Friday, August 29, 2014


Marty stands in the kitchen staring at the stove.  He hadn't thought about dinner, not when he put that bullet in Edith's head.  There were a lot of things he didn't think about.  Eating certainly topped the list.  Underwear came next.  Realizing that Edith wouldn't be doing laundry anytime soon, the idea of dirty boxers piling up - how many did he have, anyway? - caused an unpleasant itch in an area where boxers are generally most comfortable.
It is not that Marty misses Edith.  He clearly doesn't miss the sound of her.  Her voice.  All of those insipid questions.  He is glad to be done with all that but he might miss the convenience of  a wife.  She was good for thing or two.  She was especially good at two but he is sure that won't present a long-term  problem.  Some skills are more easily replaced than others.

He has time, at least, to think about what to do next.  He needs to plan.  It might have been interesting to leave the ex-Mrs. Santore sitting in his chair staring at the lake she always found so fascinating.  It was a good joke.  Thinking about it, he feels himself smile. Edith Santore staring blankly at ducks and sailboats. Not seeing shit.  He never understood all that natural wondercrap she blabbered about every time she looked out that damn window.  The only time anything interesting happened out there - if anyone asked Marty, that is - his neighbors decided to go skinny dipping and ended up getting some exercise au naturel on that rock ledge that sticks out over the water.  The one that kids jump off during the season but it was only springtime when they decided to frolic in the dirt and do all that outdoor shit;  Marty figures they didn't know anyone was around.  The guy certainly didn't but his wife...there was at least half a chance she looked his way while she was polishing the pine.  He really should find out what's up with that.  Always meant to, but...

He could now, of course.  No questions asked.

It is still the off season (fall this time) and that is a plus.  He could keep her where she is for the moment but it wasn't the best idea to leave a moldering corpse in the living room for more than a couple of days. She was a stanky bitch on a good day; Marty suspected she would raise more than a little stink if he let her.  Someone might notice.  Even off season. Eventually, anyway.

Marty is sure he doesn't want to drag her to the car and drive somewhere.  Even in November, there were risks.  Besides, the ex let herself go a little bit the last couple of years.  Dead weight had a bit more heft to it than - let's say - once upon a time.  He always waited too long to do what's necessary.  

The camp has a dirt floor in the basement.  That might present the best option.  How hard could it be to dig a hole?  

Marty doesn't get much further than that.  He doesn't get into thinking about the Adirondacks or about digging holes in the mountains.  Rocks.  Boulders.  Roots.  Big mother roots as thick as his arm.  None of that steps forward.  Not when the back door opens.  Not when a new and different problem decides to upend his day.  Seems like there's something new everyday.

Ginger, his daughter - their one and only child - walks in innocent as you please.  Ginger is a stupid name. The wife, his ex-wife, liked it before they were at the fuck no stage in their relationship but it never made much sense.  Ginger is not a ginger.  She was born with light blond hair that went a lifeless, dirty blond by the time she was four.  Only trouble is today she is definitely not any kind of blond.  Today she is purple.  Electric purple!

Marty's mind sees purple - that fucking electric purple with one hot pink strip down the right side of her head - and burns red.  He has gotten used to the hooker cut-offs and the band-aid bathing suits her mother let her buy, but this...this...NO FUCKING WAY...people will think she's some kinda hippie and if she's a hippie what does that make him.

He hears NO FUCKING WAY in his head and sort of feels a click.  He sees a third eye appear in the center of her forehead.  It must be some sort of genetic thing.  Her face looks almost like her mother's. Same forehead, anyway.

Marty is amazed that she doesn't fall.  Just stares at him with that gap-mouthed, empty expression that always drives him  nuts.  FUCKIN' NUTS.  But this time he just wants to laugh.  He thinks about the cartoons he used to watch as a kid.  Thinks if he went over an poked her in that third eye - like Moe in The Three Stooges - she'd just fall over.  Thinks he might just do that when Ginger finally gets the message and falls down on her own.

She was always a little slow!

