He lost control. Only for a moment. But it was long enough. The damage was done. He stood looking at the paper weight in his hand. Then to her. Laying on the floor. While his momentary loss of control was not intended, or good. His mind quickly took over. Thinking; This is his house. His prints would be everywhere . He looked at his watch. 3:15. He had to move fast. He smeared the prints on the paper weight, making it impossible to get clear prints from it. Heading to the back door. He broke the glass from the outside. Also smearing any prints on the door and frame.
3:20. Time to get out of there, and establish a solid story of where he was. Out the little used side door not worrying about prints. He headed to the garage. There, he got into his car, went out the back driveway.
3:30 Arriving at the restaurant to meet friends for an early supper. Entering and making sure he found his friends. They sat and talked for about ten minutes. Coffee was served, food ordered.
“You know Roberta was supposed to meet us here at 3:30. You know she is never late for anything, I’m getting worried, I’ll call her.”
With that he reached for his cell phone. First he tried the house number. He let it ring until the answering machine kicked in. “Roberta, I’m up at Ceaser’s with Becky and Jim, we’re ordering now. Let me know where you are. Bye Hon.” He hung up. A few minutes he made a point of trying her cell phone, Not getting an answer he left another message..
When 4;00 rolled around he tried her cell phone again. Not getting an answer he left another message. This time they were all worried. Becky suggested they call the police . He reluctantly agreed as being a half hour or more late for anything was out of character for her,
So he called the police and reported her as missing. They said they’d send a car out to his place to make sure nothing was wrong at the house, He said he’d meet them there.
5:00 He arrived at his house. There were half a dozen police cars parked all over the street. Along with a ambulance. He got out and ran to the house panicked ” What was wrong? Why all the police cars, and ambulance? “
Enter Lt. Columbo
Lt Columbo sat watching for a few minutes from his old Peugeot.
Finally he got up and wandered over to him.
“Mr. Krammer. ?”
“I’m Lt Columbo. “
“ Oh, Yeah, Can I help You?”
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, sir, But its your wife, “
:What's wrong, has something happened to her?”
“I’m afraid so sir, You see, when the officer arrived he found her in the office, She’s dead sir”
Columbo waited and watched his reaction . He was aware of how he looked. The mussed hair Rumpled suit, and the raincoat that was far from new, He played with his cigar watching the reaction to the news of his wife's death. He waited for the next question,
“How? What happened?”
“Sir it appears to be a burglary gone wrong. The back door was forced open, She is int office. Apparently she surprised the intruder, and he killed he with what was at hand. I’ll have a officer stay with you for a while until you calm down. “
“Lt, Columbo, in here please.”
“Excuse me, I have to go”
He left the man standing in the driveway. From just inside the door he watched him for a couple minutes, In the office he surveyed the scene.
The victim lay on the floor The rest of the office seemed to be undisturbed except for the desk, which was messed up papers spread all over it, and the keyboard pushed off to one side, and the mouse almost of the edge of the desk.
The back door was examined. The smeared prints noted and examined. One of the other detectives called Columbo to the side door, out of the laundry room. The room was neat with a top of the line set of washer and dryer. What interested them was the door. At first it appeared to not have been used in a long time. Upon closer inspection, it seemed there was a lack of dust on the doorknob itself. Columbo had them dust the doorknob and door and frame for prints and look for more disturbed dust. Which they found. They made sure to photograph and document everything they found. Outside they found a footprint in the dirt along the edge of the path to the garage. Columbo had the make a cast of it.
Returning to the front of the house he watched Mr. Kramer for a minute. Then approached him.
“Ah Mr. Kramer , a word if I may.. Say those are nice shoes,” He lied. in truth he thought they were the ugliest things he’d ever seen.
“Thank you, I had them custom made,”
“May I, he asked, and bent to look at them closer. He looked at them, noticing the pattern on the sole of the shoe. Also the trace of mud in the edges of the pattern. "Thank you, I'll be sure to tell my nephew about them." He turned to the cars, s and started down the driveway.
"One more thing, that car of yours is beautiful."
"Thanks, its a Mercedes,
" It's a beautiful car, may I?"
