Thursday, June 11, 2009

by Virginia Winters

The outline looked like his ego: bloated, empty, one accusing hand outstretched. I stood towards the back of the crowd in the tiny parking lot attached to my bookstore. Henry Adams Cuthbert lay dead. It sounded like the title of a detective novel, the kind he destroyed with his reviews. I turned away and walked back inside.

There were no customers. I didn’t expect any, after the article he wrote about the store. Dark, uninviting, with a would-be author who knows nothing about books behind the counter: the words burned off the page.

He had arrived late and uninvited for the book launch, clutching a bottle of his favourite champagne. He poured a miserly ounce into each glass and raised his. “To my ex-wife: her book is a genuine reflection of her talent. R.I.P.”

That ended the party. The few friends I had left scurried away, murmuring to each other. He tossed his wine glass - rented - into the fireplace and waddled out the back door. He had stolen everything from me that had every mattered. Not my book. I grabbed scissors from the counter and ran after him.

“Henry. Don’t do this to me.”

He turned towards me, looked at the scissors and laughed. “Melodrama. I told you that you couldn’t write.”

I plunged them into his neck, watched the blood ooze around them, saw the unbelieving look in his eyes and watched him die. I wiped my fingerprints off the handles and walked inside to call 911.

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