with me. But, just to be nice, I’ll say this one time, I am not going to answer any of your questions. I’m still waiting for my attorney.”

I guess he believed me because he just straightened out some papers and walked away.

When I got back to the pod I walked straight to my cot. There were 4 blue packs on my pillow and my cot was all made nicely and neatly. I looked around and saw a few smiles. I still didn’t understand why these ladies were treating me so well. I really needed the caffeine right then so I took my cup, emptied the blue pack into it and then I went over to the sink to let the water run hot. That was the only way we could make coffee…instant powder in hot jail tap water.

I went back to my cot and sat down on the side of it. I was wondering why my father hadn’t gotten a lawyer for me yet. I wondered a lot of things since I hadn’t heard a word from him since he said he would try to find me an attorney. I had no way of knowing what was going through his mind at any given time.

He’s my father and I love him but he can be a prick. Once when I was in the emergency room after my second husband had given me a concussion, he showed up and I overheard my husband telling him that I was “messed up on drugs”. I wasn’t, I had a head injury.

My father asked the doctors to drug test me and I said that would be fine. Then, my father said to my husband, “If her urine is clean, I will never believe a word you say again.” Then he looked at me and said, “If your urine is dirty, I’ll never believe a word you say again.”

Well, my urine was clean and my father has never stopped listening to the lies that my ex has to tell about me. I’ve only seen that fool twice in 20 years, at graduations for our kids. But somehow he fancies himself an expert on me and my daily habits. Between him and his idiot drunken wife, they could have called my father and said anything…who knows? I could be waiting for an attorney that isn’t coming.

I decided that it didn’t matter. Things will work out, I’m sure. If Manson had an attorney, I would too. One way or another, it would be taken care of.

I looked up to see Anna Nicole and two other ladies standing in front of me. Anna spoke to me first.

“Is it true?”

“Is what true?”

“Did you really kill your husband because he was having an affair?”

I just had time to respond quickly before the guard called my name again. “I never knew that he was having an affair. I haven’t seen any proof of one either so I don’t even know if that’s true or not.” Anna looked baffled.

She still looked baffled as I walked over to the guard who was waiting for me at the door to the pod.

She led me back into the area where I spoke to Heinrich but this time there was no one in one of the upstairs windows…there were two men in suits standing outside of an office area. The guard sat me on a bench right near the two men and put me in shackles. Just then I noticed a long line of other female prisoners who were all chained together. I assumed they would add me to that line but they didn’t. The two men walked me separately from the other women.

I didn’t bother asking where I was going. This was turning into one long escapade and the suspense was beginning to be fun. Everything was a new experience for me and I decided to look at it like I looked at the South when I first moved down there from Chicago…as a sociological study. This was just another aspect of life that I was lucky enough to experience.

Most people don’t get to go to jail at all. I didn’t think I’d be staying there for any length of time but I didn’t give it much thought either. I was pre-occupied with taking it all in.

We walked down a bunch of long halls and we came out at the same spot where I had come in. They took the ladies who were chained together first and put them in the back of a van. The van was divided into two sides and after the other chicks were in their side, I was placed in the other side alone.

As soon as the two men in suits shut the door, the other women started talking to me like the women in my own pod had done when I first walked in. I was beginning to feel a kinship with all of them. It was obvious they all felt as though they knew me.

At one point I asked why I was by myself while there were 5 people on the other side. The answer surprised me. “Because you’re a violent offender.”

I never thought of myself as violent. Besides killing my cheating husband, I have never hurt another person in my life. After a bit more discussion I learned that the entire pod that I was being kept in was for violent offenders. That means that every single one of my pod-mates were all violent at one time or another. Sweet.

We pulled up to the courthouse and I assumed that I was going to go before a judge. The two suits walked over to the van after the “tame” women were led away. They opened the door, helped me out and took me past the courthouse into the police department. I didn’t like that at all.

I found myself sitting on a chair in the middle of a six by ten foot room with walls that seemed to be covered in pieces of carpet. Up in the corner to my right was a video camera and I looked at it realizing that they were probably looking at me.

They left me in there for what seemed like an hour before one of them walked in and introduced himself as Craig Bachar. He was some sort of homicide investigator with the state police. I don’t know why they brought in the staties, but they did.

