Harlow

United States

A human that does stuff with words among other humans who do other stuff with words

DEEP THOUGHT WINNERS: Zalma and MarSan!!

Message to Readers

I worked on and edited this piece for months last year when I was first told to “tell a story” I hope you enjoy my story.

The Widow and the Dowager

April 15, 2019

FREE WRITING

3
Section 1: Joyce
    Although I grew up poor, I was always happy. Even though there were times when there was never enough food on the table or times when my father would come home intoxicated and angry and my mother would abuse my sisters and me for not speaking properly, I tried to act like life was normal; I tried to act as though I was like the girls who’d look at my family with looks of false compassion. Once I was old enough to marry, I did. I married a wonderful, caring man only because I loved him. Patrick McMillan was the love of my life, but he wasn’t rich. I never wanted to marry a rich man like my sisters, so Patrick seemed perfect when we met outside the slum that I call home. He was sweet, nervous, and smart; I fell head over heels. 
    He couldn’t afford college, but for someone who’d never had higher education, Patrick was well versed in physics and math, and he loved astronomy. Our first date was strange; I remember him showing me his handmade star charts and his exotic lab. His bed was in the corner of a room filled with seemingly magic potions and concoctions. I was awestruck by the brains of a man who’d been no different than me. He was just a poor young black man in 1930s America, but he made that seem like a dream.
    For four years, Patrick and I had lived such a happy life; he had worked in the mines and always brought food home, and I had stayed home teaching the children in our slum math and reading. When he wasn’t working, he’d treat the schoolchildren to an astronomy lesson on summer nights. It was amazing to watch him teach children the wonders of the universe that they would, otherwise, not know about. We were barely getting by, but we were in love. Love helped us through so much, until a few months ago when it happened. 
Pat and I knew that he had miner’s lung, but one day we woke up as usual when he was coughing. Of course, I didn’t suspect anything of it – it happened all the time. This time it was different; it was this dry, hoarse, uncontrollable coughing that still haunts me at night. He ran to the sink as the mucus he was coughing out turned black. Patrick then collapsed into my arms. I screamed a shrill, banshee-like scream. My neighbors and their children came as fast as they could, but it was too late. He was dead. It took all of two days for my doorway was flooded with people sending their condolences; It was horrible. 
In the two days before the condolences came flooding in, I kept weeping and thinking about the life Patrick and I could’ve had. He was only 27, and we were so happy; We wouldn’t have had kids because of his miner’s lung. I made a vow long ago that I’d never raise kids in an environment full of fear; fear of death, fear of eviction, fear of crime. I’d never do that. He always said that after this awful Depression we’d go to North Carolina. We’d visit his old home and have fun thinking about his childhood.   Then, my contemplation time ended abruptly. There was a booming knock at my door.
    “I’m sorry about Pat, Joyce,” the women would say.
    I’d weep irrepressibly
    “Joyce, I can’t imagine what you're going through,” the men would say.
    “I know,” I’d say
    Things like that would send me into an inner rage. I’d always smile when people apologize for nothing.
    Sorry won’t bring my husband back, I’d think to myself, smiling at whoever said it.
    One day, the oldest man in the slum, about 60 or so years old, came to my door with the usual condolences. It was then and there that I snapped.
    “Yes! Sure! Let’s let everyone apologize to the poor little widow,” I roared, “Tell me what you can’t imagine about the death of the love of my life. What, pray to tell, will that do for me?!”
By the time I’d finished my rant, the whole slum was staring at me from their windows or gaping at me on the street. 
I got quiet and breathed heavily, and, in a fit of rage, grief, and embarrassment, I ran as far away as I could from the slum. Then, I ran into the women who’d change my life.
Section 2: Priscilla
