KISS ME, KILL ME - FRANKY NEWHART
“Don’t you think I look pretty in my dress?”
Roy looks at his wife. She’s right.
She looks beautiful. Dressed to kill, with matching red lipstick and heels. Any red-blooded American would storm her shores and hug her with nuclear arms of passion. She’s a diva, a princess, a trophy wife, a knockout. She’s a mysterious game show doll that opens the door you choose.
“You’ve won a brand new car!”
But all you can think about is, “Does she come with the car?”
Roy wants to tell her that she looks like an angel. That the dress fits her like a glove and she looks absolutely positively gorgeous.
Something gets lost in the translation.
“How much did you spend on that thing?”
Jen’s mood crashes and burns as if Roy took a blowtorch to her plastic smile. “I have spent almost an hour trying to look good for you! You promised we go out! We haven’t gone out for a month! Why do you have to be so...”
Roy reaches for his coat and goes to leave before she can finish.
“Don’t you dare go out to that bar! I don’t want your drunken ass in this house and the kids shouldn’t have to see you like that either! If you go, don’t come...”
The last word is censored by a slamming door.
Roy is gone and, in many ways, so is Jen.
She goes to wash the dishes and tries to forget. She thinks about another night failing to live up to her expectations. She slams one of the dishes against the sink cracking it. Misdirected hostility is her only relief.
She looks at the cracked dish and thinks about slitting her wrists.
She glances at the oven and thinks about turning on the gas and sticking her head in.
Jen wonders exactly what keeps her in the relationship.
The thumps and laughter coming from the attic remind her that even “accidents” need to be loved and taken care of.
At the bar, Roy takes a shot after shot of liquor in order to chase away the memories of today. He doesn’t remember the call. He just remembers arriving at the scene with his partner. An unfaithful girlfriend with a leaky face spilled all over the sidewalk. Her boyfriend told her how much he loved her with a butterfly knife.
By the time Roy and his partner got to the scene, it was already too late. She had lost far too much blood.
“Girl wanted to paint the town red,” quipped a CSI before his nose was broken by Roy's fist.
Drinks were ordered and nursed until closing time. Eventually, Roy snapped out of the past and stumbled out of the bar into the cold, hard present.
BIO: Franky Newhart lives in New Jersey and is proud of it. He hasn't been published in anything since college and is unemployed and overrated like New York City. You can reach him at email@example.com for whatever reason.
Irish Times Crime Fiction column, February 2018
13 hours ago