Craig looked at me and said, “And your name is…”

I chuckled and responded, “You don’t know? Why did you bring me here?”

He was not amused. “We’re here to discuss your husband’s death.”

“OK then, go ahead.”

He had a few papers in front of him and he was nervously shuffling them around. He looked down at the top paper and said, “So, this is your statement.”

It didn’t sound like a question so I didn’t reply.

He snapped at me, “Is THIS your statement?”

“I don’t know, I can’t see it.”

He handed me a copy of what appeared to be my written statement about what happened the day the bum breathed his last.

“Yeah.” I said, “It looks like my statement. Of course I haven’t read it all, but it does seem to be the one I wrote.”

He inhaled a deep gulp of air. I didn’t know how to read that at all. Then he asked, “Is there anything that you’d like to add to your statement?”

“Nope. It all seems to be here.”

That was a bit of a dead end so he went at it again only like this, “Can you tell me what happened again?”

“It’s all in the statement, nothing’s changed since then.”

Then he got up and walked out of the room without saying a word. I glanced up at the video camera and then down at my shackles. I looked back at the camera and asked, “Who ever is out there…could someone take these shackles off? I promise not to run away.”

There was no answer and another 20 minutes went by before a different cop walked in and sat in the chair that Graig had been sitting in.

His name was Mark and he was a total moron. I could read that from the beginning. He was about 5’6″ tall and all muscle. The guy had to work out for hours a day to get that sculptured. He was an Italian guy who looked out of place in the South. He pulled the chair closer to me and then he leaned over so that his nose was about 6 inches from my nose and he stared at me.

First the first few seconds, I’m sure I had a startled look on my face. I didn’t expect that at all. Then, I noticed his bad breathe. That was all it took. I started laughing so hard that I had tears in my eyes and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do to make it stop. I could barely catch my breathe to ask Mark if he would take my shackles off.

He didn’t. I think it was the laughter that screwed me.

Anyway, he left the room for what I figured would be another 20 minutes or so when Craig walked back in and sat down in his chair.

“Mrs. Cardis…” I interrupted him. “Please, call me Jean.”

OK then, Jean, I want to know about what you were doing before your husband died. You said in your statement that you were gardening?”

“You know Craig, may I call you Craig?”


“Craig, I have nothing to add to my statement.”

“This question has nothing to do with your husband’s death, why would you be afraid to answer that one question?” he asked with a confused look on his face.

“If it has nothing to do with my husband’s death, then it’s irrelevant. And I’m not afraid to answer you, I just don’t want to.” I looked down at the shackles again and became even more resolute. Once again, the guy got up and walked away.

This time I looked at the camera and said, I’m about to pee on this chair!” That did it. A uniformed cop came in and led me to a bathroom. It had the same silver toilet but it had a door. That was good because I needed to take a xanax…badly. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to keep those pills taped to my legs. I was patted down and asked to pull my bra out and they checked my shoes and my feet, but that was it. A lady cop was right there as I changed into my lovely jumpsuit…but she wasn’t paying a bit of attention to me. Anyway, I took 2 of them and they burned my throat going down again so when I came out of the bathroom, I asked for some water which he promptly got for me.

Back in the carpet walled room, I sat there thinking dreadfully sad thoughts. I thought about how my husband had treated me so badly for the entire summer. It was devastating. The man who once blatantly adored me was all of a sudden disgusted with my presence. That was a deep cut to deal with. Instead of looking at me with love in his eyes, he looked at me with the disdain you hold for someone who is stopping you from getting what you want. He wanted someone, but it wasn’t me. Oh yeah, he had to go. Pity…but when you gotta go, you gotta go.

The xanax finally kicked in and I relaxed back into my chair. Just then Mark came back. I looked down at my lap and stared at it, thinking about the betrayal that I felt. I couldn’t hear a word that goofball was saying. I had totally tuned him out.

A few different guys and one chick, tried to talk to me that day. I never demanded they stop, I just didn’t say a word. I started at my lap for a long, long time.

Eventually they decided to take me back to jail. As I was walking out, Craig was standing near the doorway. He asked, “Why wouldn’t you speak to us?”

I responded, “Because no one would take the shackles off of me.” His jaw dropped and I turned to follow the leader cop who would be taking me back to the van. I didn’t see those suit guys again that day.

