That did it! I closed my eyes and grabbed her neck, squeezing, squeezing. I mopped sweat from my forehead as I waited until I was sure she wasn't breathing.
Dead. Dead. Dead. I was rid of her. Suddenly I felt free. Roxie would be proud of me. I was my own man. I could breathe again, and I inhaled deeply without the aid of my asthma inhaler.
After freshening up, I took the shortcut to the club, but when I arrived alone, everyone looked uneasy.
"Where's Martha?" Arlene, Martha's best friend asked.
My tension returned, but I gave a casual shrug. "She's not feeling well tonight." I smiled knowingly. "You know how it is."
"But . . . But . . . " Arlene stammered. She impaled me with an accusing stare. I shrugged and said nothing, but it was several long moments before Arlene stopped looking at me. She started talking to some other woman, whispering and looking in my direction.
What was going on here? Arlene had no way of knowing Martha was dead. I fought to remain calm, but sweat beaded in my armpits as I reached for my inhaler and pulled out instead a small gift-wrapped cylinder. Damn! Martha frequently joked that sometime she would give me a present instead of vice versa. I dropped the silver tube into my other pocket and reached again for my inhaler, hoping I wouldn't OD on medication.
Arlene excused herself and someone brought me a drink. I nervously chatted with the other guests for an hour or so until Arlene, looking pale and shaken, announced that dinner would be served.
We were at the table when two police officers arrived at the door. My tension increased. What was this! How could anyone have found Martha's body so soon? The plan had been for me to find it after that party and then call the police. They paused to talk to Arlene for a few moments, then came toward me.
"Jake Drewson?" one officer asked.