Frank Morrison Spillane
(March 9, 1918 – July 11, 2006)
“I don’t know where you get your luck, Charlotte. You came in while the bartender went for a drink, but you couldn’t afford to be seen going out. Not after you committed a murder. So you took the ledge around the building to the fire escape like a human fly. I was too broad to make it, but you weren’t. You took your shoes off, didn’t you? That’s why there were no scratches in the cement. During the excitement of the game no one noticed you leave or return. Some kind of mass psychology, right?
“No, Charlotte, no jury would ever convict you on that, would they? Much too circumstantial. Your alibis were too perfect. You can’t break an alibi that an innocent person believes is true. Like Kathy, for instance.
“But I would, Charlotte. And later we, can take our time to worm out the truth without the interference of a court trial. We won’t have to worry, about a smart lawyer cracking out chains of circumstance and making them look foolish to a jury. We will know the answer as we do the problem, but the solution will take time. A trial wouldn’t give us that time.
“No, Charlotte, I’m the jury now, and the judge, and I have a promise to keep. Beautiful as you are, as much as I almost loved you, I sentence you to death.”
(Her thumbs hooked in the fragile silk of the panties and pulled them down. She stepped out of them as delicately as one coming from a bathtub. She was completely naked now. A suntanned goddess giving herself to her lover. With arms outstretched she walked toward me. Lightly, her tongue ran over her lips, making them glisten with passion. The smell of her was like an exhilarating perfume. Slowly, a sigh escaped her, making the hemispheres of her breasts quiver. She leaned forward to kiss me, her arms going out to encircle my neck.)
The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte staggered back a step. Her eyes were a symphony of incredulity, an unbelieving witness to truth. Slowly, she looked down at the ugly swelling in her naked belly where the bullet went in. A thin trickle of blood welled out.
I stood up in front of her and shoved the gun into my pocket. I turned and looked at the rubber plant behind me. There on the table was the gun, with the safety catch off and the silencer still attached. Those loving arms would have reached it nicely. A face that was waiting to be kissed was really waiting to be splattered with blood when she blew my head off. My blood. When I heard her fall I turned around. Her eyes had pain in them now, the pain preceding death. Pain and unbelief.
“How c-could you?” she gasped.
I only had a moment before talking to a corpse, but I got it in.
“It was easy,” I said.
—Mickey Spillane, I, the Jury, 1947