Dinner that night was the same as it had been the day before only the congealed substance covering the fake meat was yellow instead of brown. I guess it was fake chicken that night.

I was starting to figure out the hierarchy in the pod of violent women in which I found myself. I seemed to be at the table of the “in crowd”. That was cool. But I never once forgot that any one of those women would probably sell me out for ten bucks in commissary money.

After dinner two of the chicks from my table started walking around the pod as they did three times a day. They walked the largest circles that they could possibly walk and sang oldies as they did it. They were both middle aged and obviously quite enamored with each other. Their lesbian tendencies didn’t bother me, I liked the music they were singing. So, I got up and walked the circles with them, all the time singing songs from the 70’s. It was actually quite fun and it kept my mind occupied.

The women quickly figured out that I wasn’t going to talk about what I had done. But that didn’t stop them from telling me what they heard. I was privy to all the latest gossip about myself. The press even had a nickname for me, Jealous Jean. I thought that it was pretty lame but I’m not in charge of such things.

I walked around in circles with the two lesbians for close to 3 hours. We sang every song that we could come up with. Between the three of us, we could come up with most of the words to any song that we thought of. The last song we sang was an upbeat positive sounding song about a fatal car accident. It was called Last Kiss. By then we were getting pretty giddy so the three of us had our elbows locked like Dorothy in Oz and we were almost skipping.

How silly to make such a sad song sound so happy.

The next day was my arraignment. I had no forewarning. When I asked why no one told me, the response was, “You didn’t ask.” What a doll that one was. She had no business being in charge of humans. Most of the guards were just doing their jobs and some were nicer then others. But this one was mean when she didn’t have to be mean. I hadn’t suffered her wrath but I had heard her going after other inmates.

The guards woke me up at 4 so that I would be ready to leave when the van left for the courthouse. I guess she assumed that I would shower, but my stupid pills were starting to melt on my legs. I had to come up with another plan. I was lying in bed thinking about the night before. After all of those circles, you would think that I could easily fall asleep. But I couldn’t. I even tried xanax, nothing was working.

I curled up on my cot and pretended that I was sleeping to see if that might make me fall asleep. I think I had just drifted off when I heard loud voices. The lights came on and I realized the voices were guard loud, not inmate loud. Most of us were trying to adjust to the lights being on as the guards pulled a surprise search on Jane, one of the two lesbians that I had just spent 3 hours skipping with.

I didn’t find out until I had gotten back from my arraignment but the guards had been tipped off about a small business the two lesbians had going on in the pod. They were making dildoes out of curled up sanitary napkins stuffed into the blue gloves we were given in the morning to clean with. I had nothing to do with it except for the fact that when they asked me if I had any extra pads, I gave them all of mine. I didn’t need them and I figured they did. It never occurred to be that there was a dildoe business going on above me.

The rumor was that Anna Nicole was the snitch. I didn’t know and I didn’t care. I looked at them all as possible snitches. Of course, I’m not selling homemade dildoes in a jail house.

Anyway, no one else in my pod had to get up that morning. It was just me. There wasn’t even anyone else in the van when I left that morning except for the driver.

As we turned off of County Line Road, I started to see people on the side of the roads. I couldn’t really see what was going on, I could just see the people. There wasn’t enough room in the horizontal blinds of the van for me to see anymore. Then I looked out the front window. Most of that was blocked by the wall in between me and the driver but I could still tell that there were hundreds…maybe even thousands of people lining the streets between the jail and the courthouse.

I was take aback. I had been feeling pretty lonely but that feeling went away when I started reading the signs.

“Free Jean”, “Arrest Norma”, and this one…NORMA: LEAVE TOWN. Most of them said Norma: Leave Town. I couldn’t quite comprehend everything that I was seeing. Then I noticed the driver’s eyes in the rear view mirror. We made eye contact and I could tell that he could read my mind.

“You weren’t aware of all of this?”

“No. How would I know. There’s no TV.”

“Yeah, but you got newspapers don’t you?”

I do, but…”

“Yeah,” he chuckled and then said, “The reality of it is something different.”

I responded, “Oh, I don’t know how real this is. It’s actually pretty surreal.”

