Soon Enough

Ten minutes. I can’t wait.

Angie’s fingers shook, taking her three tries to hit send on the text. She hid the phone between her thighs again and gestured the next customer forward.

“I just need to go to my safety deposit box,” he said.

Angie wiped a few beads of sweat away. “ID, please.”

The name on the license he slid over the counter said Albert Ross Blanchard but the picture didn’t match the one in front of her. He was thinner, and certainly didn’t look 5’7”. She glanced at him, the photo, him, the photo. There was no way this could pass—

Her cell phone vibrated between her thigh and the chair.

“Did you, um, lose weight recently, sir?”

Brown eyes stared at her over the teller desk. The ID said blue. After a few long seconds, a slow smile spread across his face. “Sure did!” He patted his torso cheerfully. “One hundred pounds!” He leaned in and winked. “And I’ve kept it off for nearly three months now.”

She nods. “This way sir.”

As they left the lobby, she heard the bell above the door ring.

Angie ushers Blanchard into the safe deposit room ahead of her, stealing the moment to check her phone.

Almost time :)

She tucked the phone away again and stepped through the door. Blanchard stood in the center of the room, facing the opposite wall.

“OK, sir, do you have your key?” she asks.

Blanchard turns around, gun in hand.

“Sorry, darling,” he says.

Angie hears the gunshots behind her in the lobby, the sounds of people shouting in terror. She stares at the man in horror as he raises it.

“P-please don’t—”

He squeezes the trigger and her left shoulder explodes in agony. She sinks down against the wall, clutching her arm.

“So sorry, darling,” he mutters as he walks by her.

It hurts like hell, but she’ll survive.

Just as planned.

The day she died

The day my mom died, I had crawled into bed at 2 am. I had been drinking, and drinking always leads to crying, for me, so when my phone rang my face was swollen and my head hurt. I tried to turn the ringer off but succeeded in knocking it off the bedside table.

Forget it, I thought to myself, seconds before my boyfriend kicked me—not hard or anything, just enough to make me grab it.

It was my mom—well it wasn’t, obviously—so I picked it up and snapped,

What!”

“Is this Dinah Blackwell?” a man’s voice asked—definitely not her latest boyfriend’s.

I sat up. “Yes?”

My boyfriend grunted, and a hand reached out and pushed me. I scrambled out of his bed and into the hallway, heart beating fast. Hopefully he’d go back to sleep in a moment.

As I shut the door, the man on my mom’s phone finally said, “I am Officer Ryan Kane. Can you please come to the precinct as soon as possible?”

“Why are you on my mom’s phone?” I demanded in a whisper.

“Miss Blackwell, please come—”

“Is my mom OK?”

My heart was pounding in my chest, and I felt three beats go by before he said, “Alex, I’m sorry. I need you to come to the precinct.”

I guess I told him I’d be there, but I don’t remember it. I dressed quietly, stopped at a gas station for an Excedrin and a bottle of water.

My hands were shaking as I pulled into the precinct parking lot, and I double parked. There wasn’t time for that, though, and I just ran inside.

“Miss Blackwell?” A cop asked.

I nodded. He ushered me into a cushy room, completely unlike the interrogation rooms on TV. I guess that meant I wasn’t a suspect in her death.

Officer Kane came in and introduced himself. He droned on for a while before finally saying, “Your mother…”

“What happened?”

“There was an electrical fire. She passed away.”

“Jesus. I kept telling her she needed to get that wiring checked out and she never would! And now…” I choked back on the tears.

He gave me a small half smile, trying at sympathy. He wasn’t very good at it. “I’m very sorry Miss Blackwell.”

I shook my head. My mom was dead. Everything felt like it was crashing around my head.

“You said her house had some wiring problems?”

“Yes…” But her she had gotten it checked out. She was going to sell.

“Well, I’ll pass that to the fire marshal. Sounds like it rules out foul play.”

“OK…” But I’d complained about it so many times. And I hadn’t told my boyfriend she was selling…

“Is there anything you need to tell me?”

We’d been so careful, deleting everything, messaging through apps that auto-deleted.

“Miss Blackwell?”

I shook my head. “No.”

Kate Chopin- Story of An Hour

Kate Chopin (1850-1904) is one of my favorite Victorian-era authors. She’s subversive, especially where it concerns the role of women in Victorian society. Now yes, Chopin was an American, but Victorian era expectations were pretty similar here in the US.

Story of an Hour,” published in 1894, is a really interesting story that defies our expectations. As usual, I’ll summarize and post excerpts, but you can read the whole thing at that link. Continue reading