Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Fossil I Found

Following Stephen King's prompt in his very good book, "On Writing," I wrote this:

He cradled the tea in his lap. Still too hot to sip, it warmed his hands.

He clicked on the TV. He never put it on when Baby Tina was in the house. Hot tea, TV, a little nap. He wasn’t going to be practical or efficient about this little break. He could allow himself this much indulgence. He’d earned it.

It wasn’t a good time of day for TV. Reruns of shows that nobody’d wanted to watch even when they were first-run. He watched Crissy Snow obliviously tease what’s-his-name, keeping his finger on the remote. He knew that guy’s name. What was it? As soon as they said it, he’d surf on.

They broke for station ID before he’d expected. It wasn’t a station ID. It was a Special News Bulletin. Shit. He saw the teaser on the screen behind the anchor-woman who’s hair hadn’t been ready for this Special News Bulletin. He didn’t need to hear what she said to know he was fucked. “DEADLY PRISON BREAK.”

That bitch was out of prison. Yes, anchor-woman was confirming what he already knew. But anchor-woman, why don’t you tell the viewers that that bitch is in the house with me, right now, and she’s here to kill me?

Well. This is the perfect time. He felt crystal calm. BT’s not here to have to hear. There’s no secret anymore. Since the attack, the arrest, the trial, there wasn’t a person within 500 miles who didn’t already know he was “the abused husband.” The pussy-whippedest man in living history. And now she’s back.

He heard her footsteps behind him. He knew that she knew that he knew she was there. In his calm a smiled pulled on one corner of his mouth. I’m in the eye of a hurricane of crazy, he thought.

Nothing held him back now. He felt no more shame about their fractured, tortured life. He felt no more compunction about defending himself. Fuck defending himself. He had a license to kill now.

He heard her close behind him. She took in a breath, he sensed her exerting herself to swing something heavy, probably down on his head. Good idea, he thought. He stood and turned and threw the hot tea directly into her face. In the same motion he picked up the fireplace poker, swung it up and brought it down on her temple. Whack. Wow, that was quite a crack. And a thump as she crumpled to the floor.

The blood spread from her head in an ever-widening arc. He hadn’t expected blood going into a carpet to look so much like one of Baby Tina’s "paintings." Was she dead, knocked out, did he care? He watched her, waiting for a vital sign. The bloom of blood spread under the chair he’d been sitting in. Anchor-lady warned residents to be on their guard, a dangerous criminal was on the loose.

When he felt her bloody hand clench his ankle, he had the sign he’d been waiting for. Both hands gripping the poker, he raised it high above his head. Grunting, he brought it down into her ribcage, stabbing the floor. Squish. Wow. He hadn’t expected to be able to do that in one blow. That was it.

He’d killed her.

He felt furious. She’d won.

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