The Little Woman

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By J. A. Goodman

It was a dreary day in May, a good time for spring cleaning. The kids were reluctantly taking their naps. I toyed with the idea of a nap for myself, but seconds after I rested my head on my pillow it filled with items from my ‘to do list’. I robotically arose from my bed and went to the closet to do some spring cleaning. I removed all of my garments and shoes, then my husband’s, carefully laying them out on the bed to sort before they were returned. When I picked up the last pair of my husband’s footwear, I heard a strange sound that caused me to look inside where I noticed a sock stuck in the neck of his cowboy boot. So typical, I thought, he can never bother to put his dirty clothes into the hamper. Sometimes he was more work than the children.

I pulled the sock out with the boot turned upside down. Besides the sock, a stack of money spilled out. Shocked, I grabbed the other boot and dumped that out. More money and a passport that had been issued three months ago. Strange I thought, he never told me he was planning a trip. My imagination swirled with possible scenarios. then time stood still, as I realized that he was planning on leaving me and the children. That dirty SOB, I thought, as I felt my world shattering around me. When I collected my thoughts, I only had five hours to figure out what to do about it.

When he arrived home that evening, I was sitting in the garage surrounded by small, miscellaneous items from our house, priced to sell. I had posted ‘Garage Sale’ and ‘Spring Cleaning’ signs and several people were browsing through the items.

He greeted me with a questioning glance and asked, “how long have you been planning this garage sale?”

“Oh, I just got up this morning and felt like it was time to weed out all the things we no longer needed. I did pretty good too, sold a lot of the kids toys that they grew tired of, you know, the ones they felt like they had outgrown, now that they are older and more mature.

Oh and here’s $15.00 for you dear, I sold two of your old western shirts and then the lady asked if I had any old cowboy boots, size 10.

I remembered those old boots that you never wear so I got them out and she bought them. You know, you left your old socks stuck inside, I told the lady she could have anything she found in those beat up old boots.” I immediately walked away to wait on a customer, leaving him standing alone to contemplate his loss.

That evening our dinner table was full of lively chatter from the children, but my husband was unusually quiet and thoughtful. As the days and weeks passed, things were slowly returning to normal and I worked out my plan. I sent away for my own passport. I contacted an insurance man who came to our house and talked us into buying term life insurance for each member of our family. He recommended purchasing a larger policy for myself and my husband as he was the breadwinner and I, of course, would be very expensive to replace. I happily signed the paperwork. My long term plan was coming into focus.

I read everything I could find at the library on how to commit the perfect murder. Most were very complicated or they involved a second or even a third party. Naturally occurring chemicals would be my best bet. I could disguise them in his food and it would look like he had suffered a heart attack. I was sure no one would suspect murder. They wouldn’t think I was smart enough or even capable of committing murder.

I felt ecstatic when the day finally came, I had decided Sunday was the best day, because we would attend church and the world would see us as a devout and committed family. That afternoon I fed the children early so they could play outside while my husband and I ate. I had prepared his meal very carefully with enough of my special ingredient to send him away forever. He would not need his passport on this trip, I laughed.

He was uncharacteristically cheerful as we sat down to our meal. He had already poured the wine and when I joined him, he made a toast, “to our tomorrows” he declared.

“May we both find peace” I added as I took a sip of wine.

“Amen to that” he grinned.

He ate all his dinner, I just played with my food while I drank my wine. This part was more stressful than I anticipated. I didn’t feel well, I felt my thoughts swirling as I watched him. He finally clutched his chest and then fell on the floor. I stood up and immediately felt my body relax as I fell on top of him.

The kids ran in, then quickly called 911, but it was too late, we were both gone. Turns out, neither of us needed passports.

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