“Please come in and sit down. Could I offer you something to drink before we get started?”
Burke politely declined and said “do you know why I’m here?”
“Of course,” she said. “You’re here about the murders and you want to know if I had anything to do with them.”
Burke said “did you?”
She didn’t need to answer. He already knew she was the ice pick killer.
She poured herself a cup of tea with her left hand and took a deep breath.
He listened as she calmly and methodically began to speak. Her mannerism was matter of fact and had an air of neutrality as if she was recounting details from a rather boring novel.
“I’m sure you know that I was married to Karl Pittman. I’m sure you know that the marriage didn’t end well. I’m also sure you know that he’s a philandering, narcissistic sociopath…but this wasn’t about him.”
“For forty years, I tried to be perfect. I tried to be the perfect wife. I tried to be the perfect mother. I tried to be the perfect hostess. I tried to be the perfect friend. My honor and loyalty was never questioned but unfortunately, never appreciated.”
“When I made the decision to leave Karl, all of our friends disappeared…but only for me. They called Karl and offered him a room or a shoulder to cry on or a hot meal. Not one of them ever called me. These were friends that I had known for years and years and they were suddenly gone.”
“I entertained these people in my home. I walked them to spare bedrooms when they could barely stand because they were so drunk. I prepared gourmet meals for them. I allowed the men to come over and smoke their cigars while playing poker. I never complained when they broke my Waterford crystal. I never sent them a bill for the beer and wine stains I had to remove from my furniture and carpet.”
“I drove them home from events when they were too drunk to drive themselves. I made the specialty quilts they requested and didn’t question why they never offered to pay. I was always there to lend an ear or offer help. I helped plan birthday, anniversary and retirement parties. I made sure they all received Christmas cards and thoughtful gifts.”
“When George and Lisa were fighting, I invited Lisa over for a girl’s day of pampering. I tried not to resent it when I didn’t get a call the next day, thanking me.”
“When Marvin’s wife was so ill, I took meals to him so he could keep up his strength. I went over and tidied up his house so that every spare minute he had could be spent with her. I tried to understand when he offered no gratitude.”
“I didn’t complain when I promoted David Ludlow’s books at our club and never even received a signed copy or a thank you.”
“I knew what was expected of me. I was Karl Pittman’s right hand man and that was the only part I served as his wife. All the praise and glory went to him…the self-proclaimed God, but I had hoped that at least a few of those people would stand by me.”
“You see Detective Burke, to me, loyalty has always been paramount. Betrayal has always been fatal.”
“You felt like they had betrayed you?” asked Burke. “That’s why you killed them?”
“Every one of them turned their back on me,” she said.
“It was so easy to make them pay. I could hear the guilt in their voices when I called and cheerfully asked for a moment of their time. They offered insincere apologies for their absence and I offered deceitful forgiveness. They found no reason to believe that I was being anything but genuine.”
“I had welcomed them into my home. Likewise, they welcomed me into theirs. Thinking they had been given absolution, they expected me to be the same faithful friend I had always been. None of them ever expected retribution. I took them because they betrayed me and the taste of that retribution was deliciously sweet.”
The satisfied smile left her face and the tone in her voice changed. “All those people acted as if I had never even existed. It was like everyone suddenly had amnesia.”
“All of them moved on. All of them…but I didn’t. They left me laying on the ground and walked away.”
Burke was questioning himself. Was he staring into the eyes of a true psychopath or just a woman with a grudge?
His question was answered when he asked why she had killed Detective Slaughter.
She looked at him with taunting eyes. His blood ran cold when she smiled and said “because I could.”
Burke slowly reached for the weapon he had confiscated from a drug dealer years ago and placed it against her temple.
“This is for Slaughter,” he said…and pulled the trigger.