SOUR GRAPES - DES NNOCHIRI
In the dim light of the moon, Hotchkiss looked ridiculous.
For one thing, he was standing in the middle of a vineyard, in the middle of the night, in his pajamas.
For another, he was weeping uncontrollably. Blubbering. Tears streaming down his cheeks. Snot pooling from his nose. The whole mess dribbling into the graying Van Dyke beard (he hated the name “soul patch”) that was his trademark. And which graced the bottles of his signature product, “Don Santos’ Reserve”.
It had been Rosa’s idea.
When her old man had died, and left her the estate (and a controlling interest in the wine-making business), there’d been uproar in senior management. Attempts to unseat Rosa, or at least to teach her (a woman!) her place.
She’d plucked Hotchkiss from relative obscurity in Production Control, wooed him, married him, then set him up in a figurehead position on the board. To all appearances, the business-savvy executive, a guiding (and restraining) influence on his upstart wife.
Hotchkiss was handsome, if austere-looking, and had been flattered when Rosa first suggested that he’d look great with a beard. And then, that he should use himself as the model for the label on the new vintage.
It had all been a great success.
But that was 12 years ago.
The years hadn’t been kind to him. Rosa, on the other hand, had blossomed.
In the moonlight, she made that silk nightdress and robe look positively regal. The silver-plated automatic in her outstretched hand only added to the effect. As did the even tones of her voice.
“WHAT did I tell you?” she asked.
“Y-you sai--, you said--” Hotchkiss was a wreck.
“I SAID,” enunciated Rosa, “if you EVER touch my daughter AGAIN--”
She finished it for him. “I will KILL your ass.”
And then, she finished it for him.
Across the vast acreage of vines, the crack of the pistol shot was like twigs, snapping underfoot.
BIO: Desmond (Des) Nnochiri spent his early years traveling with his parents, and was educated in England, the USA, and the Republic of Ireland (Eire). He writes freelance now, and has taken his first steps into the world of screenwriting. He has contributed stories to A Twist of Noir, The Flash Fiction Offensive, and Powder Burn Flash. He has just started blogging, at Des Nnochiri's Write to Speak.
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