“Well ma’am, your husband is REALLY dead and you are REALLY facing a murder rap. You know you’re too old for that ma’am.”

What a smug little man. I thought to myself, “What sort of cop drives prisoners back and forth all day? Is there a lower job?” He called me “Ma’am” as though he were 13…that dude was at least 40 years old. I was sure to refer to him as Ol’ Man after that.

When we got near the courthouse, I couldn’t believe all of the people that were surrounding the entire area. Ol’ Man could barely get through the crowd. Then I noticed the news vans and reporters standing in front of cameras all along the south side of the courthouse lawn. I suddenly felt butterflies in my stomach so I quickly reached down my pants to the top of the tape that held the xanax. I took two again and swallowed them dry…again. I could tell this was going to be an interesting morning in court.

I didn’t know what to think about the cameras. That’s not something I had considered although I did expect some media attention.

As the “paddy wagon” backed into a side entrance of the courthouse, I tried to mellow myself out a bit. I wasn’t sure what was going on because I still didn’t have an attorney. But, as I said, I wasn’t worried about that. Nothing mattered if it didn’t take place in front of a judge and that’s apparently where I was headed.

As Ol’ Man pulled me out of the van, I looked straight ahead to the electronic door and used my tunnel vision skills. I couldn’t tell you what was happening around me at that moment. Before I really looked around, I was in a small cell where prisoners wait to see the judge. I stretched out on the metal bench and tried to clear my mind.

I should have left it where it was because instead of thinking clearly about how to address the judge, I was wondering how I could have been so wrong. I don’t have any words to state this anymore forcefully so these words will have to do…I gave up my entire life and my entire self to a man who said that he would never leave me and for that I am truly an idiot. My bad.

I married a liar. Once my father told me that for every lie you catch, the liar has gotten away with 10. It works so damn well for them, why wouldn’t they keep lying? There are two kinds of people on this planet, honest people and dishonest people. That’s all there is to it. I should have known better. But, like a mother who refuses to see the little brat that she bounces so happily on her knee, I trusted that my husband would always be there, no matter how many times he screwed up or how many hoe’s he screwed. How lame was that?

Hindsight can be a cruel 20/20.

I see all the lies for what they were now. And if he lied another ten times for the ones I’m aware of, how many women did he screw that I never found out about? The tortuous thoughts kept running through my mind long after I had sensed a certain physical numbness. It had to have been an ancient human defense mechanism to guard us from pain…a sort of emotional endorphin that kept me from sensing a dreadful ache that humans are not prepared to perceive.

But the thoughts kept coming. How could he do this? What the hell happened? Was any of the past 25 years real? And if so, which parts? I have to know. I can’t stand not knowing and not knowing is pretty much how I had spent my marriage to this bastard. I never knew. From the first lie, I never knew.

But somehow, even though I never knew, I still found the insanity to place that shithead on some sort of “Honor” pedestal upon which I could never hope to stand. I had me a good man, an honorable man, a soul mate for life. Anyway, that’s what he said.

So, if I didn’t have the soul mate, does that mean that there was never an honorable man in the first place? These sorts of thoughts can keep parts of your soul comatose for hours. Does that make any sense? Does it matter?

Then I think to myself how gently and kindly I would have let him down if I had to do so. I would have held onto him tightly and told him softly that I loved him. I would have shown respect for the years that we shared if not for the love that we supposedly found in our youth. It would have hurt but I would have found the strength to do it. I would have done it for him if I could have. But, how could I if he knew the truth and I didn’t?

Imagine looking into your life and not knowing what is real. If he had given me the truth, I could have figured it all out. Instead, I was left to stare into some abyss of bullshit that was my life. How could I put any of it together? I didn’t know which parts were real. There was only one thing that I ever needed in order to put myself all back together and figure out my next move…and that was the one thing that he wouldn’t ever consider giving me…simply, the truth. I was paralysed without it.

I even gave the yahoo openings. I gave him chances to be honest with me.

I spent my days calling the man who once would call me, just to say, “I love you.” But those calls stopped and busy signals took over. In all the years that I had known him he had never spent so much time on the phone while he was working…ever. But he was always johnny on the spot with the answer to any and all questions such as, “Who were you speaking to for so long?”

God, he was an amazing liar.

