FLASH FICTION FRIDAY – F3 – CYCLE 32 – THE WRONG SONG: THIS IS HOW YOU REMIND ME

Taking the link to 213′s Top Ten Wrong Song Lyric, Pick one of the song titles listed and use that as the title and inspiration for your story

Prompt: Title Prompt – Choose a title from the list of songs whose lyrics commonly are sung wrong.
Genre: Open
Word Count: Up to1000 words
Deadline: Thursday, May 26, 2011 4:30 pm EST

THIS IS HOW YOU REMIND ME

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw

The alarm clock signaled the end of another less than restful night.  The woman opened her eyes slowly, blinking the sleep away, then turned and shut off the alarm.  She lay back on the pillows, making no attempt to get up… waiting.  While she waited, she went over the day’s “to do” list.

Hair appointment at 10:30… last minute shopping for tonight’s dinner guests, David and Nina … stop by “On Its Side” and pick up another bottle of merlot… check that the silver is polished… and, the most important thing on today’s list…  do a…

And then… the waiting was over…

The pain came… right on schedule… starting low and small… then slowly spreading throughout her body… like someone had been hitting her from the inside… a deep, dull ache.  And that was on the good days.  On a bad day… on a bad day, it felt like her insides were being twisted… stabbed… those were the days when it took every ounce of strength not to cry out.

But… she couldn’t cry out.  Her co-workers would hear.  They would try to help, but there was nothing they could do.  And, it would get back to Paul.  He would be waiting for her when she got home from the office.  And he would demonstrate to her… once again… reminding her… once again… what happens to weak little girls who complained about things that were strictly between a man and his woman.

~~**~~

“You’re weak, Maddy… now, I know it’s not your fault… all women are weak… just a fact of nature.  But, I want to help you Maddy… I’m doing this to make you stronger… I’m doing this because I love you, Maddy.  Why can’t you understand that?  Why?  Why? Why?”

Each “why” would be punctuated with his fist, until he felt that he had made his point… or until his arm became tired.  Mercifully, that was usually only eight or ten punches.  The irony was not lost on Maddy… Paul telling her that she was weak… he had all the upper body strength of a two year… and that was probably being generous.

Of course, Maddy would never voice such thoughts… it was dangerous even to think them.

~~**~~

Maddy knew… as soon as she sat down at the table that evening… she knew.  It was in his eyes.  Once again, Maddy had done something wrong… something to disappoint Paul.  Sighing inwardly, she did her best to put on her “happy face”, as Paul called it… and pretend.

After dinner, the men retreated to the library for brandy and cigars, and the women did what women were supposed to do… tend to the kitchen.  During dinner, Nina had noticed a subtle change in Maddy.  Later, out in the kitchen, when she brought it up, asking if everything was all right with Paul and her, Maddy had replied… “…happy as newly-weds!”  Her eyes said something else, but Nina knew better than to push… David had taught her that little lesson.

Immediately after their guests had left, Paul gave Maddy the “look”, and headed down to the basement.  Maddy knew from experience that every second that she kept Paul waiting, would only make it worse, but tonight… she didn’t care… she just plain, damn did not care.

Maddy took her time upstairs, before going down to the basement.  She could hear the music before she opened the basement door… Nickelback… god, she hated Nickelback.  Of course, Paul thought they were “gods”, so Maddy had to just smile… and pretend.

As Maddy walked down the basement stairs… “… ‘Cause living with me must have damn near killed you…” floated up to her ears.  A sound rose up in her throat, and Maddy quickly clamped her hand over her mouth to keep it in.  Damn near, husband… damn near…

Paul was bent over the workbench when Maddy walked up to him, stopping a few feet away.  Several seconds elapsed.  Then, with an exaggerated sigh, Paul turned to her, saying… “Not good, Maddy… keeping me wait…”

Paul didn’t get a chance to finish the sentence… 50,000 volts tends to leave one speechless.  Maddy held the trigger of the Taser for several seconds… the manual hadn’t been real clear on how long you were supposed to, but she wasn’t taking any chances.

Paul came to a few minutes later… trussed and tied securely to the big rocking chair he had been refurbishing… his mouth stuffed with rags and duct-taped over.  The music must have been looped, because the same song had started over… “… these five words in my head, scream…”

Maddy swore that she wouldn’t cry, but she did anyway.  Through her tears… “Do you know what five words screamed in my head, Paul?  Every time you hit me?  Every fucking time?  Every single blow?  Do you?  Do you?”

 “Please don’t hit me anymore!”  She sobbed softly.

Maddy wiped the tears from her eyes… a calm coming over her.  “No more, Paul… it ends tonight… it ends tonight!”

 The look that was in Paul’s eyes… well, if looks really could kill…

Maddy sat down on the stool in front of the workbench and pulled a cell phone from her skirt pocket… a throw-away she had purchased a few days before.  She dialed the number… “Hello?  Yes… its time.”  She disconnected.

Some time later, Maddy heard sounds above her, and then footsteps coming down the basement stairs.