Columbo walked up to the car admiring it. This time he meant it. Leaning in the driver's window, he noted the mileage,. Turning back to Mr. Kramer, he pulled out his phone, "May, I take some pictures of the car? For my nephew, he's a real car nut, he'll love seeing this car"
“Yeah, take all the damn pictures you want. What are you doing to find out who killed my wife? "
"We're working on it now,sir.”
Mr. Kramer stormed off in a huff
Columbo stood looking at him, Thinking.
An hour later, Columbo was in the office with the detectives, looking over the pictures and evidence from the scene.
“He did it. I know it.”
“How Lieutenant ?”
“I’m not sure, But it's too neat, no usable prints on the back door, or paper weight,, No extra prints in the house . Clear prints on the side door. Way too much dust dust on the door and knob, obviously hadn’t been used in a long time. Suddenly , there a nice new set of prints,why suddenly use a door you hadn’t used in ages? “ Columbo paused. Thinking.
“Okay, here what you do, Go to his office talk to everyone who was there this morning. Find out everything. where he was, who he saw, talk to everyone, find out what they were doing, also get a background on both him and his wife. Find out who saw him last and when and where.
Later he got a call from the detective, he needed to talk to one of the assistants.
“Lt Columbo, sir, a Pleasure to meet you How can I help you sir?”
“Ah, They tell me you are the personal assistant for Mr. Kramer.
What exactly did you do this morning?”
“Mr Kramer arrived just before nine. He had me take the Mercedes to the dealer for its routine service, You know tune up, oil change, and it needed new tires.”
“I see, so you had the car most of the morning?”
“Yes, from nine to almost noon, when I brought it back and parked it back in his space, and returned the keys, and gave him the bill, “
“Okay, can you give me the address of the dealer,?”
The assistant handed him a copy of the bill.
Columbo, looked it over, Interesting, Noting the mileage was noted from the oil change. “Thank you, You’ve helped a lot. Can I keep this?”
“Yes, its a extra copy I med for the records.”
“Thank you, I appreciate it.,
“Oh and one more thing, when was the last time you saw Mr. Kramer today?”
”Two o’clock I think,
“Let me think, about it for a minute, I know he had to leave for the dinner appointment with his friends. Roberta was supposed to meet them there.”
“Ok, that helps a lot. Thank You. “
Lt Columbo had an idea, “Get me a map of the city, where the office is, the dealer, and his house is. We have the mileage the dealer had when they did the oil change, and I have the mileage that's on it now, Question, What's the miles between the dealer, and his office, and the restaurant and back to his house? That should be what's on the car now, The next morning was spent driving from the dealer to the office, then to the restaurant. They then knew what the mileage should be. His car has too many miles. Columbo sat thinking how come his car has too many miles? He drove it more then he said.
“Ok, whats the distance from the office to the house? Then from the house to the restaurant? and back to the house? Some some driving answered the questions,
Columbo figured it out, the miles added up if you did the right trips in order.
“He was at the house before three pm, How do we prove he was there?” he asked the other detectives,
“Ron, How you doing with the backgrounds?”
“Got everything Lt. Right down to his email accounts, even have a list of emails he sent yesterday, “
“Let me see them, hmm”
“See here at the top, hers the time and date it was sent,”
“Whoa, He sent three at 3:05 yesterday afternoon. “
“But we have to prove they came from his computer,”
“Is that possible?”
“Yes, all computer have their own address, like a phone number, its called a ip address,”
“Can you find his, whats its called? “ Columbo asked Ron
“Yes, give me a little time,”
The next day Columbo and some other officers returned to Mr. Kramer's house. Columbo asked the officers to wait out out side.
Mr. Kramer was in the office when he arrived.
“Hello Columbo, More questions?”
“No more questions, Just facts.
Please bear with me a few minutes, I have some things to show you.”
“Sir, we know she was killed between 2:30 and 3:30 pm the day before yesterday. The question is who did it? Answer, You did it. You hit her over the head with the paperweight from the desk.” He paused for effect, to let it sink in,
“You don’t have a alibi for 2-3:30 pm that day, No one at your office saw you after 2pm. Then you show up at the restaurant exactly at 3:30.
Where did you go for a hour and a half?
I’ll tell you. By 3pm you were here in this office. Sending emails. Weather your wife was here all along or not we don’t know, but sometime between 3 and 3:30 you killed her. and managed to get to the restaurant on time.”
“So I sent some emails at 3o’clock?, Big deal, it a web based email service, I could have sent them from any place I was at, and logged in at.
