I don’t know what’s wrong with me, lately. My give-a-shit is broke and I don’t know how to fix it, but I am trying to deal with it (cause I practice what I preach). I am usually annoyingly giddy this time of year, but even the approach of Halloween hasn’t improved my mood. This malaise has infected this here blog and my normally two or three weekly posts have dwindled down to one.
For that, I apologize.
But, as is my habit, if I can’t bring the funny, then I will bring the fiction.
Here is a tiny story I wrote that I can’t see doing anything with (ie. won’t make me any money) so I thought I’d share it with you, dear reader. It’s kinda creepy, which is in keeping with the season (and most everything else I write).
She woke late the next morning to find him sitting on the couch. “Did you stay out here all night? You can’t still be mad, can you?”
He didn’t answer, his gaze fixed on the blank television screen.
“Well, I have moved on and I suggest you do the same. I swear, you can be so dramatic.”
She turned and marched to the kitchen. His head rolled onto the floor.
The Detective knelt to examine the dried pool of blood in the corner of the hall closet. He followed a dotted trail of red to the living room where a uniformed Officer stood, hands in his pockets, eyes focused on the blood soaked couch.
“The ax was in the closet, the wife’s prints are all over it, but she seemed completely unaware of what happened,” he said to the Officer.
“Yup. She didn’t believe us when we told her that her husband was dead. Outright laughed when we told her how.”
The Detective pulled his latex gloves tight over his hands and shook his head. “Forensics estimates the husband’s been dead for over 48 hours. She told his boss he was sick.”
“The shrink at the station called it a ‘psychotic break,’” said the Officer.
Not satisfied with this explanation, the Detective walked through the living room into the kitchen. The surface of the fridge held a gallery of family photos and a flowery condolence card. He remembered an officer say that the wife’s aunt had committed suicide over a week ago. Passing the stove, he regarded a pan with two pork chops congealed in their own grease and a pot of green beans that were now a sick shade of gray.
He turned and walked to a café table and two chairs nestled in the corner under a window. The blinds were pulled up, allowing him a view of the full moon and cloudless night sky. The table appeared to be used for paying bills and making grocery lists, not for enjoying a meal. Among the envelopes, note pads and pens, the Detective noticed a scuffed tin box about four inches square with a simple hinged lid. Reflected moonlight gave it a faint glow. Expecting paper clips or maybe stamps, the Detective opened the box.
Sensing their collective relief, the Captain ordered his men to wait outside while he inspected the house. The scene inside tested his resolve. He tried to draw from his thirty years experience, but that well was now too shallow. Slipping a small notebook from his jacket pocket, he forced himself to concentrate on the facts.
The Captain stood over the body of the fallen Officer and noted the position: on his right side, right arm extended, gun still gripped in his right hand. Death had not erased his expression of total shock. At the Officer’s back, a pool of blood stretched across the beige carpet like ragged, red wings. The Captain’s eyes traced a trajectory, which led to the body of the Detective, flat on his back in the kitchen.
Unable to comprehend why two good men were dead by each other’s hand, The Captain instead pieced together how. The Detective must have drawn his weapon first and shot the Officer in the chest. The Officer was able to draw his weapon before falling to his side. He then fired and shot the Detective in the throat. “Lucky shot, that,” thought the Captain with no humor.
He scanned the Detective’s splayed body. A glint reflected off something near the dead man’s left arm. Crouching, he picked up a small tin box with a gloved hand. He wondered if this object had caught the Detective’s eye, or if it was just random crime-scene flotsam. Aware of what the smallest detail could reveal, the Captain opened the box.