The Problem


“When did you discover the body?” I asked her.

“When I got home. I parked in the garage and came in through the kitchen. I heard the TV on, so I went in to turn it off. He was in the chair.”

“Where had you been?”


“I’ll need more than that.”

“I met a friend for drinks.”

I could smell the alcohol. “Who?”

She paused. “I’d rather not say.”

“OK, for now I’ll let that pass. Where?”

“A bar. The Hideaway.”

“When did you get there?”


“When did you leave?”


“Can anyone verify that?”

“The waitress came over to us as soon as we went in, and she ran his credit card just before we left.”

“His card.”

She shifted in the chair. “Yes.”

“Would you rather tell me who he is or be arrested on suspicion of murder?”

She actually thought about it. Then, “I can’t tell you who he is.”

“Why not?”

She looked away. “He’d kill me.”

That seemed a good reason. I decided to change my approach.

“Any idea why your husband would have done this?”

“I don’t believe he did.”

“Why not?”

“His business was successful. Our daughter just married a really nice young man.”

I stared at her. “Maybe it was you.”

“What do you mean? Do you think I killed him?”

“No. Maybe he was unhappy with you. With your relationship.”

“With him?”

“Yes, with him. Not with the guy at The Hideaway.”

“He didn’t know about that.”

I paused. “Are you sure he didn’t?”

She looked away. “Yes. We were very careful.” She looked back at me. “Why? Do you think he did?”

“He told me.”

Her eyes got bigger. Then, “I don’t believe that.”

“Somebody told him they saw you with the guy.”


“Yes. Going into The Algonquin last Tuesday.”

She shifted again in her chair. “That couldn’t have been me. I was visiting a friend.”


“I can’t tell you.”

I sat still and stared at her. Then I said, “You seem to visit a lot of friends.”

“Why not?” she asked, smiling. “I don’t have to go to work. It’s one of the advantages of being married to a wealthy man.”

“Any disadvantages?”

She got serious. “He worked all the time, and when he wasn’t working he’d be thinking about work.”

“Not much fun, huh?”


“But the guy from The Hideaway and The Algonquin is fun.”

She smiled. “Oh, yes.”

I paused. “He’s married, right?”

She nodded.

“His wife know about you?”

“No.” She smiled. “She doesn’t have a clue.”

“What would she do if she did?”

“Divorce him, probably. He’s got money too, and I’m sure she’d like half.”

I paused. “How much was your husband worth?”

“That’s an inappropriate question.”

“Never mind. I can find that out.”

I paused again. “Did your husband know who the guy from The Hideaway is?”


“How about the friend you visited? Did he know him?”

“How do you know it was a guy?”

“Lucky guess. Did he?”


“So your husband didn’t do much besides work?”

“Watched sports on TV. Drank.”

“Did you two get along better after the wedding?”


“So you didn’t talk much.”

“Rarely. Never about anything important.”

“So you found companionship elsewhere.”

“Yes,” she said, slurring the word into two syllables.

“Did he?”

“I doubt it.”

She had started to nod off but got up, went to the bar in the corner, and poured herself a straight scotch. She took a big swallow, came back and sat back down.

I waited as she drank some more. “Did your husband ever give you any indication that he might do something like this?”

“No,” she answered drowsily.

She was about to spill her drink, so I took it and put it on the table. She fell asleep or passed out without ever realizing I wasn’t a cop. I took the small .25 from my pocket, wiped it clean, and put it in her hand with her finger on the trigger. I held the gun to her head, my hand over hers, and pulled the trigger.

Then I called the guy’s wife and told her I had solved the problem.

~ fin ~

Don Samson's "The Problem" was published in Shotgun Honey in 2015. A retired English professor and former technical writer, Don now lives in Bethune Beach, Florida, with his wife, Joy. When he's not working on crime/PI fiction or the yard, he enjoys the beach and travels to London and to Yellowstone in the summer.