“I don't know much about this stuff, technology and all, I barely even use myself, But we have some real smart guys here on the force , who know everything there is to know about it. They say you can tell exactly what computer a email came from, by something they called a ip address. They tell me, every computer has one, So they took theses emails,” indicating the papers in front of him, “and traced the ip address they came from. It came from right here. This computer,” Columbo pointed to the keyboard on the desk. “At exactly 3:05 the day your wife died, You were here,”
“Thats doesn't prove anything. So what? I was here working before I went to the restaurant.”
“That in itself maybe not, but, there are other things, little things. The fingerprints bothered us. All the smeared prints, on the paperweight, and back door, And nice clear prints on the side door. A door that hadn't been used in monts, suddenly shows up with nice clean prints, . Too convenient. You figured we wouldn’t pay any attention to them, because its your house, And we probably wouldn’t have, except for the dust and dirt on a door that hadn’t been used in months, and a footprint, in the dirt just outside the door.” With that he produced the picture of the footprint that matched the shoes he was wearing.
“When I looked at your shoes the other day, I noticed the dirt in the edges of the treads, the same pattern as in this picture of the fresh footprint we found by the back door. Your shoe made the print, so you went out the side door, after killing her, and smearing the prints, and went into the garage, got the car, and left by the back driveway,”
Columbo pulled another picture of of his case, of a tire track, from the back driveway.
“This tire track exactly mates the treads on your new tires, So you went on the back driveway.
Which brings me to one more point. The miles on your car that day.”
Still another picture this time of the one he took with his phone, of the inside of his car. Clearly showing the odometer, reading. Along with the receipt from the dealer for the work done that morning.
Now here what bothered me for quite a while why did you you have so many miles on the car from just getting it from the dealer? Especially when I saw what the dealer had put down when they did the oil change. So we spent some time driving yesterday. Here let me show you.”
Now he had the other detective bring in the blowup of the map the used to figure out the miles.
“heres a map, See here your house, the dealer, your office and the resturant?”
“Yes, what this got to do with the miles on my car.?”
exactly this, Sir; We figured out the miles from the dealer the office, and then what the distance from the office to the restaurant, then to the house should be. This is what your Odometer should have said when I looked at it that day, Instead it says this, “ Indicating the picture he took,
“Way too many miles. So then the question becomes where did you get all those extra miles from? We now know you were at home, sir, so that account for some, and you still had to drive to the restaurant, to establish your abili, when she turned up missing. That accounts for the rest of the miles. Your assistant drove the car to the office you drove it home, sent emails, killed your wife, cleaned up after it, and drove to the restaurant, then back here after you called the police. Thats how your car got the extra miles on it. And we found out why you killed her, It appears you're having an affair with one of the interns,, I suspect your wife found out about it, Which would bad enough but she was also having a affair with her too. Its all in the emails from both your accounts.”
“Take him away gentleman,”
Columbo sat at the table collecting his pictures, and whistling
“This Old Man”
The time had come. Time to face facts. He was in deep trouble, There she sat across the room looking at him. If looks could kill, he'd been dead long ago. The gun in her hand could definitely kill. The the chances of her actually using it increased every minute.
Of theses facts he was painfully aware. The question then became how to get out of this mess, preferably without her shooting him. His mind raced though various endings, that could ensue, if he didn't have the right answers to her questions. None of them were good.
His hands bound behind him begun to ache, and his arms had long since started throbbing from lack of movement and being twisted around the wrong way for a extended period of time, All of this and more added to his discomfort. But then again they were designed to make him as unhappy as possible. In that respect they were working. Although , truth be told; her holding the gun was enough to make him very unhappy. That fact that it was his gun made it even worst. All of this aside. The problem is how to deal with the situation. Without getting shot with his own gun.
Several hours ago he had made contact with her to find a programmer r for a number of high end computer chips that had been recently liberated from their manufacturing plant, before they could be installed in the latest consumer electronics. On the black market to the right people they were worth probably twice their wholesale value. as theses chips could be easily programmed to contain male-ware that would be undetectable and easily started simply by the end consumer logging on to a network. and there was no way to detect it as it was built into the firmware and running along side the programs that are supposed to be there.
