It seems the widow Schreiber had been a bit judicious with the facts at the captain’s table that first night aboard ship. Her German husband had indeed passed on, she was a widow, she had indeed grown up in Chicago of German parentage, and she was on her way to the Philippines to join her brother. That much was true. However, the rest of her story was almost unbelievable.
“I am a widow because I killed my husband,” Katharina suddenly declared. Her eyes were focused keenly on me as if looking to see what my reaction to that astounding bit of news might be. I am sure I flinched a bit as her words sunk in.
“You, uh, killed your husband . . . ?”
Katharina quickly interrupted before I could say more.
“Yes . . . but you will note that I told you I killed my husband, not that I murdered him.”
“That seems like a rather subtle distinction,” I responded.
Katharina was facing me squarely now, her face barely a foot from mine. This time when she spoke, it was in a voice just above a whisper.
“You must let me explain now that I have released the genie from the bottle. However, I don’t relish providing details here in the open. May we go to my cabin?”
I felt a quiver in my stomach, and I cleared my throat nervously. The most beautiful woman I had ever seen had just invited me to her cabin after telling me she had killed her husband. My mind was racing, running through all of the pros and cons of her suggestion, when I felt her hand on my arm again. Again, her touch sent an electric jolt through my body; and once again, I shuddered conspicuously. However, this time, she didn’t remove her hand. Instead, she tightened her grip on my arm.
“Please,” she pleaded.
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