An Affair to Forget
Chaz met his soul mate at a party. It was another fundraiser to which his wife had dragged him. But the liquor was good and plentiful. Alcohol loosened his tongue.
"When you marry for money, you work for every penny."
So indiscrete a statement is generally kept from strangers. This was an exception because it evoked a resonance her.
"That’s been my experience," Heather answered.
Chaz and Heather shared a long look. They’d noticed each other across various rooms at other parties, but they had never been introduced. Now they took serious notice.
"I’m Chaz Lewis, you are?"
"Heather Smythe. I take it you’re married."
"Yeah. Samantha Drake, maybe you’ve heard about her."
"I’ve met her. She’s on the fundraising committee. Dryden (my husband) knew her father before he died."
"You’re Dryden Smythe’s wife? Well, well."
"We all have our crosses to bear. Dryden’s convenient. He isn’t home much, but it isn’t very easy to spend his money when he’s away." Her eyes locked with Chaz’. Chaz imagined that the pupils had dilated a bit when she’d mentioned her husband’s absence.
"Same here. Samantha inherited more money than she'll ever be able to spend. I stepped in to help out, but Samantha doesn’t appreciate my efforts enough. I believe you understand me."
"We seem to have common interests."
"Let’s explore them."
She nodded as Dryden arrived carrying drinks. Dryden and Chaz chatted about business. Chaz’ position in Drake Industries was primarily designed to prevent him from doing harm, but he was "in the loop" enough to hold Dryden’s interest. Samantha quietly watched the two men chat and let her imagination roam. Heather was occupied with working the party crowd, but after a bit she checked in to see how Chaz was doing. Samantha was the first to notice her approach and greeted her warmly. They chatted for a short while. "Oh, the men are just talking shop," Samantha observed. "Could you help me find the ladies’ room?"
The two couples drifted together after that. Heather and Chaz were able to cuckold their respective spouses without creating untoward suspicion. Things were working out very well. Heather and Chaz’ sexual appetites were satisfied quite nicely in each other for a while. However, another appetite, the one that first drew them to each other, grew within them.
"I wish I could buy you jewels like those," Chaz sighed.
"I wish you would."
"I suppose she controls it all. Just like Dryden controls everything."
"I hate it; I just hate it. I hate her. I wish she was dead."
"So do I. I wish he was dead, too."
"Everything would be perfect if they were both gone."
"It's hard to buy jewels in prison and it would be prison when they caught us."
Chaz and Heather didn't feel like having sex after that. Both were completely distracted with thoughts of committing the perfect crime. A week later they met again.
"Suppose we faked our own deaths," Chaz offered.
"What do you have in mind?"
"Simple, the police will stop looking if they know we did it and they think we're dead. We kill Samantha and Dryden, get the money, fake our deaths, change our appearances, and leave for Switzerland."
"How are we going to get the money?"
"That won't be too much of a problem. You move Dryden's money to Drake Industries. It'll look like a business transaction until someone starts looking closely. Meanwhile, I'll move all of Samantha's assets to those same accounts that I control at Drake Industries. Then I'll use an electronic funds transfer to a numbered Swiss account and then delete all records of what I'd done."
"Too simple, by the time you did that, the police would be looking for a couple. We'd have to split up."
"Right. I'll establish false identities for each of us. We'll travel to other cities where we each have plastic surgery."
"There's only one problem."
"No. It's perfect."
"I don't trust you."
"Oh, I see. Well, I guess I don't trust you, either."
"I didn't think you did."
Chaz was quiet for a moment. Thoughtfully, he got up and went into the bathroom. He called out to the bedroom a moment later. "Maybe there's a way." He returned with two glasses. "Let's suppose we move all the money to a coded account." He picked up a bottle of wine on the nightstand, and poured some wine into the glass, filling it. "Then let's suppose we take the codes needed to access that account, and divide it into two parts." He poured half the wine from the first glass into the second and handed the second glass to Heather. "Then, we each keep half the key."
Heather looked at the glass in her hand. "Why not just give me half the money?"
"That raises the problem of how we'd divide it. Two Swiss accounts would be easier to trace than just one, if the police found one, it could lead to the second. This way, we don't have to trust each other."
Heather nodded. "How do we get back together?"
"I don't care, we just arrange a time and place, and some way we'll recognize each other."
"Sounds good, let's meet on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Wear a carnation in your lapel. I'll wear this broach." She held up a frilly bit of jewelry.
Their glasses tinkled as they touched them in agreement and drank, a circuit between them closed and they were committed.
A week later, Chaz hid in the bushes outside Dryden Smythe's office building. Two guns had been purchased from the fellow who sold Chaz cocaine. The dope dealer hadn't bothered with a five day waiting period. Dryden was working late as was his habit. Chaz watched Dryden bend toward his car door as he unlocked the door. The first shot severed Dryden's spine. He fell, crying out. The second shot killed Dryden, splattering his brains against the side of the car. Chaz walked up to the body and pumped two more shots into Dryden's destroyed head to make sure.
