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  • Writer's pictureDonna Gerard


Updated: Oct 10, 2023

I always loved crime shows. Criminal Minds. Dexter. The Equalizer. Older stuff like Columbo, Perry Mason, Quincy. Every night after the kids were in bed I turned on the TV and settled in for the evening. Trecia always sat with me. She never failed to know who done it and know what clues would point to the murderer. It seemed like normal fun. We were married for 16 normal years. Suddenly we weren’t normal. Suddenly we weren’t married. She was dead. Thank God.

Trecia was freakishly smart. She took in everything. When my mother’s birthday was coming up, Trecia had already purchased a sweater that Mom admired as we passed a store window on a weekend trip to Cape May last summer. Naturally, she new the correct size and that Mom had once said that she loved red but didn’t own a single thing in that color. My wife knew everyone’s phone number, address, children’s names and ages, and could easily recall our social security numbers, bank account numbers, and the expected temperatures for the following week. She could buy a cart full of food and estimate the cost within $1. Trecia could recall conversations verbatim, and describe what my boss’s wife wore to last year’s Christmas party. Oh, and she spoke 5 languages- her native English, Spanish and French from high school, Polish that her grandmother spoke, and Arabic that she taught herself because she loved the look of the writing.

But her talents weren’t limited to memory. Trecia was organized. Everything in our house was was run with precision- the kids’ rooms, the closets, the basement, the garage, and our schedules. Her day was perfectly executed from the time she got out of bed until the moment she laid her head down. Things happen in life- we get sick, cars break down, plans get canceled, and meetings run late. Trecia was an expert at flexibility, anticipation, and contingency planning. When Robbie, our son, ran a fever the morning of my trip to Cleveland, by the time I had gotten out of bed she had rearranged her work schedule, ordered me an Uber, and arranged for a friend to take Carma, our daughter, to school. Somehow, breakfast was already in the works.

Trecia was an event planner. She could put together a wedding, a convention, or a fundraiser without blinking an eye. She knew so many people who did so many things, and she had an arsenal of skills of her own. She was an impeccable judge of good service, quality products, and aesthetics, and had the ability to step up personally when needed. She could write a publicity article, make balloon animals, cook a gourmet meal, fix a toilet, sew a seam, lay bricks, paint a landscape, or hook up a light fixture. I can’t think of anything she couldn’t do. Somehow, Trecia seemed to have time to spare. She was so efficient that her reputation preceded her, and she could charge top dollar for her services. She didn’t have to take that many clients, leaving her with plenty of time for housework, socializing, the kids, and her own varied hobbies.

She was a loving and attentive wife, a fabulously fun and compassionate mother, and best friend to anyone she met. My wife was perfect. I loved her for her energy, her uniqueness, her sense of humor, her intellect, and her beauty. She had it all and she did it all. I actually had nothing to do around the house. She always hired someone to take care of the lawn. She either made household repairs herself or hired someone. I never had to clean a bathroom, fold a load of laundry, or paint a room. If you asked, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you where we kept the ironing board, the paint, or the tools. I didn’t realize it until it was too late, but she held the reins in every respect.

On the last day of Trecia’s life, she had taken the kids to a morning birthday party at a movie theater. I was supposed to be out playing golf, but my buddy called last minute to cancel because he had a work emergency. I settled myself on the couch, ready for a rare day of TV. As soon as I got settled with a cup of coffee and the remote, the doorbell rang. I answered it.

It was our neighbor, Keith.

“Hey, Dan. How’re you doing?”

“Good. Found myself home alone for the morning. That never happens.”

“Sorry to bother you, but I’m in the middle of fixing the back fence and I can’t find my hammer. I’m guessing my son was building something and God knows where he left it. But I can’t ask him until after soccer, so can I borrow yours?”

I laughed, feeling stupid for not having any idea where to find a hammer in my own house. Basement? Garage? Somewhere else? “Let’s take a look in the garage,” I ventured.

We walked past my car, and up the driveway. I used the keypad to open the door. It didn’t open.

“Weird. I’ll open it from inside,” I said. I don’t know when was the last time I used the keypad. The code was 1169, the house number from our first address. Maybe the battery was dead.

I walked through the kitchen and out to the garage. I saw that Trecia’s car was in the garage and wondered when she’d gotten back. I pushed the button to open the garage door and let Keith in. As the door rose I surveyed the garage. The walls were blank except for snow shovels, scooters, and a few seasonal decorations. There was a metal utility closet in front of Trecia’s car. I pulled on the handles. There was a lock on one of the handles. I looked around for a key, perhaps hanging on the wall.

