Vignette explains how Carmelita's room was conceived
In the basement of Alonso’s townhouse was a place called “Carmelita’s Room.” To an infrequent visitor this level appeared a bit cramped. Bordered by cement walls and floor joists, it was a utility space, featuring a hot water heater, furnace/air-conditioner and a myriad of copper and PCV pipes. Then, there were stacks of boxes, bicycles and a collection of exercise equipment no longer being used. However, if an observer looked carefully, keeping in mind the square footage of the upstairs levels, it would have been obvious that half the expected space in the basement simply wasn’t there.
The answer, of course, was a hidden room. It was in this room that Alonso kept his books. They weren’t really books as one would find in a library, or accounting legers, written by a clerk in green eyeshades. Certainly not. These were corporate books, written into electronic files and sorted by computer programs. In was bookkeeping in the electronic age and yet the processing had a rather unorthodox twist. It was probably the only computer in the city, of its size and complexity, that didn’t have an internet connection. It was on this machine that Alonso kept his customer accounts. The computer was housed in a safe behind a false wall that opened by an access code that was punched in from upstairs. Thus, someone entering the room would not see anything but a door and four walls. Well, that isn’t exactly true either. What they would see was Carmelita’s room.
It was no secret that Carmelita Sanchez was Alonso’s wife, and they’d been married twenty-five years. They had a daughter, Rochelle, who was seventeen years old. It had always seemed to Alonso that their marriage was the bedrock of his existence. He loved his wife, had never been unfaithful, and worshiped the ground she walked on.
As you can no doubt appreciate, there was plenty of stress associated with his criminal activities. I say "his" involvement but a better term is “their” involvement. You see Carmelita was his full time partner. She wrote the accounting programs, manipulated the data, and kept the books. In addition she served another extremely useful function. She watched his back and so transparent were her movements, that he called her "Smoke." She was attractive but had an inexplicable quality that made her easily overlooked. In WalMart he could never find her. Once he made a test case of finding her and searched an hour without success. Finally he gave up in frustration, called her on the cell phone, and she directed him to Cosmetics.
Whenever her husband went somewhere to make a pickup or delivery, she was his shadow. In twenty-five years he had never been followed by anyone who escaped her attention. Her presence was seldom noted, and, on the rare occasions it was, tended to be dismissed. She was after all his wife and her comings and goings in Alonso's life never raised a red flag.
This was a large part of their success because his Modus Operandi was quite unique. He employed no supporting staff. He did all the fieldwork himself. Using blind drops and a host of other innovative operating techniques, he managed quite well. He interfaced with over fifty retail dealers without recourse to any direct contact. This might seem an impossible challenge, but he accomplished it. The only person who knew the full extent of his activities was Carmelita. Except for some highly placed members of the Cartel, his identity was virtually unknown. His retail dealers jokingly referred to him as "The Ghost."
Now this made him immune to most of the problems that traditionally compromise criminals. However, I'm sure you can see the vulnerability that remained. This was the deliberate or unwitting compromise of those he worked for. This is where the stress came in. Alonso had broad shoulders and he bore the anxiety well, however as the years passed the same could not be said for his wife. She needed a check valve and ultimately found one.
At first Alonso noticed she got up at night and went for walks. He followed her on one occasion, and after several hours of sneaking around, returned home exhausted. Then she started jogging and he simply couldn’t keep up. He’d keep watch at the window until she returned in the wee hours of the morning. While he trusted her as much as he trusted anyone, he solicited some Cartel help to monitor and safeguard her activities. His contact reported back that Carmelita often caught a cab several miles from the house and went to a club frequented by lesbians.
This was a shock but less than his worst fears had prepared him for. As time went on, it was reported that she was being seen more and more with the same woman. The shocker was a phone-cam showing Carmelita dancing, wearing a collar, and leashed to her girlfriend. The Cartel had a stake in Alonso’s interest and got to the bottom of it. The woman was identified as Margaret Callahan, a notorious Dominatrix. Margaret on occasion did subcontracting for the Cartel. They were relieved. Alonso, however, kept trying to get up the nerve to ask his wife what was going on. He was on the verge of doing so when Carmelita came home one night, highly distressed. Alonso decided it was time for a confrontation. Carmelita seemed relieved to get everything into the open. She told her husband she'd just broken up with a woman she'd been having an affair with.
"Mind telling me why this fling was so necessary?"
"I'm sorry," she answered. "Our double lives are driving me nuts. I feel like I'm going crazy."
"I never realized you liked the ladies."
"You do now."
"What can they give you that I can't?"
"Nothing," Carmelita replied, "except a way out of my anxiety. A way to feel in control of my life."
"That is a completely false sense of security," he offered.
"Its better than nothing," she replied.
"Having sex with me is nothing?"
"Don't be ridiculous! I need that part more than you'll ever realize---but sometimes I feel smothered."
"What's it like with a woman?"
"Its not the sex so much as the emotional rush."
"It must be a girl thing."
"She trained me Honey, It makes me feel good about myself."
"You've got to be kidding me." He shook his head as everything began sinking in.
"You know what a Dominatrix is?"
"Not from personal experience."
"Well she taught me how to become one--- showed me the ropes--- how to assert myself."
" The ropes--- I can believe that part." He stood stretching. With a yawn he smiled in resignation, "All I can say Honey, is it's good to have you home." Alonzo held out his arms. " Maybe you can give me a little demonstration?"
That night they made love and Carmelita was on top. It turned out however, that this wasn’t the answer. As hard as they both tried, Alonso wasn't cut out to be a submissive. After six months she resumed her jogging. The big guy put his foot down and they had another heart to heart talk.
"Forget this going to the Sky Club," he told her. " We need to find a different arrangement."
“And what kind of arrangement is that?” she snapped back.
“Bring your girl friends here---to the house.”
“And when do I have time to do that?”
“Later in the evening. You know, after Rochelle is asleep---, like you did with the jogging.”
“And where do I mentor them? On the living room couch?”
“I’ll help you make a place in the basement.”
”Where the computer is?”
“It’s behind a wall. Think about it? Anybody discovering the room will assume I’m a... ‘you know what.’"
Carmelita couldn't believe her ears.
"It’s the perfect cover for what we do down there during the day.”
Carmelita was amazed.
They worked at it for the next month. They put in a brass bed, ceiling restraints, a hidden camera and various types of BDSM apparatuses. It worked out---OK. Sometimes when they were alone together, they’d go downstairs and watch the videos.