Daily Prompt: Let’s Go Crazy
by Krista on March 7, 2014
Sometimes, we act on impulse: it could be something as small as ordering that special dessert on the menu, maybe asking out that cute boy or girl, or as large quitting your job and selling everything you own to become a shepherd in New Zealand. What’s the most crazy, outrageously impulsive thing you’ve ever done? If you’ve never succumbed to temptation, dream a little. If you gave yourself permission to go a little crazy, what would you do?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us IMPULSE.
Jerry sat in his easy chair watching the baseball game on a hot summer evening. He was drifting off to sleep, a ritual he had started as a young man which continued into his married years. It was something his wife, Carol, had always hated. It was his only vice she had known about before they got married. He never drank too much or smoked too much or anything really worse than that at all.
About four or five months after they were married, she started seeing him change. He’d leave a beer bottle in the living room over night. He’d forget to take the trash out on the morning the garbage trucks came. It started small, but got to be a big problem in her eyes. A big problem.
Jerry thought it was a big problem too. He worked full time at the Ford plant and was tired when he got home. He’d been there for thirty five years already and wanted to retire. But damn, Carol got on his ever lasting nerves sometimes. He’d come home and wonder, “What’s it going to be tonight? Dishes? Garbage? Jesus, Carol, just put the dishes in the dish washer. Just throw the damn beer bottle away. Was it really that big of a deal?”
As he sat there drifting off to sleep to the sound of a Chicago sportscaster calling play by play, he heard Carol.
“Jesus Christ Jerry! How many times to I have to tell you to rinse your plate off? It’s not that hard.”
“Then why don’t you do it,” he thought. “Sorry dear,” was what he eventually said.
“Sorry doesn’t rinse the dishes off, dear.”
He sighed heavily and collapsed the easy chair’s foot rest. He heard the crack of the bat on TV and stood there watching as the runner rounded third heading for home and the hitter rounded second trying to stretch a double into a triple.
“Jerry!” The shrill voice of his wife screaming his name made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up and goose bumps form on his forearms like fingernails on a chalkboard.
He sighed, “Coming.”
His wife was wiping down the table when he meandered into the kitchen. He went to the sink and looked, but there were no dishes in it. He turned to his wife who had stopped and turned to face him already.
“You took too long. I didn’t want to start the dishwasher too late. You know I can’t sleep with that damn thing running.”
He hung his head and sighed again. Jerry could feel his blood pressure rising as if he’d just eaten a bag of Lay’s potato chips in one sitting, which wasn’t unheard of. He knew it was bad for him, but how could you eat just one? Or was that Jay’s potato chips? He couldn’t remember.
Jerry walked back to his chair and baseball game. The guy on third had scored but there was nobody on base. Must have been a sac fly or something he thought. He heard his wife again in the kitchen. She had a habit of muttering under her breath just loud enough for Jerry to hear. All he heard was, “Dammit Jerry…” and then metal slam on muffled metal. He must have “forgotten” to take the trash out again.
Jerry took his eyes off the baseball game and eyed the double barrel shotgun hanging above the fireplace.
“Jerry,” he heard close by. “Will you please take the garbage out tonight? The truck comes in the morning and you always forget to take it out before you leave for work and I have to drag it out there myself.”
“I don’t always forget,” he replied, looking up at his wife standing in front of the TV blocking the game.
“Yes, you do,” she replied just as sarcastically as he did. “For the last three weeks I’ve had to drag it out to the curb by myself.”
“Ok, ok. I’ll take it out tonight.”
She turned around without saying thank you or anything and went into her sewing room. He looked back again at the shotgun for a second and then looked back at the baseball game. It was a commercial and he didn’t know how the inning ended. He took the last swig of his fourth and usually final beer of the night. But tonight he’d have another one just for shits. It was Friday and he didn’t have to go to work in the morning.
He got up, and as an after thought, grabbed his empty beer bottle and threw it away before grabbing another one from the fridge.
As he popped the can open, the inning started back up, but whatever the announcer said was partially drowned out by, “Jesus Christ, Jerry! Are you drinking another beer?!”
He picked up the can and took four huge gulps emptying half the can in one go. “Yes dear,” he almost shouted. “It’s the weekend and I don’t have to work in the morning!” He eyed the shotgun once more. It’d be quick and painless. Dirty, but quick. And painless.
He heard nothing more from the other room and resumed watching the baseball game. He had fourteen minutes and thirty two seconds of nothing but baseball. At fourteen minutes thirty three seconds, he heard the door slam. He sighed.
