The Abnormal Goodnight

suburban house

Another day in the suburbs, a different kind of perverse.

All evening, things were off at the Wagonsworth household. Hal got home at 6:07 instead of 6:01. Maxine served dinner at 6:20 instead of 6:22. It was Wednesday and instead of the traditional hump day lemon garlic chicken on a bed of overcooked rice, it was a turkey casserole. These breaks of habit went on all evening. Instead of Fox® News, ESPN®. All the while, not one word was exchanged. This was highly unusual in comparison to their constant bickering.

It was midnight. They were in bed eight minutes later than usual. They kissed goodnight like rehearsed robots. Hal rolled on his side to turn off the dusty Hello Kitty™ lamp beside the bed. He broke the silence to say what he had said every night since they got married. “I love you. See you tomorrow, unless I die in my sleep.”


Maxine would always laugh, but not tonight. Instead, she stared into Hal’s back, a penetrating gaze, accompanied by a worried mind. She knew he was not going to wake up tomorrow morning. She had a back up plan for her back up plan, and one or two more on top of that. In short, if the poison doesn’t work, she had the Smother® pillow, and if that didn’t work, a Ginsu® knife and a gun.

Maxine was absolutely conflicted. Her heart loved Hal more than anything. Her mind was sick of his obnoxious quirks. Her heart remembered all the good times. Her mind could not bear another moment with that stupid stupid face. She waited for Hal’s breathing to slow down.

Hal took deep breaths. He sensed absolute finality. So much so, he had an affair with an ex-intern. So much so, he had been poisoning Maxine for months. His back up plan was a bomb set to go off in a few hours. He could no longer keep up the charade. His guilt made him speak. “Up?”

Maxine was surprised. “Are you?”

Hal sat up. “How the hell did we get here?”

Maxine hugged herself, “What here?”

“Do you really not know? How can you not know? Are you that-”

“Why do you talk so fucking much?” Maxine vomited and died unceremoniously.

Hal tried to stand up and fell backwards before dying. At promptly 4 A.M., the house blew up.

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