Saturday, March 12, 2011

Love Gone Bad

“There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen.”
-- “Red Wind” by Raymond Chandler

Once upon a time, and this was decades ago, dear, in case my wife is reading this, I was dating this woman, a good-looking chick named Charisse, named for Cyd Charisse in fact. For you young’ins out there, google the name of the singer and actress to find out who she was.

Anyway, as these things go, we were having an argument one night and I bellowed the cliché, “You know, you kill me.”

To which she shot back, “Yeah, well, you ain’t dead yet.”

Ha. You have to admit in hindsight, that was a pretty good comeback. Pertinent to the topic at hand, I’m fascinated when women kill men. Now I mean this in the twisted human pathology sense, not in those situations when a woman is being abused and has to take drastic measures to get out from under and maybe even protect her children. To me that’s justifiable. I’m talking about those times when it’s about greed or obsession, the tropes of noir.

For instance some years ago, and I’ve told this story on panels in answer to where do you get your ideas from, there were these two women. This might have been during the Gulf War, but this was at a time when mystery and crime writers would clip stories out of the newspaper or a magazine and keep a morgue of unusual or interesting crimes for possible use in a short story or novel – you know, before the internet. This story was in my paper, the L.A. Times and was about this soldier, a young man in his twenties, down at Camp Pendleton in the San Diego area. He’d come back from overseas doing his duty to his wife. Only while he was away, she’d fallen for somebody else, another woman. The two conspired to bump hubby off and collect on his insurance. But of course it had to look like an accident. Classic.

I think maybe the girlfriend was a roommate or at least the two were passing her off as such. They bake a blueberry pie for the guy as my man loves him some blueberry pie. Only they inserted the poison sac from a black widow spider in his slice of the pie. This cat eats every bite, but not the sac in the blue goo. At another point he’s relaxing in the bathtub, listening to some tunes, and one of them “accidentally” knocks the plugged-in radio into the tub. The radio shorts out but doesn’t electrocute him. The girlfriend has some mechanical ability and she puts a hole in the brake line of the man’s car. Like one of the old episodes of Mannix, where every other week the bad guys were cutting the PI’s brake line, our man is driving along, the brakes fail, but he manages to get the car under control and not crash. Still, apparently, he’s not suspicious.

They murderous couple might have tried one or two other ways to do him in, but these methods also don’t work. So one night they make it look like a burglary has happened and crack this poor bastard’s head open with a baseball bat, killing him. His luck ran out. It doesn’t take the cops long, interrogating them separately of course, to have them rat each other out. Again, classic.

For more women killing men, there’s Snapped on the Oxygen network. So ff indeed your significant other has a note pad and pen out when watching this show, be very afraid.


Reece said...

Nice post, Gary. If you or someone else had written a story like that one about the soldier at Camp Pendleton, the reader probably wouldn't have believed that someone could be that clueless. The truth is always stranger.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I immediately thought about the hysterial movie "I Love You To Death" with Kevin Kline and Tracey Ullman. Kline's character, too, was clueless. Which brings me to the question: Are men really that trusting or that stupid?