“Jerry, how many times must I ask you to fix the closet door in my sewing room before you actually fix it?”
“Forty two,” he replied.
“Forty two times. You must ask me, nicely, forty two times.”
“Cute. Real cute, Jerry. Just fix it tomorrow. I’m going to bed.”
He sighed. “Yes, dear.” She turned on her heels and walked into the bedroom. The sound of the game on the TV seemed far and distant. He looked at the shotgun over the mantel again and sighed…again. Quick. Painless. Dirty…but quick. And painless.
He got up when the inning was over and the commercials started. Jerry walked into the kitchen and popped the lid of the garbage can, took out the trash bag and tied it up. He took it out to the garage where the bin was and threw it in. There was one other bag in the bin, hardly anything Carol couldn’t handle in the morning. He contemplated opening the garage door, it would be easier to drag the bin out that way rather than having to muscle it over the threshold of the regular door. But that would make much less noise than the garage door and he knew how Carol couldn’t sleep with the dishwasher going so she surely wouldn’t be able to sleep with the garage door going up and down.
After muscling the garbage bin over the threshold, he came back in after grabbing a can of WD-40 and a flat head screw driver. He went into Carol’s sewing room and used the flat head as a lever to pop the folding door back into its track. He sprayed some WD-40 on the squeaky hinges of the metal doors and opened and closed them a few times. Quiet as a mouse.
He put the tools back on his workbench in the garage and came back and sat down in his chair, slightly out of breath, and resumed watching the game only after taking one more glance at the shotgun.
He got up, walked to the shotgun which used to be his grandfather’s, and took it off the mantel. He opened it up and looked into the barrels confirming it was indeed empty and took a half full box of shells out from corner table drawer. The next thing he would do would change his life forever.
Carol woke up in the morning and through crusty eyes saw that Jerry’s side of the bed had not even been slept in. He must have fallen asleep in his chair again. She got up and went to the bathroom calling out his name weakly once before actually getting to the bathroom. No answer.
After she finished her business and had washed the sleep from her eyes, she went into the living room. But he wasn’t in his chair.
She walked into the kitchen and saw the note on the table. She picked it up and began to read it.
“Dear Carol,” it began. “I couldn’t take your nagging anymore. I thought about taking granddad’s shotgun and killing myself, but I really didn’t want to do that. I don’t want to die. Then I thought about killing you, but figured you didn’t want to die either. Besides, after thirty years of marriage I didn’t have the heart to do it anyway.” He always did have a sense of humor she thought. “So then I thought I’d move away. So that’s what I’m doing. I took out our savings of $80,000 from the ATM. I didn’t think it’d do it, but it just kept spitting out the money. You wouldn’t believe it anyway. You never believed me. Anyway, I have our savings. But there’s the emergency fund for you. It has almost $49,000 in it. You’ll have to sell the house too, but if you move into an old folks community, you can call someone and they’ll take the trash out and fix your closet doors if you need them too. Which, by the way, I’ve done for you before I left. After two years, you can have me declared legally dead. You’ll get my pension from the plant and my half million dollar life insurance policy. Don’t worry about me, I’ve already called Fernando from the plant. His brother helps get people out of Mexico and into the U.S. and he agreed to help me get into Mexico without a passport. Said it was the first time he’d ever heard of that. Anyway, I took the only thing I wanted which was my granddad’s gun. $80,000 should last me a good long time in Mexico or Costa Rica or wherever I end up going. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about this personally, but I thought this was quick and painless. Dirty for you having to deal with all the paperwork and filing missing persons and having the courts declare me legally dead. Definitely dirty for you, but it’s quick and painless for me. So, I guess this is it. Thanks for the memories. It’s been good and bad. But I just felt the need to do something impulsive and while this is still probably fraud and illegal, it seemed better than killing one of us. Have a good rest of your life. Love, Jerry.”
Carol sat down in the chair stunned. She couldn’t believe what she had just read and so read it again. After a moment she rummaged through her purse and found her little address book. She called Fernando and had a brief conversation. Yes, he had talked to Jerry at three in the morning. Yes he was on his way to Mexico. No he didn’t know where.
After she hung up she sat in the chair and gazed out of the small kitchen window. “You son of a bitch,” she said out loud. “Jesus Christ, Jerry. You son of a bitch.” She started laughing and took the lighter sitting in front of her and lit the note on fire and put it in the ash tray.
She burst out laughing until tears streamed out of her eyes. She hadn’t laughed so hard in years. When she calmed down after a few minutes she stood up and walked into the bedroom to change into her clothes and she began to think of how she was going to spend a half million dollars of life insurance money.