That same night, in another state, Heather lay on the floor in the back seat of Samantha Lewis' Lincoln town car beneath a black blanket. She had left the meeting early and moved her own car to another parking garage, then walked back to where Samantha's car sat. Chaz had supplied the keys Heather used to get into the car. The wait was rewarded when Samantha got into the Lincoln. Heather sat up and pushed the gun behind her victim's ear and pulled the trigger. The bullet entered the skull and bounced around within a couple times. Death followed.
The next day, a race began. Two police forces independently gathered clues about two murders. Suspicion focused upon two surviving spouses who had alibis placing them far from the crime scene. It would take the police time to establish the connection between Chaz and Heather. They used that time to move as much money as possible into Drake Industries and then into a Swiss bank account.
"Hop in, Chaz."
He jumped into the late Dryden Smythe's Jag, leaned over and gave Heather a kiss. "Are you ready?"
"I've got the sleeping pills, cocaine and ether."
Chaz smiled. After a bit the Jaguar arrived at seedy hotel where two winos were having a party. Chaz and Heather had found a man and woman of about the same build as that of the murderers. The offer of unlimited alcohol and drugs was most appealing. Chaz entertained the winos while Heather dissolved sleeping pills into two glasses of vodka. Heather poured two more glasses of vodka and brought all four glasses out on a tray. She handed one to Chaz, took the second and offered the winos the drugged glasses. They drank up. Minutes later the winos were unconscious.
Chaz prepared an explosive concoction of ether and cocaine known as free base. Heather went through the hotel room and removed the winos' meager possessions. Then the sleepers were dragged into the bathroom where the cocaine was set up. Heather used a small wrench to loosen the natural gas connection to the room's heater. The room began to fill with gas. Chaz lit a candle beneath the cocaine and ether solution.
Fifteen minutes later, the ether exploded. The fireball played over the unconscious drunks and out the bathroom door. The fireball ignited the natural gas that had filled the rest of the hotel room. A second explosion and fire completely destroyed the second story of the hotel. Smythe's Jaguar sat in the parking lot with Chaz' golf clubs in the trunk. The murderers had already left in a rental car.
"These two disks have the two halves of the key on the account. Don’t lose it." He handed her a floppy.
"I'll take the other one."
"You don't trust me?"
"The other one."
Chaz grinned and handed her the other disk. "Why didn’t I think to put both halves of the key on one disk?" he thought.
Chaz arrived in Montreal that afternoon and had the plastic surgery that gave him a new face the next day. Heather's flight to Miami was equally uneventful. She got her new face the day after that. They lived in hotels for a couple weeks waiting for their surgery to heal and for the appointed day when they'd meet and fly to Zurich to get their fortune. Each laughed at the news of how the police had concluded that yes indeed, the prime suspects in two murder cases had died in the hotel fire.
Heather arrived at the Empire State Building early and commenced to wait.
Chaz took the train from Montreal. As he got out, his ankle twisted and he fell. A man carrying a sample case was in a hurry and following Chaz too closely. He fell in turn. The heavy case came down on Chaz' twisted ankle breaking it.
Heather continued to wait. She waited all day. When the Empire State Building closed, she returned to her hotel. Along the way, a man stopped her.
"Give me your purse. I've got a knife."
Her eyes grew large. All of her money was in the purse. She backed up and turned to run. The man clutched at her. He grabbed her coat. She twisted. The broach came off the coat in the thief's hand. Heather fled.
The next day, Heather returned to the Empire State building. No one with a white carnation on his lapel was there. Over the next week, she approached a number of strangers wearing white carnations. None of them were Chaz. Heather's travelling money ran out.
The hospital took most of Chaz' travelling money. He made his way to the Empire State building desperately looking for a woman wearing the broach. Over time, Chaz quit wearing a carnation and just looked for any woman who might be wearing that stupid broach.
Weeks went by. Chaz started drinking. His false identity didn't come with any usable job skills. All of his friends thought him dead. His life narrowed to the hope of finding the one person who knew the secret that he wasn't dead.
A similar line of reasoning went through Heather's mind as she started taking drugs.
A year later, Heather shuffled down an ally miles away from the Empire State Building, clutching her rags close against the cold. Her foot hit something. It was a homeless man.
"Watch it, you stupid cow," came a growl from the center of a pile of ragged clothing.
Something in the man's voice stirred something in the back of her drug-fogged mind. The memory fled when she tried to grasp it. What remained was the uncertain feeling that she'd forgotten something important.
Chaz rolled over after the woman kicked him and wished for the millionth time that he knew where Heather could be.