Lately, I’m obsessed with all things Dominick Dunne. I’ve been watching re-runs of the late crime-writer’s show, reading his memoir, and I saw a movie about his influence in solving the Martha Moxley murder. Just last night, I read his magazine article about his own daughter’s murder http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/archive/1984/03/dunne198403 (ironically, she was shot exactly seven years to the day after Martha Moxley ).
Yesterday, for $35 measly dollars, I attended Alaska’s Sister’s in Crime (Arctic Cliffhangers http://www.arcticcliffhangers.com/ ) conference called the “Forensic Foray 2012.”
More relevant to my job as a probation officer than to my second job as a writer, workshops included topics like good versus evil, lie detection without a polygraph, control tactics, and designer drugs like pep-spice and bath salts.
The presenters were all Alaskans representing the FBI, state troopers, district attorneys, and a former prosecutor turned-training maverick.. I was riveted. The conference inspired me to write a mini-mystery based on a domestic violence case I worked on more than a decade ago. The first reader to solve it gets a prize!
The Truth Shall Set you Free
Rhonda knew she was screwed. So screwed. The twenty-five year old heroin addicted mother of an eight year-old son had meant to leave her violent boyfriend. She really had. She meant to leave him every time he hit threatened her. Hit her. Cheated on her. Every time he called her fat.
But her son loved her boyfriend. And her boyfriend paid half the rent, and provided Rhonda with all her fixes. Without him, where would she be? Who would have her? Even her best friend told she looked “tore up from the floor up.” A decade of cigarette smoking, drug use, and alcohol abuse meant that young Rhonda looked like a forty year-old hot mess.
“I’m calling the cops and telling them you’ve stabbed me!” This from her boyfriend after Rhonda packed her bags to leave. Her son had been away when she’d earlier come home to find her boyfriend in bed with the teen-aged babysitter, who fled the house as soon as she pulled her sweats back on.
“Whatever,” Rhonda told him, knowing he didn’t have the balls to stab himself.
And then he did the unthinkable. He smiled at Rhonda, grabbed a knife from the butcher block, pulled his shirt up, closed his eyes, and stabbed himself. The knife quietly slipped into his stomach, re-emerging with a coating of bright red blood that dripped onto the kitchen floor.
“Now, you’ll go away,” he whispered, and dialed 911. “I’ve been stabbed!” he told police dispatch. “Hurry. Please, hurry! She’s stabbed me!”
Her arrest was imminent. Rhonda knew police would only need to glimpse at her and her criminal history, see the blood on the kitchen floor, and it was a wrap. She looked guilty.
Plus, she had a record for misdemeanor drug possession and a disorderly conduct. Her boyfriend’s record?
Clean as a whistle.
Rhonda already knew how it would go. Two or more officers would arrive, separate her from her boyfriend for interview purposes, and she would be arrested and taken to jail when all was said and done.
And before she knew it, there was a loud knock at the door. Rhonda opened the door, and two officers came in.
“Please put your hands behind your back,” the first officer said loudly.
Rhonda complied. No interview? she silently wondered.
“Sir! The officer yelled, “I said to put your hands behind your back! Do you hear me? You’re under arrest for making a false report.”
The second officer approached Rhonda and asked her for a statement.
How did the police know so quickly that Rhonda’s boyfriend stabbed himself?
The first person to correctly answer will get a free copy of The Santa Next Door if you leave your e-mail.
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