016 – The Widow

version 1.1

Brad punched a button on his phone activating the official interview function.  This would trigger a call to the interviewee with full legal disclosures and forms.  Once accepted it would also document the interview completely.  Furthermore, this would also be included in the live video feed.

He stated, "Official Investigation Request, Interview Dr. , Hospital."

A vaguely automated voice responded, "Did you mean Dr. Razel Tulley at Walter Reed Medical Center?"

"Yes, yes that must be the one." stated not certain if it was 100% accurate himself, but knowing the phone search engine would have offered him other options if they existed within the search parameters.

"A request has been placed with Dr Tulley's calendar system.  There is a time slot open for a 30 minute window at 9:45 PM, approximately 45 minutes from now.  The next available window is 1 hour, tomorrow afternoon at 3:25 PM.  Do you have a preference or would you like to place an investigation over ride if legally possible?" the voice asked.

"Let's go with 9:45 PM tonight." Brad replied.  "Please make the connection at 9:45 for me and ring me when the Dr comes on the phone."

He had 45 minutes.  He sent a quick text message.  'Can we talk?'

Her reply came back in seconds, 'Yes, I'm back in my townhouse.'

Brad thought of the townhouse she had inherited from her grandparents after they died. It was a nice place in the middle of the recently restored Buckhead area of Atlanta.

'I'll be there in 10 minutes.' Brad replied as he turned and walked back out the door.

The nice thing about Jenny's place in Buckhead was that it was easy to get there fast.  She lived right off a main loop, near a recently demolished mall called Phipps.  It was an antiquated old shopping mall, although no shopping of anything other than prostitutes and illicit drugs had been found in the broken down old structure in over forty years.  Now that it had been leveled the neighborhoods around it actually felt safe, even though it was probably only a cosmetic safety.

He walked down the corner, hopped into a transport bubble and was on the primary corridor ninety seconds later.  Five minutes after that he stepped out of the transport bubble and walked up the block towards Jenny's townhouse.

As he approached, he could see her sitting on the front steps outside, waiting for him.  Jenny looked miserable and beautiful.

She stood up, wringing her hands, hesitating as if she wanted to hug him, scared as if touching him might trigger an electric shock to her system.

He thought to himself, that was exactly how he felt too, but wondered if her reasons were the same.  It would be best to confront this straight on and get the worst, the new worst behind them.

He stepped up, paused and said, "Hello Jenny. May we step inside?"

She started to tremble and shake, "Oh god, its true.  You never remember to say ‘may’ unless you need to say something serious."

He stepped closer reaching out to guide her elbow without touching it, more of a gesture.  With the high level of static charge in the air it almost felt like a threat to even Brad, like ‘please let's go inside, don't make me touch you, I can't hug you  . . . yet.’

What he really said was, "Please, we need to step inside."

Her misery temporarily turned to anger, "Of course.  Job first. you are as bad as Terry."  She was muttering and probably trying to stoke the anger just a bit, an exaggeration to avoid the tears, but she did turn and led him up the steps.

They walked in through her door and instantly the static charge disappeared.  He stepped to the right into the living room.  Even without the charge, he felt awkward as his training kicked in.  He realized that he was keeping eyes on her as she closed the door behind them and turned to follow him into the living room.  She looked at him briefly, sighed and then sat down on a couch.  It was new.  He did not recognize it even though he had helped her pick out most of the furniture in the house.

"Jenny, is deceased.  I am not at liberty to say much more for reasons that are probably obvious.  As the next  . . . next of kin," Those words really stuck in his throat, "I must inform you and let you know that I am investigating the circumstances of his passing.  Family services and grief counselors are available should you need them."

"So you are a homicide detective still,” she said emphasizing the word ‘are’.  “That must mean someone thinks this was a homicide." Jenny said.

"All I can say is that yes, I am still a homicide detective." Brad replied.  "How did you hear about Terry's death Jenny?"

"I heard it from his fucking wife.  I mean, his ex-wife.  I'm his wife now, or was his wife.  Shit, shit shit!”

The anger and grief were bubbling again.  "She called, she was accusing me, rubbing it in.   she said, 'He's dead and it’s because of you and your sex-freak lifestyle." Jenny added.  "Yes, we met having an office affair and all, but cheating doesn't equate to being a sex-freak."

“On the phone earlier you said something about a video message.”  Rubens queried.

Jenny paused, “I must have imagined it, like déjà vu. I thought I had received a message.  I could have sworn that I watched it, but it wasn’t on my phone.  I started to check with the police station via the web, then I called you and you wouldn’t say.  Then she called later via holovision.”

Brad didn’t follow up on that one, yet.  He would double check phone records.  Video messages didn’t just disappear; they were stored forever virtually, just accessible via a phone.

