Jeffrey wanted to kill his wife. But it had to look like an accident. The man in the shadows murmured to his accomplice and asked to hear about the wife's daily schedule. At the end of the hour, the unseen man said it would be done on one of their fishing trips. Jeffrey's wife would accidentally drown while winter fishing on the Snake River.
He emerged from the Chicago Marriott on Michigan Avenue and paused. If Jeffrey had doubts, he had to run back to the suite and call off the shadowy men. But no, it was the only way he and Brandy could find happiness, which included, of course, Joan's houses and her money.
Jeffrey recalled going to the Sports Center at the mini-mall to check on new waders for Joan, but the sport store was closed, a victim of the economic malaise, which the pundits said would last another ten years.
So he saw Mickey Ray's and decided to get Joan some take-home. Young Brandy took the rib order and fluttered her blue eyes, giving Jeffrey a diffident smile. That was it, soul mates.
On the flight back to Boise Jeffrey tallied his expected assets: two houses, over $2million in investments, plus the half a million that Joan liked to keep in the money market. Seated in first class, he took a swig of white wine. Yes, he and Brandy could manage.
Jeffrey thought back to that fateful dinner. His mistake was the second bottle of Hells Canyon 2001 Gold Medal Syrah. Feeling mellow, he had proposed an open marriage to Joan, who flinched and then threw the bottle at him. She had bolted upstairs to her bedroom. Jeffrey feared she was going for her Sig Sauer Mosquito, the one with the ten-round clip. That is when he decided he had to get rid of Joan and found the Chicago connection.
They went to the Snake River mid-morning with light snow falling. Joan was resplendent in her tan fishing garb and surged ahead, yelling back to Jeffrey to be careful in the swift water. Jeffrey lagged behind as he was to leave the water at 10:15, saying he did not feel well. Then they would strike and Joan would have a drowning accident.
As Jeffrey reeled in his line, he received a blow to the head and fell to his knees on the rocky bottom. His eyes blurred and he was startled to see Joan making a beeline for the shore. Jeffrey raised his right hand in a feeble call for help. Joan's hard eyes met his and he understood. Jeffrey knew she had followed him to Chicago, knocked on the door of the shadowy man's suite after he departed and upped the ante.
Struggling to right himself, Jeffrey felt a sharp prod in the back as someone pushed him down into the icy water, holding his face down in the rushing current. He gasped and struggled, but Jeffrey would soon be on his way to the Columbia River, perhaps out to the Pacific.