Double Your Fun

Submitted into Contest #92 in response to: End your story with a truth coming to light.... view prompt

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Contemporary Crime Drama

End your story with a truth coming to light.

Double Your Fun—George Davis

  “Horace Hilton,” Margery his wife called. “How long will it take to mow the grass out front? It’s as high as the swamp reeds down at the Beaver pond.”

  “Give me a break, Marge. I work hard all week. I like to rest on the weekends.”

  “Your job is part-time, Horace. You only work four days a week at that miserable place.”

  “Yeah, but I work hard when I’m there. The boss, Mr. Jarmin says I’m one of his best workers.”

  “What does Herbert Jarmin know about work. He’s as lazy as you.” 

  “Oh, Marge. I’m going down to the club for a while, 'until you cool off a bit.” 

  “So it’s the club now, is it?” To me, it will always be, the snake pit, the den of iniquity.” 

  “Bye.” Horace went out, slamming the door behind him. 

  “Good morning, Horace,” Ned the bartender said. “The usual?” 

  “Yes, and make it strong, Ned. Me and the old lady are fighting again.” Truth be known. Ned enjoyed it when Horace and Marge fought. It helped fill his cash drawer. 

  “Oh, I’m sorry, Horace. What can I do to help?” 

  “Keep the Scotch and waters coming.” 

  At five-thirty Horace left the bar having polished off six drinks. Ned, saving money, watered down his drinks when his customers had more than two shots. They didn’t know the difference, and Horace, for one, got just as drunk on the half shots as he did when the drinks were full strength.

  The old saying, home is where the heart is doesn’t apply to Horace Hilton. His heart was at 410 Main Street, Ned’s Bar and Grill. He spent more time there than he did at home, or work for that matter. He and Marge have been married for three years, and Horace has never told her his secret. “Someday, when I’m drunk enough. I’ll tell her what I’ve kept back from her all these years. But, I’ve got to be more drunk than I am today to let her in on my secret,” he thought.

  The grass got mowed Saturday, but it wasn’t Horace who did it. Marge, mad at his actions hired the teen next door. She paid him ten dollars. That’ll show that lazy oaf.

  Sunday morning Marge got up, showered, dressed, ate her breakfast, and went off to church. She had been attending the First Baptist Church on Main Street since she was two years old, and her mother took her to the services. Her father, like Horace was a heathen. He spent his paycheck at the local watering hole often coming home inebriated.

  Monday morning Horace got ready for work as usual. He showered, dressed, ate his breakfast, and walked out the door at eight-thirty sharp.

  This morning was a little different. Marge came down to see him off to work. “Oh, Horace.”

  “What?”

  “I paid little Jimmy Dunn ten dollars to mow our front lawn. It’s money I took out of the grocery budget. This week it looks like bologna sandwiches and leftovers for dinner.”

  “You know I don’t like leftovers, Marge. I hate them. I need good solid food, like roast beef or pork, ham shoulder, mac and cheese.”

  “Sorry, Horace. I spent ten dollars out of your budget to pay, Jimmy. Next time it might be less costly to mow your own lawn. What do you think?”

  “I think you need to stop spending so much money foolishly. That’s what.”

  “Oh, you haven’t seen anything yet, Horace. Next you’re going to spend twenty-five dollars for new bedroom windows. You know, the ones that have come off their track nine months ago.”

  “Just close them, and leave them alone.”

  “Yeah, Mr. Big Spender, and die in the sweltering heat because my husband is too tight to buy an air conditioner.”

  “I grew up with only one fan in our home, and my father used it on himself. The rest of us, including my mother had to use folded church bulletins to cool off.”

  “So, I was raised in a one-fan home also. The only difference is we shared the fan.”

  “Well, at this time, Marge I am unable to increase the grocery budget. So I suggest you go to work if you want an air conditioner.”

  “Okay, Horace. I will go back to the paper mill. I’m sure I can still get my old job back even though it’s been three years.”

  “I don’t want you working in that paper mill. You know how I hate that place.”

  “You hate it because they fired you for sleeping on the job.”

  “One time, I dozed off, and they fire me. What happened to second chances, anyway?”

  “Oh, dozing on the job wasn’t your only infraction, Horace. You also never got to work on time. You were always ten to fifteen minutes late every day.”

  “So, I got tied up in traffic.”

  “Tied up in this small town? You could cross Main Street anytime of the day or night, blindfolded, and you wouldn’t get hit by a moving vehicle.”

  “You know what a sound sleeper I am, Marge. It is hard for me to wake up before eight.”

  “Oh, yeah, I forgot. You are a night owl, Horace. You don’t get home from that gin mill until after one in the morning.”

  “Look, Marge. A man has to have some time to himself to enjoy his hobby.”

  “Sure, and your hobby is drinking. I get it.”

  “Don’t be sarcastic, Marge. Why must you always be hounding me?”

  “Because it’s the only way I can get you to do anything around here.”

  “I take out the rubbish, don’t I?”

  “Big deal. Do you want me to list my ‘duties’ Horace? How about, laundry attendant, housekeeper, floor scrubber, chef, dishwasher, and your valet.”

  “Come on, Marge, you don’t do that much around here. Be honest.”

  “Okay, Mr. Know-it-all. Starting today, I am on vacation. See how you do with the chores.” She stormed out the door leaving Horace dumbfounded. “How can she do this to me? I give her everything she needs. I wish I was single again.

  Well, the next year was like the last three. Horace continued to work part-time, spend hours at Ned’s Bar and Grill. Marge, after her one week vacation, returned to her household duties with reluctance.

  “Marge,’ Horace said, his voice shaky and low. “Now, after all these years, I can tell you my secret.”

  “I’m not sure I want to hear it, Horace. I’ve lived this three year nightmare, and nothing you can say will erase your disregard for my feelings.”

  “Oh, prepare yourself. This is going to shock you beyond anything you can imagine.”

  “Okay, Horace, what is it?”

  “I was married before I met you.”

  “You what?”

  “I was married to a woman who murdered her husband so she and I could marry. I knew she did it, and I, at the time, condoned her deeds. When the police arrested her and sent her to prison. I got a divorce.”

  “Don’t tell me it was Sharon Grayson, Horace. The woman accused of murdering three husbands?”

  “The same. It was I who alerted the police when she confessed to me. I knew it would only be a matter of time before she did me in. I lived in constant fear of that black widow.”

  Marge, with a huge grin said, “I too, have a secret, Horace. I wasn’t going to tell you. But now that you just confessed to me you married Sharon Grayson…my sister.”

  “You, Sharon’s sister?” I didn’t know she had a sibling. She told me, she was an only child.”

  “She didn’t want people to know she was related to me.”

  “Why?”

  “Because she didn’t kill all those men. I did. I helped her maintain her freedom for a little while at least.” Horace, stunned sat motionless in his brown, leather recliner staring at his wife.

  “Oh, and by the way, Horace, I put arsenic in your coffee earlier. You should be feeling its affect before too long. I’m sorry I had to do this. If you had only kept your secret to yourself, Horace. You could have lived a lot longer.”

  Horace Hilton died that day while Marge waited for his insurance company to pay.

  Marge didn’t live long enough to collect Horace’s insurance. She died of arsenic poisoning the same day as her husband. You see, Horace finally got up the courage to kill his wife so he could be free of her continuous nagging.

  “Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.” 

― James Joyce  

May 07, 2021 14:00

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