WHENEVER I THINK ABOUT KILLING MY HUSBAND, I have to remind myself that I’m not a bad person. I mean, technically, I know good people don’t do that. But sometimes I think there are exceptions to the rules. Things that anyone, no matter how wholesome or righteous they were, would just understand if they knew. Plain and simple. No questions asked. As if instead of going to jail for murder you’d get a reward, or something. Or at least a firm handshake.
I’ve thought about it a lot, to the point that I know exactly what I’d need and how I’d do it. I’ve even predicted how I’d get caught–imagined my mug shot, and everything. But sometimes I have these moments where I believe I’d actually get away with it, and that’s when I think I’m most dangerous. I picture myself smiling, and (God forbid) laughing again. And not because he was dead, but because once it was over, and everything calmed down, I might actually have reasons to smile and laugh again. So, it’s tempting.
Psycho bitch. I know.
That’s what people like you, call people like me: people who think like this. Or more like, people who admit that they think like this sometimes. But I’m not crazy. I’m too normal to be crazy. And I know this because I spend way too much of my time wishing that I actually were crazy. Because that would be great, wouldn’t it? Being crazy. Having a built-in excuse for doing stupid things. Awful things. Illegal things. I could stand there in the courtroom after the deed was done, twitch a little bit, shout some incoherent words, and then the shitty lawyer I can’t afford might actually stand a chance with my case. He could call me insane. “She didn’t know what she was doing–” that’s what he could say. And then the real-estate agent and soccer-mom jury wouldn’t send me to jail. No way. They’d just look at me, frown, and think,”The poor, poor thing,” then lock me up in the mad house.
It’s almost 7 AM. I lean forward against the glass of the sliding back door, and watch silently as my dog takes a piss. First on the lawn, then again on the lawn chair. The one that’s closest to the pool. The one I always lay on.
I cross my arms as I wait, and look over my back yard as if it’s some type of metaphor. A twisted, fucked up metaphor. Everything in shambles, all that shit piling up, and nobody around to help me. I picture myself scuttling about, bent over, eyes fixed on the ground, hand covered in a plastic bag to pick it up. I feel the slimy texture of it between my fingers.
A scratch at the door wakes me up. I look down and see Doug.
Doug is the dog. He has a human name because I guess we thought it would be funny–Sean, and I. He probably doesn’t remember that now, but we spent a lot of time on it. We used to lie on the couch, throwing out names of our (then non-existent) dog, and we would laugh and laugh like it was some sort of contest. The challenge being to find a funny name, then to find one that was even funnier.
Ultimately, we both thought that regular names were the funniest. Brian. Gary. Doug. Wes. We thought about how great it would be at the vet, or how odd we would sound at the dog park. We dreamed up silly scenarios for how we could mess with friends who invited us to dinner, how we would throw them by asking, “Can Doug come along?” We’d laugh at the hypothetical look on their faces. In our dreams, they all laughed with us.
When I let Doug in, he spins around in circles until his black and white patches look smeared. His tongue flops out of his mouth, and he barks. I open the jar with his treats. I give him one.
When I turn, Sean is sitting at the table, staring with a big smile on his face. His eyes dart back and forth between me and the dog. He taps his fork on his plate with excitement, and yells, “Doog!”
“Yes,” I say. “Doug.”
It’s unclear to me if he actually means Doug, or if he really means dog. But I guess it doesn’t matter; they both mean the same thing. Doug is the dog. The dog is Doug. Who knew our little joke would ever be so convenient?
I take a napkin from the table and wipe Sean’s face. His glass is full, plate empty. I clean the eggs he spilled from off the floor.
“It’s Michael’s birthday,” I say, clearing the dishes from the table. “When Chelsea gets here, I’m gonna go get him something. Any requests?”
Sean looks at me blankly, his face nearly covered by a shaggy, overgrown beard. I tried to shave it once, but he squirmed too much. I stopped when I cut him, and he started bleeding. Now they just shave him whenever they cut his hair, which hasn’t been for a while. It costs money.
“A basketball, maybe?” I put the plates in the dishwasher. “There’s some at Wal-Mart for, like, twelve bucks. We could swing it.”
“Shoo,” Sean says, and he nods.
Of the few responses my husband has left, this one is, by far, my favorite. It means sure, I think. Though, I’m not actually sure. He says it a lot. Whenever I’m talking to him. Probably because he doesn’t know what I’m saying. Shoo, we can have spaghetti for dinner. Shoo, he’d like to wear his red shirt. Shoo he still loves me. Of course he does.