I Take It Black

02/01/24

“I found your wife’s body.”  My neighbor Reggie said when I opened the front door.  He stood on the porch dressed in jeans and a tee shirt.  “You didn’t hide her very well.”

I shrugged.

“Can I come in?”

I shrugged again and headed back down the hall to the kitchen.  I was fixing breakfast before I went to my office.  “Take off your shoes.  I cleaned the carpet a couple of days ago.”

He followed me into the kitchen and sat down at the table.  The coffee in the pot was ready.  “Coffee?”

Reggie nodded and turned to look out to the deck in the backyard.  “You picked a bad spot to hide her body.”

I set a bottle of creamer on the table next to the sugar.  “I was going to take the boat out tomorrow and then dump her in the river.”

He shivered.  “Jesus, Peter.  Rachel was your wife for twenty years.”

I poured two mugs of coffee.  He watched my every move.  “Yes.  That’s exactly why I killed her.”

He barked out a laugh.  “Damn.” 

I set the mugs down on the table.  “How did you find her?”

“Rachel worked in her garden every day she could.  We ate lunch together at least once a week.  I’d see her out there every day, except the last two.”  He poured cream into his coffee.  “She told me about your fights with her.  I went looking around.  I knew when I saw all kinds of flies buzzing around the shed.  You shouldn’t have left her in there during August.”

“I’ll keep that in mind the next time I need to hide a body.”  Reggie worked from home as a software developer.  Rachel told me they ate lunch together several times a week.  I knew he had her for lunch several times a week.  “No one ever goes back there, and it was just temporary.”

“Yeah.  Well, if the police find her body, they will temporarily incarcerate you.  For life.”  Reggie handed me the creamer.

“I take it black.” I set the creamer down. 

What did you do, strangle her?”

“Poison.  A compound containing Belladonna.”

He looked down at his coffee and then at me, eyebrows arched.

I smiled and took a long sip from my mug.  “I didn’t poison the coffee.”

“Good to know.”  Reggie took a sip of coffee.  “We need to talk about what comes next.”

“You didn’t call the police yet?”

“Nope.”  Reggie gave me his best toothy grin, the one I am sure he used to get into bed with my wife.  “Not yet.”

I counted off fifteen seconds on the clock behind him before I asked.  “What do you want?”

“Thirty thousand dollars. “

 “That’s a lot of money.”

“You can afford it.”

“I see you are really mourning the death of my wife.”

“As much as you are.” Reggie shot back.  “Thirty grand will help me cope with her loss.”

“We will work something out.”

“I know we will.”  Reggie shook his head and drank his coffee.  “Poison.  Damn!  Her face was so bloated and purple.  It’s why I thought you strangled her.  Was it quick?”

“I don’t know.  After I slipped her the poison, I went out for twenty minutes.”  He stared at me.  I stood up and carried my cup and the creamer to the counter.  “I didn’t want to watch her die and have a sudden change of heart.” 

“Figures.  You are a such a little bitch.  Leaving her to die like that.”  He finished his coffee and banged the mug down on the table.  “I hope she didn’t suffer too long.”

I poured the creamer into the sink.  “I think I will stick around this time and see.”

~ fin ~

stevecordin

Steven James Cordin is a native of the Chicago South Suburbs. Steven works in the financial crimes prevention industry, which is why he became interested in writing crime fiction.  In addition to his writing, His crime and horror fiction can be found in several anthologies, Shotgun Honey, and The Yard, Crime Blog. He currently lives near Joliet, IL.