The Missing Wife
Bernard Agani sat patiently in a police interrogation room, waiting for the investigators to arrive and tell him why they asked to return to the police headquarters again. He thought about his wife who disappeared four days ago, and the police still have no clues about where she might be. What terror she must be going through. After what felt like an eternity to him when every minute counted, two detectives entered and sat down at the table opposite Bernard. Bernard referred to them, in his own mind, as Frick and Frack.
Before the detectives could sit down, Bernard asked, “Why am I here? My wife is still missing and you’re wasting time talking to me when you should be searching for her. Unless you have something to tell me now.”
“We do, actually. Please be patient, and we’ll get to it.” the detective Bernard thought of as Frick said. He was tall and thin. “First we need to clear up a few things.”
“I gave a statement to the police the same day I reported her missing.”
“Yes, sir, we have that,” the other detective that Bernard thought of as Frack said. He was an older gentleman, clean shaven and bald. “You’ve been very cooperative, but we need to clarify a few discrepancies.”
“Like what?” Bernard asked, a little irritated.
“Well, to start,” Frick said, “on the day you reported your wife missing, and we searched your home looking for possible clues, you volunteered your laptop and cell phone. You said you couldn’t find your wife’s phone.” Bernard nodded in agreement. Our cyber forensic department found a few things on your laptop that, frankly, are disturbing. We were wondering if you can clear them up for us. It would help us to find your wife.
“Discrepancies like what?”
“For example,” Frick continued, “your search history shows you were seeking information on how to make a body disappear. Can you explain that, please.”
Bernard smiled, “Of course. I’m a novelist. All my novels are murder mysteries. I research things to make my novels believable.”
“Then a week after that search, your wife disappears. Coincident?”
“Yes. In all my other novels, the victims are shot. This time I wanted to try something different.”
“One of the things you found out was to use lye to dissolve a body. A search of you garage turned up several bags of lye. Another coincidence?”
“I don’t where those bags of lye came from. I certainly didn’t buy them.”
“And yet, we found a security video of you buying the lye at a hardware store the day after your wife disappeared.”
Bernard shift in his chair. “I may have bought some just to see what it looked like. I don’t remember.”
“Ten bags?” Frack asked.
“I don’t know. I was in shock. I thought my wife might have been killed.”
“No matter,” Frick said. “we’ll circle back to that. Do you have a draft of your manuscript? We could find one on your computer?”
“No, No. Here’s the way I write all my novels. I write everything in my head before I commit anything to my computer. There’s no draft manuscript.”
“Barnard, you haven’t published another book since you wife died ten years ago,” Frack pointed out.
Before the detectives could continue, the Chief of Detectives knocked on the door and stuck his head inside. He motioned for the two detectives to step into the hallway. Twenty minutes later, Frick and Frack returned.
“Mr. Agani… Bernard,” Frick started, “while we were interviewing you, other detectives were executing a search warrant on your house.”
“Without my permission?” Bernard demanded, half shouting. Frick held out one hand palm and motioned for Bernard to remain seated and to calm down.
“We didn’t need your permission in this case” Frack replied. “The first time we searched your house we considered you a possible suspect so, we were looking for things like motive, blood, and other evidence. That’s routine. We also searched your car. We found nothing.”
Of course not. I didn’t kill my wife.”
“That’s correct, Mr. Agani,” Frick said. “Because you don’t have a wife. You’re not married. There is no Mrs. Agani.”
“What?” Bernard shouted as he stood up. “That’s crazy.”
Both Frick and Frack stood up. “Please sit down, Bernard, or we’ll have to restrain you,” Frack said. Everyone sat back down. “When detectives searched you house this second time, they looked for any evidence of your wife. We didn’t find any photographs of your wife. There’s no record of a marriage license, no birth certificate, no driver’s license, no clothes, no makeup, nor any meds for your wife.”
Before Bernard could reply, Frick asked, “Where’s your wedding ring?”
Bernard looked at his left hand in shock. “Damn. I don’t know. I must have lost it.”
“We did find your meds in your house,” Frick said. He took two pill bottles out of his pocket and set them on the table in front of Bernard. “Olanzapine and fluoxetine! Commonly used to treat schizophrenia. These bottles are full. You haven’t been taking your med.”
“Those aren’t my meds. I never saw them before in my life. I swear.”
Frack pointed to the doctor’s name on one of the pill bottles. “We called your doctor. He just arrived a few minutes ago to give us a statement. We should be able to release you to him.”
“Dr. Ed is here?”
“Also, this isn’t the first time you reported your wife missing, is it?” Frick asked. “We checked our files. You’ve reported her missing twice before. Each time you had stopped taking your meds. You need help, Bernard. Listen to your doctor and take your meds.”
Frick and Frack stood up and left as Dr. Eduardo Gladwin stepped inside the interrogation room.
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