When Harold Cole finished burying his wife’s body under the stairs at the lakeside cabin, he threw his gardening gloves into the fire and flicked on the tea kettle.
He spread out the day’s paper on the old wooden table they’d bought for their first apartment together and scanned the cinema listings. Harold hadn’t been able to finish reading the paper that morning, which was a rotten shame. A day that didn’t start with the full newspaper was a day sure to go to hell—a phrase he’d often told his wife when she tried to rush him out of the house on Saturdays.
Against the desolate quiet of night beyond the cabin, the kettle began to whistle. Harold tore out the cinema page and walked thoughtlessly toward the counter, his eyes scanning poster after poster of drivel. They didn’t make films like they used to. He’d still watch them, but he’d hate them too.
Humming an old familiar tune, he poured the boiling water onto an overstuffed round teabag. It splashed up against the sides of the mug, one of the hot drops flinging itself onto his thumb, which he’d rested on top of the handle. He grunted, but it cooled right away. Another slosh-slosh of swaying liquid into the mug and he returned to the table, where an enormous piece of his wife’s lemon cheesecake was sitting in wait. It was a shame this would be the last one.