WIN / WIN

A very short flash fiction by Bill Murphy 2020

Their second floor bedroom was dark and quiet – dark save for a trickle of light from the street lamp which filtered thru the drapes.

Sheila lay on the bed fast asleep, finally.  Today had been a bad day.  She lay on her stomach, much as a baby often does. She now slept peacefully, like a baby.

Johnathan sat on the wingback chair across from the bed watching his sleeping wife of thirty years.  It had been a good thirty years.  Yes it had been.  

Theirs had been a unique bonding from the start.  On the outside they appeared to be an imperfect couple, mismatched in every way.  But the mismatch was the perfect match for them, right down to the fact that neither was capable of producing children.  Fate had stepped in with the assurance there’d be no issues on that point.

“I love you,’ he said in a soft whisper.  She mumbled something that he understood must have been a “What?….”  He didn’t respond.  He let her sleep.

His mind drifted to when they met, how they met, and what transpired after that first chance encounter.  It was a story that might not interest the world. It was certainly not movie material, but it was their story. And now that story was ending.

How long he sat there gazing at her, he had no recollection.  Minutes?  Hours?  Who’s to say.  And then he thought to himself, “It’s time I suppose.”

He stood and crept slowly to her side of the bed.  He then whispered as silently as he could, “I love you” one last time.

He placed to barrel of the .38 inches from the back of her head and pulled the trigger.

                                             ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Johnathan Boyd layed the still smoking .38 on the nightstand, and returned to his seat near the foot of the bed.  Taking his cell phone from his pocket, he called 911 and reported his wife’s death.  He gave them little details, only that he was certain that she was dead and of course, the address.

Dawn was breaking outside just as the EMTs and authorities were arriving.  He had no idea that it was that hour of the morning.  Two and two quickly added to four when the responders noticed the pistol on the nightstand.  There was no question of what had happened and Johnathan Boyd offered no resistance to the police investigators.

Within the hour he was sitting across from two detictives in the police station.

After all the formalities of reading him his rights, the lead detective began questioning the new widower.

“Can you tell us what happened last night?”

“I shot her,” was Jonathan’s honest reply.  

“Perhaps you need to tell us about it.”

“Sure. I have nothing to hide.”

“Mr. Boyd, I’d like to remind you that this is being recorded.”

“I know.  I see the recorder on the table, and the little red light is on.”

Dective Johnson sat back, ready to hear what Jonathan Boyd had to say.  He’d never seen a murder suspect quite so calm, cool, and collected before.

“I been planning this for weeks now,” began Johnathan.  It was all a surprize for Sheila.

“I’ll bet it was,” interjected Dectectve Floyd, the younger of the two detectives.

“OK, I’ll admit, it is what it seems. But then it’s also not what it seems.”

“Please explain,’’ replied Detective Johnson.

“Sheila had cancer.  She found out a year ago.  I’m sure you’ll do an autopsy and it will confirm that.  She didn’t want chemo or radiation.  She’d seen far too many friends and relatives suffer throught that.  She made the remark to me dozens of times that she hoped she’d go quickly, to ‘get it over with quickly,’ because she knew that the end was inevitable and that it would be painful.  So I suppose you’d label it a ‘mercy killing.’ However, it was far, far more than that I assure you.”

Leaning forward, Detective Johnson replied, “Go on.  I’m listening.”

“I’m a writer… a struggling writer to be sure, but I do love to write.  And I write because I believe that I have something to say.  But writing has always had to take a back seat.  I’ve been a good husband to Sheila, ask anyone.  I’ve been a good provider too.  Sheila worked also, before she took sick and she had to quit.  That left us a bit strapped, so my writing suffered too.  Now don’t get me wrong, my writing wasn’t suffering nearly as much as Sheila, bless her heart, but my writing practically came to a standstill, because I was putting in as much extra time at work as was possible.”

“I’m having a hard time following this writing thing,’ remarked Detective Floyd.

“I may be exicuted for what I’ve done, and I know that,” said Jonathan, “But, you’re never convicted on Monday and exicuted on Tuesday.  I might sit in a cell for decades awaiting that fate.  That’s a lot of ‘spare time’ to write.”

“So what you’re saying is that you killed your wife so that you’d have time to write?” Asked Detective Johnson.

“Heaven’s no Detective!  I loved my wife!  I cared for her!  I cared so much for her that if she no longer wanted to suffer, as she was doing, I could and did take care of that, for her.  She’s happier today than she was yesterday, I can assure you!  So now you can lock me up for that, where I’ll have time to write.  As I see it detective, that little .38 slug solved two problems and it benefitted Sheila, as well as it benefitted me.  I call that a win-win situation!”

In all of his twenty years of police investigation Detective Johnson never had a case basically solve itself so quickly.  And he’d never in all of his experience had a murder case that seemed to make perfectly good sence!  As they say, all’s well that ends well.

                                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~ The End ~~~~~~~~~~~~