  Wealth. It has the power to build empires and break empires, and I was born into an empire that was crumbling due to wealth. From a young age, I already knew what my 3 responsibilities were: I had to marry a wealthy man whose fortune was stable, murder the man, and become a dowager to inherit his wealth. I ended up marrying a man whose entire fortune was from a real estate deal. I’ve been married thrice, and none of those times have been for love. My most recent husband, Oswald Tibbs, had a net worth of around two hundred fifty million dollars and a murderous wife. I had 2 options for Operation End Oswald: I could poison him, which would be easy since I cook for the buffoon, or I could slit his throat and plant evidence. There’s nothing wrong with a classic “the butler did it” situation if I’m not mistaken. 
“Darling,” Oswald called in his disgusting British accent, “Are you ready to leave?”
I had nearly forgotten about his stupid birthday.
“I’m just checking on the cake,” I hollered back. 
I’ve had to pretend to enjoy this revolting marriage for 17 years. When I was 16, I thought that I’d have done something with my life by 30; I’m now 47 and living with a hairless walrus with legs. 
“Oh, I do hope you baked a glorious cake,” the walrus said as he waddled down the stairs.
“Ouch!” howled a miniature Oswald
Our son, Desmond, was just as fat as his father, if not fatter. Their booming footsteps shook the whole house. I then was slightly grateful that I wasn’t living in one of those nauseating slums. We wouldn’t have a house if we’d live there.
“My little panda,” I screeched, “what happened?”
“I stepped on my toe,” he said in between sniffles. 
He looked at me, and I had to look away. His bright red face was covered in green snot. It was as stomach-churning as those slums. Honestly, his reaction was superfluous; he had a small bruise that I had to bandage because I’d been babying the poor boy. 
“Why don’t you sit down over there while I go get some bandages?” I suggested as I walked to the medicine cabinet.
I wrapped his foot while Oswald watched in a frenzy of annoyance.
“Priscilla,” Oswald scowled, “you can’t keep babying the boy. He’s almost 10 years old.”
“Well, he’s alright now,” I retorted, “so let’s go to your birthday party.”
“Get-together,” Oswald spat.
“Honestly, it’s the same thing,” I verbalized.
“If you can’t discern the two because of your roots in poverty,” Oswald bellowed, “then leave!”
And so, I left. I walked down the street, past the abhorrent slums, to get an apple. This horrid Depression has caused the people on the streets to look miserable and for the wealthy, like me, to have to sell so much of our property to be used as slums.
“Ugh,” I mumbled to myself, “these streets are in horrendous shape. There are poor people everywhere.” 
I wasn’t watching where I was walking when one of those appalling poor people ran into me. Obviously, I was repulsed to have one of those filthy vermin even look at me let alone, touch me.
I didn’t immediately realize how disgusting it was until I puked all over the poor girl.
“That’s just amazing,” she spat sarcastically, “covered in rich white lady debris after being looked at like an alien.”
“Excuse me?” I said, offended.
She looked up and smiled. Little did I know, I would soon change her life.
Section 3: Joyce
    Oh crap, I thought, I just offended an upper-class woman!
    “Sorry, ma’am,” I began
    “Don’t apologize,” she interjected, “I’m sure I’d do that too if I were you.”
    “Besides the jerk who just threw up on me, who are you?” I asked
    “I,” the woman began pompously, “am Priscilla Tibbs of the Tibbs real estate group. Who are you?”
    “The name’s Joyce. Joyce McMillan of the slum of 35th street,” I replied casually.
    She was flaunting all her ridiculous wealth at me and any other residents of the slums; It was the most disgusting thing ever. In her fake grandiose accent, she spoke to me yet again. 
    “Why don’t you come with me?” she offered
    “Why would I come with a rich white lady?” I probed
    “Why would I offer to help a poor black lady?” she retorted
    I was puzzled by this rhetorical question. She must’ve known I was befuddled because she answered.
    “Because I’m nice,” she answered
    I scoffed at the thought of anyone as narcissistic as her being “nice.”
    I haven’t the faintest idea why, but I decided to follow this stranger across town. She told me monotonous stories of her life and not once did she ask anything about me. I’m sure that she is the definition of narcissism.
    On the other hand, she had some interesting plans for the rest of her life. For one, she was trying to murder her husband and son to inherit the husband’s wealth, which was cool for an extreme narcissist.
    “What about you? Where are you from?” she inquired
    Finally, I thought
    “I’m a local. Born and raised here in Manhattan,” I said
    I felt out of place walking around the streets of my hometown with a woman I knew too much about. The great disparity between our lifestyles was noticeable at a glance, and if you were up close, you’d comprehend how out of place I felt. I couldn’t begin to fathom the thoughts others must’ve had. 