He had been posing as the thief of the chips. Trying to make a deal with her, to have her program the chips so he could get them back where they belong before they were missed. so his operation could use the embedded program to steal information and eventually millions of dollars. The deal was she would get a cut of the proceeds when they were activated over the next few months, he had half a million dollars for her as up front earnest money, for her as a good faith deposit to help seal the deal.
All was going well. Until one of her associates recognized him. From there the night just went downhill very quickly. The fact he had a gun, wasn't as much of a problem as fortunately he'd left his badge and gun permit at home. Carrying a gun in his line of "work" was to be expected. Being fingered as a cop, was not. He decided the safest way was to admit to being a cop. A cop who had more then enough with criminals getting a way with murder and making millions on the side. He wanted a piece of the action,
So he told her a tale of of how he'd been assigned to guard a shipment of computer chips, In doing his research on the project, he found out about their ability to be programmed at their basic level. He found a couple of other guys to help steal them in transit and get them back before they were missed, once they were programmed. Only he he needed her skills to do the programming, for a cut. and the profits would be be shared among involved with the stealing of the chips.
At first she didn't believe him. However, after seeing the wreak he was driving, and hearing how he'd seen a large number of slippery criminals go free, and not finding his badge or a wire on him, she softened up a bit.
"Ok, cut him lose." She finally barked.
A big guy came back to him, pulled out a thin bladed knife and cut the ropes that held him free. . He thanked her, as he started trying to move his arms and get his hands to work again.
"Lets get this straight; You even think about trying to cross me, and I'll feed you those chip to choke on, while I cut you from end to end. Slowly" She said as they lead him out to the truck. She kept his gun, They backed the truck into a warehouse. Inside there was a closed in room. It had double doors, and walls were sealed. Her men started unloading the boxes of chips. Each box was carried inside the room, The boxes were carefully opened and the chip removed by more people wearing white uniforms, . It was a clean room in the middle of a dirty warehouse. For the next several hours the boxes of chips were removed, put in special machines programmed with the male-ware and carefully replaced back in their original packaging, and resealed with original factory seals, Eventually all the chips had been through the whole process, and were returned to the truck. repacked exactly as they were when they arrived. It had been quite a impressive operation, She watched the entire operation from a office in the clean room, with him. all the time his gun while not directly pointed at him, was with her.
Eventually he became Optimistic that he might actually get out of this alive, and may even pull off the scheme.
Once the truck was reloaded and ready to go, she had another surprise for him,
"I think I'll go with you to make sure they get delivered safely and there are no problems"
"Fine, hop aboard" he said, As they got into his car to follow the truck.
A couple of hours later they arrived at the warehouse where they were supposed to be delivered,
While the truck pulled around to unload the chips, several men came out of the shadows.
They surrounded the car,
"Ma'm your under arrest. " One of the men handed him his badge, and he pulled out a second gun, he'd hidden in the car.
The music could be heard playing in the background. Between the distance and the closed windows, it was hard to make out. . A few recognizable strains did finely make it across the street. If one listened close it could almost make them out. He hurried towards the music. Around to the back. There there a door. Checking it he found it to be locked. No problem. A little Sleight of Hand , and a couple of clicks latter, it opened quietly. He quickly slid in and gently closed the door. Pulling out his small but powerful flashlight, he found his way around the room. The music could be hear clearly now, Sinatra, played as people danced in the next room. Quickly he found what he was looking for. There hidden in the corner of the built-in bookshelves was the object of his quest. As he was about to put it in his bag and prepare to leave undetected, he heard the door latch on the inside door start to turn. Thinking quickly he ducked under the big old oak desk that stood in the center of the room. There was really no where else to go.
"I know I have that album here somewhere. Let me see if I can find it. You wanted to hear the rare 78 recording of "This Love of Mine" With Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra. This the first song Frank ever got credit for composing." The two men turned and headed for the door, turning out the lights as they left. He quickly crawled up from under the big oak desk. Taking his light he looked around some more. The shelves went from about waist high up the the ceiling and were custom built to hold records. A lot of them. He noticed they had labels on each of the shelves, and to one side there was a master list , telling what was in each section of shelves. Looking over the list he found many early 78's and even some piano rolls , then moving to the traditional speed records he found a wide variety of genres from folk, blues, jazz, and opera, and everything in between, The list of artist amazed him. Suddenly it dawned on him, the longer he stayed, the greater the risk of his getting caught. Reluctantly, he he made sure he had what he came for, and prepared to slip out the door.
