By Frank Rutledge
It boggles the mind that the innocent face pictured in this yearbook could now, 30 years later, be in this hell-deep mess.
“Robert, are you looking at that yearbook again? You take too many walks down memory lane.”
“Hmmm…,”he answers in his best too-long-married vocabulary.
“I have your suit laid out on the bed. Get dressed, now,” Susan said. Her voice sounded so little from downstairs but still carried the heft of wifely threat. “They’ll be here shortly. You’re always late.”
Suddenly, the doorbell rang.
It was the dinner guests. Nick and Carole Suddenly. Susan let them in and instructed the couple to make themselves comfortable and that she would go upstairs and get Robert.
Upstairs, Robert was still in his underwear, sweating like a swine and his hands shook. For good reason. Tonight was the night. The $10,000 was paid. The deed would be done at dinner. He gave detailed orders that Susan’s murder would look like a bungled home invasion. His life sentence from his once high school sweetheart would then be over.
In between the delicious dinner and the flaming custard, the living room door was kicked in by a shouting, ski-masked intruder. Waving two small handguns, a black clothed, large man approached the table.
“Wallets, jewelry, I want it all, now,” he screamed.
Robert played frightened. Then to be more convincing, stood and confronted the robber. The hired man struck Robert in the right temple with a pistol, just to be more convincing. Robert yelled and fell back into his chair. The man then turned his attention to Susan. Pointing both guns, he hesitated.
“Susan? Susan White? …from Our Lady of the Brutal Suffering High School?” he asked.
With a look of horror on her face she answered, “It is Hopkins now…but yes. Do I know you?”
Pulling his disguise off, his bleached white teeth smiling, he said,
“Well I’ll be a three-legged dog’s left ball. It’s me…Tom Scott. I had the biggest crush on you and you never noticed me.” He lifted a gun to make his point. “Guess you notice now.” He laughed a snort like a wild boar.
With a glimmer of slight recognition she said, “Oh yes. I do remember you. I did notice. Kind of liked you too. But then I met Robert.” Her face looked like she was sucking a lemon. Robert sat looking disappointed.
Setting the guns on the table, Tom walked up to Susan; his green eyes looked straight into her blue eyes, “You want to get outta here?”
Susan hadn’t smiled that wide in years.
“Yes, yes I do Tom,” she said.
She retrieved her coat from the front closet. Tom threw an envelope with the $10,000 in front of Robert onto the dining room table, stuck out his hand to shake, “Thank you, Robert. You’re a good man.”