    “What do you think about going to my house and aiding me in finishing my husband’s birthday cake?” she suggested
    “The husband you’re trying to poison?” I queried, realizing how dumb she was.
    “Yes,” she said negligently, “I have arsenic powder we can put in the icing. What do you think?” 
    I began to run away when I heard her say this
    “I could always accuse you of murdering your husband,” she explained persuasively
    “I did no such thing. I love Patrick,” I uttered
    “You’re a black girl in America, I’m a white woman in America,” she stated, “Who are they really going to believe?”
    In shock, I was forced to walk back to and enter this strange woman’s house.
    “Darling,” a British voice howled, “I’m sorry for giving you the boot. I shouldn’t have gotten mad over something as stupid as that.”
    “It’s alright, Ozzy,” Priscilla said.
    I was in awe of the size of their house. It was like the castles I’d read about with all the flags and pillars. There was an echo with every small step I took. It at first seemed superfluous and then I realized just how rich they were. They had indoor plumbing.
    “Wow,” I said, “your house is huge!”
    “Enough gaping,” Priscilla commanded, “go to the kitchen.”
    “Won’t the cake kill everyone if the icing is poisoned?” I interrogated
    “Only my husband and son will eat the cake,” she explained, “the owner of the wealth and the inheritor of the wealth are gone, which leaves me to gain all the wealth my husband has.”
    “Oh,” I said.
    I took the cake out of the oven while Priscilla poured the vile of arsenic into the icing. In Priscilla’s words, I iced the cake elegantly for someone who hasn’t iced a cake before. I almost tasted the cake since it smelled much better than what’s served at the slum.
    “It’s ready,” Priscilla said, singsongy.
    “So, do we serve it now?” I asked
    “They have to meet you first,” she said happily.
    Still befuddled, I crept near Mrs. Tibbs when she introduced me to her husband and son. I’d never seen anyone so fat in my whole life, but I was seeing double the fatness. It was strange compared to what I was used to, which was skinny, tall, youthful men like Patrick. 
    “Mother,” the small fat one said, “who is that dirty woman standing behind you?”
    “Desmond, this is Joyce,” Priscilla announced, “She will be serving you a cake that I baked especially for you and your father.”
    Hesitantly, the boy waved and smiled.
    “So that’s who that is,” the father’s booming-voice confirmed, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Joyce,”
    I nodded in agreement and looked back at Priscilla with a look of hysteria.
    What the heck is he doing, I thought.
    “It’s time for you boys to eat cake,” she interrupted, “we wouldn’t want this hard work to go to waste.”
    Twenty minutes later, half of the cake was gone, the events that would transpire were unfathomable. 
Section 4: Priscilla
     I watched in great delight as my husband and the heir to his throne as they vomited and screamed in between spews. Desmond waddled to the bathroom, and never did I think it was possible, but he made the whole house stink for at least 15 minutes with his diarrhea. 
    Joyce pointed to Oswald as I watched him scream about his dizziness.
    “PRISCILLA!” the boys howled and squealed
    “Mrs. Tibbs, I shouldn’t be here,” Joyce bellowed.
    “I agree,” I said coolly. 
    I grabbed two bags and let Joyce put some of my more comfortable clothes in the bag while I watched my son and husband die.
    I walked over to Desmond grinning. 
    “I knew you’d be a problem the day you came into this world,” I scowled, “I think it’d take this long to get rid of you.”
    I laughed a cold, morbid laugh and left with Joyce rushing behind me. 
    “We’re murderers, Joyce,” I said, “Leave your life behind and follow me.”
    “So, there’s no looking back?” she asked
    “There’s no looking back,” I replied.



    

    


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  • April 15, 2019 - 4:58pm (Now Viewing)

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4 Comments
  • Harlow

    Thanks! I was going for suspenseful yet abrupt. The murder added flair I guess. Glad you liked it!


    over 1 year ago
  • Inactive

    This is certainly interesting. I hope you write more of this, it seems pretty exciting. Only a page in and there’s already murder... um wow. I’m not even sure what to say about that part. Anyways, good piece, very suspenseful!


    over 1 year ago
  • mason wong

    You are the best


    over 1 year ago
  • mason wong

    How did you come up with this story?


    over 1 year ago