This is how it goes down...
A call comes in to 911. “My wife is on the floor. I don’t think she’s breathing…No. I just came home and saw her on the kitchen floor.”
Later, at the police station, “I went for a drink with friends after work…I don’t know. An hour, two maybe…Yah, right from the office…Should I be talking to a lawyer?”
Too late. He’s said too much. A security camera at a gas station shows his green Jeep Wrangler going by at 5:23. That’s between the time he was at work and the time he’d met co-workers for drinks.
When he later claims to have misspoken back at the station, and that he’d swung by the house to pick up a fishing lure to show to Ted from accounts payable, he’s asked if he’d talked to his wife while he was in the house. “No, she hadn’t come home from work yet.” But the camera on their Ring device shows his wife getting home at 4:30. Seems there was a power outage at her office and the boss let everyone go early.
His story starts unraveling and the truth finally outs. He’d gone home after work to find his wife there. She was going through his computer and found his porn sites—the one’s he’d promised to stop spending money at. The two got in an argument and she threatened to leave him. She was going to tell everyone and take the kids. He couldn’t let that happen.
Okay, I just made up that scenario. But if you watch true-crime TV, you’ve seen this pattern. A lot.
A crime is committed, the clues mount, the lies are uncovered, and the killer gets caught. And all I can think is, How should they have played it? How could they have gotten away with it? What were their other options?
This is the effect of all the true-crime stories we’re exposed to. The TV shows. The podcasts. The reels. I do watch a fair amount of it. And it’s desensitizing. It all becomes just another puzzle to solve. Something to post. “Hey, I got Wordle in three, and figured out who bludgeoned Alice Smith before the first commercial break.”
I’ve wasted precious time thinking things like: Where would I have disposed of that bloody sock? Or would I have burned it? No. Burning leaves a mark and a smell. Get rid of it. Put it in a bag with dirty diapers. No one wants to search a diaper bag, right? Shit, I don’t have an infant. Who on the block has a baby? No one. Wait. Hold on. The litter box. Crap. I don’t have a cat any more. But Vickie does. Hm.
Now, I know that Mr. Parker will read this and I don’t want to make him too nervous. (Okay, maybe a little uneasy.) But he knows I enjoy my dose of true-crime media, and it’s hard to watch that stuff and not think about the logistics of achieving criminal success.
Look, he’s safe. I know that they always look at the spouse first, so why even? I’m also keenly aware that by writing a blog about how I’d get away with something, I can now never get away with anything.
But a lot of us love playing at true crime. It could be a board game. It should be a board game. True Crime, from Parker Brothers. Tagline: “You’re dying to play.” Or, “Would it kill you to try?” Or, “The only game where losing means hard time.” But, wait. There’s more: True-Crime—Felony Edition. Comes with one call to an actual lawyer.
Pick your game piece from: the bloody hatchet; length of rope; hand-gun with the serial number filed off; plastic bag; vial of poison; or a guy named Bubba in a ski mask. Move your piece around the board. The first person to get past the police, around public opinion, and through their trial to freedom—winner, winner 5-star dinner! But beware the nosy neighbor with insomnia, the jilted lover, and the prosecutor with something to prove. Otherwise, you could end up going on the lam for three turns. Pull the hung jury card, and you have to start over. The online version even lets you dodge the law in real time.
I do worry that all this true-crime watching may be making potential killers smarter. Have all the law-enforcement secrets been handed out like a what-not-to-do list? I can’t be the only one who now knows to cover my shoes so my sole prints can’t be traced, and not to use a credit card when buying my 5-gallon jug of acid.
There is some solace for me in the fact that I love my husband and I’m pretty sure he loves me. Plus, neither of us could tolerate anyone else’s quirks long enough to cheat. There’s just not a lot of motive. I don’t have gambling debts. I’m not worth millions (yet). Oh, and I’ve never publically shamed anyone on social.
I just watch true-crime TV, devise my well-informed plans, and go to bed with a hatchet under my pillow.
Do you watch true crime? If yes, what have you learned to help you get off the hook. Or, better yet, to not get caught at all?
Honey Parker has been writing, writing, writing for decades, decades, decades. In there, she has also been a standup comedian, a Hollywood screenwriter, a director, and a co-author of edgy business books. Careful-ish is her debut novel. It is the first in a trilogy. It is comedy-ish.