Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Twist Of Noir 297 - Katherine Tomlinson

PULP CHRISTMAS - KATHERINE TOMLINSON

I know you did it.

I know you killed your husband.

Most killers, they work on impulse. No advance plan. No exit strategy. But you gave the matter some thought. You’ve watched all the shows—Forensic Files and CSI and Nancy fucking Grace and you know that most people get tripped up by their own stupidity. But you, you were smart about it. The murder was what the profilers call “an organized crime.” And that’s kind of funny because one of the things your husband used to criticize you for was your lack of organization.

You showed him, didn’t you?

And you did it yourself. That took balls, girl. A lot of women would have tried to rope in some sad schmuck to do their dirty work. It wouldn’t have taken much. Not for you. Every man’s crazy for a redhead, wants to see that fire-crotch.

But you got good instincts. Get someone involved, make someone an accomplice, and the next thing you know, they’ve made a deal with the D.A. and you’re twisting in the wind.

“Twisting in the wind.” Ever think about those words, why they’re so pithy? The dictionary says the phrase means “abandoned in a bad situation,” but people first used it to describe the way the corpse of a hanged man twirls at the end of a rope.

They don’t hang people anymore. At least not in this state.

I know you did it.

I know you killed your husband.

The only question is... why didn’t you do it sooner?

I used to watch you together. I saw the way he treated you. Like a china doll. Like a pet. Like he owned you.

Yeah, you were arm candy and he had a sweet tooth. He liked to dangle you in front of other men like he was offering prime rib to a hungry dog. And not all of those dogs were tame. He wanted other men to envy him. It didn’t occur to him how much they’d hate him as well.

Not that he would have cared.

I know you know about the apartment he kept in Greek Town, the one where he took that cute little blonde from accounting. What is she? Twenty-one? Just barely legal and there you are, pushing...

Well, anyway, you won’t see 30 again.

The cops don’t know about the blonde. At least not yet. The apartment in Greek Town? It’s in his mother’s name. Good thing she’s dead, because she never liked you. Never thought you were good enough for her little prince.

Deep down inside, he never thought you were good enough for him either. And when you argued—and I know you argued—he liked to remind you where he met you, didn’t he? Liked to talk about watching you dance in that “gentleman’s club,” letting strange men stick money in your g-string, hoping to get the smell of your ya-ya on their fat fumbling fingers.

Sometimes when he said things like that, he made you cry. He deserved to die for that alone. A man should never make his woman cry, unless it’s with pleasure.

You played it just right with the cops. It was a genius move staying dry-eyed through the interrogation, but then letting them spot you “falling apart” as they left. You played the grieving widow well. Dressed in black at the funeral, you looked like a mourning angel. I wasn’t the only one who noticed how fine you looked. With that red hair. And that pale skin. You wore the diamond earrings he gave you for a wedding present. That was a nice touch.

I saw your brother-in-law clocking you out of the corner of his eye. You watch out for him. He never really forgave you for rejecting his advances that New Year’s Eve. Yeah, I know you claimed you’d had one too many Cosmos that night and couldn’t remember a thing the next day. But he remembered. And as the bible says, “He pondered it in his heart.” After awhile, it was the kind of memory he would take out and poke like a bruise, just to see if it still hurt. You be careful around him. He’s no friend of yours.

But I am.

I know you killed your husband, but I’m not going to tell.

Merry Christmas, sweetheart.

I’ll be coming around to see you after New Year’s. You can thank me then.

BIO: Katherine Tomlinson lives in Los Angeles where she works as a freelance writer and editor. Her fiction has been published in Thuglit, Astonishing Adventures Magazine, Acorn Newspaper and other print and online outlets. Her story "The Sin Eater" will appear in the January 2010 issue of Dark Fire.

7 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...

OOF! Tasty tale with some cracking lines.

Keith Rawson said...

Nice tone in this one, Katherine, I could feel the slime drooling off this guy.

Joanne Schiffman said...
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Joanne Schiffman said...
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Joanne Schiffman said...

Brilliant! Hooks you in from the first line. He deserved all he got.

Joyce said...

Love the perspective from which this was told. Gave me the shakes. This one really makes you look over your shoulder. Well done!

Cormac Brown said...

"Sometimes when he said things like that, he made you cry. He deserved to die for that alone. A man should never make his woman cry, unless it’s with pleasure."

That's the line I was trying to remember. An excellent tale of noir, Katherine!