Repost: Flash Fiction from the Prompt “Stain”

“I’m not certain what to say,” Marion Fitzgerald stammered, looking down at the bloodstain on the cushion of her white designer couch. I truly don’t know how that got there.”

Joe Francis, a LA homicide detective stared at the middle-aged blonde and said in a tired voice, “Mrs. Fitzgerald, where were you last night at around 8 pm? That’s the time the coroner has determined your husband died.”

Marion lifted her sky-blue eyes and stared at the detective. “You are not suggesting…you wouldn’t insult me by thinking…oh, my goodness, yes, you are. I can tell by that smug look on your face. You think I had something to do with my husband’s death.”

Joe took a deep breath and wished he could have a cigarette. The Department frowned on smoking when inside a victim’s home, but god damn it, he could use a little relief. “Ma’am, I am simply gathering information now. Can you please tell me where you were last night at 8 pm?”

Marion sank down on the couch next to the bloody cushion and leaned back. “I was with my personal trainer at that time. We were working out down in our gym.”

Yeah, Joe thought, and what else were you doing down there? “And can you give me the name of your trainer so I can get his statement?”

“Her statement,” Marion corrected, “and, yes, her name is Julie McGovern. She is a darling twenty-five year old, who my husband and I have been training with for the past three years.

Joe’s eyebrows lifted. Could there be more to that relationship? Could either Marion here be attracted to women and ready to get rid of the old man, or maybe the old man was attracted to Julie and Marion was pissed off. “Where might I find Miss McGovern, ma’am? Could I have her phone number?”

Marion shook her head. “I know it sounds coincidental, but Julie left this morning on a Trans-Atlantic cruise. She won’t be back in the United States for at least a month.”

“Would you know the name of the cruise line? I might speak to her by telephone.”

“She never said. She is off on her honeymoon.”

Joe frowned. “When did she get married?”

“I don’t remember exactly, but it was a few month’s back. They were waiting to leave for the honeymoon when they had some money saved up.”

“And did that money come from you in exchange for killing your husband?”

Marion jumped up. “How dare you. I refuse to say another word without my lawyer present. I’ll have you know, I loved my husband.”

“Is that why your make-up is perfect today and you’d dressed up as if you’re going somewhere? You’re not exactly the picture of the grieving widow.”

Marion walked over to the front door and opened it. “Out.” she ordered. “And don’t come back unless you’re here to arrest me.”

Joe was glad to leave. He needed that smoke. Besides, he was confident that a quick listing of passengers on ships would reveal Julie’s presence. He felt certain it wouldn’t take much to ferret out the truth, and Marion Fitzgerald was definitely part of it. Why these women thought they could get away with murder was beyond him. And yet, he knew, there was a good chance she would. She was one technicality away from just that, and enough money supplied to the right defense attorney could buy her an acquittal. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cigarette pack. Empty. “How fitting,” he mumbled and headed for his ten-year-old Ford Taurus with a dent in the driver’s door. “How god damn fitting.”

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