Meet the Martins: Carl, Karen, Jake, and Jerry. The quintessential family. I guess you could say they had it all. Houses on a hill with a Mercedes in every stall; a private jet at their beck and call; credit cards with open-ended spending limits. It was all icing on the cake.
The men were chisel-jawed in tailored suits. They wore expensive cologne and smelled like rats. The women wore Dicker & Dicker furs and stepped out of black limousines, never even scuffing a shoe. They hid their sins behind Gucci sunglasses.
And where did I come in, a misfit young girl from Wichita, Kansas? I had a dollar in my G-string and drove a ‘69 Cougar. I danced in a strip-club. Innocence was my virtue. Naivety was my sin.
I walked into the Martin clan with my eyes wide open. They saw me coming, and they latched onto me like a new credit card. I felt like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Before I could say, “What the fuck?” I was one of them.
In the end, our integrity was washed down the drain. It all boiled down to the money. Lots and lots of money. And then, like a town that had just been blown over by a twister, it was gone. Just like that. At least that’s what Carl Martin wanted the Securities and Exchange Commission to believe. Gone. The Isle of Man--what’s that? A gold mine in Montana--give me a break. A carefully orchestrated kidnapping--what a set-up! Even murder--no one knew anything about it.
Fortunately for me, I’m the one who lived. Well, not the only one, of course. Not if you’re going to take the word literally. Let’s just say I’m the one who was able to walk away the least scathed, scarred, battered, and bruised. Which wasn’t easy, considering what a con artist and scammer Carl had been. And, perhaps, a murderer. Although, the District Attorney could never quite make that one stick.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up just a bit and tell you how it all began, starting at the very beginning.