Jenny could be telling the truth, but that didn’t mean that someone with money, influence or both hadn’t done something to the video message records.  Then, Brad couldn't help envisioning Terry boy with whacked off p3nises all around him, in a warehouse full of them, and in a warehouse that Terry owned.

"How did you meet Terry?" Brad asked.

"I took a job working for him, not directly that is.  He ran a distribution business here in town.  I took a position writing logistics algorithms.  It was a small office.  We all worked a lot of hours.  He had also written logistics algorithms early in his own career and acted as a bit of a to me for a while."

"When did you  . . ." Brad trailed off, his own emotions suddenly getting in the way of the question.

Jenny picked up with a flash in her eye, "Start sleeping with him, dating him, or decide to marry him?"

She could probably see the retreat in his eyes, and said, "I'm sorry.  It’s all so much.  We just kind of lived and breathed work.  We got close.  It all kind of melted together.  He was separated from his wife, living in a different house for several years.  I was looking for someone.”  The way she said ‘someone’ made Brad want to finish the sentence for her, ‘someone, not like you.’

"Eight months ago his divorce was finalized, and 2 months ago we were married." She finished.

"Why do you think is ex-wife was . . . " Brad started

"Such a bitch to me? She's probably not really.  I think she never expected the divorce.  She just thought Terry was a workaholic and would move back when things were practical.  When he filed for divorce, I think she was shocked."

"I do not know the details of the divorce settlement, but I think she received a lot of money.  Terry and I had pretty rigid prenuptial agreements.  Terry's business was pretty large and extended, and I have my own inheritance.  Neither of us married for the money, but with my family, siblings and a complex trust, and his family, ex-wife, a daughter and multiple business partners, it just seemed the easiest way.  We were together as a couple, but financially we were completely separate."

"So now that he has passed, you retain nothing from Terry?" Rubenz asked.

"Nothing material.  Nothing from the business that is.  I believe I will receive some money from a small insurance policy, but that's more than likely for tying up loose ends.  With my trust, there wasn't much that he could leave me that would make a material financial difference." She added.  Jenny was about as rich as they come.  She didn’t have to work, and especially didn’t have to work for someone else.  She always had though.  Jenny wanted the experience of working her way up the corporate ladder despite having a trust large enough to feed a small nation.  But she came from tough stock.  Her father and grandfather before her had each amassed amazingly large accumulations of wealth, making each of them one of the ten richest people in the world in their turn.

They both gave away 98% of their entire wealth to charity only leaving a small fraction of their wealth in a spend thrift trust to each of their children.  Jenny was just starting out.  She didn’t have the inventive genius of either her father nor her grandfather, but she did have an amazing drive and probably would eclipse them some day.

He recollected his thoughts catching the time on his phone, "I understand.  I can't stay long, but couldn't delay the visit. I will do what I can." Brad said.

"That's true.  God, this must be a homicide, which is hard for me to fathom at the moment, but I do know that if it is something atypical then you can definitely figure it out.  Shit. shit. shit! It must be something extra gruesome or they would have just sent bots and some junior level investigator.  This isn't normal is it?" Jenny asked.

"I can't say more, but you know what I do." Rubenz said, "I do need to ask you two remaining  questions:  When did Terry's ex-wife contact you and what type of products did Terry's business distribute?"

"She popped in via holovision and started ranting at me." Jenny said, "I wasn't here.  Terry and I lived at his house.  This is the first time I've been here since just after the wedding 2 months ago.  She still had a holo key allowing her to appear at his house.  I guess that was primarily for their daughter to call.  I don't think I ever saw his ex call via holo before."

"It must have been around 7pm.  I checked in through the police website and was routed to the officer in charge.  When I saw the url address pop up, it had your badge id and that's when I realized the case was assigned to you, I just called you immediately and didn't finish filling out the form online." Jenny said

Rubenz thought of the crappy security loophole on the police website.  That overly simple url had caused problems before, and it could have almost derailed this investigation.  He clicked a button on his phone, which tagged this time in the interview as an item for internal process review.  His superiors were always looking for situational examples, anecdotes that they could show to politicians to make improvements, budget justifications, and get things done in general.

Jenny hadn't stopped talking, "so he was primarily involved in medical prosthetics.  We shipped prosthetics all around the world, not just for veterans."

"Just prosthetics?" Brad asked.

"Yes, well and a few accessories that shipped with them for maintenance or repairs."

"Was Terry involved in any other businesses? Any other product lines?" Brad asked.

"No, there were a number of shells and subsidiaries in different countries, but it was all the same primary business."

"Ok, Jenny, get some rest" Brad was going to table the hard questions until he had more background information.

Continue to Next Chapter - 017 – Manhood Revitalization Services

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