46

Hunter
Gerald’s Wife
Ax. Crowbar? Better safe than sorry. Deirdre had wanted a gun. Better safe than sorry, she said. Phone call from the range. Your gun’s ready, the man said. Come in any time with a certified check. Hard to shoot when you’re already dead, Gerald told him. The man laughed. He had a brown tooth, Gerald remembered. Fit his laugh, laugh like a lungful of brown teeth. Rev rev rev whee.

All you’re forgetting’s your tarp! Chubby girl, curls hairsprayed to her forehead. You’re committing the perfect murder, right? Chubby smile. Chubby fist at her hip. All that flesh, so much flesh.

Yeah, get me one, Gerald told her. A blue one and some bungees. I don’t want clear.

Chubby face held tight. Quiet call on her walkie. Old man, smeared rose tattoo on his arm. This all right?

Seventy-four twenty-eight. Twenty-eight how old Deidre was when they married. Deidre whispered, Lucky you, I ain’t wearing no panties, right there at the altar. Turned out a lie. Minister sweating slick fat drops and all for nothing.

Deidre always did like to lie.

Whoosh went the doors. Whoosh went the heat. Store climate-controlled as a coffin. Gerald rushed his purchases into the trunk. Safe in there, sealed like a tomb. Coffin, tomb. Beats of his heart. Coff-in, tomb tomb. Coff-in, tomb tomb.

You’re being dramatic. Deidre’s sister. Hair in a froth. Throat asparkle. Nails like a hawk’s. Swoop, Move on. Swoop, I always did find you manly. Swoop, wet lozenge, nest on a napkin. Swoop, bloodstained beak. Swoop, Gerald played dead. Gerald refused to writhe.

There went the sun. Quick as a cookie into milk. Nothing on the radio. Man promising there’d be something soon, throat like a cave. Gerald agreed.

Deidre buried way back. Newest part, the man at the funeral home had declared. Deandra got the place all to herself. Didn’t mention the stick trees bent like burnt orphans. Didn’t mention they ain’t built the walkway that far yet. And then Gerald hating to mention how he’d rearrange the man’s acorns should the stone say Deandra and not Deidre.

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