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News & Features » August 2019 » “Let’s Not Think About It” by Lynne Bronstein

“Let’s Not Think About It” by Lynne Bronstein

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 couple goes on an unforgettable getaway . . .

Let’s Not Think About It
by Lynne Bronstein
Downtown Los Angeles, California

“Let’s not think about it,” was what he kept telling her.

She knew he might kill her. She knew too much.

But they would pretend it was okay and she was just going somewhere, like a long vacation, and he would pamper her like it was her birthday and anniversary rolled into one.

They had met at The Pantry, a downtown restaurant where she waited on tables. Taking his order, she looked him over and fell too fast for what he seemed to be on the surface. He had the looks of a movie star and the wallet of a tycoon. 

For a few months, she was happier than she could have ever imagined. He rented a suite for her at the Omni, bought her designer clothes, a wide-screen TV, the set of Wedgwood china she had coveted ever since her shallow dyed-blonde cousin acquired a set and bragged about it.

She didn’t have to work anymore. She gave notice at the bar and lay around the swimming pool at the hotel, shameless behind her sunglasses. 

He played the horses; she knew that much. So much of his money probably came from the horses, even though some of the horses were being abused with steroids and driven too hard. Her animal rights friends would have been appalled but she told herself, “Let’s not even think about it.”

Horses were dying at Santa Anita. She looked in the mirror and admired her bright red lips and heavily false-lashed eyes.

She overheard his phone calls. She tried not to hear but they were living too close for her not to hear. She heard names. She overheard plans.

One time she answered a phone call because his phone was just ringing too much and he was lolling in the bathtub.

Wow, was he ever mad at her about that call. He even hit her. She felt the sting of his hand on her face. She reached up to touch her lips and imagined them swollen beyond the borderline of her lipstick.

“What did you say?” He sneered at her. “Did you say anything? Bitch!”

She shook her head. She really didn’t have a clue but he thought she did.

And if he thought she knew his business, then she must.

So, when the day came, she shouldn’t have been surprised.

“You’re a problem,” he told her. “I can’t have you around. We’ll have to send you away.”

“Where?” 

“Let’s just say that you are going to go on the best vacation you ever could imagine. We’ll have a world of fun right up to that time. It will be about a week. Like the best week you ever had. After that . . . I can’t tell you yet but don’t be worried. Let’s just not think about it.”

During that next week, they hit the Pantages so she could see a Broadway show on tour, ate at the most expensive restaurants, and made love on the hotel suite’s extra enormous bed.

On the last night of that week, he took her to the rooftop restaurant. Down below, the city teemed with sparks and hidden weapons.

But he had not actually said he would kill her. It was not to think about.

There was a small table and Perrier-Jouët in the flower design bottle that came with two matching glasses.

“I always wanted to try this brand!” she exclaimed. He gave her a slightly snide look. Yes, she was the princess type, obsessed with her name brands and status symbols. 

She was too vapid for him. Therefore, she had to die. A gangster chick can be ditzy but not so ditzy that she causes risks.

He poured two glasses of the champagne. Lifting his glass, he toasted her.

“To a happy life and ever after,” he said.

“To a happy life and ever after,” she repeated.

She looked up at the deep black sky, too affected by city lights to show any heavenly bodies. She cried out “Look! There’s a shooting star!”

He looked up and set his glass on the table. Quickly, she removed her secret weapons from her purse.

A tiny bottle that had formerly contained an expensive fragrance now held a liquid sedative which she dropped into his glass. That would knock him out. Then she would administer the injection of sodium pentobarbital.

One of his cronies had slipped her the stuff, telling her that this was how they put the horses to sleep.

No, she didn’t have to think about it.

And neither did he.

***

LYNNE BRONSTEIN is a poet,  journalist, fiction writer, songwriter, and playwright. She has been published in magazines ranging from Chiron Review, Spectrum, Lummox, Playgirl and the US Census Bureau newsletter. She’s written four books of poetry and her first real crime story was published in 2017 in the anthology LAst Resort. Her adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It was performed at two LA libraries. Recently, her story “The Magic Candles” was performed on National Public Radio. She’s been nominated twice each for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net awards.

***

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: Aug 5, 2019

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



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