The Ponzi Scheme Project by Mario V. Farina

"That was wonderful, darling! You were great! Thank you."

"And you were wonderful too," replied Wendy.

"You look so beautiful," said David, "with your head in what looks like a cushion of blonde hair!"
The Ponzi Scheme Project
The Ponzi Scheme Project by Mario V. Farina
"Very poetic of you," she commented. "Where did you read that?" "I didn't read it, I just thought of it now as I looked at you, lying there so peacefully, so beautifully!" "I knew that. I was just overwhelmed by my love for you when you said that." She pulled up the sheets to cover herself. He did the same. They had been married a year, but they were both still ill at ease being naked in each other's presence. "May I ask you something," Wendy asked. "Of course." "What do you think of psychics?" "Psychics? What a strange question. I don't have any special thoughts about them. Why do you ask?" "I just wondered if what they say is really true or do they make it up as they go along." "Well, you know I tend to be skeptical. I would have to find out for myself." "Betty and I went to see Madame Ponzi yesterday. She's supposed to be very good. She gave Betty a splendid reading. But, with me, she said something that bothered me a lot." "Tell me about it." "She and I went to a far end of the room, as she had done with Betty, so that her reading would be private. She took my hand, held it in both of hers, and looked into my eyes. For a long time she didn't say anything, just kept staring. It felt weird. Then she said, 'you're married.' I said, 'yes, we had just had our first anniversary last Wednesday.'" "Well, she didn't have to work very hard for that one," laughed David. "All she had to do was look at the ring on your left hand." "That didn't bother me. She told me a lot more. I feel I just have to tell you about it." "Please go ahead." "She told me that I hadn't been married very long, but that my husband was seeing another person behind my back." "No! She didn't! That was terrible of her. You didn't believe it for one minute, did you"? "No, of course not. But she actually gave me a woman's name. She said the name of the woman was Jean, Jeannie, Janet, something like that." "Janet? I hope you walked out! That was outrageous of her. How did she dare say that? She doesn't know you! She doesn't know me!" "I was really upset. I didn't want to say anything contrary because she is so well known and respected." "Was there more?" "Yes. A lot more. She said it had been going on for several months. She asked me if my husband had been coming home late lately. I lied, and I said no." "Well you know how heavy my schedule has been at work. You could have said yes and not be lying." "That's right darling, I do trust you. It's just that there was that time when I tried to reach you at the office, and you didn't answer the phone." "I explained all that. My boss had been in with me that evening and he wanted to talk to me in his office. It was a long conversation." "You didn't answer my message on your answering machine." "Yes, and I've explained all that too." "I know I should not have been upset by anything she said, but she sounded so convincing." "They're supposed to sound convincing! They know how to talk to people through subtle signals that you give off without knowing it." "I suppose that's how she knew general things." "I hope there wasn't anything more about husband stuff." "There was more. Just general things. She was right a lot of the time." "Well, I'm glad, not about your husband. She was lying to you about that!" "I do have to ask you, God knows I don't want to, I wish I didn't have to, have you been faithful to me?" "Of course I've been faithful, my darling. You are the only one I love or could ever love. You have everything to offer that any man could possibly want." "I'm so pleased to hear you say that. I hope you won't think bad of me. I guess I was just a little insecure. You're very handsome, and, I might say, very virile. I just wondered if, maybe, I wasn't enough for you." "Oh darling, you are enough! Don't ever feel that way! Ever!" "I believe you, dear!" "Now, could I ask you a question?" "Yes." "If there had been some truth in what Madame what's-her-name said, how would you have felt about me and our marriage?" "If what Madame Ponzi had said was true?" "Yes." "It would end their marriage." "You wouldn't forgive me?" "No, I wouldn't be able to trust you ever again!" "Not even, if it had been only one time?" "Not even for one time!" She hesitated. "Well, you might get away with it one time!" "I promise you, there won't be that one time! I'm glad you think Ponzi Lady was only making it up, that story. I think she just wanted to keep you coming back. Would you do me a favor, and never, never go see that fake woman again?" "I promise. I feel so ashamed for having brought this up. I should have known that you're not that kind of a man." "Don't be ashamed, I don't blame you for bringing it up. It was something you had to do. I probably would want to do the same thing. Put it out of your mind. Now let's go to sleep." "I feel so much better," she said. "Yes, let's go to sleep. Tonight, I will sleep well, and I will dream well!" "Dream of me, sweetheart! Good night." David lay in bed listening to the breathing of his wife. After a long time, he was convinced that she was asleep. As quietly as he could manage, he got out of bed and walked into his den, closing the door behind him. He picked up the cell phone from his desk and punched a number that he knew well. On the fourth ring, a person on the other end picked up the receiver, and sleepily said, "hello." "Janet, I need to talk to you!" "I was sound asleep," she said with a trace of irritation in her voice. "Couldn't it wait?" "No, this can't wait! I need to tell you that we need to end our relationship. I was just warned that the first time Wendy finds out I've been seeing someone else, that will spell kaput for me." "You can't end with me like that! I won't let you!" "I just can't take the chance. This has to be the end!" "No, it won't. I'll tell your wife!" "You wouldn't dare. You wouldn't want me to tell your husband what you do while he's away on trips!" "You wouldn't dare!" "Try me! I wish you well, but I won't be seeing you anymore!" He pushed the End Call button on the phone. David knew he would have difficulty going to sleep. He had seen some pills that Wendy used from time to time. He felt that, tonight, he needed at least two of those. Though naked, he walked into the kitchen and pulled open the drawer where he believed the pills were located. He found the bottle, and was about to open it, when he noticed an envelope. Wondering what that was, he looked at the return address and saw that it read, Lancelot Detective Agency. Alarmed and curious, he withdrew the single sheet that had been neatly folded inside. It was an invoice from the agency. It was dated the day before. He glanced at the contents. Detective Arnold Wilcox was requesting an amount of $3000 for services rendered on a case that had been named, The Ponzi Scheme Project. Not fully understanding what the wording meant, he stared at it until finally it focused in his brain. "Oh my God!," he said audibly, "Oh my God!"

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