All Cheaters Know
By Jim Rambo
She was surely a product of one of God’s best days; a singular, glowing beauty. In his thirty two years, Paulie Samson thought he had seen nearly all of them but this sculpted, raven-haired woman outdistanced the rest by far. The problem was: he and the prosecution had just chosen her as a juror on this, his first murder trial. Paul had been court- appointed as defense counsel for Dwight Hayden, a strapping, black street thug who had, without any doubt, killed one of his street brethern. It had happened many months ago and Dwight had used a pavement brick, smashing it into the back of his nameless victim’s head. The fight was, incredibly, over who had first rights to a park bench seat that was located just outside the Middletown Police Station. The city’s assorted losers congregated there day and night.
Paulie had never given himself such a mandate but circumstances this one time, he told himself, demanded it. “I’ve got to have her!” Even the pressure of the pending trial and its demands had not suppressed his fascination…and he found that very strange for a good lawyer and husband, as he was known. He anxiously waited to give his opening statement that would give him the opportunity to look into those dark eyes in juror seat number eleven.
The trial was a three day long drop kick for the prosecution and Dwight was rightfully convicted of manslaughter. But the process was far from routine in Paulie’s mind. Those dark eyes had flashed brightly as juror number eleven bent over to suppress a laugh over his cross examination of one very confused state’s witness. And later, during his summation, she had snickered openly when he mocked the testimony of other prosecution witnesses with biting sarcasm.
Paulie mistakenly concluded that his antics had won her over and that a hung jury, at a minimum, would be the result. Common sense, and not flirtation, however carried the day. Dwight was convicted by the jury and each one of them had spoken. They had drawn on what local lawyers frequently referred to as their “God-given, Kent County common sense.”
For the next few weeks Paulie couldn’t get her to go away. Number eleven was constantly in his vivid imagination and his law practice was not his priority for a change. His secretary and good family friend, Myra, had made several sarcastic comments about his lack of focus but nothing more. And then it changed. It all changed when a dozen ruby roses were delivered to his office.
Myra carefully, and without comment, placed them on his desk. Paulie, unsuspecting, opened the attached card that read, “Juror #11, with admiration”. Reading him clearly, Myra turned and returned to her desk, thoughts of Paulie’s wife, Debbie, crowding her mind.
You can reasonably conclude most of the rest of this tale: they had lunch where she demonstrated expertise with chop sticks, extended conversations during which he learned her name, Joanna Walls, and that she was a research chemist…unhappily married. A heart-stopping chemist? A scientist who exuded body chemistry too? Paulie could not believe it. All stereotypes were set aside. When they entered a restaurant or any other room together, all eyes turned in her direction: men and women.
In time, mere infatuation ran its course and they had circus sex in his office, in her office, and anywhere else available. He knew during their liaisons, that no matter the outcome, he would never ever forget the sight of lightly-shaded sunshine, glistening down her back and over her perfect, undulating, tanned ass. Paulie’s notion of bliss had been forever defined.
However, she soon began hinting about divorce and remarriage. She wanted to go to Dwight’s judge and report that other jurors on his case had admitted visiting the scene of the crime, contrary to the judge’s instructions. Her thought was that Paulie and Dwight would somehow benefit from the resulting mistrial. When Paulie repeatedly voiced disagreement or was indifferent to her aggressive legal suggestions, the saucy scientist exhibited another unusual and surprising side. She quickly dumped a shocked Paulie, not answering his repeated calls, and soon thereafter latched onto a chemist colleague.
Joanna had always kidded with Paulie about his being “suicidal,” as she put it. By that, she meant that his behavior would, ultimately, be his undoing with his wife, Debbie. And so, several months later, when Paulie was compelled to get to the local 7-11 for the morning newspaper, he was dumbfounded at the headline: “Local Chemist Victim of Murder Suicide.” Joanna was dead and her new lover, of European descent he learned, had strangled her in her home, which her husband had abandoned only weeks before. Suicidal, the new lover had traveled to his own lab after the killing and inhaled the helium in a ballooning plastic device that had been tightly wrapped around his neck. I wonder if she teased him about being suicidal, too? Paulie wondered in his homicide-induced haze.
The severely wounded legal warrior drove home from the 7-11, cried bitterly in his coffee, and confessed all to Debbie, completely ignoring a defense lawyer’s first instinct. Joanna’s beauty, and a temporary, dizzying bliss, had turned him into a being that he didn’t recognize. Debbie pretended not to know most of the sordid truth, thanks to Myra’s call, but she was relieved at its finality anyway.
Debbie and Paulie Samson remained married and are still together today but, as all cheaters know, it was never the same . . .