prose: maid’s day off

16 Jan

Maid’s Day Off

Mary lived at the end of the hall. The only chance I had to speak with was the night she shot her husband with a .357.

Needless to say, an interesting night.

You always heard them. Mary and her husband, screaming obscenities in several different languages. English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and a variety of others. I later found out that Mary held a Ph’D in Linguistics.

I answered an impatient knock on the third set of raps.

“Yeah, yeah.” I had heard the shot but thought nothing of it. In my part of town you hear shots all the time. Everyone owed a big screen TV with surround sound and the whole fucking nine yards. Add that to the mayhem on the streets, you never could pick out fact from fiction. After awhile it becomes a blur of sound.

“Hello.” Mary stood at my door; quiet, calm, completely in control. “I live down the hall.” She looked back at her own doorway, expecting to see a ghost. “And I…uh…well, you see. There was a little accident.”

I glanced at the still smoking gun firmly clutched in her right hand and back at her.


“Yes. Just an accident.”

“Did you want to call the police or something?”

“Not really.” Mary’s mouthful of perfect white teeth formed into a broad grin. “I was rather hoping to avoid that.”

“Well maybe you should come in for a minute.”

“Yes. Okay. Thank you, that would be great.”

Mary came in and I looked up and down the hallway as she passed by me. No one else appeared at their respective doors, no commotion boiling, just the quiet of booming TVs and game consoles. The kid across the way claimed to be a champion at some sort of shoot the fuck out of everyone game. It certainly sounded that way.

“Something to drink? Water, beer, whiskey.”

“Yes that, please.”


“The whiskey.” Mary sat at my thrift store kitchenette, gingerly pulling the chair away from the table and grimacing as she sat.

“It’s a little dirty.”

“Yes, I can see that.”

“Maid’s day off.”

“Original.” Mary smiled again, set the gun down and accepted the glass. Worst case scenario I had her prints.

“So,” I grabbed the bottle and my own glass, sat next to her. “How’s your evening?”

“Not bad.” She slammed back her whiskey and poured another couple of fingers. The prints were good ones. I smiled inwardly and scratched at my nine-days growth on my chin. “You know? It started fine. Work. Lunch with friends. A little more work, then home. Nothing unusual.”

“No. Nothing unusual?”

“No, not really. I mean, my asshole boyfriend…” Not husband, I noted. She lost focus for a moment. “Fucker comes home all crazy and shit.”

“So I heard.”

“Yeah, sorry about that.” Mary lived two doors down. “Yeah, well. He starts up with some bullshit about me fucking a guy at school?”

“At school?”

“Oh, right. I am a professor at City College.”

“Ah, gotcha. Please. Continue.”

“And I’m not, well, not anymore. Anyway, he starts up and I just cracked. Totally flipped, you know? Lost my mind, as they say.” Mary’s voice jumped an octave as she got into the telling of the story. “So I shot him.”

“Just like that?”

“Yeah, just like that. He deserves it, you know. Total asshole. Hitting on me and shit.”

“So you grabbed his gun and popped him.”

“His gun? This is mine.”

“A .357?”

“Yeah, so?” Mary stood 5’4″ and weighed just under a hundred pounds, in my professional opinion. Long black hair, green eyes, plain but pretty; a spinner would be an accurate definition, at least with the boys over at the SpeakEasy Tavern.

“Okay. My mistake.” I slammed down the rest of my whiskey and refilled the glass. Mary did the same. “So that’s it?”

“Yeah, more or less. I knocked him on his ass, put a pillow over his face and shot him.”

I may have raised an eyebrow at that comment, whiskey makes the memory fuzzy.

“Well somebody will miss him, don’tcha think? I mean, the cops will come snooping around, knocking on doors and doing cop shit. Your prints and DNA and that CSI stuff will be all over your apartment.”

“True.” Mary set the glass down slowly and finally placed the gun on the tabletop. “Of course, it was his apartment. I just went there during the week. A couple nights a week.”

“Huh.” I couldn’t manage anything more intelligent to say but I did add: “Hmmm.”

“Yeah, I wiped everything down and left.”

“So you didn’t live there?”

“No. He did. Him and his wife.”

“His wife?”

“Yeah, she’s in the Navy or some shit like that. Doesn’t get back from her tour for another month.”

My throat tightened, just a little, and my ass may have puckered. Mary glared up at me, her eyes darkening, lips tightened into a pinched smile.

“So you thought the best course of action after blowing the brains out of your lover was to come over here?” I jumped up, completely animated and a little drunk. “Just fuckin’ blew him away and thought, fuck I outta stop by and visit with Jack.”

“Your name is Jack?”


“I’m Mary.”

“I know.” I grabbed the bottle and threw it back. “I thought that dude was your husband.”

“Nah, my husband and I separated a couple of months ago.”

“Of course you did.”

Mary stood up, left the gun on the table, and held her hand out to me.

“Mind if I spend the night?” Mary pulled off her top, revealing a black and pink lace bra.

I took her hand.

As I stood up I couldn’t help but to notice the black widow spider tattoo on her left shoulder. I pulled her into an embrace and kissed her. We were both solidly hammered.

“Yeah, spend the night. Good plan.”

Mary dropped her jeans and I discovered matching panties.

When she turned away I snatched the gun off the table, my hand quivering faster than a Parkinson’s patient. I scanned the room for a pillow but she reached it first. She moved quick for so much whiskey and I tripped over the kitchen chair dropping the gun. When I finally looked up I saw the pillow, an heirloom from my great grandmother, lowering against my face. I could smell and taste the dust.

“What the fuck?” Mary muttered.

The pillow stopped moving and pulled away. Mary helped me to my feet.

“A little clumsy, eh?”

“I guess.”

“Why are you so jumpy?”

“You went for the pillow and…”

“I have a pillow just like that. I was just…” Mary turned and looked at me with a crooked grin. “So you thought…”

Mary picked the gun up off the floor, looked at it, then at me, and laughed.

“You were right.”


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