Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sun Splashed Sunday Morning

By Jim Parks

Streaming sunlight penetrating the gauzy curtains through air washed of its sooty, dusty characteristic haze by the previous night's violent thunderstorm, a night spent huddled together in the big old double bed beside the bay window in the comfortable flat on the upper east side.

He, Charles, dressed in the solid royal blue pajamas she told him Santa brought him from Bergdorf's, she, outfitted in plaid warm-ups and a Starbucks t-shirt, her gleaming skin tanned and her smile brilliant, radiant in her happiness when he brought her juice, the Times in its five pound good, gray Knickerbocker eminence, and toast with the jam they found on a New England ramble.

Turning to her man Charles, looking into his good, gray eyes behind the thick lenses of his black horn-rimmed business professional's glasses, Rosalie said "You almost make me cry because I'm so happy. Almost, but not quite." Charles smiled, kissed her, and said, "Um, warm girl. Yum."

"I'm pregnant," Rosalie announced with a lilting, sunny smile in her voice, a voice with a Brooklyn accent and the rose tinted, eternal hope of motherhood. In her mind's eye, a thousand peasant crones, all of them dressed in black, stood as one and raised their fists in the air, screaming "Cacciatora!" "I know," Charles said, his voice coming through to her high and reedy. He grasped at his stiffening male member through the high thread count poplin of the pajama bottoms. "I did it with my magic wand here. Wanna see me do it again? I'll show you how I did it - one more time."

She gave him a light slap on the cheek. He said, "Slap me, bitch, you're beautiful when you're angry - angry and knocked up. Yeah." "Four years at Stanford, an MBA from Penn and Harvard Law, and you still talk like some schmuck from Jersey," she said, giggling. She, Rosalie, fell back on the bed laughing at the sunlight streaming through the window, streaming through the gauzy curtains, through the suddenly clean air washed of its usual sooty, dusty condition by the violent thunderstorms of the night before.

Charles's head exploded in sprays of blood, brain tissue and bone fragments that coated Rosalie's face and her Starbucks t-shirt and splattered the bed and wall behind her. For a moment, she sat shocked, unable to comprehend what had happened until she glanced at the window and saw the shattered glass still dangling from the old casement, shards of it spread across the carpet. She clung to his body in panic, grasping at his glasses and trying in vain to hold his weight against her chest, then, succumbing to her fear, she scrambled off the bed and crawling out the bedroom door to the kitchen, she headed for the telephone in the pantry.

One gunman came in the back door. He had used a pass key or picked the lock. Rosalie gasped when he walked in on her. The other strode into the room from the bedroom where he had come in from the fire escape.

The man who had shot Charles from the fire escape held the pistol close to her head where she crouched on the floor trembling. He slowly pulled the trigger. Feeling sick, he looked up at his partner in crime and asked, "Why do we get involved in these capers?"

"I don't know about you, but I do it for the money," the man who had come in the back door said.

He leveled the heavy automatic on the man who stood over the dead woman and fired a bullet into his heart. Then he pulled the knit ski mask down over his face and left the way he had come in, taking the stair steps two at a time, ducking into the service hallway of an apartment two floors down where a woman stood holding the door partly open for him.

When she closed the door, he took her in his arms, savoring the good, lithe body, and kissed her. His hand on the back of her head, the other on the point of her chin, he suddenly twisted it violently, snapping her neck. She slumped to the floor at his feet, already looking like the sad remains of a human being and not the kind of monster who would help hired killers take the lives of two of her neighbors.

He looked at his watch. The entire operation, once they were in place, had taken only three minutes. Now it was time for the getaway, the most important part of any assault.

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