Vicky was a buxom,
opinionated girl with electric yellow finger nails. Her hair was a
fine pile of tightly woven snakes. Walter was a foot shorter than
Vicky. He had a moustache and his glasses were heavy and he adjusted
them a lot. They were driving together through the Chuggadingle
countryside in a tubby 1948 Italian convertible. Vicky was at the
wheel. Her bare foot pressed the gas pedal in completely. They
zipped and twisted dangerously fast. Walter tried to keep his wits
in tact. He clutched the sides of his seat.
"This will be a fine
picnic," Vicky said calmly.
Walter was scared
shitless. His eyes were stretched open and he mouthed the words,
"Jesus Christ" over and over.
"I said... this will be
a fine picnic. Don't you agree, Walter?" Vicky repeated, slightly
irritated this time.
Vicky looked at him and
frowned with disarming elegance.
"Does my driving bother
you?" asked Vicky.
"Watch the road!" said
Vicky continued to
study Walter's expression while he frantically pointed at the road
and insisted that she return her attention to it. But to Vicky, the
world was a quiet place and she was amused by Walter's pantomime.
She began to veer
outside of her lane as an uncompromising milk truck approached at a
steady clip. Walter squealed. Vicky turned away in time, and they
proceeded at the same uneasy speed through the musty, musty, musty
Lake Dingitydong spread
out stark on the horizon. They got closer and slowed down and found
a place to park in a gravel lot divided by short wooden posts strung
together with rope. The mechanical clanging of the car stopped and
the air was calm again. Walter looked rattled. His hands were
shaking. Vicky was already in the grass surveying the place and
dropping blankets and picnic stuff that she removed from the back
seat while Walter pulled himself together.
"C'mon Walter! I found
a good spot!" Vicky hollered.
removed himself from the car. He tripped and rolled wildly down a
rocky hill where Vicky was uncorking a bottle of wine.
"Stop horsing around,
His arms and legs were
bleeding from the tumble. He asked Vicky for a handkerchief and
perhaps some iodine, but to Vicky, the world was a quiet place and
she was amused by Walter's pantomime.
Vicky poured some wine
for Walter. She took a long swig from the bottle before pouring some
for herself. She told Walter to hurry up and finish his drink as she
wiggled out of her clothes and ran to the edge of the lake. Walter
obeyed. At least the water would clean his cuts, he
They swam and splashed
and Vicky dunked Walter's head in the water while his hands flailed
helplessly above the surface. He came up gasping for air. Vicky
hurried out of the water. Walter followed her and they dried off and
Vicky laid out some
woodchuck sandwiches and Walter reached for one. She slapped his
hand and told him to wait.
"That stings!" said
Walter as he pulled back his hand and rubbed it
spreading out the food and said,
"Don't get grabby.
We'll eat when I say."
That was the last
straw. It had been three long years of abuse from that woman. He
recalled a dinner party last summer when Vicky made him look like a
fool in the company of very close friends. A man should have a say,
godammit. A real man should govern the ebb and flow of a
relationship. Yes, Vicky was a stunning beauty, and most men could
only dream of knowing her intimately, but it was precisely this fact
that distracted Walter and kept him from asserting himself and
changing things. He was tired of being controlled.
Walter stood up quickly
and pushed the sturdy girl over-- a task he somehow made look easy.
He took a small pistol from his breast pocket and pressed it against
Vicky's stomach. He squeezed the trigger three times. The shots were
deafening, but to Vicky, the world was a quiet place and she was
amused by Walter's pantomime. Walter stumbled backward in