Welcome back to “Best of Anything That Strikes Someone’s Fancy” series. This is from 2012. It’s a pleasure to feature Writers Forum member Lindy Jones.
by Lindy Jones
“I just can’t take it anymore,” the gambler swore and threw his cards down onto the table, “my mind’s just not into the game tonight.”
“Trouble at home, Eddie?” a shadowy man asked.
“I just can’t concentrate on the cards. I keep picturing what’s she’s doing while I’m here.”
“Having trouble with the wife?” another man asked, taking a long swig out of a dark bottle.
“I know that while I’m here she’s with him — taking a long bath, putting on the lingerie I bought her, revving up to spend the evening with him.” Eddie slammed the table with his fist, causing piles of chips to topple.
“Who is he?”
“You know the type, crisp white shirts, upper-crust kind of bloke. While she’s with him, I don’t have a chance. What could she see in me,” he said, indicating his holey t-shirt and faded baseball cap, “When she can have Mr. Fancy-pants with her every time I’ve got to hit the road.”
“Sounds like you need to teach them a lesson. Show them who the real man is.”
“Right,” Eddie said, stumbling to his feet, lifting his last bottle, taking one last mouthful of liquid bravery. He gave his friends a parting salute, as they wished him luck. As he opened the bar door, the rain hit his face, awakening his senses. He mounted his motorcycle, revved the engine, and accelerated off in a scattering of gravel.
On the way home, Eddie stopped by his old apartment, still half-filled with his belongings, since their marriage the month before. He unlocked the gun case and grabbed his handgun. He hoped the confrontation with Mr. Fancy-pants wouldn’t lead to violence, but he wanted to be prepared, just in case.
As Eddie pulled into the empty driveway, he noticed the house’s windows were dark, except for flickering lights coming from their bedroom window. Sitting on the porch swing, he removed his boots and wet hat. He eased open the screen door, letting it shut quietly behind him, grateful he’d greased it just the week before. Muffled sounds came from the bedroom, quiet classical music, murmured voices. He bit his lips in mute rage, containing the desire to punch a hole in the wall. He tiptoed down the hallway, gun held high in his steady hands. He hugged the bedroom door, laying his ear against the wood and heard a man confess, “I love you. I love you. I love you.” The gentleman’s baritone voice sounded refined, and it caused Eddie’s blood to boil, and a thousand murderous thoughts to flood his brain.
Eddie threw open the door. He glimpsed a scented candle, the wick sputtering in a puddle of melted wax, a half-open box of chocolates, two wrappers thrown on the floor and his wife lounging on their bed in her favorite lace lingerie, her long hair scattered on her pillow. Her lashes fluttered open, and when she caught sight of her husband, wet with rain and holding a gun, she bolted straight up in bed.
“Alex, you’ve got to decide, is it going to be him or me?” Eddie snarled as he pointed the gun at the Regency-era gentleman on the television screen.
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