“Family Affair” by Becky Coffield, Arizona

BLOG,Monogamy August 7, 2011 02:35

topic: MONOGAMY medium: TEXT

This story was the winner of the “Monogamy” contest

Get to know Becky better by going Behind the Story

I huddled by the rock, the late October sun struggling to remove the morning’s chill.  I leaned my head back and let the sun’s paltry warmth fall upon my face.  It wouldn’t be long now. I waited quietly, listening for intruders, going over again the plan I’d spent a year developing.  I’d heard somewhere that a murderer makes at least twenty-five mistakes in the commission of the crime. I smiled grimly, certain I wouldn’t make any.

Shoot. Leave the gun. Flee. Don’t speed. One slim glove down a restaurant toilet  in Sacramento. The other in a gas station trash bin in Palm Springs.  I’d never handled the weapon without wearing cotton gloves, so I felt confident the rifle would never be traced to me.

A tragic hunting accident has occurred, the authorities would tell me.

Turning over, I took position. A crevice between rocks provided an excellent rifle rest. I must stay alert now. Soon.

The rifle barrel gleamed in the morning sun. I’d bought it a year ago in Phoenix, using some woman’s identification that I’d found in my husband’s coat pocket.  It’d been humorous watching him surreptitiously look for the woman’s small pocketbook. At first I’d kept the cards and driver’s license out of perversity, but a year later I began to see the value of having the documents. I drove fourteen hours roundtrip to Phoenix just to buy the rifle and scope.  The clerk hadn’t even given the picture on the i.d. I handed him a second look – a wig had done the trick.

I’d show the bastard.  He wouldn’t get away with this. I’d known about his indiscretions and had accepted them silently. Marrying a celebrity had been challenging, but not without its financial rewards. My anxiety about having to sign a prenuptial agreement barring me from any future settlement whatsoever had faded over the years as Tommy had proved to be a generous husband and doting step-father to my daughter, Meredith, two at the time of our marriage. I’d not seen my world coming to a cataclysmic end  until he casually announced one evening after dinner that he’d be filing for  divorce the following Monday. I would have nothing. He’d never adopted Meredith, so she likewise was not entitled to anything. I’d  come a long way since the old hunting lodge my father owned in Lakeview, Oregon, where I had first come to the dashing star’s attention, and I refused to go back – ever.

I looked through the scope at the hillside across the small canyon. My view was excellent. He owned this acreage and the small, primitive cabin where he hunted every year. In the early years of our marriage he’d taken me with him. After a few years he came up with excuses why I couldn’t go. “Goin’ with guys,” he’d mumble.  So predictable.  He thought me stupid.

I began to feel exhaustion creeping in. The long trip from San Diego had filled me with hesitation and second thoughts.  I’d driven for hours to get here and, deed done, I’d have to hightail it back to San Diego where I supposedly was vacationing.  I’d checked into the Coronado Resort three days earlier, making sure to be seen about the resort, and then I requested not to be disturbed under any circumstances and that all calls be held while I “finished a project”.  Later, I’d taken a taxi from a grocery store to a car rental agency, paying cash but using the stolen identification.  I’d driven nonstop, and now I sat, awaiting my quarry.

The divorce wouldn’t be final for another month. I would get everything if he died – the life insurance policies, the homes, the royalties from his films, investments, this very land, everything.  He had to die. What else was I to do?  Become a waitress again at forty-six?  I’d put up with his indiscretions and given him twenty of my best years, goddamn it, and now he thought he could just toss me aside like a used wrapper. Then there was Meredith. Tommy had insisted that Meredith attend a private university and study abroad. How was I to pay for Meredith’s schooling?  She would have nothing.

I first saw the movement in the brush a hundred yards from the clearing. Holding my breath, I pushed the safety off and eased my finger to the trigger. Please let it be him. Let it be him. My body tensed, shoulders and neck aching from holding the heavy rifle in position. “Come on, asshole. Show your face,” I murmured.

There! It was him! And lookee!  I could tell by his animation he had a new paramour with him. This would give the bitch nightmares forever, and I smiled thinking of the woman’s view of Tommy’s beautiful head spattering on the rocks.

Once he entered the clearing, I knew I had only seconds to take the shot before my vision would be obstructed again. Plenty of time, I assured myself.  Take it easy. Easy. Don’t rush. Take a deep breath, I silently counseled myself. Take another. Dirt poor, I had grown up hunting with my father – not for sport, but for survival.  This kill too meant survival.

I could see his rugged, handsome face clearly now through the scope. He was smiling, that sexy I-know-I-have-you smile. I’d seen his charm in action many times.  Parties, gatherings.  Over the years, other women’s looks of envy toward me had faded to looks of pity.

My finger slowly caressed the trigger when Tommy’s companion came into view. I involuntarily gasped, almost dropping the gun, shaking as a stifled groan escaped me.  The bastard! The bastard! With trembling hands I struggled to reposition the rifle and bring him into my sights. He was almost across the clearing. I had only a second or two.  “Squeeze the trigger,” my father had taught me. “Don’t jerk it. Squeeze. Nice and easy.  Nice and easy.”  I’d done this a thousand times, but my whole body quivered now.

I inadvertently closed my eyes as I pulled the trigger, but I knew I’d hit my target when the young woman’s screams echoed across the canyon. I slowly opened my eyes to see Meredith reaching for the fallen man. My screams blended with those of my daughter’s, all the way back to San Diego.

Meet Becky in Behind the Story!

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