Among other things, I write detective mystery novels and crime thrillers so I watch a lot of true-crime series. Usually, it's a late-night thing for me and this is how I relax and unwind. After watching one or two of the likes of "Wives with Knives", "Fatal Attractions", "Evil-In-Law", and "Married with Secrets" I fall asleep in no time and thank the Good Lord above that I've never been married.
Some people watch these types of shows to try to figure out how to actually commit the perfect murder. There is no such thing, by the way. Even the most experienced, adroit and neatest of killers, they say, will leave at least a few clues at the scene of the crime. There is no statute of limitations on murder in any of our 50 states and the cops have gizmos and gadgets available to them that NASA would salivate over.
Personally, I know that I'm a fool when it comes to criminality. It wouldn't take Lt. Joe Kenda the Homicide Hunter to rat me out. No, Barnie Fife would do just fine. I find it fascinating, but at the same time, stomach-twisting, after watching true-crime documentaries. I've seen shows in which a spouse murdered their significant other by using antifreeze. Back when drinking antifreeze was sweet, some evildoer could pour a few glops of the gunk in a glass of Coke, root beer, or sweet Southern tea and the drink would be very palatable and even sweeter than it was originally. For a long time, a litany of such fatalities went into cold-case status but after a graveyard's stake of dead spouses fell prey to this ruse, the cops caught on. Quickly, all major manufacturers of antifreeze jumped horses and now antifreeze tastes so repugnant, that if you sip it from a rum and coke and the barmaid thinks you're a distasteful pig and slips a few ounces of the green liquid into your mixed drink, you'd gag and spit it out all over the mirrors in front of the bar.
Another thing I have found alarming, but yet somehow amusing, is how a little 110-pound woman going through menopause, who has a restless spirit and a hyper-charged sex drive, not to leave out the fact that she spends all the time her husband is at work at the gym down the street lifting weights, climbing stair-stepping machines and drinking power drinks with a cute 21-year-old boy-toy she met at the gym four years ago; well, the fit and lovely lass gets the brainstorm that if she kills her husband, or has him killed, all her problems will disappear. The only bad thing about her life is her old man. Sure, he's a hard worker, a great provider, has a great job making over $200,000 a year, but he's fat, bald, and cross-eyed and he farts all the time. He's become so ugly she can't stand to look at him! Besides, for the past decade they've been married, Ralph spends almost every night down at the sports bar with his buddies. And they're not drinking sodas down there. Sometimes when he comes home at the devil's hour, he smells so foul that she vomits in the trash can beside the bed.
So, Lucy, let's call her this because it of sounds like the name of a weirded-out, middle-aged woman with about as much sense as a bag lady with Alzheimer's and a busty upper body (they're fake, of course, not only the breasts, but all other characters in this scenario). Well Lucy can't stand the thought of shooting her husband so she hires a guy to do it for her. And this guy is usually the 21-year-old bodybuilder and her personal trainer at the gym - you know, the guy she also works out in the bedroom with. . .
Lucy recently took out a $2 million life insurance policy on her husband, and we've already named him Ralph, so let's just leave it at that. Well if Ralph is murdered, it's double-indemnity time, baby, and Lucy will hit the jackpot.
She'll get the house, keep her kids, move that beautiful gigolo right into that master bedroom, and they'll have 'sexy times' together - whenever they please. Neither of them needs to work, because they're flush with cash - four million buckaroos, actually; and really, Lucy has never worked. She's a content "housewife".
"I'll pay you five thousand to kill Ralph and I'll let you have the Subaru to drive around in - it's sort of old, but at least now you'll have a car and I won't have to cart you around all over the place like we've been doing for unsung years now," Lucy says to Raymond, and yes, we'll just call him Raymond because it's a macho, cool name and all. And every other bodybuilder at the gym seems to be called "Raymond" or "Ray".
"Cool, I'll do it," Raymond says, without even thinking about it. He's sold: Tax, title, and deed.
"Don't go near my BMW or Ralph's Mercedes, though. After Ralph's dead, that is. Those cars are mine after you kill Ralph," she says.
So, Lucy and Raymond make 120 cell phone calls to each other the night of Ralph's murder. These calls have pinged off every transmission tower near Ralph and Lucy's gated community, giving detectives a treasure trove of electronic forensics to help crack this who-done-it. Besides that, Raymond shot Ralph in the lower leg when Ralph stumbled in the front door after returning from Bub's Sports Beat. Raymond tried to shoot again, this time right through the heart, but the gun jammed. So, Raymond spied a little-league baseball bat that the couple's oldest, let's just call him Junior, since he's named after Ralph, left there after practice. So, Raymond beats Ralph to a pulp, then puts on a pair of latex gloves and tries to clean up all the blood.
There's a horn blowing outside in the driveway. "Okay, it's been about a half hour and he's got most of the blood up now," mastermind Lucy is thinking.
Raymond's never heard of luminol and neither has Lucy. When asked if they knew what luminol is, as they were being interrogated in separate interviewing rooms later in the night, Raymond said, "Yeah, it's a sports drink." And Lucy said, "It's a new perfume, but I've never bought any."
But before all this, when the police arrived at Lucy's ranch, Raymond and Lucy were crying and kissing on the front lawn. The lawn sprinklers, set to go off at 2 a.m., had doused them with so much water they looked like they were victims of The Titanic. They decided to return to the murder scene to discover if they left any clues. The police found this amorous scene suspicious, and yes, that's a clue. They also found doubtful the fact that Lucy called 911 and screamed, "Get over here right away! My husband just committed suicide!"
The four million cash prize on poor Raymond's head is discovered quickly and expeditiously by the day-shift detectives. Raymond's fingerprints are found all over the living room. He put the latex gloves on only to clean up the blood, but while he was waiting around before the murder he had roaming hands. He was nervous, after all.
A suicide note, scribbled in Lucy's handwriting, is found on the dinette table It reads: 'Dear Lucy, Tyler, Ralph, Taylor, and Emadine: I'm depressed and I'm checking out. Do your best to have a wonderful life but I can't handle this horrible world any longer. So long, DADDY.'
"It's funny, I've never investigated a suicide in which the victim shot himself in the shin with a .38 Special and then beat himself 48 times with a little league baseball bat," one of the day detectives sardonically said to a member of the forensics team.
There are many other trends on love murders - far too many to encapsulate here. Let's just say I'll never use either of the crime scenarios featured here in any of my upcoming crime fiction pursuits. They've already become so trite and overused that the janitorial team of the county jail could have the nitwits described above dead-to-rights in at least, two days.
No, the next mystery novel I write will feature, most likely, three lesbian lovers, one of which is married to a man. The three ladies convince the guy to take a hike high above the crashing waves of a peninsula. The three wrestle, kick, punch, and trip the guy, who falls over a thousand feet straight down, down, down, right onto the huge rocks of the uninhabitable beach below. The plan is for the one who's "happily married" to the corpse to cash in the $6 million insurance policy that she took out three weeks ago. After the "accident", she and her real lovers can skedaddle to Paris and live happily ever after. This one's only made the true-crime mystery rounds four or five times. Hey, such a novel probably never will become a bestseller, but I think it's fodder for a mid-lister!