Please tell me it’s the baby.
Jake struggled to keep his hazel eyes open as he slid the key into the lock. With the baby coming, he needed the overtime, but it was taking its toll on his health and his marriage. Exhaustion left him slumped against the door jamb until the front door finally swung open. He stepped over the threshold with a deep sigh. Home at last.
The living room was dark and empty. Jake was more than pleased. Lately he and his wife, Becky, constantly argued. He didn’t have the energy to withstand one of her tirades that night. He was feeling for the light switch, near the front door, when a large heavy object hit Jake full in the chest. His breath escaped him in a whoosh as the momentum of whatever hurled at him wrenched him back outside through the open doorway. At the edge of the porch, he teetered precariously, and then toppled backward to land in the front yard.
As he lay on the ground and tried to collect his bearings, Becky’s voice, strident as a foghorn, yelled out to him. “You want her so much, take your crap and go stay with her.” She punctuated her cry with the crash of the flat screen TV from his study.
“If she’s going to crawl into your boxers,” his wife shrieked, “she can damn well wash them!” The splintering of Jake’s laptop ended the sentence.
The thuds of his belongings as they landed on the lawn, began to form a rhythmic pattern. Through it all, Jake remained flat on his back.
Jake wearily regarded the stars above him. He implored the twinkling mass to give him the strength not to choke the living daylights out of his wife. He chanted repeatedly, “Becky’s pregnant. Beck’s pregnant.” The chant did nothing to assuage the overwhelming desire to make Becky a nice pair of cement shoes and drop her in the nearest ocean.
A few of Jake’s golf clubs sailed past him. One missed his head by mere inches.
‘Love,’ he thought, ‘I think I was better off without it.’
Countdown, A Personalized Mystery Novelette
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