by Keith Nunes
There’s a madman across the water wrecking my house. The lake is big – the house is small; the interior is teal. I see it from here – standing outside my blue car with binoculars to my eyes.
He takes to the windows with a shiny axe – splinters his face; rocks away and falls to the ground. I ring an ambulance, climb into my sedan and head around the edge of the lake to my house, hoping he’s dead – hoping he hasn’t lit a fire.
I beat the ambulance by 60 seconds. JT is sitting on the front-door step; bleeding from cuts around his face. The St John ambulance officer pushes by me on a narrow path and crashes into JT’s right side. He opens his box; speaks quickly and quietly and starts his business. The second ambulance officer is much calmer – reaches JT and stands in front of him with his box. They work in unison as JT swears at me – he calls me “a fucking wanker”; “a cocksucker”; “a motherfucker”.
I’m tired of defending myself so I walk around to the back door and go in. My wife is sitting at the dining room table drinking red wine – probably merlot, probably cheap. We look at each other and hold it for a second or two. “So now what – honey!” she says, slurring, sarcastic.
I go to the fridge and crack open a can of bourbon and coke – lean against the sink and swallow deeply. “It’s time for all this to go away,” I say to her with little malice. I like these people – I love her; he’s my boss, or was.
Now I have to come clean. She’s tearful, telling me she loves me. “For God’s sake Ruben, tell me what’s going on,” she says throat clearing, both hands around the glass of wine, mascara running.
“He loves me,” I say. “He’s been in love with me since we left high school. We slept together once but it wasn’t for me – he laid his life on it,” I say swigging again, sitting down at the table opposite my wife.
“Jesus! I thought you were having an affair with his wife,” she says breaking into laughter, spluttering between sobs.
“He pushed one last time on Friday and I said definitely no. He doesn’t like my attitude,” I say.
One of the ambulance officers comes into the house and says they have to take him to hospital to have some glass removed from his neck and face. The officer says JT won’t identify himself – I give him a name and an address. He says thanks and they lead JT to the ambulance. JT waves to us as we stand on the front-door step where blood soaks into the wooden step.
“He fired me,” I say to Jenny, “says he doesn’t want to see me again.”
“What about Abigail, does she know about you two?”
“He’s never told her anything,” I say turning back into the house. I stand at the sink again and she sits back behind her wine. “What now?” she asks.
“I won’t go back to work. I won’t see him again. I want to leave town. Where do you stand?”
“Give me a chance to catch my breath,” she says wiping away tears, speaking clearly. “This is a bit of a shock. Can we sit on this for a day or two – for the weekend?”
“Of course,” I say, swigging again. “I’m not going anywhere without you.”