Not This Place
“Want me to bring anything on Saturday?” asked Roxanne.
“Just yourselves and a pasta salad for the four of us,” replied Laurell.
Laurell and Roxanne have a friendship of three years. They met when working at the seat cover factory in Marine City. Their husbands too, would occasionally go fishing together during summer on the St Clair River. Bryan owned a small fishing boat.
It was Saturday morning, and Roxanne and Bryan had just finished breakfast. Roxanne had awakened feeling groggy and grouchy. As she loaded the dishwasher she turned toward him and said, “Bryan, you keep forgetting to drop the payment in the mail to the Utility. They are going to shut us off. What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Nag, nag, nag. Just shut up will you?”
Bryan was reading the sport page from the Detroit News.
“No! I won’t shut up. She slammed the washcloth down on the kitchen counter. “Answer me.” Roxanne’s face displayed the anger that oozed out her pores like maple syrup.
“Look, we’ll discuss this later,” Bryan said.
“Later, your typical put-off. I just hope we can have a peaceful day with Gordon and Laurell,” Roxanne replied.
“I’m going to go around the yard once with the lawn mower. Then let’s get ready to go to Port Huron,” Bryan said. Slamming the door behind him, he entered the garage.
About an hour later, they started the 30-mile drive to Port Huron. They stopped at a supermarket in St Clair and picked up the salad and some cold brews for their occasion.
“Hey Gord, how the hell are you?” asked Roxanne.
“Got these hotdogs just about grilled. Got the all-beef kind. Hey, want to eat first?”
“They sure smell good. Am ready anytime,” Roxanne said. She conveyed longing in her expression. Bryan noticing her expression, reached over and gave Roxanne’s shoulder a firm squeeze.
“Have you been out on the boat lately?” Bryan asked Gordon.
“The other night, I was just south of Marysville. I caught a 10-pound bass.”
“I guess someone got a 17-pounder on the Canadian side.”
“I saw that in the paper. He won that Sarnia tournament.” Bryan turned the hotdogs over as they talked.
“I’m free in a couple weeks. Will text you about going fishing.”
A few minutes later, the foursome were at the kitchen table dishing up their plates.
“What do you think of this campaign stuff?” asked Roxanne.
“I never thought it would be Trump and Clinton. Surprised the hell out of me,” replied Laurell.
“Just tell your woman who to vote for in November,” Bryan said as he shot Roxanne the look. Momentary laughter ensued.
“Is that how it works?” Laurell inquired.
“He thinks so, but then he has always been delusional,” Roxanne remarked.
A little while later, dishes were cleared and the couples were playing hands of Uno. Roxanne was having a bad day of it with the cards. Gordon or Laurell kept having her draw cards each round.
“Roxanne baby, draw four,” Bryan stated.
She had enough. The anger felt at home just hours before came back as intense as a rushing torrent.
“Bryan, this is it! I have had it with all your crap!” From her pocket, Roxanne displayed a derringer and prepared to shoot.
“You nag, you cajole, you complain, you think you’re always right. Waving the small gun in her hand she continued, “I’ve had enough of you and from you. Glad we never had children together.”
“Rox, you may not want to do this,” Laurell said reaching for her friend.
“I do and I will, Laurell. This is between him and me.”
Standing, Roxanne aimed the weapon at Bryan’s temple and shot. Bryan fell to the floor.
For a long moment, Laurell and Gordon sat stunned and in shock.
“I’ll call 9-1-1, maybe they can revive him,” Laurell said.
“Doubt it. She hit him right on.”
“Yes, EMS, would you send someone to….Sixth Road right away. Someone has been fatally shot.”
“A man, I would guess in his early 40s,” Laurell said.
“Gordon and Laurell, I cannot take anymore,” Laurell said as tears streamed down her face. Within minutes EMS and the local Sheriff arrived.
“Who shot this man?” inquired the sheriff.
“I did. He’s my husband,” Roxanne stated. She pointed to the pistol and to to Bryan’s body.
“She did,” Gordon added, “Sheriff, her name’s Roxanne and her husband was Bryan.”
“Is that the truth?”
Roxanne shook her head yes, color drained from her face. She lightly touched the derringer lying on the table.
“I’ll take the gun, Roxanne. I’m placing you under arrest,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff read Roxanne her rights; then, EMS pronounced Bryan to be deceased.
While Gordon and Laurell remained at the table, the sheriff made his last statement before leaving with Roxanne in custody.
“Arguments are best settled with words.”
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David Russell is semi-retired and resides in lower Michigan with his wife of 20 years. David has published stories in anthologies, including Dangerous Days, Book 4 by Heather Schulte, 2014. He enjoys playing Uno, acoustic music and blogging on life matters. (See http://graftedinandonthejourney.blogspot.com).
4 thoughts on “Not This Place”
Was Bryan holding aces and eights?
I didn’t see that one coming, David. Good flash fiction. It felt real.
A slice of life, but not a tasty one. The sheriff’s moralistic observation ends the story on a banal note, leaving unexplored the emotional impact of the tragedy on those involved–other than poor Bryan. AGB
Nice David. I want to know about the two witnesses. It would be fun if you wrote the story again from the perspective of one or the other of them.