569 words (2 minute read)

excerpt from chapter 3

The view from Margo’s session room is the same view as mine. 

Almost. 

We both have corner offices, but hers is a floor higher. It makes all the difference. She can see the verdant mountains bordering the river’s oxbow. My view is the parking structure. It bothers me more than it should, which, I rationalize, proves I’m human.

“A killer view, Em, but is it worth killing for?”

“What is it with your morbid fascination with murder?”

“I think that would be obvious to one of your intellect and training,” I pause for dramatic effect, “Doctor Em.” Another pause that’s really a staring contest that she wins. “Because, that’s where all the fun is.” The truth is, only one murder is of interest to me.

I sit on her couch. Her furnishings, unlike her sleek, succinct and unapologetic self, are quaint, cozy, homespun like a grandmother’s parlor. They border on kitschy with the braid rug, oak furniture and Warren Kimball-like prints on the walls. Just goes to show men are from…I don’t know…somewhere like Manhattan. Women are from…somewhere else, like Vermont when it comes to furnishings. Well, this woman for sure.

Margo’s cello is in the corner. It tells me more about her than anything else in the room, which means she’s done this place less as a reflection of herself and more as a comfort to the anxiety-plagued who visit in crisp hourly bites.

“When you say fun, you mean like Hannibal Lector psychotic fun?” She tries for a maniacal grin that’s half silly and totally adorable. “I’d have to say murder is the last refuge of the incompetent…”

I interrupt, “Unless it’s for fun.”

“That’s psychotic, and…if you’re psychotic, you’ve managed to keep it from me…though sometimes, I do wonder…about…that.”

She laughs. I smile and relax for a moment before a wave of heat washes through me. It’s followed by a cold chill. I feel compelled to open up and spill my guts. “I believe she’s cheating on me, Em. Best let me amend that. I know it. I know she is cheating on me, know it deep in the darkest crevice of my haunted soul. She is definitely cheating on me.”

“So?”

 “So? So, I feel like a cliché. I feel like Bob, my nine o’clock, whose wife was humping the best man at their wedding.”

“What are you going to do about it?”

I look up to see her looking out the window but doubt it’s the view that’s causing her to smirk. I duck my head so she can’t see my smile because this is serious business even if her smile is irresistible. “Well, infidelity is still punishable by death in some cultures.”

“Complete incompetence,” she says. “And they’re likely to force you to marry a goat when they catching you doing it in the pasture.” Her head shakes in wonderment. “And why would a person have sex with a goat? I don’t get bestiality.”

“Maybe we, as in us menfolk, like the feel of wooly shanks on our nether regions.” That elicits another half-maniacal grin. “And there’s the enormous factor, as in men are enormously horny. But, I agree, goats aren’t nearly as attractive as sheep.”

She giggles, says, “that is so baaaad,” and lets loose a snort. “You slay me sometimes, Karl.”

Next Chapter: excerpt from chapter 4