THE MURDER OF A PERFECT WIFE
by Jackie King
“Pastor Wally, I have a confession to make.” Miss Thelma Click clutched her hymnal to her chest as if it were a shield, then glanced around the deserted chapel.
“Yes, Miss Click?” The Reverend Wally Birdsong smiled at his choir director, his sympathy aroused.
“Your wife is such a perfect woman that she makes my best effort seem like a total failure,” Miss Click said. “I find myself disliking her because of it, and I’m so ashamed.”
Pastor Wally’s heart stopped beating. His smile froze. He wasn’t alone.
“She’s the most organized person, man or woman, that I’ve ever met.” Miss Click sighed, then lowered her hymnbook to rest on a scarred Baldwin piano. “Come to think of it, I’ve never seen her tired. Or even sweat. Not even at the Women’s Auxiliary picnic last August when it was 100 degrees in the shade.”
Pastor Wally knew there was nothing to do except agree with her.
“Yes,” he said in a tight voice. “My wife is the most genetically superior person ever created.”
Miss Click looked shocked.
“Don’t misunderstand me,” Pastor Wally hastened to explain. “She’s not divine, of course. But none the less, my wife is the most perfect human ever created.”
A sort of fog descended over Pastor Wally. He realized that if Margot wasn’t divine (and of course she couldn’t be) then she must be demonic. After all, she certainly had turned his life into hell. Pastor Wally wondered if Margot might be the antichrist.
A picture of his wife Margot, laid out in a casket and wearing her Sunday best, flashed unbidden into his mind. He gasped at the thought that seized him. Miss Click flushed with embarrassment and began to stammer.
“Oh, my goodness. I never meant to criticize your dear wife. Quite the contrary. I’m the one with the problem. I’m the one who needs to change. I make so many mistakes. Margot is absolutely perfect.”
“Indeed,” Pastor Wally said with a sigh.
Pastor Wally hadn’t realized that he was such a flawed specimen until after he married his wife. As a younger man, his socks had been knocked off when he first saw her. Her beauty and energy dazzled him. It was only after seven years of marriage and her continual recitation of his imperfections, that he knew for sure what a miserable failure he was. Only yesterday Margot had suggested he see a psychiatrist.
Months passed and every time Margot was at the top of the basement stairs, he’d started to fantasize about giving her a firm shove. In his mind’s eye he saw her tumble down the stairs and go splat on the concrete, face down in a growing pool of blood. But he never murdered her.
Not until today at lunch.
“Wallace.” Margot spoke with the voice of a martyr. “You cannot wear that red tie to preach dear Mr. Smith’s funeral. You must change to the navy one. Red would be improper for the tragedy of death.”
“But Mr. Smith was 101 years old,” Pastor Wally said. “He was always laughing and joking. I thought a red tie would be a nice touch. It would make the service seem sort of like a graduation. A celebration of his life.” Wally longingly fingered his tie.
“No Wallace. I can’t imagine why you ever even bought a red tie. Change to the navy.”
Pastor Wally sighed. She was right, of course. She was right about everything. His clothes, his diet, who should be elected to the board of deacons, and the proper time of day to move his bowels.
“Yes, Margot.” He sighed again and reached for his favorite salad.
“You aren’t going to have another serving of that dreadful noodle concoction that Miss Click brought?” Margot asked. “You’ve already had two starches and the top buttons on your dress shirts are getting snug.” She cut herself a piece of steak about the size of her windpipe and slipped the morsel into her mouth.
“I daydream about murdering you,” Pastor Wally said before he could stop himself.
Margot sucked in a hard breath. The steak lodged in her windpipe and she began choking.
Pastor Wally knew he should run around to her side of the table, put his arms just below her ribcage and squeeze, but he was unable to move. His wife’s face began turning blue. I should help her, Wally thought. He touched his tie and remembered all of the times she had ‘helped’ him.
Margot’s eyes widened in surprise. Her slender white fingers touched her throat. Wally knew that if he tried to help her, he wouldn’t do it correctly. If she lived, he’d have to listen to her explain the right way. Over and over.
She slipped onto the floor and her beige designer skirt flared becomingly around her legs. She looks lovely, Wally thought, even in death. He knew he was right. Anyone that perfect had to be satanic. He sat still as a church mouse until she stopped moving, and then he walked to the phone and dialed 911.
|The Inconvenient Corpse|
|The Corpse Who Walked in the Door|
Jackie King is the author of two Grace Cassidy mysteries. The third, titled THE CORPSE AND THE GEEZER BRIGADE, will be available later in 2015. She has also written and published 6 novellas and one nonfiction book. Her work is available on Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble Nook, or can be ordered at bookstores everywhere.
No part of this story may be reproduced without written permission from Jackie King, Author.