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News & Features » February 2018 » “Last Stop, Greystone Park” by SA Solomon

“Last Stop, Greystone Park” by SA Solomon

Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.

This week, a cheating suburban husband is reduced to life insurance money . . .

Last Stop, Greystone Park
by S.A. Solomon
Asbury Park Station, New Jersey

“Tickets! Tickets, please! Thanks, miss. Change at Long Branch.”

Any one of these stops might work. There–that one, a pastoral scene with lawns and rustling trees, like in an English mystery show. You know, posh. Placid and green on the outside, horrid and bloody underneath. You’re nodding—you watch them too. Except this is New Jersey. Monmouth County. I won’t name the town. There’s a tacky McMansion nearby, home to a family of four, Mr. Smith on the 5:25, Mrs. Smith at the station to greet him, brandishing the family iPad with its incriminating string of sexually explicit text messages, complete with photos of . . . well, you know.

Shocking, right? You’d think he wanted to be caught.

The other woman, Cathy Shaw, was certifiably cray-cray. She’d been in and out of mental institutions and was named in more than a few restraining orders. Men seem to be drawn to these needy types. It appeared that he and she had conspired to get the old ball and chain out of the picture.

And it would’ve worked, but for the shared family data plan.

People aren’t very clever with their passwords, although they think they are. I’m talking to you, giantsfan#10. And you, princessgucci$$$.

It wasn’t too difficult for the spurned lover to hack into their shared account after hubby said he was having second thoughts. Think of the children, he said. You’d almost feel sorry for him if you didn’t know he’d already lined up her replacement on Ashley Madison. She was practically doing a public service, warning his wife in this way.

But you know what they say, no good deed goes unpunished.

Mr. Smith agreed to go to counseling, and the couple patched up their marriage, for the sake of the family.

So when he was found murdered in a hot-sheets motel room on Route 9, the trail immediately led to Cathy, off her meds and unhinged by jealousy. 

The grieving widow looked stylish, if pale, in her little black funeral dress, her financial adviser hovering solicitously by her side.

Crazy Cathy went back in for another stretch at Greystone Park, the state loony bin. It sounds rather British, but it’s not very posh. It’s crowded, understaffed, the food rotten, the rooms tiny. An inmate was stabbed in her sleep by her roommate recently. Word was she snored. And the attendants are careless when supervisors aren’t around; they talk on the phone or listen to music and don’t notice when people are in trouble and calling for help. Or escaping.

Your tax dollars at work.

Mrs. Smith picked up the pieces and went on with her life—with the help of a nice payout from Mr. Smith’s life insurance policy.  She bought a nice cottage down the Shore, in Asbury Park. It was a smart investment: it’s all gentrified now, with hip little restaurants and shops and things. Art galleries and literary readings. She’s often seen around town with her new boyfriend, the investment adviser. She parks the kiddies with her parents while the lovers enjoy a romantic beach getaway.

Sometimes it pays to get rid of the dead weight.

What doesn’t pay is when you screw over your partner.

It seems that the Widow Smith wasn’t at all surprised at her husband’s original plan, since she had helped him dispose of the previous Mrs. Smith. She knew exactly what to do: enlist poor mad Cathy in her plan, promising to split the insurance money. But then Cathy was put on what they call “Krol” status, in New Jersey, or NGRI: not guilty by reason of insanity, and committed, indefinitely, to Greystone. She hadn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of getting her share.

Or so the soon-to-be-former Mrs. Smith assumed.

“Asbury Park!”

Excuse me, nice chatting with you, but this is my stop.

Cathy may be crazy, but she’s not stupid.

***

S.A. SOLOMON has published crime fiction and poetry in New Jersey Noir (Akashic Books), Jewish Noir (PM Press), Protectors 2: Heroes-Stories to Benefit PROTECT, Grand Central Noir (Metropolitan Crime), Shotgun Honey, and The Five-Two Crime Poetry Weekly. She’s a member of the Mystery Writers of America, New York chapter. You can find her on the web on Twitter under @sa_solomon and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Author.S.A.Solomon.

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Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should be set in a distinct location of any neighborhood in any city, anywhere in the world, but it should be a story that could only be set in the neighborhood you chose.
—Include the neighborhood, city, state, and country next to your byline.
—Your story should be Noir. What is Noir? We’ll know it when we see it.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—Accepted submissions are typically published 6–8 months after their notification date and will be edited for cohesion and to conform to our house style.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Feb 26, 2018

Category: Original Fiction, Mondays Are Murder, Original Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,



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