This would include Dr. Duluca’s browbeaten husband, a situation he was never allowed to forget by his equally derisive secretary mistress.
Juanita DuLuca was redecorating her master bedroom suite for the fifth time in as many years. Her husband did not participate in any discussion regarding her architect Elliot’s proposals for this work. Indeed, her husband hadn’t set foot in the same bedroom with his wife in over fifteen years. His interests in the project were superfluous.
As construction commenced, it became clear nothing would ever satisfy the insatiable Dr. DuLuca. No molding could ever be made straight enough, no cabinet finish ever sanded smooth enough, no light fixture or fitting ever mounted true enough. Over the course of a six-month construction campaign, she had rejected as inadequate, sufficient goods, services and materials to have rebuilt her four hundred square foot bedroom suite several times over.
Dr. Duluca was especially adamant about safeguarding the finely woven, milk white, imported Cashmere carpet chosen for her nearly completed bedroom. She would have Elliott on his hands, knees and gut every week, inspecting every last square inch of the rug for each and every insignificant indication of damage left by any member of her contractors’ crews. Workers were instructed to remove their shoes before entering the suite and to don special slippers so as not to ruffle a single fiber of this carpet. The discovery of even the most inconsequential injury would send the doctor into a blood-chilling tirade that would not subside for days on end. Everyone: workers, contractors, suppliers, Elliott himself and obviously, Dr. Duluca’s much-belittled husband made themselves highly scarce on such days.
Naturally, it came as little surprise when three days prior to the completion of her bedroom renovation, the deprecating Dr. Juanita Mariel DuLuca was found sprawled on her milk white, imported Cashmere carpet with four bullet holes puncturing the back of her head.
There were many promising suspects in the case. The police finally settled on Mr. DuLuca’s secretary mistress. Actually, it wouldn’t have mattered much who the police pinned for the crime. There were clearly no less than a hundred people who would have gladly pulled the trigger if given half a chance.
Elliott would visit Dr. Duluca’s bedroom-now-crime-scene three days after her murder. He needed to inventory the status of construction progress at the time of her death to permit the insurance company to properly release escrowed funding to each of her unpaid contractors. Elliott sidestepped the rippling stands of yellow crime scene tape stretched across the Delucas’ front stoop. He checked in with the attending police officer. He gingerly climbed the sculpted wood staircase to the home’s second floor and entered the late Dr. DuLuca’s nearly completed master bedroom suite. He would not soon forget the next image that entered his field of vision. It would be the crudely chalked outline of a woman’s body on the bedroom floor. There was a dark, crimson stain soaked deeply into the milk white Cashmere carpet marking a grisly halo about the form of Dr. Juanita Mariel DuLuca’s chalk-lined head.