THE WIDOW GAME - CINDY ROSMUS
“No!” Lonnie yells. “Not that case. It’s bad luck.”
Case #23, he means. Sunday morning, you’re both in bed, watching Deal Or No Deal. His favorite show, with that bald, germaphobe host.
Who, you asked yourself, tapes game shows? In spite of it, you married Lonnie, years back.
“Dumb fuck,” he says, when Case 23 reveals a sky-high amount. He sounds glad the dumb fuck is losing. He grips your hand, affectionately.
“More coffee?” you ask.
Lonnie gulps from his #1 Husband mug. For that alone, you should rot in hell. “Nah,” he says.
At the screen, he yells, “Six! Number Six!” His arms and legs flail, like a spoiled brat. “No! No!”
You smile. He’s so cute, sometimes.
Still, by noon he’ll be dead.
It’s all arranged. That punk from the east side has a cousin who’ll do it. Cheap.
Any way you want, the guy said. Real quick. So he don’t feel a thing.
No, you said. In the gut. So he suffers. So he dies screaming.
How strange, that you’re with him now, on wrinkled sheets, his sweaty paw in yours. Fried eggs from breakfast crusted on your lips.
“Told him Case Six,” Lonnie says, like the show was live from your bedroom. “But he picked 13. Now he’s fucked.”
So are you.
“Ahh, he might still have a chance.” He strokes your palm, then each finger. Horny, you realize.
You used to have the best sex. Anytime, anywhere. Now no more sex with him, ever. No more sucking him off in his desk chair. Getting it doggie-style on his office floor.
“There’s time,” he says, grinning.
He means before opening the store. Not before getting plugged in the gut, and dying on the floor.
“You wanna?” he says.
You recall meeting him, ten years ago, at Happy Hour...
“My wife,” he told you, all drunk and weepy. “Died. In a car crash. Christmas Eve.” How bad you felt for him! His sandy, silky hair and nice lips made up for the too-big nose and beady eyes. “I’m trying,” he said, “so hard...to have a good time.”
Behind him, a guy with clown-like red hair was shaking his head, mouthing something at you. On your way to the bathroom, Clown Hair gripped your arm. “He’s full of shit,” he said, about Lonnie. “He never had a wife. Just wants to get laid.”
And he did. How sad. That you fucked him after that.
Even sadder, once you were married, he used that line to fuck other chicks! Now you’re the “dead” wife he’s bawling over.
Not for much longer.
“Maybe,” you tell him.
Why, you wonder, did you marry a lying whoremaster who tapes game shows?
He’s broke as shit. The insurance money will barely cover the bills, including the no-frills funeral. The fee for the hit you saved from your “allowance.” Good thing you hate shopping: both jewelry and shoes. That feel of ice-cold metal against your skin. You would rather be barefoot, any day.
As the killer gets in his car, you release Lonnie’s hand.
As the killer synchronizes his watch—he assumes with yours (the one you won’t wear)—you pull down the sheet.
Lonnie is rock-hard.
One last time, you think, and climb on top.
As you ride him, nice and slow, you feel sad. Already you miss him, and he’s still alive: thrusting and groaning beneath you. After he cums, you’ll leak for hours. When they find his body, part of him will still be inside you.
“He...won!” he says, right before he shoots his load. “The mill—ahhhh!”
Like he had won the million, himself. Instead of the dumb fuck contestant.
As he washes up, singing some off-key tune, you shut off the TV. Get nice and snug in the sheet, and turn over.
Next Friday, at Happy Hour: My husband...was killed. By some psycho.
Just last week...
BIO: Cindy is a New York textbook editor by day, a hardboiled Jersey female by night. Her fiction has appeared in Black Petals, The Beat, The Cynic, Red Fez, Zygote in My Coffee, Hardboiled, NVF, MediaVirus, The Monsters Next Door, Out of the Gutter, Devil Blossoms, 13th Warrior Review, Mysterical-E, and Beat to a Pulp. She has four collections of stories out: Angel of Manslaughter, Gutter Balls, Calpurnia’s Window, and No Place Like Home. She is the editor of the e-zine, Yellow Mama. She is also a thrill seeker, a Gemini, and a Christian.