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News & Features » February 2020 » “The Prenup Murders” by Kenton K. Yee

“The Prenup Murders” by Kenton K. Yee

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, “til death do us part” takes on new meaning.

The Prenup Murders
by Kenton K. Yee
Stanford Medical Center, Stanford, California  

Here’s a supercluster of 100,000 galaxies. Here’s a red and white spiraling one. So many stars, 250 million give or take. Here’s a star near its center with eight planets orbiting. Here’s the third planet. It’s blue and white and spinning, half lit, half in shadow. Above the planet’s shadow, or ‘night’, side is a bumpy, crescent moon. And here, on the fringe between the planet’s night and lit halves, 5 stories above a spacious university campus, is a big tinted window.

There, three paces inside from that window, a white moth perches on a ceiling tile. And here, below that moth, are Brock and Sheila, old man and young wife, wealthy by virtue of the cyberspace revolution. Brock is the one in bed under the covers in a hospital gown. Sheila is the one standing beside the bed in a black dress and pumps.

“It’s just a clip,” Sheila says.

“Fortheloveofgod, tell me. My time’s running out.”

She squints. “How would I know where Zachary is?”

“Come on. Please?”

The moth angles its wings.

“Suppose I know. Why would I tell? I could get the chair.”

“Look, they’re cracking open my skull in an hour. Even if I make it, I’ll lose memories. Nobody’s going to take me seriously. I won’t be able to testify, ever.”

Their eyes meet. His are tearful.

“Come on, Sheila, you’ll feel better.” 

The wife clomps to the door, opens it, looks outside both ways, and shuts it. She walks back and bends down to Brock’s face. “You’re lucky I’m fond of you.”

“And?” 

She shuts her eyes and whispers. “Zach and his buddies saw me coming out of Four Seasons with a friend. I couldn’t risk him ratting me out.”

“I knew it. I KNEW it! It was you.” 

“I couldn’t risk . . . I . . . That stupid fidelity clause in your prenup.” She straightens up, turns away, and crosses her arms.

“Goddamn money. Always about my money. Congrats, you win. Now it’s all yours. I have no other heirs.”

“Brock—”

“So how did you do it?”

“They buried all three of them under a mall outside Bridgeport.”

“They?”

“Friends of a friend of a friend. Pros. I’m sure Zach didn’t suffer.”

Brock looks up at the moth. “Got that, Rick? Make copies. Notify the D.A.” He turns back to Sheila. “You’re under citizen’s arrest. I’m invoking the prenup. You’re getting nothing but jail. At long last, THANKGODALMIGHY I’m—”

“Thank God almighty alright.” She smirks. “Thank God almighty I have many friends of friends of friends. Ricky’s working for me.”

Brock looks up at the moth. “Rick?”

“Ricky, kill that thing,” Sheila says.

The moth flaps once around Brock’s bed and into the red medical wastebasket. 

“Don’t feel bad, Brock. What I said about Zach’s true. You got what you wanted. And you were right: I feel better. Especially since I’ll be a wealthy young widow by lunchtime.” 

“Once again, Sheila orgasms prematurely. Ricky or no Ricky, there’s no surgery today. I don’t even have a cold. I rigged this whole show up just to get you to—”

She snorts. “Premature ejaculation yet again, Brockie boy.”

Knock knock knock knock. 

Sheila goes to the door, opens it a crack. She whispers, shuts it, returns. “Doctor Lyn’s ready. He’s one of my friend’s friend’s friends. Doctor Lyn will do his best to stem the hemorrhage, but open brain surgery is high risk. You won’t make it.” 

“What surgery? I’m outta here.” Brock throws off the covers and starts searching for his clothes.

Sheila races to the door, opens it. “Hurry.”

Doctor Lyn and two strapping orderlies burst in wheeling a gurney.

“Show’s over, Lyn. Sheila confessed.”

The orderlies pin down Brock‘s arms. Lyn is filling a long syringe. 

“NURSE! HELP! Stop! NURSSSSSS—”

A duty nurse comes. 

“They’re murdering me! It’s a conspir—”

Doctor Lyn turns to the nurse, grinning. “False alarm, Betty. You know how it is with neurosurgery patients. Pre-op jitters. I’ve administered a sedative cocktail.”

“Lyn’s in on it.” Brock’s speech slurs. “They’re murrrrr—”

“I’m so sorry, Nurse,” Sheila says. “My husband’s not . . .” She lowers her head. Tears.

“Go diggerrrrr!”

Betty wraps an arm around Sheila and pats her back. “I know, I know.”

“He accused you nurses of molesting him . . . Crazy things.” 

“His illness talking, ma’am.”

Here are ceiling tiles whizzing past. Here’s a sky of fluorescent blaze. Here’s a blue glove clamping a hissing thing over his face. But Brock’s already under.

 

THE END

***

KENTON K. YEE’S fiction has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, and Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader, among others. He enjoys reading and writing detection, mystery, suspense & horror and is working on a mystery novel set in the world of high tech and finance. This is probably because he has studied physics, law, business, computer science, and poetry, though not all at the same time. Ken has lived and worked on Boston, Long Island, Baton Rouge, Palo Alto, Manhattan, and Los Angeles. He currently writes from Silicon Valley.

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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 10, 2020

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



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