“I can’t stand this excitement any longer. It’s killing me.” The words fell off her lips and drifted underneath the bedroom door. “All the sneaking around and running behind his back is too much. I wish it was already over,” there was a pause in her rhetoric. “No, I couldn’t just tell him. I didn’t know how he was going to react. It has to be tonight though. I can not wait any longer,” there was another pause as she gave the person on the other end time to reply. “Would you really? Oh, thank you. That is a great idea. Be here at 7:30. I will tell him before then. Thank you Jerry. You are wonderful.” As she hung up the phone, her husband of thirteen years snuck into the back yard where he was in the middle of planting a supposed flower bed.
“So, that’s who it is, Jerry.” He spoke to himself in his usual monotone voice, “after all of this, and out of all the people in the world, it ends up being fucking Jerry. He always was the lucky one.” He grabbed the shovel off the ground. “I should have known. The way he always made her laugh, the way she would always compare us as she bitched, “why do you have to be disagreeable? Why are you so hard to know? Why can’t you be more open like your brother?” He shoveled some more dirt out of the hole he had started. “Frank, why don’t you act like you love me? Why don’t you ever take me out like you used to? Why cant you make more time for us? What happened to us?” Why, why, why? The phrases and her voice raced through his head faster and faster as he shoveled. “Didn’t she understand? If he didn’t love her, he wouldn’t work so hard, and if he didn’t work so hard there would be more time.”
He gripped the shovel tighter as his knuckles turned white. “All of that doesn’t mean shit now. I worked and worked for nothing, and because of whom? Jerry. For as long as I can remember, he hasn’t had to really work for anything in his life. The world just opens up to him like he is the chosen one. He was Mom’s favorite, Dad’s favorite, and even in school the teachers and coaches always preferred him, no matter what I did. When we were both hired on I thought, this is my chance. I am going to outwork him, and eventually he will be working for me. Eight years later look where we are at… me calling him boss.” He twisted the shovel back into the ground and came up with a small mound of dirt.
“I should have noticed it sooner. Wherever she was on the phone using that soft voice I thought it was just “girl talk” with Creslon or Tolla. I never dreamed she would be seducing my fucking brother.”
Sweat was now pouring off his brow and stinging his eyes. “Well, I am not going to stand for this shit. I am not going to lay here like a dog, while they sit and laugh in my face. They’ll pay, the both of them. Its the way it has to be.” As this last thought planted itself inside his head, she came out the back door.
“Frank, what in Gods name are you doing? That hole is six feet deep. Haven’t you been paying attention? I cant believe you have ruined my flower bed.” She took a step forward and peered into the hole as the shovel came down on top of her. There was no cry or scream, just a loud “crack”. The sound was akin to the one a baseball bat makes when a player hits a 400 foot home run. Her body went limp and fell halfway into the freshly dug earth. He thought about hitting her again, but he said “fuck it” as he kicked the lower half of her body into the hole.
He raised his voice, “Beth, that’s what you get. You fucked up everything. I hope you and Jerry have as much fun in the next life as you did in this one.” He shoveled the loose dirt from the mound beside the hole. “I am sure you two had a good laugh about me. Well, fuck you. Who’s laughing now?” After fifteen minutes the hole was filled and her body was entombed. He started a second hole four feet from the first, “This one is yours Brother. You will never get the better of me again. You made your bed, and now you will sleep in it. Prodigal son, my ass.” When the second hole was finished, he threw the shovel to the ground and went inside to clean up.
After a quick shower and a change of clothes, he began to prepare himself for what was to come. He could picture Jerry in convulsions, on the ground begging for mercy. “You thought you were going to surprise me, you piece of shit?” his voice was in a hysterical chatter as he paced around the house. “Yeah, we will see who gets the surprise. You are going to pay for once in your life.” He reached into the cabinet and pulled out a box of industrial rat poison that he had used earlier in the year to kill rats in the basement. “This will work. I just want to see you suffer a little bit before I crack your skull.”
At 7:30 sharp he answered the knock at the door. “Brother, what are you doing out in my neck of the woods? Come on in, and let me get you a drink.” Jerry tried to give him a hug as he entered, but he stepped away and turned his back to him. “Frank, I wanted to come over here and talk to you for a minute. Where is Beth?” His back was still to Jerry as he mixed the drink, “She went next door, but she will be back in a minute.” He poured the Johnny Walker into the glass that held the rat poison, turned around, and handed Jerry his fresh drink.
“Well like I said, I wanted to come over here and… wait, Beth did already talk to you didn’t she?” He gritted his teeth as “Yeah, she told me. She told me every damn thing.” came out of his mouth. Frank looked surprised, but then slapped him on the back, and chuckled, “Well what the Hell is wrong with you then? Why do you look like you lost your best friend?”
He couldn’t believe the nerve of this guy. He couldn’t believe he was standing here in his living room, after fucking his wife, acting like it was no big deal. He was about to say something when his brother cut him off. “Frank, I just wanted to say congratulations, and I am so proud and happy for you two. It isn’t every day that I become an uncle. Also, we have decided to give you that district manager promotion at work. You have worked your ass off, and you deserve it. I am sure the raise will help out with this new addition coming into the family. Brother, I love you.”
As Jerry took another drink, Frank hung his head in his hands as if he was praying. There was nothing but silence.