this was the first piece I ever shared with strangers/written and read aloud in 2007/one middle-aged woman remarked that it was "very funky"

If not for the fanciful décor and pop music playing all day, one would mistake the candy store Marla worked in for a graveyard. She stood grimly behind the counter-eyes in a lifeless gaze that spoke of no past, future or present, and plastered on her face was a small that was nearly evil in its contrivedness. Years before, one could say she was a joyous person, back when Beanie her cat was still around- he trailed her every step, over the house as she performed chores, to the seaside when she left for walks, and cuddled next to her in bed. This small piece of companionship made life with her husband a little less unbearable.

He’d return sometime after midnight, minutes or hours one couldn’t be sure of the hour when darkness was so complete, and of fear for the creatures its quietness kept hid. The man stunk of booze, but always played the look of a sober man. He’d enter on tipped toes and undress himself, but there was something indefinite in his character, and Marla sensed that although he wore the same tired face and rough, ungenerous skin, this man was certainly no longer her husband.

This was confirmed the first night, when Marla dared to question his whereabouts-in return, there were no answers and instead a couple new bruises and a dented nose for Marla. On the kitchen floor, curled up and weeping softly, Beanie ventured close, and for a moment their eyes met and there it was-a fierce decisiveness, something savage, a kind of revelation they shared. One couldn’t explain how, but the two had reached an agreement. The bastard had to die, and they weren’t waiting for God this time.

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