Marty is in the middle of a debate between two holes or one large one when just a hint of movement catches his eye.  Mrs. MacGregor is standing on his lawn - with her little rat-dog doing  business she won't bother to collect - staring through his window.  Her eyes are wide and her hand is over her mouth but Marty knows those ancient, dried up, crone fingers won't hold back a scream for long. The gun is still in his hand feeling light and oh so natural; it comes up in one fluid movement.  The bullet punches a nice neat eye hole in the glass and a second later MacGregor goes down - but not before it tears a chunk of stupid, old-lady-blue-hair from her head.  Marty can't help laughing; he remembers all those divots he threw up at the golf course last Saturday.  That was a truly bad day.


Maybe I should rent a backhoe!

Marty is conflicted.  He doesn't know if he should drag the old lady into the backyard or shoot her fucking dog.  The damn thing won't stop yipping in that mind-ripping little dog voice.  Shooting it would be a service.  People should have real dogs.  When they bark it means something...

Some decisions have to wait.  Marty is standing over the body when a copmobile pulls up with a Hollywood screech and slide.  The cop looks at Marty sort of drop-jawed.  He is surprised by the gun - this is not that type of neighborhood - but manages to get out of the vehicle quickly his own gun drawn.

Marty thinks how many bullets does this thing hold and fires.

No third eye.

Not clod of turf spraying skyward.

A thin scratch appears on the officer's cheek.  Maybe a bit of ear lobe explodes.  A tiny rivulet of blood drips down his neck.  A kid on a bicycle peddling by watching the drama falls to the asphalt. He is not hit but his bike suffers a critical injury.

The cop will live to retire, in the very near future, on a work related, hearing disability but his close encounter with a bullet pulls his attention from Marty for a split second.  Long enough for Marty to retreat into the backyard.  The stockade fence gate swings closed with a loud clank.  The latch drops into place securing a barrier between Marty and a very pissed off cop.

Since they both hold guns and Marty has demonstrated a willingness to use his, the officer is forced to act prudently.  He wants to plow through that fence like a champion bull with a scorpion on his nuts, pistol whip the sonovabitch that scarred his near-perfect face then shove his entire clip right up the fucker's ass but the thought of a second bullet hiding just out of sight makes the patrolman think twice about waiting for backup.  All he can do is crouch and vent; the cop squats behind a shrub throwing threats and invectives over the fence.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, shooting at a cop?  You think you can get away with that. You think I'm gonna let that go? You are done.  I'm gonna take that gun away from you and kick your sorry balls until they pop out your mouth.  Then I'm gonna shoot ya.  I'm gonna shoot you with every fuckin' bullet I got.  Maybe I'll borrow some more from the other cops - when they get here - and shoot you again and no one is gonna say a word.  You are dead. You understand me.  You hang onto that gun and you're dead.  Period.  You wanna live - I'm still gonna kick your ass - you throw that gun over this fence...

"I'm sorry."  Marty's voice comes from the blind side of the fence.

"Not good enough," the cop shouts back, "Throw away the gun."

"I made a mistake."

"You fucking did make a mistake! Throw the gun away!"

"I hate mistakes."

"I don't give a SHIT..."

The explosion blows a ragged hole through the fence about a foot above the patrolman's head forcing him to dive face-first into the dirt.  Sonovabitch tried to kill me, the officer thinks.  The words shout in his head.  He listened to my voice! He tried to aim!  The cops hands are still over his head offering whatever protection he can find; the truth is still on the other side of the wall.

Marty sits with his back to the stockade fence.  He is dead.  The bullet has left a neat, proper hole in the center of his forehead.  The back of his skull is not as nice.  Gelatinous brain goo (and maybe a few bone fragments) follow a rain of pine splinters through the hole in the fence.  The officer's uniform will definitely be bagged as evidence.  

Marty's last moment was an act of utter certainty.  He held the gun to his head and simply pulled the trigger. He did not blubber, argue or debate.  There wasn't any doubt.  It had to be done.  Period. There was little need for conversation.  He muttered two words, his epitaph...

I missed

...and he was gone.  

If he had a final thought it was at least I don't have to dig a hole.

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