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The back of Terry’s skull was caved in. A pool of blood surrounded his body and there was a splatter on the kitchen cabinets and on the gas range. The last thing he had seen before dying from blunt force trauma was his open laptop sitting on the kitchen counter right where he had left it. Ellen, still wearing rubber gloves, a surgical mask around her neck, and a cap over her hair, sat on the back patio as the body cooled sipping a chardonnay on ice while Christopher Cross’ seminal hit “Sailing” blasted through her Sonos speaker system.
Ellen had read enough to understand what was going on. She was the victim of adultery, but for some reason, she was not all that angry. Perhaps it was the chardonnay numbing the pain. Maybe she didn’t love her husband anymore. Whatever the reason, the first thought that came into her head after reading the sultry exchanges between her husband and best friend was not one of sadness. It was embarrassment.
A divorce in a town like Darien would not go over well at the club or at Kirby and Co., Ellen’s favorite coffee shop down on Post Road. She could just picture it now – the hushed conversations that would go on while she ordered an espresso or signed for her lunch bill at Roton Point. The rumor mill was vicious, cruel, and unrelenting and it would surely be in full-force if she decided to hire an attorney and divorce Terry. She wouldn’t dare call any of her other friends and tell them about what Rosie had done – this would only stoke the flames and cause her further embarrassment. So far as Ellen, the only people who knew about this sordid affair were her, Terry, and Rosie, and she planned to keep it that way.
For hours she ignored the text messages from Terry asking her if she could bring the laptop to him in the city. She sat at her island in the kitchen, staring blankly at the backsplash behind her stove and internally debating the pros and cons of killing someone with a fire poker.
The poker was heavy, and it would definitely kill Terry if she caught him on the side of the head with it, but to Ellen it just seemed a bit too medieval for her taste. The curved poker on the end would surely put a hole in his head when she connected, probably putting a small hole in his brain and cause way more bleeding than she cared to look at. She could just see it now – the defense holding up the living room fire poker in a plastic bag, asking a jury of her peers in New Haven or Waterbury to bring back a verdict of murder in the first degree. The fire poker was decidedly out.
This needed to be something that Ellen would enjoy doing, while also giving off the illusion that it was not her who did it. In the four-car garage, she rummaged through deflated basketballs, old shin guards, and Super Soakers of varying size – all things that Denise had at one point played with and then cast aside after a few days of use. In the bottom of one of the storage bins sat an aluminum baseball bat Denise had used during tee ball as a child. This was to be the murder weapon, a piece not so barbaric as the fire poker but definitely still brutal in its own way. She swung the bat in the garage a few times. It felt good in her hands, and she liked the sound it made when it whooshed through the air.
She had seen Casino before. Joe Pesci got what was coming to him. She planned on hitting him square in the temple, and then maybe get a few rib shots in just for good measure. She knew Terry would seize up and collapse after that first hit, the blood slowly drowning his brain. Enough time for him to think about what he had done to her, but not enough time to suffer for more than a few seconds before dying.
Ellen returned from the patio with her empty wine glass and began to plot her next move. She needed to call Terry’s cell phone a few times and leave a voicemail stating that she had only just seen his text messages and that she would not be able to get him the laptop before days end. Next, she needed to pack a bag and drive to Storrs to surprise Denise in her dorm room. She needed a retroactive alibi, and visiting her daughter at college seemed like a logical one. The timeline would be off by a few hours – it’d be tough to place Ellen in Storrs at the time of the murder – but at the moment she wasn’t worried about that. The chances of her getting nabbed for this were slim in her mind.
Before leaving, Ellen broke a window next to the front door of the home. She trashed the master bedroom and took several pearl necklaces and a diamond ring that had belonged to her grandmother so as to set the scene for a robbery. With the rubber gloves still on, she went back into the kitchen one last time, setting the baseball bat down next to her dead husband’s head and placing the empty wine glass in the dishwasher. .