“Say When” by David Inglish
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 David Inglish solves a nearly impossible situation in Beverly Hills the only way he can. Next week, Honor Rovai takes us to the aftermath of a tennis match in Carson, California.
I’m standing here beneath the palms surrounded by six police officers, all of them with their guns drawn, all of them pointing at me. A 9mm SIG Sauer pokes out of the waist of my khakis above my Hermès belt. My chin tingles; I touch it. There’s a dollop of salmon-colored sauce on the end of my finger, Thousand Island dressing from the Novogroder I just ate at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I reach for a handkerchief, and the cops get jumpy and grunt like chimps. Sometimes you find yourself in an impossible situation. This isn’t one of them.
It started well enough. I was born on the Westside, a platinum spoon in my mouth. At thirty I was the last in line; all the coin had fallen to me. Ten years of cars and dinners and actresses followed. At forty I got married. The prenup seemed a little less than fair, but she was twenty-six, smart, and physically flawless. And anyway, these numbers just go up, right? Wrong. Innovation, invention—they fucked me. I was a downwardly mobile tony lord of Beverly Hills, with two lovely kids and a wife with a golden parachute. All of that was okay. I had degrees, letters, love. But like others my age the vitality was dripping from my bones.
She made me forget, pulled my espresso. Her teeth were white, too white. And she had some words written on her wrist in black ink. I didn’t want to read them. Her face—not one for film—was slightly warped, but her hips were high. Every afternoon I would visit her kiosk and find her beauty again. That’s how I saw my wife on the other side of Robertson, dolled up like she was going to lunch with the girls. Oh shit, I thought, I should say hi. But just then a black Bentley with tinted windows pulled up and she got in. She was gone, didn’t see me. I called her cellular; she didn’t pick up. I went home and got on my computer; the Find My Phone app confirmed it.
When she walked in, she had both of them. They were like effervescent elves, running, squeaking. I’d made a nice dinner.
“Too spicy,” the little one said.
“It’s ginger,” I replied.
“No like ginger!” She threw something on the floor. Plastic clanged, then spun slowly to a stop.
“It’s okay, Daddy, I like ginger,” my older girl said.
“What did you do today?” I asked my wife.
“Oh, nothing much.”
That was it. I looked her up and down and realized she’d taken it to a new level with the personal trainer; and she’d gotten bangs, the bangs of the moment, the ones that curl around the face on the sides—the trifecta! If she changes her hair, loses weight, and stops bugging you about what she did that day, you can bet the house she’s fucking someone else.
When the girls were asleep I got a little more confrontational. She asked me to move out, out of the house I bought before I ever even met her. I pretended to sleep.
The new lawyer, the one out by LAX, the one I can afford, laughed while he read the prenup.
Driving home I realized that I hadn’t panned out. All of the times that I came up just short stack in my mind like casino chips beneath a green visor on the other side of the table. I wanted Stanford; I ended up at SC. Everyone else had a hedge fund that made them rich; I had one that dropkicked me down to the second percentile. The visor tilted and I saw it: my wife was working an end game.
The life insurance policies were always in their names. Now so is everything else. My two little girls are going to be millionaires by the end of the week. I go to Big 5 and load up like a bitch. Then I drive my leased Benz around town looking for the cop that thinks he’s the fucking Terminator. Slowly inching through intersections, I run a light here, a stop sign there, horns, more cops. I stop. He approaches from behind with his gun drawn, sees my artillery, and yells to the others. I pay him no mind. When they have all assembled, when my chin is clean, I look at Terminator and bulge my eyes.
DAVID INGLISH has led police on a high-speed chase, shaken hands with a bishop, jammed with Neil Young, pissed next to Bono, and been tubed in Bali. He is the creator of the popular humorous website roadhousebible.com, where a man can learn about manliness and manly deeds from the Patrick Swayze movie Roadhouse (1989). His first novel, Before the Flock, is available in paperback and on Kindle. When not writing, he licks his wounds and attends to his family’s whims and needs.
Would you like to submit a story to the Mondays Are Murder series? Here are the guidelines:
—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.
—E-mail your submission [email protected] paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.
Posted: Aug 4, 2014
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