More than once I said to him, “Please, I’m begging you, man-up and tell me what’s going on so that we can both go out and find a life.” Not once did he take the bait and tell me the truth. I couldn’t get it out of him to save my life, much less my marriage.

The begging didn’t stop there. I remembered begging him to make love to me. How degrading that was, let me tell you…never, in my entire life did I ever have to beg my own man to make love to me. I remember a time when I would have never crawled so low. Where was that woman?

You know, he said that was what he wanted. He said that he wanted the “confident young woman” that he married. That SOB murdered that her with his first affair and his inherent dishonesty. If he would have just stopped, just stopped lying for “one year”, I could take the leap of faith again. But not one year of our entire quarter century together went by without some lie that would completely frazzle my nerves and send me into some insane forensic detective mode.

When the empty shell of that confidant woman needed a little human touch, what did he say? He told her that, “The intensity that I used to feel with you is gone.” When he said that to me, I realized that I was right…he was screwing me to shut me up. That was screwing me under false pretenses and that’s a step away from rape. And all the time he was thinking about someone else, there was no other excuse. I recognized the behavior of a man distracted by another woman. But he never, not once in his entire miserable life, ever told me the truth unless I had so much hard evidence that he had no choice.

Instead of trusting myself, I became obsessed with finding the proof that I needed to walk away. Unfortunately, I didn’t see it when I crawled right over it. I was looking for the wrong signs.

When he left for work in the morning, I would dart to the dirty laundry to hold his dirty clothing up to the light checking for hairs. I would do the same with his pants and naturally I would check the car for odd fibers and the like. I spent hours combing every inch of my home, looking for something, anything that would tell me one way or another if my suspicions were true.

I asked him, of course I asked him. But he told me that nothing was wrong and that I “was doing it all to myself”. You know, that was just crazy enough to be believable. Naturally it was easier to believe that I was a complete and luny moron than it was to believe that the man up on that pedestal was a lying mother fucker. It was also much easier to handle after my entire psyche had been choked dry of all self esteem.

“Well then”, I asked my soul mate, my lover, my best friend…”What should I do to fix this hideous thing that is me?” He decisively sent me to the psychiatrist to deal with my “trust issues” declaring, “The only hope for us is if you get help.”

That was when the hoop jumping was getting tough because of the cancer in my parathyroid glands. Looking back, I had been jumping hoops for years. They were just so easy for me that I didn’t really notice the hurdles until I was just too weak to clear them.

How could I be so stupid? Well, it seems as though, if you are weaned on the little lies, the big lies get easier to swallow. And I swallowed some whoppers, I did.

The summer from hell was the fight of my life and in the end, I did the only thing that I knew how to do. I killed the bastard. It’s the only thing that would ensure a lesser degree of pain than living on this planet while he gives another woman the life that he promised me. I’ll be damned.

I think I was about to fall asleep when the guard dude came to my cell and opened the door. He took me to the courtroom and directly in front of the judge. There waAdd Imagesn’t really anyone else in the courtroom except some press people. I guess they kept the prisoners for last. Lord knows we aren’t going anywhere.

I was in and out in 30 seconds after answering this question, “You’re charged with murder in the first degree, how do you plead?”

“Not guilty”

Next he asked me if I had an attorney and of course I said that I did not. I had to fill out some financial paperwork and then I was taken back to my little cell where I laid back down to see if I could catch a few winks before I was taken back to the jail.

As I stretched out on that sucker again, my mother came into my mind. She died broken hearted in a small apartment that she could barely afford on her Social Security. Father went on to marry woman after woman and used the law degree that mother helped him earn on other wives and their children. After my father left her, she pretty much went back to her home state of Virginia to die near the graves of her entire support system.

How on Earth could anyone allow a death like that to happen? Yet there really wasn’t anything else that could be done, mother had resigned herself to her fate, refused help and smiled as much as she could. Only now do I fully appreciate all that she smiled through. Her cancer took her and she let it. She had the perfect opportunity, a 3-6 month death sentence from lung cancer. All she would have had to have done was to walk right up to the bastard who left her to die like that and shoot him in the face. Who would have blamed her?

If stealing a life is a crime, then stealing one back is the penalty.

