It had been two weeks since Marcie McGinley’s husband, Ted, had stormed out of their ranch-style house in the suburbs.
Now he wanted to meet with her “before the lawyers got involved” and talk about things “in an amicable way.”
They had been married for twelve years and Marcie was not about to let Ted back in the house. He had picked up his things when she was at work one-day last week and had left his copies of the house keys on the dining room table.
“No, Ted, you can’t come over. We’ll meet in a public place where I’ll feel safe, or we’ll wait and meet with the lawyers.”
“Feel safe!” Ted yelled into the phone. “Why wouldn’t you feel safe meeting with me in our own house? We were married for eleven years —”
“It was twelve years last August, Ted, but then, who’s counting. We’ll meet at that little coffee shop, The Marigold Café, near my office for a late lunch tomorrow, or not at all.”
“Damn it, Marcie! I —”
“Do you hear yourself, Ted? Why would I want to meet with you alone and have you yell at me?”
At one o’clock The Marigold Café was seeing the last of the lunch crowd busing their tables and getting ready to head back to work. Marcie got there early to get a table in a corner where few people as possible would be subjected to her and Ted’s business.
“We probably should have met in a goddamn bowling alley,” she mumbled to herself. “That way Ted wouldn’t have to worry about his lack of volume control.”
Marcie’s jaw dropped when Ted walked in the door.
“You brought her with you?” she stage-whispered, grabbing her coat and purse. “I’ll see you at the meeting next week, Ted.”
“Her” was Ginny Coleman, Ted’s “new friend.” Marcie had discovered there was nothing all that new about Ginny. Credit card receipts from area motels had shown she and Ted had been having an affair for at least six months.
“Oh, no, no,” said Ginny. “You stay, I’ll go; it’s your meeting.” Turning to Ted, she said, “There was a bar we passed on the way here after parking the car, wasn’t there? It’s probably open; I’ll just go there and wait for you.”
And just like that, she walked out the door.
While Ted stared after Ginny, Marcie set her purse back on the table. “You still want to do this, Ted?”
“Huh? Yeah, sure,” he sighed. “Let’s get it over with.”
“Okay, I’ll keep the house and everything in it, my checking and savings accounts, my IRAs, and my car,” said Marcie. “You can give me five hundred thousand from your savings, and we’re done.”
“What?” said Ted in what he probably thought was a reasonably quiet voice.
“It’s called negotiating, Ted. I open with an offer, and you counter offer. Or would you rather have the lawyers negotiate?”
“That’s negotiating?” said Ted. “You get everything? What do I get?”
“Why, you get your freedom, Ted. Isn’t that what you wanted?” Marcie then nodded toward the door saying, “Oh, and you get Ginny, of course. If you still have her at the time of the divorce, that is.”
“I’m not giving you a dime, Marcie,” Ted said getting up and putting on his coat. “Not a dime, ya hear?”
“See you next week, Ted.”
Except for Marcie asking for the seemingly ridiculous sum of five hundred thousand dollars, this would appear to be just another slice-of-life story about two middle class working people ending an unhappy marriage. Marcie could be a real estate agent, and Ted might be a car salesman. Or maybe Marcie sold the cars and Ted sold houses.
But actually, five hundred thousand dollars was not an unrealistic sum where Marcie and Ted were concerned. She had more than that, as did Ted, in tight little stacks of hundred dollar bills in safety deposit boxes in banks in and around Chicago.
Marcie and Ted are both long-time professionals in the murder-for-hire field. If they can keep their emotions under control, they will probably work things out with the lawyers in an “amicable way.”
But if they let their anger rule their decision making, something neither do in their professional lives, one or both of them could wind up dead.
Marcie didn’t need Ted’s money. She just added that to her demands to piss him off.
And Marcie had also just been messing with Ted when she told him she didn’t want to meet with him at their house. Marcie had no fear at all when it came to Ted. Or anybody else.
She didn’t need the house, the car, or the IRAs associated with her “day job.” She planned to relocate to Paris once the divorce was final. There were probably plenty of people in Paris who needed to be killed.
“Didn’t bring Ginny along, Ted?” asked Marcie with a smirk. “She home baking cookies?”
“Don’t start, Marcie —”
“Come on, now, folks,” interrupted John Davidson, Marcie’s lawyer. “Let’s work on getting through the division of the assets.”
“I assume you both have a list of assets and an idea as to how you’d like them to be divided,” said Ted’s lawyer, Edward Bannerman. “Thank you for letting us meet in your home, Marcie. Since this is after hours, meeting in one of our offices downtown would have been problematic.”
“I’ve got my stuff,” said Marcie. “You, Ted?”
“Yup, I’m ready.”
Davidson and Bannerman then both backed away from the table and stood up against the door. They each drew pistols and pointed them at Ted and Marcie.
“We have some paperwork that we need to have you sign,” said Davidson. “Your signatures will give us access to your safe deposit boxes.”
“We’ll be taking care of your assets from here on out,” said Bannerman. “The police will be told that the meeting got heated and you both fired weapons, killing each other. Tragic.”
“The two sets of paperwork are on the table as well as pens for each of you,” said Davidson. “No need to read it over; just sign and date at the end. Then trade paperwork and witness each other’s signatures where it’s highlighted.”
Marcia picked up her paperwork. In doing so, the paperwork brushed her pen off the table. Cursing, she reached under the table for it.
When she straightened up she had a Glock .357 Sig in her hand and she shot both Davidson and Bannerman in their foreheads.
It was all done in a few seconds; Marcie was a professional. Davidson and Bannerman were professionals too, but they were professional lawyers.
“You told Bannerman about the safety deposit boxes we have, didn’t you, Ted.”
“We were talking about your demand for five hundred thousand and he asked where you thought I would —”
“And then he told Davidson. Come on, Ted, we gotta get these two into the basement and get the hell outta here.”
“But what about Ginny?” asked Ted.
“Well, she seems a little flakey, but bring her along if you have to; I don’t care. We can make the rounds of the banks tomorrow morning, mail most of the cash to our drop box in Philly, and make arrangements to get to someplace like Croatia for a year or two. We’ll have to pick up some new ID for Ginny; she probably doesn’t have a passport —”
“Marcie, Marcie, stop for a minute. How long have you had that Glock stashed under the dining room table?”
“Twelve years, Ted. It was in its own little holster. And now it’s in my hand and pointed at you.”
“You mean any one of those times we argued at this table —”
“Crossed my mind many a time, Ted. Now help me get these guys downstairs; we’ve got places to go and things to do.”
“You’re a real piece of work, ya know that, Marcie?”
“You remember that, Ted. You just remember that.”
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Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction published recently in Black Petals, Yellow Mama, Theme of Absence, Near To the Knuckle, Bewildering Stories, Flash Fiction Press, The Story Shack, Spelk, Shotgun Honey, and a number of other online and print journals. Roy is currently the submissions editor at Yahara Prairie Lights, which puts him in the enviable position of sometimes being able to accept his own work. That site is at yaharaprairie.wordpress.com