Monday, June 15, 2015

Scott Free ... A Story

Scott Free

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

In another apartment, someone is playing a piano. The sound resonates through an open window and floats in a wave of summer heat over to where Maggie is fussing with yesterday's newspapers. She doesn't notice the sound even though her head bobs slightly up and down. Her timing is off somewhat, as if she is bobbing in 5/4 time.

She is busy clipping out pictures and articles of her last lover's murder.

I pretend not to notice.

Ignorance is close enough to innocence in my mind.

And to be honest, I really wasn't involved.

I knew Scott by name only. I never really met him.

"It's a bit strange," I say to her from across the room. "A bit macabre, don't you think?"

"What is?" she throws back.

"Well," I begin hesitantly, "I mean collecting all these clippings and what not. Seems just a bit odd, don't you think?"

She turns her face slightly away from me, sideways, and her features disappear in a dark silhouette. She murmurs something indistinct, stands, and leaves the room.

I watch her disappear like a vague shadow escaping the sunrise. And as she passes into the far bedroom, I am left with a rather odd image of bees dancing in the light of the doorway.

Two days ago, Maggie came to me with a letter.

"Look," she said.

"What is it?" I offered.

"It's a letter ..." She tore open the envelope to peek inside. "It's from ... Scott."

"Oh ..."


"What does the letter say?" I ventured.

She pulled several frayed pieces of lined scribbler paper from the envelope. "Read it," she commanded


"Yes, I mean it, read it out loud to me."

"No. I'm not reading your letter. You read it and give me the executive summary."

With a flourish, she dangled the letter in front of my eyes. "It could be provocative ..." she groaned with a low voice.

"I thought you said it was from Scott."

She turned away from me and began reading the letter. "You really do think you're so sardonic, don't you?"

"Not really." Then after a few moments, I inquired, "What does he say in his letter? Is he committing suicide finally?"

"My god, no. It says ..." she paused for dramatic effect and turned her whole body towards me.

"It says," she began again, "that he wants me back. No questions asked. No blame. No fault. Just says he still loves me and urgently needs me to return to him this instant. Carter blanche. Platinum MasterCard."

"Hmmm ... that's good, isn't it?"

"Says he wants marriage, babies, the whole thirty yards."



"Nine. The expression is: 'The whole nine yards.' Not thirty."

"No it's not."

"Yes, it is."

"But it says here 'the whole thirty yards.'"

"Yes, but that's Scott. He's not exactly an intellectual giant."

"Really?" she asked with her eyes narrowing as she appeared to be sizing up my remark.

"Really?" she repeated and then added, "You're an elitist. Did I ever tell you that? You're a goddamn marxist-wacko-republican who refuses to marry me and doesn't want babies. If you're not careful, I really am going back to Scott."

"Good," I offered. "That's good. It's what you've always wanted."

"But ..." she began.

"Don't," I interrupted. "Don't even bother. I will gladly step aside for the return of your soul mate."

"I never said ..."

"Oh, please," I interrupted again. "When he broke up with you, you had to go for therapy. Christ, you went to Europe just to show him how little he mattered, when he mattered in every way imaginable."

"That's not true."

"It is true, and the sooner you actually do go back to him, the better."

"But what about you?"

"Ah, yes. What about me?" I wondered aloud.

"What about the sex?"

"Yes, well, there is the sex."

"Yes, the sex," Maggie exploded with a fury. Then in a softer voice, she confessed, "I love our sex."

She turned away from me and I could hear her sobbing. A part of me wanted to comfort her. Another part told me that I didn't dare go near her. I stood up as casually as I possibly could. I took several steps towards the bedroom when she suddenly realised my attempt to escape the situation.

"Sit down!" she bellowed.

I immediately sat down, and after a brief moment of hesitation, I ventured a glance towards Maggie across from me.

Her eyebrows, thick and heavy as they are, danced above her eyes like fat sausages twitching on a barbeque. She was thinking.

The air became hot and surly.

The next day, Maggie called Scott at his work and made arrangements to meet with him that very evening. They met at a local Burger King for dinner.

When she returned to the apartment later that evening, her face was ashen and her mood was a pall.

"Are you O.K.?" I asked.

"Yes," she murmured in a deadpan voice. "Yes," she repeated in what sounded more like a sigh.

"How did it go?"

"What?" she blurted as if she had just awoken from a deep sleep.

"How did it go with Scott?" I repeated.

"We had sex," she moaned as she turned her face away from me.

"You what? You ... you had sex?" I stuttered.

"Yes, we had sex in the women's washroom."

"At Burger King?"


"Did you say you did it in the women's washroom?"

"Yes. I refused to go into the men's."

"Did anyone see you?

"No. The door was closed."


"The door to the stall. I closed it and locked the latch."

"Well, did anyone hear you?"

"I don't think so. Maybe. No. No, I'm sure we were alone in there."

"This is unbelievable. You're unbelievable."

"It gets worse."


"It gets a little worse."

"What could be worse than screwing someone in the women's washroom at Burger King?"

"He died."


"He died."



"He died?"


"Are you kidding me?"


"Scott is dead?"



"Not sure."

"Did he have a heart attack?"


"But he's dead? You're sure?"


"Didn't you do anything to help? CPR? Call 911?"



"I wanted him dead. Willed that he die right there, right there where he sat on the can beneath me."

"My god."

"I killed him, didn't I?"

"My god, my god, my god, you're insane."

"I did it for you."

"For me?"

"Yes, for you. So that you would never have to be jealous of him again."

For two days now, Maggie has been scouring the local newspapers for any item even remotely related to Scott's death. She has begun to collect them in a scrapbook.

As she returns from the bedroom with a large bottle of Elmer's white school glue, I ask, "Why are you keeping all these clippings?"

She looks over at me with some disdain in her expression. She doesn't answer. Instead, she sits quietly at the kitchen table and begins sorting out the various photos and news items. I watch her methodical arrangements take shape and I shrug hopelessly.

I turn away from her and walk aimlessly around the apartment. At the door to the bedroom, I stop. She has dropped one of the news clippings. I pick it up and read the headline: "LOCAL TEACHER POISONED AT BURGER KING."

She had murdered Scott all right, but sex was definitely not the murder weapon. I quickly skim the article, only to discover that Scott had been murdered by some as yet undetermined poison, most likely injected into the back of his neck.

I turn and walk back to the kitchen and place the article in front of her.

"You've only made it worse, you know," I say sadly. "You've only made it worse."



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