The man walked over and stood between Paul and Maddy.  He spoke.  “Once I take the money, you can’t go back… no changing your mind… it’s done… you do understand that?”

Maddy slid the thick envelope from her pocket and handed it to the man.  “Perfectly.  Two things…”

“Yes?”

“Take your time.  And… I don’t want his body ever found.”

“Understood.”

The man turned to Paul…

“Guy shouldn’t oughta hit a lady, Paul… he shouldn’t oughta…”

Paul stared at the size of the man’s hands… the gag in his mouth didn’t quite muffle his screams.

~~finis~~

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About VeronicaThePajamaThief

Bio: Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw Born in Lisboa, Portugal to parents of Portuguese/Russian descent, Veronica Marie and her wife, Christina Anne, call the Pacific Northwest home, where the couple are “still very much on honeymoon!” When not teaching and finishing her own studies for a Masters in Sociology, Veronica writes fiction, primarily noir - "I love dark!". Her long fascination with noir fiction prompted Veronica to try her own hand at writing fiction several years ago. She has been published in Pulp Metal Magazine, The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, the horror anthology 100 Horrors, from Cruentus Libri Press, Nightfalls: an End of the World anthology, Drunk On The Moon 2: A Roman Dalton anthology and Gloves Off: Near To the Knuckle's debut anthology. Veronica has also appeared in the inaugural issue of Literary Orphans magazine and her horror/urban fantasy short story SOUL TAKER was recently chosen for inclusion in Lily Childs' february femmes fatales, an urban fantasy/horror anthology. Veronica counts among her mentors - Carole A Parker, Lily Childs, Paul D Brazill, Richard Godwin, Joyce Juzwik and Vicki Abelson. She is currently working on the third draft of her first novel – a memoir – as well the second draft of her first fiction novel, a fantasy novel and the publication of a collection of her flash fiction and short stories. Lily's The Feardom and Vicki Abelson's Women Who Write Facebook writing group have both been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for Veronica. Veronica’s writings can be found athttp://veronicathepajamathief.blogspot.com/ andhttp://veronicathepajamathiefwritespoetry.blogspot.com/, andhttps://veronicathepajamathief.wordpress.com/
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9 Responses to FLASH FICTION FRIDAY – F3 – CYCLE 32 – THE WRONG SONG: THIS IS HOW YOU REMIND ME

  1. Glen says:

    Ah now that I like. Very strong, compelling writing.

  2. Pingback: F3 – Cycle 32 – The Stories | Flash Fiction Friday

  3. Beach Bum says:

    …50,000 volts tends to leave one speechless.

    I would have had more fun to the point of running the tazer battery dry. But Paul got what he very much deserved in the end. Great story on several levels.

    • Thank you, Beach.

      This week’s prompt and the song list gave me several ideas and I had a hard time deciding on a song. I went with this song in the end… it went with a story idea I have been trying not to write for some time now.

      I guess I knew it had to come out eventually.

      Thank you for reading my story.

  4. barbara says:

    Oh my goodness, what a riveting story! I found the exchange in the kitchen (or rather, what wasn’t exchanged) between Nina and Maddy to be particularly chilling. A secret club to which nobody wants to belong.

    A very visceral and ultimately satisfying story, Veronica!

    • Thank you, Barbara… Thank you, very much!

      Yes… a secret club nobody wants to belong to… where the price of admission is free… but the cost of belonging can be fatal… and justice isn’t always found.

      Fortunately… this time…

  5. Joyce Juzwik says:

    I picked up on that too, the ‘knowing’ between Nina and Maddy. Both living with a dark secret they share, and yet cannot share. This is magnificent on so many levels. She found more strength than I had bargained for. I thought she would exact her own form of justice with her own hands, but she simply got the ball rolling. Her ‘conditions’ are barbaric and completely understandable. Maybe she can make a referral to help her friend. You’ve dealt with a horrific topic in an intensely genuine and terrifying manner. Well done, Veronica.

  6. Thank you very much, Joyce! I am pleased that you found it so. True inner strength is something that can’t be measured until it is needed the most.

    I am glad that I finally got this story out. I don’t recall who it was, but someone once said about writing – “Writing is about exercising… and exorcising.”

    I was going to have Maddy do away with Paul with his own gun… a bullet right between the eyes. But… a bullet is quick and merciful… and Paul deserved neither. I did not think the reader would find it believable for Maddy to beat Paul, as he had beaten her, unless she were to go at him with a baseball bat. And, I did not want to turn her into the monster Paul was.

    True, there were other ways she could have dispatched Paul… this just seemed fitting… this seemed like “Maddy’s justice”.

    I almost didn’t post this… as part of my “final editing/proofing”, I read a story out loud. But, reading this… hearing the words out loud… I had to put it down… it chilled me.

    Can you believe that? I scared myself! Okay… I am going to go make some popcorn and do a little research for next week’s prompt.

    Thank you so much, for reading my story, Joyce.

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