Monday morning was the busiest day at the US Consulate, with the longest line of visa seekers.
We have had actresses before, and, whatever the issue, their presence attracted a lot of attention and caused some disruption. I had misgivings and wanted to act quickly. I said, “Please show her in.”
Her first sentence was to explode our initial assumption. After I had offered her a seat and she had thanked me, she said, “I am Jean, a technology entrepreneur in hibernation.” Ah, a tech executive, with the looks of a screen goddess. I understood my assistant’s assumption. She worked for the world’s largest technology consulting group, but, she explained, she was currently on a sabbatical in this tiny Himalayan country. She traveled often and wanted to execute a Power of Attorney in favor of a Sherpa, who had once guided her on a mountain tour and was now her employee. He could then be authorized to pay her utility bills, collect her mail and do her financial chores while she was away.
The work was over in ten minutes, but she stayed for a cup of tea, and invited me for dinner the ensuing week before leaving. The next day I received a card telling me the place and time for dinner.
“I thought of inviting some other friends,” she said, “but decided against it at the end. You had seemed an interesting person, and I wanted to talk with you at length.”
When I wondered why there weren’t any restaurant clients on the balcony area either, she told me that she had reserved the entire floor. I knew she was well heeled, but now I was getting an idea of her style.
She wanted to know of my background, for, she said, I didn’t look or sound like the usual US consul. I told her briefly of my émigré antecedents, then asked about her. She told me an unexpected story.
She was flying to Los Angeles, for her work for the technology company, when she met on the plane the chairman of the country’s largest defense contractor. Within three weeks he had proposed to her and they were married in Hawaii in seven weeks. He was an avid collector of guns and keen that she should join him in practice shooting. Barely six months after their return from honeymoon in the Caribbean, he was proudly showing her his collection and showing the unique way each gun needed to be loaded and fired. He demonstrated excitedly his favorite, a Springfield XD-S, showed how lightweight it was and how easy to load, then handed it to Jean. She had barely taken it in her hand and turned it around to see how it works, when it went off with a loud bang. The bullet went through her husband’s neck and he was instantly killed.
When she recovered from her shock, the large house was teeming with police and homicide detectives. They checked the guns, took prints and searched the entire home for evidence.
Jean was asked to describe the event to the investigating detective, repeatedly. She said it was an accident, but he did not believe her. He suspected that the large property they owned was the motive. He wanted her prosecuted and got her sister-in-law to be a witness to ostensible problems in the marriage. Good Heavens, how did she manage to avoid that murder rap? Jean said, “Very simple. We owned two expensive homes in Georgetown. I gave her one. The police no longer had a witness.”
Of course, she featured on the front page of newspapers as a “person of interest” for several days. Her life was no longer the same. She decided to take a long sabbatical from her work and go someplace she had never been, and nobody would know her or about her. She bought a first-class ticket for Nepal.
I would get even closer and say, “I would love to die in your hands.”