Citizen Insane - By Karen Cantwell

Chapter One

THERE WAS A TIME WHEN my life wasn’t that exciting. I’m a soccer mom living in the suburbs. The only thrills in my day should be the frantic road races between ballet lessons and the much-too-closely-scheduled orthodontist appointment on the other side of the universe. If you think a stunt driver knows how to maneuver a vehicle, wait until you see me behind the wheel careening through yellow lights with a hundred-dollar dental visit at stake.

So, when I ran a woman down with my mini-van in the middle of the night, only to find out that someone else had tried to kill her with a 45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, I assumed things couldn’t get any more dramatic. I assumed wrong. Just twenty-four hours later I found myself in the stairwell of an abandoned building, with a gun in my hand and a female hostage telling me to “do what Keanu would do.” I’ve never met another mother with days like these.

My name is Barbara Marr and I find dead people.

Or, almost dead people.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The story really started with my need for a foot rub.

On a sunny and cool Monday morning I sipped on coffee while suffering a broken heart and a pair of achy arches. Don’t ask me why, but when I get upset, my feet start to hurt. When this happens, I generally turn to my husband Howard for a delicious foot rub. The sensation when he works his fingers around my toes, over the ball, and under my arch is nearly orgasmic. Howard was the reason for my despair, however, so instead, I scheduled a pedicure. Not just any pedicure—a Sweet Tangerine Spice Ultra-Ultimate Pedicure at La Voila Day Spa. It wouldn’t end with a passionate tumble between the sheets like Howard’s foot rubs did, but at least I’d get a good exfoliation.

The reason for my sorry state? Infidelity. I can’t cook, sew, knit, crochet or hook rugs and I hate scrapbooking, but I love my three beautiful girls more than anything in life, and do a darn good job on the mothering front, even if I order in our Thanksgiving meals pre-cooked. I have a movie review website called that gets a couple hits a day (okay, maybe a week). And I am married to a man who I once believed to be faithful. However, after spying him through the window at Fiorenza’s, sharing wine and fettucini with a well-endowed blond floozy, I was starting to have my doubts.

I suppose I brought it on myself. See, a few months ago, Howard revealed a twenty-five year long secret—he’d been raised Sammy Donato, the son of Mario Donato, who got whacked by one Tito Buttaro. And he wasn’t an engineer working for a local government contractor, he was an FBI agent bent on finding his father’s killer. Really. You can’t make this stuff up.

Anyway, after that little discovery, I still loved him, but did I really know him? So I kicked him out and told him to date me and win back my affections. “Let’s start over,” I said.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Only, the dates were far and few between. His FBI job kept him too busy or out of town, often for weeks at a time. Some days I could barely remember what he looked like and would have to watch Ocean’s Eleven just to feel close to him. That’s because he bears a striking resemblance to George Clooney. I know—lucky me. Or not so lucky, evidently. Was it possible some other woman had snatched up my handsome husband while I was playing silly games? I wallowed in despair, wondering if I had lost him forever.

I was depressed and really needed that pedicure.

I looked at my watch and realized that spa time was right around the corner. My two cats, Indiana Jones and Mildred Pierce, were pacing and meowing, so I emptied a cup of food into each cat food bowl then slipped on my shoes. I was ready to step outside and check the weather when the phone rang. It was my neighbor, Roz Walker. I picked up the receiver.

“Hey,” I said. “You ready for the foot massage of your life?”

“I’m ready, but while it’s on my mind, do you have plans for tonight?” she asked.

“Other than rip Howard’s Mr. McNuggets from his cheating body and throw them to a pack of hungry wild boar? No.”


“Heard what?”

“No. It’s a herd. A herd of wild boar.”