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I got my revenge before she died.  I got my revenge for the 54 years she was such a bitch.  I got my revenge when she slept in the hospital bed next to mine, with tubes and needles jutting out of her skin.  I got my revenge and she had to watch me do it, unable to fight back.  In the artificial blackness of the early evenings, before she slipped into drugged sleep, I would pinch her.  I waited until her eyelids became heavy and fluttered shut, and then, I reached across the chasm of white linoleum separating our beds and pinched her arm.  I felt her thin skin like the whites of an over easy egg, soft and spongy between my fingers.  Her eyes snapped open, full of startled terror, and she twisted her head and her eyes fixed on me.  I smiled.  She glared at me.  I was patient and vigil.  I waited and when her eyes closed like Venetian blinds, I stretched out my arm and pinched her fat thigh beneath the sheet.  She tried to move, I saw her struggle, but her body no longer responded to her brain.  I did this all night, until the light turned soft knowing she could not sleep after the sun rose, and then I slept until the morning surrendered to afternoon. I got my revenge in the cool of those winter southern California nights.

And then, I killed her.  They told me I didn’t, but they don’t know about the pinching.  I pinched her to death. 

I pinched her all night and when I woke in the afternoon her bed was empty and clean.  The nurses were silent and gave me a look of sorrowful pity.  I stared at them and did not let them see the tiny grin beginning to spread across my face.  I was free. 

They let me go home soon after and wheeled me to the curb outside the hospital in my motorized wheel chair where my son picked me up.  I feigned sadness, but it didn’t matter.  People were afraid to look at me, afraid they would witness my demise.  I had them fooled.

I went home.  Our house was empty.  My house was empty.  My house.  I wheeled myself to the window and watched the golfers swing their clubs, making arches above their heads.  I watched their legs bend and straighten in khaki shorts and their eyes were shielded from the sun by bright visors as they watched their tiny white ball soar across my back lawn.  I watched in silence.  I sighed.  I had waited years to sit in the silence of my house and watch the day turn into hues of cobalt and lavender.   

But something happened in my days of silence.  Maybe God was punishing me for the pinching.  Maybe my wife was getting her revenge as well.  My body attacked itself.  It happened quickly.  Days after I murdered her, my body gave up.  My legs stopped working.  My arms curled into my stomach and my fingers clenched shut.  And then, finally, my voice stopped working.  As if by praying for the silence of her throaty yell, I had also somehow prayed for the silence of mine. 

I lost my voice.  I was trapped inside my body, inside my brain, without a voice.  And in my silence, I found I missed her. 

When the family started to infiltrate my fortress, making funeral arrangements, and taking up my space, I could not feed myself and I wet my pants when my bladder became too full.  My sons bathed me and their wives spoon fed me, while I drooled down the front of my polo shirt.  I was helpless without her. 

In place of words, I wailed, deep, mournful wails.  But my family ignored me, unable to understand what I was trying to convey.  I asked for gin and they gave me water.  I asked for quiet and they sat me in front of the television.  I told them left, and they wheeled me right.  And in my wailing, I also told them about the pinching.  I confessed and they nodded their heads in understanding and fed me a banana.  I wailed about my sadness and about my regret and in a room full of people, I wailed and wailed and tears came streaming down my face, and they all finally knew.  They knew I had killed her.  And they cried too.    


Danielle Battee has become addicted to writing flash fiction.  She is also heavily addicted to coffee and gummy vitamins.


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