Monday, July 2, 2012


This one was written by Jenny Mackiewicz following a very specific prompt. See if you can figure out what it was.

Ain’t all that much to say.  Bad times came for everyone, and I just had the good sense to see a way out.  Can’t say that way was one hundred percent above the board but, like I said, bad times.  Depending on who you ask- that is, just about everyone- bastard had it coming, anyway.

Every day of the week he had a routine he followed; wash on Sunday, grocery on Tuesday, drinks with the boys on Friday, that sort of thing.  For years, not a week had gone by he didn’t follow that routine to the letter.  Good for a man like him, with no patience for change and an inbred need for order, even better for me.

He was at Shaky’s Pub for cheap liquor and pool the night I came.  I knew what I was looking for, and right where to look for it.  Just like his routine was ground into him over time, obvious and reliable as the setting sun, so was his house and everything in it, unmoving and unchanging.

Keeping quiet, I crept my way in through the back door and headed straight for the washroom in the basement.  Last time I’d crept through that house, I had two black eyes and a bagful of clothes with me, though I was headed out, not in.  Memories of that time hustled me along and before I knew it, I was where I need to be, by the old water softener that sits alongside the washing machine.

Never been used, least not since the first month we bought it, when he decided he liked his water hard, never mind it wasn’t fit to swallow.  One quick call later and that water softener was nothing more than a giant, useless barrel full of salt, taking up space.  Paid a hell of a lot of money for the thing, and I was sure I’d get a beating for suggesting it in the first place, but he just smiled and nodded his head, said he had a fine idea what do to with it now.      

Quick and quiet, I lifted off the softener’s lid and set it aside.  Right as I expected, the damn thing was still chock full of salt, though it was turning yellow with time.  Settled atop it was a thin layer of dust, and I wondered briefly, horrified and a touch hysterical, if he made a habit of opening the softener and looking inside, to make sure that dust hadn’t been fussed with at all.

Time running short, I shoved both my gloved hands in to the wrist, dust be damned, and started rooting around.  Underneath the weight of it I found what I was looking for, a small box wrapped up in one, two plastic bags.  Very carefully, I shifted the salt around, made it lay flat as I could get it, and settled the lid back in place.  With the box and its two bags in hand, I shuffled out of that house as quick as I could manage, without creating too much of a fuss.

‘Xactly how long it took me to get home from there, I couldn’t say.  Your nerves can get the best of you, start to steal time, when you’re running from your bastard ex-husband’s house, with twenty thousand dollars of his dead daddy’s gambling money weighing on your wrist.  Zero regrets, no time for that now, only hope the bastard’s dumb enough to have forgotten about his hiding place, dumb enough not to see my part in this.

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