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Award-Winning Author ~ Editor ~ Writing Instructor
|Dewey Rafer never met anyone's expectations of him. He was such a screw-up, that no matter how he worked the angles, something always went wrong. But now, he was going to get something right. This time, he was really going to kill his wife. |
Marrying her had been his biggest mistake. Dewey would never have given chatty plain Peg Daniels a second look if her rich uncle, Lou, hadn't been scratching at death's door. Who knew Lou hated Peg's old man enough to cut that side of the family from his will?
Marriage hadn't improved Peg's looks, but it sure made her more talkative. He got to hate the sound of that voice so much, he took to selling on the road. But she saved up her conversation. He'd no sooner come through the door than Peg would sit him down, serve him a cup of her awful herbal tea and yammer on till he wanted to scream.
When he tried to leave, she'd always say, “Now, Dewey, you're gonna set a spell and listen to me - if it's the last thing you do.” Then she'd babble on about how she missed him so much she needed to take those sleeping capsules the doctor prescribed when he wasn't there beside her.
Still, Dewey hadn't tried to get rid of her - until he met Linda.
He'd lost his old job because he'd screwed up too often, but Peg convinced her brother-in-law to hire him. She lobbied for an office job, but Dewey lucked out. The only opening was for a sales job with an out-of-town territory.
And what a good job it was. High commissions, or they would be if he made any sales; great benefits, too - life insurance on both him and Peg.
The first night away from Peg, Dewey celebrated too much and fell down and gashed his head. Luckily, the emergency room nurse who treated him was Linda. Beautiful quiet Linda, who didn't talk unless she had something to say. Too bad that what she said was that she wasn't going to wait around forever for a guy with enough money to give her the kind of life she deserved.
It always came down to money. Too bad Dewey's bosses never felt he met their expectations well enough to give him plenty of it. There had to be another way....
While hanging around the ER, Dewey spotted the medicine cabinet and remembered Peg's sleeping pills - and it came to him. This time Dewey wouldn't screw-up.
He slipped back home when he knew Peg wouldn't be there. And he emptied all of her sleeping capsules and refilled most of them with powered sugar. Except for the last five. Those he filled with a barbiturate he stole from the hospital.
He put the tainted capsules deep in the bottle. The way he figured it, when Peg found one or two capsules didn't make her sleepy, she would get so desperate, she'd swallow a lot more. One of those sleepless nights, she was going to take a few of the meanest capsules ever built.
He did have one scary moment. The brother-in-law called him in and threatened to can him right on the spot. He had been getting behind in his accounts since he spent all his time with Linda. But he couldn't lose that job until Peg croaked. Sure, he'd be free, but without that insurance pay-off, Linda would be long gone.
Dewey bought a little time by telling the brother-in-law that he'd just been so worried about Peg, who'd been depressed lately. But it was down to the wire now.
The worst part was coming home after each trip. Would this be the time Peg took those pills? He never knew how he should act, and it was making him edgy. Unfortunately, Peg was always as right as rain and just as chatty as ever. The only good part was that she must have changed herbal teas because it never tasted as bad as it used to. But how deeply had he buried those capsules? The level in the bottle kept dropping. When was she going to take them?
With just two days remaining in the time the brother-in-law gave him, Dewey returned home - only to have Peg meet him at the door again. He looked to the counter and saw the empty bottle. She'd taken them all. How was that possible? He'd put enough medication in those capsules to kill a battalion.
Peg fell into their usual ritual. She made him sit at the table and listen to her, while drinking her herbal tea, which tasted more bitter than ever this time.
Suddenly, Dewey felt woozy. “Peg, I don't feel so good.”
“Now, Dewey, you're just relaxing,” Peg said with a coy smile. “I have a confession to make. My sleeping pills weren't working so I got a stronger medicine from the doctor. But I've been slipping a few of the others into your tea, since you've seemed so tense whenever you came home.”
Dewey looked at his empty cup. How long had it been since he finished the tea? He tried to rush to the bathroom, but the pills had turned him into a puddle - one that was about to drown him!
"Peg, I gotta get outta here," he muttered. "I need - "
“Now don't you think about leaving, Dewey. You're gonna set a spell and listen to me - if it's the last thing you do.”
A screw-up right to the end, Dewey Rafer finally met someone's expectations of him.
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