A Perfect Crime
It isn’t easy, committing murder without being caught.
There are really two major issues, ruminated George Carver, as he gazed out across his sunlit suburban garden. The first: committing the act. Human beings have a powerful sense of self-preservation, and he wondered if he had the strength, both physical and psychological, to overwhelm this. It would have to be something without bloodshed. George couldn’t abide blood. He had once hit a deer with his car and could still vividly remember the smell, the awful noises the dying animal had made as he cleared it from the road. Poison, then? Or maybe…
His mind drifted lazily to the second problem: what to do with the body? George knew he was an intelligent man, and this seemed to him the most intractable issue. He’d read enough crime fiction to have some ideas: frame someone else, stage an accident, ensure it’s never found. All had their own distinct perils. Could he club her with a frozen leg of lamb and then feed it to the policemen who investigated, an homage to Roald Dahl? There would be blood, but perhaps not too much, although he had often read that headwounds bleed like the devil. Too predictable to work, surely?
He was still musing on these problems in an apathetic, Sunday-afternoon way when Ingrid entered and ran a hand lightly over his arm as she passed. George raised an eyebrow as she bustled through the room.
“It would be lovely at home today.”
He hated how she still referred to Trondheim as home, rather than here, in Colorado. It made him feel that given half a chance she would abandon him without a second thought to return to return to her beloved Norway. He’d never seen the appeal himself.
“Don’t you think?”
George made a non-committal noise and Ingrid rolled her eyes. Then she was gone again, in a swish of shell-colored skirt and blouse. They had been married for nine years, several years after they had first met at the University of North Dakota in a dingy bar on central campus. She had been a medical student, desperate to sample life in the USA, he, studying law, had been desperate to get out of Oregon and go anywhere that would have him.
He could hear her continuing her one-sided conversation from the hallway, although the content of her speech was as inaudible as if they were both underwater. That annoyed him, too. He put his headphones on to escape. They were the big kind, the kind that enveloped your whole ears and a good part of your head and filled it all with only the noises you wanted to hear. Like Mahler.
It would have to be poison, he reasoned, but how best to deliver it? And, come to that, where to acquire it without leaving a trail? Perhaps there was a way to commit the perfect murder, but he lacked both the technical know-how and financial resources to make it a reality. He didn’t dare have his victim disappear or have been obviously murdered. The police always began with the immediate family and once they got hold of him, he knew they’d never let it go. No, the only solution was to go into this thing with the knowledge that the police would find the body. It would have to be made to look like an accident.
The headphones were good, George thought happily. The sound quality superb, and although expensive they had clearly been a wise investment. They were also good at blocking out distraction, too good for him to hear Irene shuffling about the house or the banging of his neighbor with whom they shared a party wall. Far too good for him to hear the short cry, the series of thumps, and finally the too-deep silence of the house.
What manner of accident was the only question that remained. He had read about a case in North Carolina where a husband had been convicted of murder after his wife was found dead at the bottom of the stairs. The husband had maintained it was an accident, but that case ruled it out as an option. Could he cut her brakes? No. He didn’t know how, and in any case surely the police would check her car if it had a fatal collision. An icicle as a stabbing weapon? He was drifting into the realms of fantasy now—and there would be an obvious puncture wound.
The sun was drifting lazily into the west when George Carver stiffened suddenly, as if a tiny electrical current had passed through his body. Little blonde hairs were standing up on the nape of his neck and all along his forearms. They would go for a walk. It was so simple, so perfect. He would suggest a hike at the Colorado National Monument, not far from their home. It was all towering monoliths and sickeningly precipitous sides; she would be near the edge when he pushed her. Hard. She would slip, and stumble, and vanish. He would be the heartbroken widower, for a decent interval, then he could collect the life insurance and start anew with Angie. That too would require careful handling.
He would suggest it right now. Careful, George, he thought. You mustn’t take anything that hints you knew what was coming. An obvious trap. At this time of day, the park would be quiet. He would make sure they were not observed. Ingrid, regrettably, always stood too close to the edge. He glanced out the window. They would have to hurry.
Silence. How infuriating.
He listened intently. Heaving himself out of the armchair and muttering under his breath, he called her name again as he pulled open the door. George Carver strode to the foot of the stairs and then stopped and looked down. He stood for many minutes, lost in thought, then returned to the armchair. Sinking down, he rested his chin on his fingers and wondered what on earth he was going to do next.
Stephen Hosking is a writer based in the East Midlands, United Kingdom. He has had four stories published so far (Aphotic Realm, Ekphrastic Magazine, Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction, and College Language Association Literary Journal), and one story shortlisted in the Writer’s Forum Short Story Competition. Stephen is currently focusing on his first novel and hopes to secure literary representation for this by the end of 2019. He is also working to complete a collection of short stories for publication next year. Stephen specializes in historical fiction, crime, and horror, although he has tried his hand at various genres. Outside of writing he enjoys reading, traveling, sports, and walking his dog. Visit him on Twitter: @SteveHosking2.
This article originally appeared in the September 20, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.