“I’m told tomorrow would have been your wedding anniversary,” the officer said, glancing down at the charge sheet in her file.
Mrs Simpson ignored the comment.“You’re new here,” she pulled her chair a little closer to the table separating them. “Did they bring you in especially to investigate my case because none of the other detectives could sit here and accuse me of the things you are. Not Hardy. Not Morcombe. Not any of the guys who served with Doug. Who’ve sat at my dinner table and eaten my pot roast, been family friends for fifteen years.” She slammed her fist on the table. ‘This is a sham. I want to be released. I want to go home.”
“Your case is serious ma’am,” he cleared his throat and flipped through the pages of her file. “The department wants to ensure you are given a fair investigation and trial.”
Mrs Simpson’s chair screeched across the floor. She kept her back turned staring through the one way glass wondering who was on the other side watching. Was Doug up there?
“You lot want to make an example of me. Show that you give no preferential treatment to your own.”
When the officer said nothing, she walked away, pacing back and forth below the window, knowing whoever was up there wouldn’t be able to see her from that angle.
“I know my rights,” she said evntually, turning around. “I want to be assigned a legal representative of my choice.”
“You know Mrs Simpson there will be no legal representation.”
“This is not a cut and dried case like you are treating it. I was set up.”
The officer picked up a remote control and a large screen at the opposite end of the room lit up. A grainy film of Deirdre Simpson leaving Adam Hogart’s apartment building flickered to life.
“My husband sent me there to collect some high school memorabilia.”
“You and Adam were at high school together were you not?”
“We all were? Me, Doug, Adam.”
“And you and Adam were lovers.”
“But you are now.”
“No. It is not me having an affair. It is Doug. He’s been having an affair with a woman named Amy.”
“And you decided two could play at that game.”
“You are seen on film leaving his apartment.”
“It means ntohing.”
“You had sexual relations with Adam Hogart on the afternoon of May 12th sometime between one and three pm, at his apartment. ” The officer picked up a piece of paper with forensic results. “Science doesn’t lie.”
“I was forced into an internal examination,without my consentl. Which is a breach of my civil liberties.”
“In accordance with the Adulterers Act of 2021, Mrs Simpson, you forfeit any of your civil rights when a charge of adultery is bought against you.”
“And I fought tooth and nail to stop that law being passed.”
“That comes as no surprise, Mrs Simpson.”
“Who the hell knew I was there – to pick me up when I came out. Only Doug knew where I was. I am telling you – this is a set up. He wants to get rid of me.”
“Mrs Simpson, we are vigilant to those who threaten the very fabric of society. Adulterers like you.” He opened the file and replaced the forensics report. “I’m not here to listen to fairy stories about how things may have happened. Or why they happened. I am only interested in the fact they did happen. And now my job is to determine whether this is a moral or criminal case.”
“Where’s Adam? Why are you not questioning him?”
“Mr Hogart is not married Mrs Simpson. Only you have a charge to answer.”
“He’s a witness. He can corroborate that we’re not having an affair.”
“Mrs Simpson, you had sex with the man who is not your husband. Consequently, you have committed an act of adultery.”
Mrs Simpson walked back and forth again, dragging her hands from deep in the pocket of her crumpled jeans to push the hair off her damp forehead.
“Correct me if I am wrong officer,” she stopped and stared at him. “If I went to visit Adam with the intention of breaking my wedding vows then you find me guilty of a moral transgression of the sanctity of marriage – and you shoot me. If it was a moment of passion – you’ll commit me to seven years re-education as having committed the criminal act of adultery. At the end I’ll be released. Reformed. It’s kind of a no-brainer really.” She laughed. “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.”
“I’m sorry Mrs Simpson. It’s not as simple as just confessing to the realisation of your crime after the fact and avoiding the executioner’s gun.”
He pushed a blue piece of paper across the table. Mrs Simpson walked back to the table and picked it up, read it and then sunk into her chair.
“Husbands on the force don’t tell their wives everything.”
Mrs Simpson put the consent form for memory mapping back on the table top.
“We can pin point whether you knew it was a mistake before you entered Mr Hogart’s apartment, but went ahead with it anyway. Or whether it was – as you say, a crime of passion. You can sign now or I can get a court order.”
They watched on the other side of the window. The officer handed the blue form over and after a few minutes, Doug’s wife pushed it back unsigned.
“Where’s Adam?” Amy asked, clipping her badge to the pocket of her suit pants.
“Back at Dr Pietersen’s clinic. He’ll be back at work in a fortnight and all he’ll be sure of is he wanted to forget something so emotionally wrenching he paid to have it erased.”
“You’re confident her case will be dispensed of that quickly.”
“It won’t matter. Even if Dierdre were to somehow get legal representation and a proper trial – Adam’s memories have been erased. There will be no trace of the fact I asked him to see if he could seduce Dierdre.”
“You still can’t be certain Doug.” Amy’s face was pinched as she watched Dierdre turn and stare up at them.
“I don’t leave anything to chance.” His fingers brushed the side of her leg. ” I paid one of my informers to ring the house and pretend to be you, just before Diedrie was leaving to pick up the trophies for the twenty year reunion.”
“I don’t know whether to kiss you or slap you.”
“What’s a man to do?” Doug grinned, running his hand over her arse. “Three terms of a Puritan Government, the revoking of the Family Law Act and no access to Divorce. A man’s got to get creative if he’s to marry the woman he wants.”
This piece of flash fiction is based on Write Anything’s [Fiction] Friday prompt #155: “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.”
Author’s Note: Dr Pietersen and Adam come compliments of my wonderful friend and long time collaborative writing partner Paul Anderson, who first introduced us to these characters back in 2009 in his podcasted stories and gave me permission in November of that year, to base my NaNo around ideas he had presented in this series of stories.