Saturday, May 19, 2007


Rachel shrugged Ron’s hand from her shoulder. “I told you, I have a yeast infection.”

“That’s the third one in two months,” Ron muttered darkly. His eyes narrowed.

Six weeks later, Ron sat in a dark corner of the local Starbucks, his Americano (two Splendas and a shot of half-and-half) cooling untouched. Schwartz, the private investigator, slid a stack of 8 x 10 glossies across the table, narrowly missing a stray glob of half-dried latte foam.

Ron picked up the photographs and riffled through them, his stomach doing a half-lurch. It was one thing to be suspicious...but to have your suspicions confirmed in black and white, that was different. It hurt. Betrayal always hurt.

The evidence was undeniable.

All those years with Rachel. The candle-lit dinners, the weekends at Tahoe, the expensive ski trips. Getting married. The first house. Ron remembered how scary it was, signing the papers at the closing. The babies – first Ralph, then Randi. Vacations at Disney World. Dealing with the kids’ skinned knees and snotnoses. School plays. His first big promotion. Seventeen years of sweet memories.

All of them tasted like ashes in his mouth now. He had been made a fool of. Cuckolded.

He looked at the pictures again, his eyes focusing and unfocusing on the white chef’s toque; the pale, doughy flesh; the dark, comma-shaped eyes. His wife’s lover.

Son of a bitch, thought Ron. The egotistical little bastard. Always had a God complex, and his ability to seduce Rachel would only reinforce it. As it was, when Lover-Boy would see those church signs at Eastertime, the ones saying “He is risen,” Lover-Boy always thought the signs referred to him.

Ron could feel his anger and hatred congeal into a little lump within him. He rolled it around on his tongue. It tasted bitter, with afternotes of vinegar and coppery blood. He thought he could hear Lover-Boy laughing. Laughing at him. Hee-hee.

God, how Ron hated that laugh.

When Lover-Boy turned up dead three weeks later, a cyanide capsule crammed halfway down his gullet, with Ron disappearing that same day, it didn’t take John Law too long to figure out that something was rotten in Denmark. They found him within ten days, drinking piña coladas at a run-down tourist house in Guanajuato. At first he was tight-lipped, but the shammeses noticed he hadn’t eaten a single bite of bread in over a week, so they started sweating him. And that’s when he confessed.

“Yeah, I’m the guy who put the pill in the Pillsbury Doughboy.”

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