The More You Love Someone, the More You Want to Kill Them

Disclaimer: I do not endorse murdering one's spouse.There’s a bloody hole in his chest the size of my fist.

“I thought he got shot in the front,” I say as the nurses clean out the Lake Michigan of gunshot wounds.

“He did,” says Hank matter of factly, pissed off that I’m slowing him down.

“Then why is the exit wound in the front and not the back?”

“The bullet ricocheted off his sternum and came back out.”

I shake my head. Since when did Hank start his own comedy hour? “That doesn’t happen.”

“In nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine cases, that doesn’t happen. This is the one in a million. Now do your job.”

I sigh and get to work. I don’t want to lose a professorship over something like this. It’s a lost cause; the sternum shattered on the impact and sent dozens of bone shards into his heart and lungs. But I’m required to work until he officially kicks.

I just want you to know: he dies. And there’s nothing I could have done to save him.

***

Herman and June had just seen Rent. She drove them home. He didn’t drive anymore. He was born to be a passenger anyway.

They went home in silence. Every once in a while, June hummed a bar from “La Vie Bohême,” but otherwise the quiet was a chain between them. The shackles, of course, were the rings. His mother had warned him that a three week engagement was too short. She was right, even though Herman would never admit it.

He had had a dream the other night that he strangled her. She didn’t do anything to deserve it, really. He was just sick of the way she snored. She sounded like a chipmunk that had swallowed a buzz saw.

He took a sidelong glance at her. She kept her nineteen year old eyes on the road. She clenched her jaw when she felt his gaze on her, and her knuckles whitened as she tried harder than ever not to say anything.

“I think I liked the play,” he said when she pulled into the parking lot of their apartment complex.

“Good,” she mumbled, keeping her eyes focused out the windshield.

“Does liking musical theatre make me gay?”

She tried to laugh at his comment, but ground her teeth instead. “No.”

“Oh.” More silence. June opened her door. The dome light came on, illuminating their pale, tired faces. “I thought I might be gay.” He turned and looked at her with a seriousness that hadn’t been in his face since his grandfather died. “Because I can’t stand to look at you.”

June nodded, unbuckled her seatbelt, and slammed the car door. She walked into the building, leaving Herman alone. His head drooped into his chest. He’d been gaining weight lately.

“We should go see Avenue Q next week,” he said to nobody in particular. Then he got out of the car.

When he opened the apartment door, June was sitting in his recliner across the room. She stood up and pointed a jet black 9mm pistol at him. He smiled at her, and she pulled the trigger.

It was about time they had something in common.

***

His body shudders and convulses. We jam some morphine into him, wasting the hospital’s precious supplies on a lost cause. His heart stops, and I look at Hank. He nods, and with a slight groan I reach for the defibrillators. His body rocks as electricity pounds his body, trying to shock his organs back into working. I hammer him with the paddles for five minutes, and then finally call it. He’s dead at 12:52 AM.

The nurses pull a sheet over him as Hank and I leave the room. A glint of metal catches my eye, and I look down to see a silver wedding band.

“Who’s going to tell his wife?” I ask Hank.

“She already knows.”

“How’s that?”

“She’s the one who shot him.” Hank shakes his head sadly. “They were both nineteen.”

“Man,” I say. I look at my own wrinkled hands. I could almost be a grandparent by now. My pager goes off, calling me off to another hopeless case. “Stupid kids.”

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