Sunday Free Fiction
I screwed around with this for a couple of months, saving drafts, and in the end I’ve decided to come back to the fourth draft of this. It’s the one that seems to fit best.
I’d like to thank Chuck Wendig for taking a look at the first couple of drafts and making suggestions that made this flow better and wind up more organic.
Fiction. It’s Free Range!
(In case you’re not from an area in the Northeast with beaches, a “Shoebee” is a person who day trips to the shore (beach for you folks not from NJ). It comes from the time when visitors packed lunches in shoeboxes so they wouldn’t have to spend money on meals)
“You know, the movies make it out to be a lot more dramatic than it really is.”
I removed my glasses and looked at Allison. “In what way?”
Allison pulled a Wet One from the plastic pouch in her pocket and cleaned her hands with it. “Well, it’s louder, for one. Also, they seem to make more of a mess in the movies.”
I was using seawater to wash the blood from my naked chest and arms. My glasses, too. “You don’t call this messy?”
Allison said, “Point taken. I guess the waves already took care of some of it. Tide’s coming in.”
It had been easy enough to get him to the beach. The benefits of being “unforgettable.” Oh sure, he knew I was married now and had a few kids at home, but when I walked into his restaurant near closing time and leaned over his counter, sobbing about how the sex just never managed to measure up, and it was a nightmare being so frustrated, well…
All I had to do was hand him a slip of paper with directions to a particular beach and a time and day written on the back.
Allison looked at me closely. “What the fuck is that glitter in your hair?”
I ran my hand through my hair, and when I removed it my hand sparkled. “I think it’s his brains.” She bolted for the surf, jeans-clad legs becoming soaked, and retched until her eyes watered. Not far behind her, I ran past the breakers, stuck my head in, and scrubbed until my scalp felt like it was bleeding. We staggered back out through the undertow and sat down on the sand.
“You positive you want to help out today?” I said.
Allison turned her head to follow a pelican, and then she looked at the sand. “Yeah. I want this done.” We pushed ourselves up.
She helped me wrangle him onto the thrift store blanket where he’d found me, lying naked, when he made his way to the hidden beach. “He really played video games while you miscarried?” She dropped him hard onto what used to be his face.
“Yep. All I heard while I crawled to the bathroom was ‘pew pew’ sounds. Didn’t even bring me the phone when I needed to call the doctor.”
Allison was along to help me with the heavy lifting. I had met her on the internet on a message board for local moms, and we’d progressed to telephone chats. She was a single mom with three kids at home herself. Her baby daddy had run off while she was pregnant with number three, talking about his need to spread his wings and find himself. Said he couldn’t handle another kid, he’d never wanted the first two, he was too young to have to be home every night to put kids to bed and clean up more vomit and piss… According to Allison, he’d never once touched a paper towel for either of those tasks in the first place. Putting kids to bed was a joke. He’d dick around on his laptop looking for free porn and online personals and grunt goodnights to them as she carried them to their rooms.
A joke became a pact, and a pact became a Tuesday at the beach.
Mine was easier. He and I had gone through the rigamarole of dating and breaking up so many times in the past that the very notion of screwing me occasionally while I was married to someone else and couldn’t ask for commitment was too much to resist. I had no worries that he’d told anyone where he was going or whom he was meeting. I’d never gotten beyond the designation “friend” in any introduction over the years.
I emptied his pockets of everything, including the directions to the beach, and Allison helped me place his blanket-wrapped hulk into two plastic lawn bags, one on each end. I hadn’t taken a single moment to say anything to him. When he had started undressing I waited for him to bend to remove his pants, lifted the gun from behind my back, and put two in his face.
It would have been nice if he’d landed on the blanket himself, but you can’t have everything.
I felt a flash of remorse for his family. They‘d been very nice to me the day we‘d run into them at his restaurant. Then I remembered collapsing in the bathroom. I pulled out the gun, aimed it at the plastic-covered vicinity of his crotch, and shot one more time. Pew.
Allison had gone to the car for the tarp we brought along to drag him to the boat we had beached nearby. I double-checked the boat to make sure the dive weights were in there, and I looked over my shoulder to find Allison on her way back already. She grimaced. “You know, this is where the cultural taboos against eating shellfish developed. Nasty little scavengers. Look like giant bugs anyway.” We unfolded the tarp and rolled him onto it.
I stared at him a moment. He had hated crabs. Wouldn’t even go near them in stuffed mushrooms.
“Got all your I’s crossed and T’s dotted?”
“Yep.” I pointed to the used laptop I had purchased to contact her ex through the “Missed Connections” section of the personals.
“Good deal. We need to get a move on. You told Pete you’d meet him at the marina at noon.” Her ex was living on his boat these days because he’d left his job in the technical field in order to work for a big box hardware chain and avoid hefty alimony payments. Our respective moms were watching our kids for the day so we could have a girls’ day out of brunch and shopping. We figured a five hour window was good enough.
Brody for sure was going to know something was up. He doesn’t miss a thing. The other two I might be able to fake out. It might be months before I could look my oldest in the eye again, though.
We heaved the asshole into the stern of the rented jon boat, and then I gave it a running push and jumped inside. As we approached the area that the channel map I had purchased indicated was deep enough to make accidental discovery by random fishermen unlikely I strapped the dive weights onto him, attached another to the laptop with some 20 pound test, and we tossed both overboard.
I scratched my scalp, and Allison watched me watch him sink.
“Are you feeling any better?”
I was irritated. Angry. Satisfied? Tired. Really frigging tired.
I shrugged. “I’m tired. I’m hungry. Let’s get to the marina and get this done. I need protein. I haven‘t eaten since dinner last night.”
We putted back to the beach, and I dropped her off so she could hop in the car and drive to the marina and park. Her own car was parked at the mall. I turned the boat around and headed in the direction of the cheapest marina in the area and her ex. The email I had printed at the library directed me to a sad looking thirty-foot 1977 Tartan, blue with white trim. I looked at my watch. 11:57am. I glanced at the parking lot and saw my white Toyota 4Runner pull into a spot toward the back of the lot. I could see the yellow “Baby on Board” decal from the water.
I was pretty sure that after I left Allison at the mall I’d never see her again.
I adjusted my bikini top and my blonde wig, tucked the silenced pistol into the back of my shorts, and motored over alongside the dock. It was deserted on a weekday morning. Pete was pacing the deck of his home, stopping to squint into the horizon every once in awhile.
“Hey there! Permission to come aboard, Captain?”
He jumped and turned in my direction.
“Wow! Are you Emily?”
I took a deep breath and then pasted the smile that I used for PTA meetings on my face.
“Who else would I be?”