It all started with my daughter Becca. A friend she had from college really needed a deal on a car because she was short on cash. Becca wanted me to meet up with her friend at my car lot and cut her a deal on one of our pre-owneds. I agreed. That was my first mistake in a string of many.
Tarah showed up in an Acura from the 90s I could hear coming from a mile away. I couldn’t tell if she was drunk, on prescription meds or just loopy when she got out of the car, almost fell over and greeted me with a hug. The hug was weird, but I didn’t mind. I hadn’t had physical contact with an unrelated woman in her 20s since I was in my 20s myself.
I set Tarah up with a piece of shit car for $500 down with the agreement that she would get me another $1,500 whenever she could. Based on her telling me that she worked part-time at some cider stand by the New Hampshire border, I figured I wouldn’t see that money in years, if ever. This was really just charity for Becca though. I gave Tarah my card, forced a smile, took in another awkward hug and waved goodbye when she drove away in the worst car on my lot.
Tarah called me that night. She started in with some BS about being confused by the title paperwork and how it related to insurance, but it only took her about 45 seconds to segway the conversation into questions about my personal life and “career” as a car dealership owner.
I’m not made of stone. I’m comprised of a weak male foundation which has been aged 54-years and is wrought with fading testosterone, insecurities, and a weakness for temptation. I felt like Tarah could see right through me as soon as she laid eyes on me at the car lot and decided to start rubbing herself up against my leg like a hungry housecat in the morning.
I met her back at the lot the night after she bought the car because she said there was something rattling under the hood that she wanted me to look at, but the rattle never actually came up when we met up. We just went into the office and she pulled out a cheap bottle of white wine that looked to already have a couple of pours missing.
I stopped Tarah’s progress a pour and-a-half into our little happy hour and asked her straight-up why she was going after a pot-bellied guy with a head of hair which was more salt than pepper. I felt the only way this fairly-good-looking 20-something woman would be moving on me was if she had some sinister ulterior motive. Possibly administered by my wife, considering the two of us were three weeks into a separation. The timing was just too perfect. I sensed a trap.
Tarah launched into something about loving “experienced” men who had their lives figured out and set up. I failed to stop her and say that I was unsure about every single thing in my life, particularly my failing car lot that was in six figures of debt, and let her lead me into an embrace which eventually took us into the nicest car on my lot, a 2015 BMW, where we consummated our bizarre affair.
Tarah and I quickly developed a routine. I stayed at the office until everyone was gone and she drove over when she got off work. We drank a couple glasses of wine before we moved to whichever car we decided would be our hotel for the night. I would laugh to myself whenever I would test drive one of the luxury cars for some poor schmuck knowing I had been intimate in the thing less than 24 hours before.
I knew the thing was a horrible idea. I knew there was almost no way Becca wouldn’t eventually find out and be crushed. Plus, Tarah was certifiably insane. Like should have been in an asylum insane, but probably just skated because she was a good-looking young woman.
But alas, I couldn’t fight it off. Have you ever been fucked by an insane person? If you have, you probably have a pretty good idea of why I couldn’t shake the sick young woman with the auburn hair and toned legs.
Tarah told me almost nothing about herself and I didn’t mind. I didn’t even know what town she lived in or what particular cider stand she worked at. All I knew was she was 25, bared a slight resemblance to my soon to be ex-wife when she was in her prime and she was okay with having regular sex with me in the back seats of luxury cars. That was good enough for me.
Then the texts from Tarah started. I wondered if the girl ever slept because I would shut my phone off before bed and wake up to texts from her at 11 p.m., 1 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The texts usually started out sweet earlier in the night, then sexy, then angry, then violent and finally, suicidal. It was a fucking roller coaster riding through a burning fire of insane emotions.
I went along with the texts at first. Tried to console, or counsel Tarah, but I eventually started to give up. Things were getting a little too crazy. The suicidal texts were too much. I tried to convince Tarah to go to therapy and started to get scared she would pull something insane and I would get embroiled in something that would take me down with her and have Becca find out about what was happening between the two of us.
I cut if off. Abruptly. I called Tarah and told her that I couldn’t see her anymore. I told her I was getting back together with my wife, for Becca’s sake (both half-truths).
Tarah didn’t take it well. She was at the office the next morning waiting for me, drunk and crying. She caused a scene in front of every single one of my employees and keyed my car before driving off in a frenzy.
The texts didn’t stop. I eventually changed my number. Tarah started just calling my office phone line. I changed that too. I couldn’t believe this young woman who could probably get just about any young man to take over my situation was so obsessed with me.
I was okay with the constant pleading and harassment, but I was worried about one thing…Tarah telling Becca. I already destroyed my relationship with my wife and couldn’t afford to ruin my relationship with the other most-important woman in my life.
I started to get paranoid. Every time Becca called me I was sure I was going to hear her struggling to breath, slobbering words through thick tears about how I ruined her life and embarassed her. I had to do something.
A thoroughly sketchy friend from high school gave me a heads up about a low-level private investigator he knew named Eric in a small town up in Maine who would be able to help me keep tabs on Tarah for a while. I wanted to be able to know a little more about the girl so I at least knew where to find her if I needed to meet up with her in a panic and to keep an eye on her at an upcoming engagement party for Becca I thought she would attend.
Things were simple and safe at first. Tarah kept quiet about us as far as I knew and kept her cool at the party even though I was still ignoring at least a few texts a day from her. The private investigator was able to put a tracking device on her car and inform me of where she lived and where she worked. Honestly, it wasn’t that valuable, but it was a nice little piece of information to have.
Overall, all I kept thinking was that as long as Tarah didn’t explode again and do something rash, I was going to be okay.
