Tonight the Monkey Dies


Five words. Two on either end. Will framed.
No one will ever know.
-Hey, with that bed sheet wrapped around you, you kind of look like a Roman empress looking down on her people.

-Yoo-hoo. Your majesty….

-Hey. Are you OK?
-We shouldn’t be here.

-Well, I’ll admit…the Hyatt is closer to my office. The ceilings are higher in those rooms too, but this place isn’t that bad. Room service was prompt.
-No, I mean we shouldn’t be here. Doing this.

-God, I just never thought something like this could happen to me. I never wanted to end up like this.
-End up like how?
-I don’t know. A cliché.

-There’s nothing cliché about this.
-Oh, we’re lousy with cliché.

-Maybe it’s genetic.
-What? Genetic? What do you mean genetic?
-My uncle had an affair.
-It destroyed his life. Things were never the same with my uncle and my aunt after she found out about it. A few years later when my aunt developed cervical cancer? My uncle blamed his infidelity for it.
-That’s ridiculous.
-Karma? Please. This is our choice, honey.
-I know.

-Well, you know how I feel about you. I suppose I could just pull the brakes and stop but you know I won’t. Stopping this goes against everything forcing through me right now. The things we’ve done, the world is completely different for me now. It feels like I’m on fire, like I’ve been given this second chance.
-At what?
-Easy for you to say, you’re divorced.

-Come back to bed.
-Jesus Christ, you scared the shit out of me. Oh. Oh my God. You’re—

-Look, I appreciate you coming down here to confront me face to face, I mean, if you’re looking to take a swing at me or something I’m going to tell you right here and now there’s cameras in this garage.

-Don’t do something you might regret. Like I said, ther’s cameras. There’s one right over there—


-What can I possibly say? That I’m sorry? Okay, I will be honest with you. I am sorry. I regret what I did, I’m mortified by it, but the truth is it was almost two years ago. In the end your wife saw it for what it was—an affair. It was stupid. Stupid and rash and stupid.

-Say something.

-You just going to stand there?

-Hey, look. Iin the end she came back to you, right? And Jesus Christ that has to mean something, right? She chose you, not me. I remember how she kept saying to me all the time that you were such a good man, that you didn’t deserve it, that she still loved you in so many ways. I’ll admit, at the time I couldn’t stand the thought of losing her to you, but when she called it off I’d hoped when she’d never tell you. That we’d keep it a secret. She promised me that she never would but these things…

-I guess they can eat at you.
DATE OF BIRTH/AGE: May 15, 1968 –
MISSING FROM: Washington, DC
HEIGHT: 6’ 2”
WEIGHT: 197 pounds
RACE: White
CLOTHING/JEWELRY: Dark suit, Tag Heuer wrist watch, inscribed July 3, 2005
CIRCUMSTANCES OF DISAPPEARANCE: Danforth was last seen leaving his office in downtown Washington, DC early in the evening of June 3, 2011. His car was found in his building’s parking garage.
CONTACT: Washington Metropolitan Police
CASE #: 567980-D
Five words. Two on either end. Will framed.
No one will ever know.

~ fin ~


A huge fan of the interpretive private eye films The Long Goodbye (1973) and The Drowning Pool (1975), Kieran Shea‘s stories have appeared previously in Shotgun Honey, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, and elsewhere. He’s also written a couple of novels and one short story collection.