Tequila. I will have one more, ’cause Andy is no longer in front of me at the bar, but being awakened in the middle of the night by armed men.
While she was shot eight times, I was in the truck, stuck in the mud on a side road leading to the lake. I was angry, depressed, and drunk. No one likes a fierce argument with someone they love. She accused me of shit. I can’t take shit any more so I left, with a bottle.
She went to bed.
From the truck, I called my boss at the firehall to tell him I wouldn’t be in the following morning, though I don’t remember making the call. I guess I sounded as bad as I felt, because he called the police. “Please check up on Rick. He has PTSD. He sounds like he might harm himself.”
“Is he armed?” asked the dispatcher.
“I think so. He had a fight with his wife. She’s still at home.”
She was so pretty. Her hair was the color of cocoa, straight as a sheet of iron, glossy as Pettie Lake on a still day. She was just a little thing; she loved dogs, cooking shows, and could shoot the whiskers off a groundhog.
“I had a fight with Andy,” I told my boss. “She chased me out of the house.” That wasn’t actually, physically true. I meant “drove me out of the house”.
“Is she ok?”
“Mad as hell. I can’t get home, I’m stuck. She’s alone.”
“Do you want me to check on her?”
“Nah, it’s ok. She’s got the double-gauge,” I apparently told him.
My boss told the dispatcher that my wife was armed and angry. So they sent out a patrol car to check on her, in addition to someone to look for me.
My wife was awakened by a noise. There was a man at the window. There were no flashing lights. The shotgun was leaning up against the wall in the bedroom. She picked it up. There was a knocking at the door, then a pounding.
She opened the door and raised the rifle, in that silky, expert way she had.
When they found me, I was passed out. My wife had been dead for three hours.
Shhh. Think of how she looked that night we met, how she flirted with me. How she twirled her cocoa hair around her fingers. The way she started to hiccup when she laughed. Her long eyelashes. The warmth of her body.
- This story was adapted from a RadioLab podcast about a real incident in Florida. I couldn’t get it out of my head so wrote it down with my own paltry embellishments. The actual, full story is much more detailed and complex, and you can listen to it here.