That thought kept me comfortable for a few weeks, but then Tarah went and did something beyond crazy. Something I thought even she wasn’t capable of.
It was another late night at the office cooking the books. I knew the next tax season could be the death knell of Brian Petersen Motors, but I was going to do everything I could to make that not happen and that meant staying in the office and going over financials instead of staying in the office and fucking 25-year-old mentally ill women with red wine-stained lips in the back of BMWs.
It was close to 9 p.m. when I finally tried to leave. I felt a deep grumble begin to grow in my stomach as soon as I pulled away from the office, coasted through the lot and saw a familiar vehicle parked in the entryway of the property which led out onto the dark highway…Tarah’s car.
I eased on the brakes and slowly pulled up to her car. My heart began to rise when I noticed the engine was running and the lights were on, but I couldn’t see through the glass in the slightest. The interior was completely fogged up.
“Fuck me,” I groaned as I put my truck in park and stepped out into the chill of the night.
The pain in the pit of my stomach grew stronger when I walked up to the driver’s side door of Tarah’s car. Something was off. I feared the car might explode or something, but figured she didn’t have those kinds of technical capabilities. Maybe she had a gun waiting for me? Oh well, I just needed to confront whatever was waiting for me in there.
I reached for the driver’s side door handle and opened it slowly.
What was waiting for me drove that burn of pain in the pit of my stomach quickly up my windpipe and into the back of my throat. I swallowed it down, but it didn’t take away the sting that was on my eyes from the horror I was looking at.
Sitting in the passenger seat was Tarah’s headless torso, a handwritten note and a cold pistol which rested in her lap.
I turned away and tried to catch my breath for a few moments. I stared out at the dark and barren highway and tried to plot my next move. Fuck. How did it happen? Well, I knew how it happened. My thought was more like, why the fuck did it HAVE TO HAPPEN?
Whatever. It had already happened. All I could do now was read the note which was left for me and try and plot.
Please don’t think this was because of you. My life has been pain. I’ve told you before. There was a broken road that led me to our relationship that could never be repaired and it was going to take me down eventually. I hit too many bumps and I ended up taking it down myself.
I’m not sure why this was the location I needed to do this. Maybe I just needed to send a message, but it feels right, so this is where it had to happen. Don’t hate me for it. Know that I did it here because I love you.
I know I’m here because you were the only person in my life and then you took yourself out of it. That’s all.
I’m sorry it had to be this way.
I was fucked. That suicide letter was too good. Everything was too perfect, making it seem like I wrote it trying to cover up a murder as a suicide. The handwriting somehow even looked like my handwriting. Like Tarah had stolen paperwork from my office and traced out the different letters and words so they would match my handwriting. Christ, the fucking note was written on letterhead from my dealership. I was a cooked goose. Husband cheating on his wife with a 25-year-old and she ends up dead at his business. There was no way this thing was going to play out well for me if I just dialed up the cops and told them to come take a look at my mess.
The only thing that gave me a little bit of comfort was that I knew Eric up in Maine who could help.
I sweated my way through three states until I was within striking distance of Eric’s little shit hole of a no stoplight town. I didn’t call ahead. I didn’t want to give Eric a chance to get freaked out by my situation and back out. I was going to have to be a crazy ass fire alarm that showed up in his gravel driveway screaming out for help just before daybreak.
I didn’t know how the guy would react when I showed up in Tarah’s car with her headless body in the trunk, so I pulled $5,000 in cash out of the office in case he needed some extra motivation to help. Plus, I took care of as much of the dirty work as I could before I hit the road. That included deleting all the texts and emails between Tarah and I, plus all the voicemails and tackling the horrifying job of detailing the inside of the car before I started driving. Luckily, my wife was down in Florida for the week for a work event so there was no one home to notice I went AWOL other than our black lab.
Uncharacteristically driving the speed limit the whole way there, I made it to Eric’s place in about four-and-a-half hours. I dialed up his number when I pulled into his driveway.
I was shocked to see Eric already standing in his open front doorway wearing a bathrobe and a scowl when I unbuckled my seat belt.
“What the fuck is this?” Eric barked from the doorway when I climbed out of the car. “I saw you coming all the way from Pittsfield. I thought you were her.”
I walked forward and he walked towards me until we met in the long grass of his front lawn. His eyes shifted around the property nervously, as if we were making a drug deal.
“Let’s get the fuck inside,” Eric seethed under his breath.
I told Eric everything that happened over cups of coffee mixed with 5-Hour Energy. He seemed stressed, but didn’t tell me to get lost, so I figured I was in a good place. Well…as good of a place as I could be.
Once the drinks were finished, Eric accepted my $5,000 cash and muttered that he “knew what to do, kind of,” before he instructed me to “stay the fuck inside,” and I handed him the keys to Tarah’s car.
I started sweating like a marathon runner in August as soon as Eric walked away. I was putting all my faith in a guy who drank Folgers instant and gas station energy shots from a mug which read: I spent all my money on women and booze; the rest I just wasted. It wasn’t a comforting feeling.
I sat alone, silent, in Eric’s grease-coated, sad excuse of a living for 10 minutes before he came back, appearing to be struggling to breath with a few items shaking in his hands.
“What happened?” I jumped off the couch and asked.
Eric stopped himself just inside the doorway. He looked down at the items in his hands.
“I found these in the pockets of her jeans,” Eric muttered while avoiding eye contact.
I walked up to Eric and snagged the items out of his grasp.
I instantly recognized the three items. They were my daughter Becca’s driver’s license, her car keys and the Amethyst stone she always carried on her.
I will always remember the numb feeling which immediately washed over me and what Eric said next…
“That’s not Tarah’s body. It’s your daughter’s.”