“I don’t see a key to the cabinet,” I sighed. It must be in here, though.”

Keith chuckled and shook his head. “I guess I’m going to run to the store. Thanks anyway. You guys doing anything later? Want to come over for a beer?”

“I have no idea what we’re doing later. But that sounds good. Come on in the house and I’ll check with Trecia. I didn’t even know she was back home,” I said, gesturing at her silver convertible.

We went into the kitchen and I called out Trecia’s name. No answer.

“Treesh!” I ran upstairs. I came back down and opened the basement door. No lights on.

No answer.

“Maybe someone picked them up?” Keith suggested.

“No. I saw them pull out of the driveway an hour ago. She didn’t say anything about dropping them off and coming home. She obviously did, but where the hell is she?”

“Keith, I know you’re in the middle of something, but can you open the cabinet lock in the garage? Like with a screwdriver or something?”

“I can, but I might break it.”

“That’s okay. I’d appreciate it.”

Keith went to get the screwdriver. I returned to the garage and stared at the cabinet. I don’t know why I wanted to get into it. I thought about calling the police, but that seemed ridiculous. My wife had only been missing for an hour. Maybe I should have gone to the movie theater to ask the kids if Mom had mentioned any plans. Could she have gone for a walk? Trecia wasn’t much of a walker that I knew of. I felt slightly sick, not physically, but in my gut, like I knew something was really wrong. When Trecia came back home, she would have seen that my car was in the driveway. Why didn’t she say something to me? Why did being locked out of the cabinet bother me so much that I felt driven to break into it?

Keith returned with several screwdrivers. In a couple of minutes he was in. He opened the door and froze.

“Uh, Dan. I, uh…”

We both peered into the cabinet and looked at each other. The cabinet had no back and there was a hole in the wall. I went to the side of the cabinet. It was attached to the wall. It was a secret passage. I stepped through the cabinet and into the hole. I was in a cinderblock compartment. I turned on my phone flashlight. One side of the compartment was a very short hallway that lead to a staircase. I could hear Keith breathing behind me.

“You don’t have to do this,” I whispered.

“Yeah. This is beyond weird. Let’s call the police.”

“And tell them there’s a secret passage in my house that I didn’t know about?”

“Yeah. That’s about right,” he answered.

I had to keep going. I walked without a sound, and so did Keith. We got to the bottom of the stairs. There was a steel door. I turned the knob and pushed gently. Nothing. We stood in silence until Keith coughed. This made me hold my breath. I heard a lock slide open. Then nothing. I waited until I felt like I was going to have a heart attack. I slowly turned the knob and pushed. This time the door opened. No light. No sound. I opened it wider. A gunshot. I fell backwards from the shock, tripping on Keith. Another shot. Keith went still. I stayed silent, still, and closed my eyes. A light went on. As I lay on top of Keith, I felt something hard poke at my ribs, but forced myself not to react. There was silence, footsteps moving away, and then I heard a drawer slide open. I opened my eyes. In front of the door there was a chrome table with a dead body cut open. I got up and stepped forward. There was Trecia, her back to me. She turned around, a filleting knife in her hands.

“Trecia? What…” She hurled herself towards me, knife out. I threw myself to the side. The blade caught me in the side, cutting my skin, but not causing too much damage. Trecia fell into a table. I wheeled around, grabbing her by the hair and pulling her into a headlock. She still had the knife and twisted herself violently trying to free herself and stab me. I knocked her head against the table and she lost consciousness. I took the knife from her, and called 911. I leaned against the wall as I told the operator what happened and described my location. How could my wife be a killer? With a secret lab in our basement? I wanted to go to Keith, but I was afraid to let Trecia out of my sight. As soon as the police arrived Trecia opened her eyes. She looked dazed and an officer helped her up. She pulled away, throwing herself towards me. She ran into the knife I was still holding and it was over.

Trecia died within minutes. True to character, she took copious notes on three years worth of innocent victims- how she chose them, lured them to her lab, studied their bodies. Keith was her 19th victim, although accidental. She assumed I would be going out to play golf and would never see her car. When I came home, she would have completed her grisly study, locked the corpse in her morgue, picked the kids up, and we would have continued our pleasant little lives. In her diary she had written: “These killers on TV are so methodical. They are so secretive and self-contained. Every move they make must be thought through with perfection and unnoticeable to those around. It’s the ultimate challenge, a game with strict rules and no rules simultaneously. I accept.”

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