What do you do when your prick brother-in-law kills your sister, and you know it, and you can’t prove it? That’s not a rhetorical question, Donald. I’m really asking.
I’m sorry if I’m laying a big heavy trip on you right up front, but I was given to understand that you’re, um, a serious customer. A guy who’s seen things, done things. Good with electronics and not too hung up on laws and regulations.
Yeah? “Go to the cops?” I’m sorry, if that’s the best you can do for me, you’re friggin’ useless. I mean, don’t feel bad, lots of people are useless. I’m pretty useless. Even before the accident, really. But Bruce (that’s the brother-in-law) is rich as balls. Parents built this giant baked-goods factory, or were early investors or something, or maybe his grandparents did it. Doesn’t matter, except that it means he grew up soaked in money. It doesn’t matter, except he got everything he wanted and every fifth person in high school had parents who worked for his parents. So he never got bullied (even though he had a stutter) and he got a shiny new T-Bird for his 18th birthday, and he dated the prom queen, Cissy Hennings.
He didn’t marry her though. She was pretty, but stuck up and her family didn’t have to work for his. Entitled
, that’s the word you could use. She went off to a nice college, and so did he, and when he came back he married my older sister, Crystal. And he killed her.
Our town’s small, and a lot of the cops are guys who didn’t go away to a nice college, some were on the football team with Bruce. (You’d expect him to be quarterback, but he actually played defensive end). The rest have spouses or parents or kids who work at the goddamn baked-goods factory.
I mean, I suppose if he’d done it on the library lawn in front of the mayor and everyone, he’d be busted. Society can only put up with so much, even from a job creator
. But he did it in secret, out on the water.
Maybe the FBI could have proved something, if Bruce or his family had raised a stink. But he said it was an accident, and when her body washed up there was no inquest, just a quick cremation and he cried at the funeral. After the burial, he gave me a big ol’ hug, which is awkward in my wheelchair, and also awkward since I never hugged him since his wedding, and triple
awkward because I knew he thought I was friggin’ useless and kind of a weirdo besides.
Bruce was not a big weeper. When he hugged me, I smelled menthol. Not like cigarettes, but like that stuff you put on your chest when you’re sick. Or that you put under your eyes when you need to fake-cry.
I don’t know why Bruce killed Crystal. Maybe just because he could? She was still a good-enough trophy wife for (let’s face it) a jumped-up 1% baker, even if she wasn’t as hot as when he married her.
That’s the difference between Crystal and Cissy, according to my asshole friends. Cissy was pretty and Crystal was hot. Never mind that she was also kind, and polite, and a good listener and she knew how to tell a joke
, honestly, her timing was killer
. But so was her body, I guess, and that’s what guys noticed.
(Yes, I have to guess. I can’t see my sister as a hot piece of ass, sorry, not even hypothetically as a mental exercise. She was the older sister who picked on me just enough to let me know I was nothing special, and then turned me on to all her cool music to let me know that, actually, I was kinda special. When I got in my first big trouble, when I was seventeen and she was twenty, she stuck by me when even mom and dad were treating me like garbage. When I imagine her, half the time I still see her how she looked at fifteen with braces when she said “Dad rock is where it’s at, kiddo. I’m going to put on Led Zeppelin now. I think you’re ready.” Too much of the rest of the time, I picture her bloated and drowned at thirty-four.)
Well. If you accept at face value that Bruce killed Crystal and that the cops aren’t going to do anything (because he’s rich and they’re not super competent and anyhow, ever since my first big trouble they’ve regarded me as “That asshole who did all the Satanism in the graveyard”), what next? You might suggest I kill him myself.
I’ve thought about it, but it’s not easy. Overpowering him is clearly out of the question. He’s gained weight and lost wind, and I can stand up and walk a few steps, sure. But he still plays touch football with his butthole nephews on weekends, and I can only stay up just about long enough to reach something down from a high shelf in the liquor store—long enough to get snide comments from people who think that walking’s like a light switch, and that if you can walk some of the time, you don’t need the chair most
of the time.
(I’ve been in the chair since my second big trouble, which involved high speeds and a semi-truck with Bruce’s family bakery logo on the side.)
Anyhow. I could hide a gun in the chair, see him, go bang. I’m not a great shot, and I think he might be a little leery of me, but that would be an option, for sure. If I wanted to trade my life for his.
Which is the rub, now ain’t it? Cold-blooded revenge, but no one’s going to care when they look at my record, and my laughable evidence. They’d lock me up tight—it’s not like I could carry off a grand-ass getaway when I need to get Dave or Pete to drive me somewhere. I’d have to lure him out somewhere or ambush him and… he just is not real ambushable.
Plus, and this shames me so shut up in advance… he scares me. I don’t know if, way down inside, I’ve got the killer instinct. But Bruce does. He’s gotten away with it once. If he knows I suspect (or suspects that I know), inviting him to go off to a secluded (but wheelchair accessible!) location away from witnesses and bystanders might play right into his hands. He might kill me too, and claim self-defense. Thanks to big trouble #1 and him being rich as balls, people would probably buy it, or buy it enough
Yeah, no shit. It’s a ‘pickle.’ That’s exactly the word, Donald. But I have a plan. I’m going to get myself unpickled. How? That’s where you come in. You and your computer stuff.__________
Like that? It's the first section from a short story I wrote. If you want to read the rest of it, well, that can be arranged. See https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gregstolze/one-sided