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The Man Really Loved His Wife

The Man Really Loved his Wife

Aimee Hughes

The man really loved his wife, and coming home to her after a hard day’s work at the bank was just lovely. She gave him a cup of tea and a ginger nut biscuit and he reclined on the sofa, coat still on and bowler hat at a jaunty angle. He set his feet upon the shiny rim of the coffee table and took a long contented drag from his cup.  She lit the fire and went back to the kitchen to finish the supper.

“What are we having?” the man called, still partly dazed by the warmth of the fire and crystallised ginger.

“Nothing fancy, just chicken and veg. It’s almost done. I just need to make the gravy.” She sounded light and breezy.

“Oh, do you want me to help?  You and I both know that I make the best onion gravy!”  His voice was warm. The answer that ensued struck him as odd.

“No” she said, a little too quickly, and rather a lot too loud, “you don’t need to. It’s almost done anyhow.”  Seconds later a pile of steaming vegetables, and a generous cut of chicken-breast appeared on his lap. After savouring a few bites he noticed his wife wasn’t eating. This was peculiar, so he asked her why she wasn’t hungry.  She replied that she had eaten with her friends, and he thought nothing of it.

The next morning, after waking, he turned expecting to see the mousey brown hair and dulcet eyes of his wife. Instead, only their walnut night-stand and duck egg-blue duvet greeted him. No sooner had he woken, he heard his wife’s slippers slapping their way up the stairs. She poked her tawny head into their room, shuffled across the floor, and presented a full-fat fry up, complete with black pudding and hash browns. He grinned at the sight of it; but as he turned to embrace her she jumped off the bed and bustled down the stairs mumbling something about having left the cooker on. He finished the breakfast with significantly less gusto than he had started with.

He was coming down through the hall to wash up his dishes when his wife appeared before him, quite suddenly, and having had no inkling that she would appear, dropped his tray and jumped a few inches in the air, screaming in as manly a way as possible. He couldn’t help but feel uneasy as she collected the broken crockery, but had little time to think on it. He was late for work. He shouted goodbye, and ran out the door to his arthritic Ford. Upon entering the tarnished leather interior and its comforting air of use, he breathed deeply and forgot all about it.

When he got home that night he noticed a strange smell coming from the kitchen, like rotting meat. As soon as he decided to investigate, his wife appeared. He began to ask about the strange smell, when she let loose a flurry of words from which he understood, beef, fridge, and electrics. From this he gleaned that the fridge had broken, and offered to call a technician. But she frantically told him everything was already fixed. He offered to remove the offending meat, and rushed off to the kitchen. Why was she trying to keep him out? He hadn’t seen the kitchen in three whole days, and he was jolly well getting to the bottom of it.

He walked in to the kitchen to find a corpse slumped on the floor, wearing his wife’s dress. When the coroner arrived he told him that she had been dead exactly three days.



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