When the Music’s Over…
When she waved the gun in my face, I was surprised but I wasn’t frightened. After all, we were in love and it wasn’t the first time.
“Let me shift your schedule to meet my needs,” she said, shoving a piece of paper in my direction.
“Like plankton swimming in electric currents, so are the days of our wives,” it read.
“Why did you write that?” she said, turning the barrel slowly in the air like a chef deftly blending ingredients.
“It was a prompt for a story in one of my classes,” I told her with all the sincerity an insincere man could muster.
Her eyes narrowed and she slid another scrap of paper toward me as solemnly as if it were a cable bill.
“Functional resumes are written to alter the silhouettes of the background experience and education of applicants. They emphasize accomplishments at the expense of continuity,” I read slowly, realizing that an itchy foot is the harbinger of death.
“Baby,” I said, “let me explain…”
“Is that how you describe our relationship? Functional, false and expensive?”
It was actually a fair assessment of her jewelry, but the look in her eyes made my life suddenly seem both precarious and precious. I realized stoicism might rescue me from becoming a smear on the carpet that our realtor would have to explain. I tried not to perspire too heavily as she unfolded the last note and allowed her lips to dance to the words:
“I was blissfully unaware of how wistful R&B singers were. ‘Cash in hand’ ladies hung on every word. How could they weep unless they’d forgotten pains that woke them daily from a cage of common cares? How could they smile without a scent of lavender to help them put on airs?”
She read the loping prose with the same care it took to write it, letting every word embed itself behind her eyes. She glanced thoughtfully at our comatose alsatian and tucked the scrap of paper in her pocket. Suddenly I felt nervous. I hoped she’d shoot the dog instead of me.
“Who does this belong to?” she asked.
“It’s yours if you like,” I said as hopefully as my doomed soul would permit. The tension in her voice seemed to uncoil, briefly.
“I’ll have to google it to make sure the sentiments are authentic,” she replied. “It is pretty, though.”
“Okay,” I said, exhaling slowly. “Would you like some lunch?’
“After we go to the hospital. Of course.”
“Why do we need to go to the hospital?” I said, backing toward the door as she pointed the gun at me, smiling.
She engaged the safety and put the 38 back in a box on the top shelf of the dining room cabinet.
“Don’t worry, baby,” she said with same reassuring tone she always used after a major bout of jealous psychosis, “I never would have shot you. Promise.”
“Then why do we…”
Honey, I poisoned your Yoo Hoo because the ladies all adore you. You’re such a flirt. Now, let’s get to the ER and have your stomach pumped.”
“What were we having for lunch, btw?”