Who Really Did It?

Jeff puts the key into the lock. He turns it. He walks into the house that was his parents. Entering the security code gets the alarm disabled. He takes off his overcoat and hangs it on a hook.

Walking from the foray past the stairs. He enters the large living room. A strange feeling haunts Jeff. He looks for what has changed. Not seeing any change, Jeff shakes the feeling. They killed his parents in the house six months ago.

Jeff continues on toward the kitchen. Passing the dining room table, Jeff’s eyes fall upon a picture laying face up. This picture depicts Jeff and Susan on their honeymoon.

“What is this doing here?” Jeff mumbles to himself. “I thought I had put that picture with the rest of Susan’s stuff in the garage.”

When a tragic event takes place in a small town, people talk. The past six months gave the town folks plenty of talk around Jeff, Susan, and Jeff’s parents. Jeff closed his mind to what people were saying. Those rumors have made work at the paper mill difficult. His employees would give Jeff looks that range from empathy to suspicion. Returning from drug rehab is already a challenge, let alone announcing you met someone there and wishing to marry them. That just didn’t set right with most folks.

Susan was a twenty-eight-year-old blond. She bounced from one drug fueled relationship to another drug fueled relationship. The court ordered Susan to go to a drug rehabilitation program. She had her last chance to break free from addiction or go to prison. At the rehab, Jeff and Susan would sneak out together and smoke cigarettes late at night.

Right after leaving the rehabilitation program, Jeff and Susan got married to the objections of Jeff’s parents. Out of respect for their son, they tolerated Susan. Jeff and Susan moved into a small house near to Jeff’s parents’ house.

Like with any marriage, as time goes along, the newness wears off. Jeff started stopping at the bar on the way home. While Jeff was at work during the day, Susan started smoking pot again.

Six months ago, Jeff’s mother and father recognized what was happening. They set Jeff and Susan down. “Go back into that drug rehabilitation program and get off the drugs for good or you will be disowned. Your inheritance will be given to a local charity.

It was the next morning when the maid walked into the parents’ house. She found both parents murdered in their bed while asleep. She called 911. Later, the state troopers went to Jeff’s place. They found Jeff fixing himself some breakfast. Susan was naked, asleep on the couch. All around Susan was the smell of marijuana. Susan woke up, and she started acting hysterically.

Investigation by the state police determined Susan had been off her meds. Susan had smoked marijuana laced with PCP. They found bloody overalls and a knife in their trash. The state police couldn’t determine who belonged to the coveralls and the knife. The police and the district attorney agreed it had been Susan who killed Jeff’s parents. A judge declared Susan incompetent to stand trial. So, the judge directed her to a mental hospital until she could be competent enough to stand trial.

That was six months ago. Since then, Jeff took procession of his parents’ house. He turned over the day-to-day operations of the mill to his dad’s best friend. All Jeff would do was show up at the mill’s office. Take a few phone calls, sign a few papers, then go home. On Fridays after work, Jeff would smoke a joint with some workers in a shed in back of the mill.

Jeff opened the cooler side of the refrigerator, looking for some leftovers to heat in the microwave. Nothing looked good. He closed the door. Then he opened the freezer side of the refrigerator. His pot baggy rested on a TV dinner.

“I got to be more careful”, thought Jeff to himself. “I got to keep up some kind of appearance that I have it together.”

Jeff took a bud out of the baggy. Grabbing his pipe and a lighter, he walked to the back deck and set in a lawn chair. Stuffing the pipe, Jeff put it to his mouth and lit up. Jeff inhaled on the pipe.

“This pot feels strange”, Jeff thought.

His cell phone rang. Jeff answered it.

“This is Detective Jenkins with the state police,” came the voice over the phone.

“Yes, what can I do for you?” asked Jeff.

“I’m calling to inform you that your wife escaped from the mental hospital this morning.”

“How did she do that? I thought they locked her in max security.”

“I don’t know, sir. The only information I have is that she has escaped. We must inform you.”

“Thank you,” said Jeff, then ended the call. A worried look overtook his face.

Setting the phone down. Jeff reaches for the pipe. He holds it in one hand. Jeff looks to his left and then to his right. Jeff’s mind races. “The hospital is a three-hour drive. It is now six in the evening. More than enough time for Susan to get a ride and show up on his doorstep.

“Why was the picture on the dining room table? Did he leave the baggy of pot sitting on top of the TV dinner? Jeff looked down at his hands. They were shaking. Did he change the alarm code since his parent’s death?” Jeff’s mind races to find answers.

Jeff climbed out of the lawn chair. He staggers back inside the house, closing the sliding glass door behind him. At the bottom of the stairs, Jeff grabs hold of the railing.

“Where do you think you’re going?” The female behind him asked.

Jeff spins. There he sees the weary-looking blond he knew as Susan.

“I was just going upstairs. It has been a long day.”

“Why haven’t you come to visit me?” Susan asked.

“Why do you think I would want to visit the woman who killed my parents?” Jeff stated.

“I know better than that? You spiked my pot. I’ve put a little something in yours today.”

“Now who is going to believe a crazy hysterical drug addict like you? You just made matters worse for yourself by escaping the mental hospital.”

“I think they will believe me. I have been over the past few months, thinking about how I am going to make you confess.”

“Okay, I killed my parents because they were going to give my inheritance to a charity. I framed you for their murder. Is that what you want to hear?”

“Yes, that’s what I wanted to hear.”

“Now, who is going to believe you? If you tell the police I confessed, I will deny every word.”

Susan turned toward the front door. “Detective Jenkins, did you hear what Jeff just said?”

A tall, large African American man walks in through the front door with two state troopers behind him. “Yes, I did. I didn’t expect it would be so easy.”

Jeff held out his hand. “Wait a minute, officer. I just said what I said to make her happy. I was afraid that she came here to kill me. She is crazy.”

“I only brought her here because she had me convinced she was innocent.”

“Then tell me, officer, about how did she know where the Angel’s Dust was? How did she know about the alarm code?”

“Good point. But who has the most to gain from your parents’ deaths?” responded Detective Jenkins.

Detective Jenkins walks around the living room. Taking note of the changes in the room since he first entered the room six months ago. He looks up the stairs past Jeff standing on the first run.

He scratches his chin. “I think it is best all of us go down to the station. I want to have another look at all the evidence. In the meantime, I am going to have the Crime Lab come back out and look over the house, again.”

“Don’t you have to have a warrant to search my place?”

“No, I am arresting you in the house. The entire house and property are subject to search for evidence.”

The officers put handcuffs on both Susan and Jeff. They were led out the front door to a waiting patrol car. The male officer placed Jeff in the back through the left side door. A female officer placed Susan on the back of the right side. The female patrolman stood by the front of the patrol car while the other patrolman walked back inside.

Once inside, the patrolman asked, “What good is there leaving them in the back of my patrol car?”

“Did you leave the mic keyed like I asked?”

“Yes, back at base they are recording everything is being said in the car,” said the patrolman.

Susan asked Jeff. “Do you think we got them confused enough?”

“I think so. They can’t charge either of us because we are pointing our fingers at each other. If they try to take either of us to trial, there is only the word of the other as evidence.”

“I hope they give up and let me out of that hospital soon. I haven’t smoked a joint since that night.”

“Just keep with your story. It won’t be long.”