I waited for Anne outside the bank. She would not wonder why I was there. It was normal for us to run into each other from time to time in such a small town. In fact, I had seen her just the day before. As I was heading into the grocery store, she was just leaving. She was a good friend, and we always had plenty to talk about — kids, family, the weather, that sort of thing.
She emerged from the bank carrying a stuffed envelope and some bags from shopping in town.
“Joanie, it seems we see each other everywhere these days.”
“I was just saying that to your brother at the grocery store the other day.”
“How is he liking his job as manager? He never talks to me anymore, now that we don’t see each other at mom and dad’s.”
“He seems to like it just fine. Lots of work, but the money is better I’m sure.”
“I need to stop by my husband’s office and drop off some papers. Would you like to walk with me?” said Joanie.
“Sure. Let’s cross through the park.” I said.
We need to walk through the park today if things are going to go as planned.
“That seems a bit out of the way, don’t you think?”
“Yes, but it is such a nice day.” I said.
“I really am in a hurry.” said Joanie, checking her watch.
“It won’t take that much longer.” I said.
I started off towards the park ahead of her, not leaving her much choice but to follow. We walked along chatting and looking at the trees and birds. The leaves were just beginning to change to fall oranges and reds.
Just then I wandered a bit off the path and saw something behind the bushes.
“AHHHH!” I screamed.
“What is it?” said Joanie.
“You might not want to look.” I said.
It was her brother. Shot and half buried behind some bushes. Tears came into her eyes, but she said nothing. She stepped back and looked at her brother, and then at me, and then back at her brother. I couldn’t understand her reaction. I tried to move closer and comfort her, but she again backed away and then started running towards the other side of the park. I ran after her. This wasn’t at all like I had expected.
Across the street, on the other side of the park, was the police station. She ran straight in the front door. I followed her in, still a little perplexed. She was at the front desk when I came in. She turned and pointed at me.
“That woman has been sleeping with my husband, and now she killed my brother to cover it up!” said Joanie.
I turned and tried to leave, but two officers who were walking in just then grabbed my arms. They brought me up to the desk.
“That is a very serious accusation. What proof do you have?” said the woman at the desk.
“My brother’s body is in the park behind some bushes. She just showed it to me.” said Joanie.
“So she admitted it?” said the woman.
“I didn’t admit anything because I didn’t do any of those things.” said Anne.
She knew we were cheating, but how did she know I killed her brother?
“I told my brother about the cheating yesterday when I was grocery shopping. He works there. He must have confronted her about it, and she killed him. Then today she was very pushy about walking through the park. She wanted to pretend to find my brother’s body and make it look like a big surprise.” said Joanie.
My friend was smarter than I ever gave her credit for. I still don’t know how she found out about the cheating. We had been very careful.
“I’ve known they were cheating for a while. I was planning to leave today. I bought some things I need and emptied our bank account. I’ve got a flight that leaves in a couple hours. It looks like I’ll be missing it though. I’m not leaving now that she murdered my brother.” said Joanie.
The police put me in a room and went to investigate the scene in the park. I didn’t see Joanie again until the trial. After that, I never saw her again. I’ve never admitted to killing her brother in all the fifteen years I’ve been here, but today I’m going to tell the parole board the true story and maybe it will make some difference. Finally admitting to all of it has already made me feel better.