He Said

A few of us are going down to the pub after work, he said. Join us, he said.

I hesitated for a moment. I suspected that a few of use would turn out to be just him. I hesitated a moment more.

He smiled.

Sure, I said, see you there.

Everyone left at five. I stayed, I waited. I didn’t want to seem to be too eager.

The pub was mostly empty. He was alone at the bar. The few hadn’t made it or had left already. I sat down. He smiled again.

He ordered another pint for himself. I nibbled at the stale peanuts sitting in a chipped bowl before me.

We said nothing for a while, awkward.

The he smiled at me and said, did I ever tell you about the time I met the Queen and sneezed on her.

He jumped up and acted out his story. I was laughing so much that my sides ached and I thought I would fall off my stool.

But wait, he said, the funny part is still coming.

So it went. His stories very funny, even the bartender pretending not to listen was chuckling.

Then, my wife doesn’t understand me, he said.

I hesitated, He smiled.

My husband understands me just fine, I said. I thanked him for the non-existant drink and left.

I went home and skyped my husband, halfway across the world. I had a drink with a man, I said. He made me laugh till my sides hurt, I said.

I understand, he said. London is a lonely place but you will be home soon, he said.

Yes I will, I said, ninety-one days.

I love he, he said.

Family Business

Blah, blah blah, the Chairman droned on but David wasn’t listening. His thoughts were focused on Helen, sitting across from him and frowning down at her lap. David knew what Helen was thinking about, her pregnancy, a result of her one night only with the Chairman’s son. She was thinking about whether she should keep the baby and whether she could pass the baby off as her husband’s.

David looked over to Helen’s husband, sitting on the Chairman’s right hand side, his right hand man, his other son.

Helen’s husband, the Chairman’s right hand man, was smiling. The Chairman was singing his praises, yet another deal successfully concluded. After the Chairman’s blah there would be cake. And maybe champagne.

David looked to his left, to the man sitting next to him, the Chairman’s son, Helen’s baby’s daddy, David’s boss. He too was frowning, but not because he wasn’t the favourite son or because Helen was pregnant. His frown was caused by his stomach ache, a problem he had, had for some time. Mostly uncomfortable, sometimes really painful but seemingly nothing serious to see another doctor about.

David thought he should go see another doctor, that another doctor would do more tests, that another doctor would eventually realise that the pain was caused by the poison.

David smiled to himself. He knew who the poisoner was, he knew why the poisoner poisoned. He knew that soon the poisoner’s work would be done, the baby’s daddy would be dead and the favourite son would be thrilled at the news that he was going to be a daddy. David knew that the Chairman would be thrilled but only if the baby was a boy.

David knew all, everything, too much.

And David knew what he had to do.

Calmly he stood up, pulled the Chairman’s gun from his pocket and shot Helen in the head.

The End

* I was in a meeting, I was bored, I wrote this. I did not know how it would end.