My husband stole not only my life but he even stole my mother’s death from me. I wanted to be near her yet he needed me here. He never told me that I could leave to care for my mother and he never made me feel as though I could leave without coming home to court ordered child support from some piece of trash that he found on the side of the road.

And yes, I blame myself. I take complete responsibility for every single thing that I ever did. It’s all on me. But that doesn’t make it one bit easier to carry around. The death of that sonofabitch did just that…I must say.

My grandmother was lucky, I guess. She died before her husband ever had a chance to leave her. Of course, not before he cheated on her. I learned that as an adult. You just don’t think of grandfathers whoring around town but hell, my husband was somebody’s grandfather.

My mind was swimming in thoughts that wouldn’t leave me alone but I never really tried to stop them. It was like a huge mathematical problem and I felt as though if I kept on looking, I would figure out where I went wrong. Then my head kept saying, “YOU did nothing wrong!” It’s just that type of thinking that got me where I am today.

At one point a lady guard slid a tray into my cell but I left it on the shelf. I didn’t even want to look at it because I really doubted my ability to refrain from wretching after so much as one glimpse of the culinary torture du jour.

I was so focused on my own personal nightmare that I didn’t notice that the guard was still standing near my cell quite a while after she dropped off the food. I smiled at her and she smiled back. Then she let a tear escape down her left cheek and she whispered to me, “My husband is cheating on me too.”

I looked up to see if there was a camera pointing at me. There probably was but it didn’t matter, that lady guard walked away and I put my head back down without saying a word to her.

Eventually I was taken back to jail and back to my fellow violent offenders. They all seemed to know more about what was happening to me than I knew myself. Apparently I would be going in front of the judge again the following day for a bail hearing.

The girls all wanted to talk about what had gone on in court but there wasn’t anything to tell them. “I sat in a cage all day.” That was pretty much the truth. A bunch of them nodded as though they had spent their own time in holding cells.

Anna Nicole asked me if I met my attorney yet. I didn’t know what she was talking about. She pulled out the morning paper and showed me a blurb about some famous attorney who was speaking out on my behalf. The picture of her was taken in front of the courthouse that I had just come from. She was in this town…for me?

Julie and Claudia, the lesbian couple, grabbed my arm and started singing Leaving on a Jet Plane as they almost skipped around the pod. I couldn’t do anything else. I skipped sang along with them, “I’m standing here outside your door, I hate to wake you up to say good-bye…”

After what had to be a couple of hours, we gave up the skipping and sat down at a table. Julie pulled out some M&M’s and said, “Let’s see how Jean cleans up!”

Five of my cellmates came over and helped Julie “pretty” me up, jail style. What an amazingly resourceful group of women! They used the candy coating of the M&M’s to color my lips, cheeks and eyelids. Then, with some sort of jail type mascara wand, they applied ink to my eyelashes. I was really quite fetching in my jail make up alone. But, when the sisters came over and did my hair, I couldn’t have been more pleased.

“All dressed up and nowhere to go!”, I said to the ladies standing around me.

Someone made a lesbian joke and then one of the sisters, Margaret, shouted out, “That woman is strictly dickly!” I laughed so hard than my laughter turned into tears. I couldn’t make them stop so I walked over to my cot and curled up in a ball until the emotional wave that had gotten the best of me had passed.

When I finally had the composure to look up and face my pod mates, I did so. To a woman they all cracked up as if on cue.

From my left I heard someone say, “The M&M’s will be gone by tomorrow, but that blue ink isn’t going away any time soon.”

Margaret snapped, “Girl, you ain’t supposed to CRY when people put ink on your face!”

Those women helped me more than they would ever know. For a group of women in jail accused of violent crimes, what a lovely group of people they were! Melissa was to become my best friend while I was locked up. She was facing over 20 years probation for an assortment of crimes. She looked like a child to me. She was about 22 years old and as smart as any woman that I’ve ever met.

Unfortunately, her entrepreneurial skills were directed toward criminal enterprises such as prostitution and drugs. Except for her last arrest, assaulting a john who she claims was trying to rape her, you could almost be impressed at all she had accomplished in her young career as a madame. But every single night she sang us all to sleep with Christian music with a lovely voice.

That night was no different. I literally fell asleep listening to her singing Amazing Grace. My mother loved that song.

To be continued








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