Case I: The Virgin and the Maintenance Man
Case I: Chapter 1: Introduction
He didn’t want to be here. He really didn’t want to be here. This was not the way he had envisioned this period of his life.
Matthew Dudley was stuck in this “old folks’ home” for rehabilitation after a mild heart attack. His doctor had placed him here so he could recover in a safe and secure environment rather than living alone as he had for the past several years as a widower.
But, La Vida Aureo (The Golden Life) was very different from the environment Dudley had always feared. It was located in an upscale area of Albuquerque and was considered a state-of-the-art facility. It was a large complex which included all levels of care from independent living cottages to a comprehensive skilled nursing wing as well as a so-called memory unit for those individuals suffering from degenerative dementia or Alzheimer’s. Even though these facilities were pleasant and appealing and the majority of the staff was competent, pleasant and very professional, Dudley still felt a significant loss of independence.
Matthew Dudley had retired from a long career working for the state of New Mexico in the Water Resources Department. What he enjoyed most about this position was the ability to frequently get outdoors. He was able to travel and work with local municipalities and organizations to manage the limited water resources so common throughout the state. He enjoyed working alone and really valued his independence. He had retired a few years ago and he and his wife had bought a small rundown home in the rural community of Cerrillos just south of Santa Fe. He enjoyed working on the home and the independence of this rather isolated environment. It was a major tragedy in his life when his wife died suddenly. He was relieved that she did not suffer or succumb to a long period of physical or mental deterioration. But he felt alone even in the small house and the associated stress may have contributed to his mild heart attack. His time in the hospital was brief and he felt that he had recovered fully and would be able to go back to Cerrillos and continue working on his home and other projects. He wasn’t convinced that he actually had a heart attack; it may have just been the stress caused by adjusting to a life alone. However his doctor, who was also a close personal friend, recommended that he spend some time in rehabilitation much to his chagrin. The more he thought about it, the more he was convinced that the doctor and his children had conspired to get him out of the home in Cerrillos and into the more social and secure environment of a retirement home in Albuquerque. Neither of his two adult children lived in New Mexico and they had often encouraged him to move into a more populated area particularly after the death of his wife. Even though his pension from the state was relatively modest, his doctor arranged for him to be in perhaps the most expensive facility in New Mexico. He had argued that he should only be there for a few days but his doctor continued to refuse to sign the papers to indicate he had completed his rehabilitation successfully.
He really couldn’t complain because this facility was among the best in Albuquerque and had excellent physical therapy capabilities. Nonetheless, he was bored and frustrated and continued to believe that he didn’t belong here. He understood why many of the residents referred to this facility as The Golden Corral. He felt trapped and restricted and unable to do a lot of things that were part of his very active life
But Matthew Dudley’s life was about to change and the boredom and frustration end when La Vida Aureo’s Maintenance Man was found dead in the Utility Room with a large screwdriver stuck in his chest.