The prompt this time was to tell a story about a character facing the end of something--a job, a relationship, their sanity…, and to show how it all turned out by providing an ending. My story deals with endings of a sort, and I hope you enjoy it.
I knew this was too good to be true. I knew it from the very beginning, but I’ve lived in denial all these years. Clarissa never loved me. Maybe at first, but as soon as I introduced her to my Supervisor, Doug, the end of our marriage was on the horizon. I believed I could prevent the destruction of our lives together, but what happened Wednesday morning made me realize all hope was lost. I have no choice but to accept. The end is near.
Clarissa’s always telling me I’m a complete failure in one sense. She laughs, and tells me that I am very successful, both personally and professionally, but for that one shortcoming. According to my wife, I always jump to irrational conclusions. I’ve never understood how any person could ‘always’ do any one thing, but Clarissa assures me that I am the prime example. If a situation appears to be going one way, I don’t see it through and await the natural outcome. I decide from the start how it’s going to turn out and act on it without any feedback, evidence, or rational contemplation. I will admit, overall, I’m usually wrong, but still. It isn’t like Clarissa is a perfect little angel. No, my friend. That, she is not.
When I left for the office after breakfast, Clarissa was finishing her coffee while watching one of those game shows on TV. Those come on in the morning, afternoon and some are on in the evening, and she watches every single one. The housework waits until the 10:00 news comes on, the laundry waits until my favorite midnight movie, and dinner is generally a catch-as-catch-can affair. But, do I denigrate Clarissa for this irresponsible and annoying habit? Never. When you love a person, you accept who, and what, they are. Apparently, I’m the only one who can see that.
I got all the way to my car when I realized I had forgotten a file I needed for a meeting this afternoon. As I opened the back door into the kitchen, I could hear Clarissa talking. It sounded like she was on the living room extension. The folder I needed was on the counter, and I was almost out the door, when I heard Clarissa say ‘Oh, Doug. I just can’t wait’.
I’m not going to tell a lie here and say I decided to have one more glass of juice. I planted myself in one of the chairs at the table and listened. ‘Irrational conclusion jumper’, am I? Well, we’ll see about that.
“Doug, it’s going to be fantastic. I’ll tell him we need to get away for a nice romantic weekend. It was so clever of you to rent both cabins. That way, you can get everything set up in yours, and he’ll never suspect a thing. I know how I’ll get him over there too. Since you also paid for our cabin, I’ll say we need to take a bottle of something over to your place and share a drink to thank you. That’s when we’ll let him have it.“
“We’ll leave Friday when he gets home and be there by 10:00. We’ll head over to your cabin around 10:30, so have everything ready, so there won’t be any slip-ups. We’ve got one chance to get this right. Okay. I’ll give you a call when I see his car pulling in the driveway Friday afternoon to confirm. This is so exciting--I’m all tingly thinking about it. Got to go.”
When I heard Clarissa hang up the phone, I grabbed my folder and went out the back door to my car. I had left it running when I came back in, so I backed out as fast as I could. I decided to stop at the diner down the street to get a cup of coffee and think. Nothing was going on in my department till around 11:00, so I knew I’d have time for a muffin too. When you realize that the people closest to you are planning to murder you in a couple of days, a muffin seems a small extravagance.
Thursday flowed smoothly without incident except Clarissa seemed quite uncharacteristically affectionate towards me. I attend to my husbandly duty once per week as my father had instructed me, and Clarissa had stated on our wedding day that such an arrangement would suit her fine. Saturday night was our scheduled session, but since my wife knew I wouldn’t be around for the next one, she seemed anxious to get one last bit of love-doveying in. Needless to say, I was not in the mood to even share a bed with the one of the conspirators who was planning my demise, so I told her I had an intense headache and chose to retire early. She informed me that I’d better feel great by tomorrow night since she had something special planned for us for the weekend. I thought, sure. Plans for us. You and my boss kill me and I die. Excuse me if I don’t throw confetti.
When I left for work Friday, I knew what I had to do. Yes, it would be upsetting to me, but what choice did I have? Doug hadn’t been in the office Wednesday or Thursday, but he was there big-as-life and twice-as-ugly on Friday. Every time he passed my desk, he smiled, or patted me on the back. I wasn’t sure what type of pre-homicidal ritual he was engaging in, but I didn’t want to raise any suspicion. I simply smiled back and carried on. If I refused to go, and upset their apple cart this weekend, it wouldn’t save me. Clarissa and Doug would just come up with another plot to remove me from their picture, only next time, I may not know the details. No. My only chance was to play along and face them both on my terms.
When I arrived home Friday, Clarissa had our bags packed and lined up by the front door. Naturally, I asked her about it.
“Darling, you’ll never guess. Doug wanted to get away this weekend and since you’ve been working so hard lately, he thought you and I should get away too. He rented two cabins out by Mt. Pierre Lake, one for him and one for us. They’re right across the stream from each other and there’s this cute little bridge that connects them. After we arrive and get our things inside, we should head over with a bottle of wine and toast our friendship and thank him for his hospitality. Then we can enjoy the rest of the weekend in private and have a lovely, romantic time. We need to leave soon though. I don’t want to arrive too late. It’s awfully dark out there in those woods.”
Charming. ‘Then we can enjoy the rest of the weekend in private.’ Of course you will, because I’ll probably be some grizzly’s midnight snack.
“I think that’s a wonderful idea, Clari. I’ll put the suitcases in the car. Why don’t you check and make sure all the windows are locked, and all that good stuff.”
Boy, I’m good. While she’s sealing up the house, I’ll get the extra small bag I packed early this morning. Just a personal item I picked up especially for this trip.
Our cabin is very classy on the inside, not what one might consider a cabin at all. All electric, running water, a fully stocked gourmet kitchen, and the furniture in the living room alone probably cost more than our entire house. We arrived a little before 10:00 and I brought all the bags in. Clarissa put the wine in the refrigerator to chill before we went over to Doug’s. The time had come for me to take the bull by the horns and be the one to end our relationship. She seemed quite taken aback by my accusations, but I informed her I had heard all about her and Doug’s brilliant plan. She started crying and complaining about my irrational jumping. Again. At that point, I got my extra little bag out and made my position very clear to Clarissa. I then took her over that cute little bridge to Doug’s.
When I kicked open Doug’s door, and shouted that I’d brought his whore to him, imagine my surprise when I saw mine and Clarissa’s parents, my co-workers, and our friends all standing around a table full of sandwiches, cakes, cookies, coffee and bottles of champagne. The banner behind them read ‘Congratulations, Bobby, On Your Promotion to Supervisor’. Doug had recently been promoted to Department Manager and I was wondering who would get his old job. Obviously, it was me.
They had begun to yell surprise, but stopped mid-word when I entered. It was probably due to the fact that I was covered in blood, had a hatchet in one hand and Clarissa’s severed head in the other. Apparently, I’d done that irrational jumping thing again.