Just as he was about to open the door, the lights went on. The two men from earlier stood at the other door. One was holding a gun. "I just wanted to make sure you're stealing the right record" He said with a grin. He came arose the room, hand out for the bag he had with the prize had worked so hard for. Reluctantly. he handed the bag over to the owner of the gun. Inside were several very rare and valuable records, that and collector would love to have in their collection. He took them out, looked them over . “Good Choices” he commented, as he handed the bag back to the thief.
The thief, quickly turned and walked to the far wall. where a original Frank Sinatra Gold Record plaque hung. It was Capital Records For his album Nice ’N’ Easy, 1960 , He took it down from the wall and walked out so quick they didn't have time to react, they just stood stunned.
The next day they got a note saying they had failed their security test. Being the Sinatra Gold Record wasn't legally his, he couldn't report it stolen, there wasn't anything they could do.
Several months later they got and post card saying "S" had been return to its rightful home.
The idyllic rural setting was the perfect place to plan a murder. With the sun shining down, and the wind gently blowing and summer calling. The lovers lay on the blanket on the middle of the field holding each other and talking blissey in between kisses and other loving actions. At one point she mentioned her husband, and how it would be so nice not to have to sneak around behind him. He said that could be arranged. All he needed was the right time and place to make it work so they were both off the hook. He worried for nothing.
What neither of them knew is that her husband had been watching and listening to the whole thing. His anger and passion grew every second as he saw his wife and his best friend do things she'd once done with him. As he watched them, it crossed his mind, should he kill one or both of them. They both had betrayed him, and made him a joke he couldn't live down. It occurred to him that that killing while richly deserved was in fact too good for them. There must be another way to make them pay, preferably publicly. He took out his smart phone and started recording the scene in front of him.
Over the next several weeks he deliberately made opportunities for them to be together. What they didn't know of course is the he was close behind them. watching and recording their every move. As painful as it was he watched and recorded as they made love, and the talk of their plans together. He also left pictures he'd taken of them in compromising positions with each of them, for them to find. Making sure they were able to tell where the the picture had been taken. Then he sat back and watched their reactions. They were suddenly very nervous, and jumpy, and always looking over their shoulders, as well they should be. Eventually he ramped it up to short videos that would open mysteriously on their computers. He even timed some of them to open when they were in public. He changed the splash screen so it was them naked in passion when they turned on the machine, and next time it would be their regular screen. They were on edge not knowing what to expect next. Over the next few weeks he upped the campaign with more and more public pictures of them together, Making it harder and harder for them to explain to people why the pictures were showing up, and more interestingly what they were together as she is married. He managed to post some not quite rische picture of them together on their respective facebook accounts. Then for the topper of all he created a website just for them. There he put up every picture and video he'd taken, in order,from the first day in the field until that last time they met. Then he sent the url to everyone on both of their email accounts, both business and personal.
Over the next several day, he sat back and watched as his wife and best friend tried to explain the pictures and videos on the web site. They here having a very hard time explaining why there were pictures and videos of them together, and how they had even come to exist and how the site was built, and who was behind it.
Finally, he came forward and admitted that it was all his doing. He had known about the affair for much longer than anyone had realised, and finally he had to do something. He admitted that killing one or both of them had crossed his mind. However, he decided that was too good for them. So he devised another way to humiliate and torture them as they had him. By the time he came clean on his scheme to ruin them, they were both pretty much ruined. She was alienated from all her friends, and social circles, and no man would go near her. He was in pretty much the same shape. On top of that, he business had taken a beating and many clients left upon hearing what had happened, so in the end he was pretty much ruined, and no woman would go near him either.
He freely admitted to a certain sense of both joy and pain watching them, but felt it needed to be done. As for proving he'd hacked their emails and the computers, he said that would be impossible as he had enough computer skills to get past any security system on any home machine. The web site was also untraceable, and set up to stay there for several years, to keep coming back to haunt them. He said there was no way he could take it down if he wanted to.
So in the end he got his justice and revenge. He finally divorced his wife, and got a nice settlement, and his best friend had to leave the country to start over.
So now he lives in the tropics, rarely ever touches a computer, and generally enjoys being a free man, with no wife.