Dick and Jane, Together Again
He wondered how
Jane could look business-like and beautiful with all that’s gone on. He’d only
snatched her image in brief glances; he couldn’t make eye contact with her for
fear of breaking down. They’d each been through hell, although only one of them
She gazed across
the courtroom and focused on Dick. She hadn’t caught him turning his sweaty,
ashen face towards her once during her three-week murder trial. She had borne
his children–little Ava, who was just like her mama, and poor Joshua, who was
just like Dick. How could he resist a peek at the woman who had captivated him
nearly a dozen years ago? If she could secure his attention, she knew she could
communicate a plan to escape. Look, Dick, look.
startled Dick with his thunderous gavel. He presented the jury instructions,
explained the burden of proof, but his glares at the defense table and the
cadence of his words sounded like “and find the defendant guilty.”
The jury filed
out, and it occurred to Jane that she and Dick might be seeing each other for
the last time. She could scarcely believe that her cunning, her calculated
charm, and her surpassing good looks would fail her . . . ever. She had gotten
away with so many others without so much as being ID’ed as a “person of
interest.” Of course, the other prey meant nothing to her. These women, whose
eyes lingered too long on Dick and his assets, disrespected Jane. They had it
coming. Who’d have guessed that the loss of a few inconsequential soccer moms
would arouse such an investigation and a mob-like call for justice?
She dreaded hearing the verdict read and hated that Dick
would consider it just and the safest conclusion for their kids. And for himself.
Elevator B stood
open, empty and cold. As he stepped in, Dick heard shots and screams and the
clatter of furniture hitting the floor resound from inside the courtroom, then
“She’s getting away.” He banged on the Close Door button, certain that his life
depended on it, when a slender hand with perfect fingernails slipped through
the last inch. The automatic door receded, and in strode Jane. She pushed Close
Door. It obeyed instantly.
“It’s my lucky day,” said Jane. She watched
her Dick, tall, blond and trembling, stumble against the blurry steel of the
The spatter of
blood on her cheek and one torn sleeve attracted less of his attention than her
gleaming blue eyes. He used to see them as a dreamy spring sky on a breezy day;
now he recognized them as flat, frigid pools concealing undertows that would
drag you to the bottom of the abyss. The smell of gunpowder wore off as the
scent of Halston simmered up–it was the smell of the Jane he first craved and
who nearly ever-after had him in thrall.
“You’re still such an idiot,” said Jane. “I
can practically hear your sappy poetry by the look on your face.”
He knew it was
true. All Jane had to do was show up to throw him off his game. When the
‘guilty’ verdict seemed imminent, he thought she had used up every option. But he
was never safe assuming anything where Jane was involved. How did she plan to off
him, and when? He worked out every day, outweighed her by 60 pounds and had her
by 8 inches. No matter, 99 times out of 100, she could take him. She was
equipped with cunning and evil he couldn’t fathom, much less match. Out of the
habit of love or old-fashioned gallantry, even now he worried that he couldn’t
use all his tools to defend himself. He knew she thought so too. She could
detect any person’s most vulnerable features after a minute of observation, so
her years with Dick provided her an encyclopedia of his weaknesses. Jane stared
at him, her sneer taunting him to speak. One beat. Two beats. Three beats. Come
on, Jane, come on.
Four beats. With
sigh, Jane said, “Hey there, Honey.” She reached over and pressed the alarm
button, jolting the elevator to a stop between the fourth and third floors. The
alarm’s insistent bleat filled the space.
weapon, but inevitably she’d have more than one. He had heard the bailiffs lose
their battle with Jane. With her facing him, panic set in–whatever this was,
was happening now.
“I said, ‘Hey there, Honey’.” She upped her
volume to overcome the alarm racket, and to distract Dick in case he could
detect the hot, jangling panic expanding from her stomach into her face.
It occurred to
that Jane might be experiencing fear, a rarity for her, maybe even a first. Surely
she knew that any remaining bailiffs, the police and the FBI would be in
pursuit after her grisly crimes. Dick worked to control his breathing.
“I guess you think the cavalry is on the way?”
She took a step back, “Well of course they are. But I’ve got a plan,” she said,
with a quick look up at the panel in the ceiling and a brief pat at her lower
back. “If you think the silent treatment is going to get you anywhere, you’re
wrong,” she said. “You might as well do your part to keep the lines of
communication open,” she went on sarcastically, “just like you always said when
we met with Alice.”
Since he was
longer trying to save his marriage, and marriage counseling with their
therapist Alice had been pointless with his homicidal wife, he didn’t think her
reasoning held up. But he let her keep talking; he needed time. Think, Dick,
one last time.” Always the strategist, Jane knew that he would burn up a few
seconds to consider whether she meant that she’d never ask for help again, or
whether he’d be dead so he wouldn’t be available to help again. Even though
she understood he was anchored by confusion, fear, and latent loyalty to her,
she figured he would make a move eventually, so she’d better get started.
the inside pocket of her blazer, paused, then pulled out a green-lit taser.
On cue, Dick
On cue, Jane
pulled the trigger.
As her lifetime
competence would all but guarantee, Jane’s shot was true. The barbed electrodes
travelled the six feet between them and caught Dick between clavicle and sternum
on the right side. She could have chosen the left, sure, but with the slight
chance that she’d cause a heart attack by hitting on top of the heart, she aimed
right. She had use for him still.
scream joined the alarm and the rising din from outside the elevator; the blast
of electricity lasted a full five seconds. His violent writhing subsided into a
rhythmic twitch as he slumped against the back wall. Satisfied that he was
well-compromised, Jane jerked the barbs out then aimed her pump-clad heel towards
the center of his sternum to pin him to the wall. Her eyes gaped wide as she
bounced off his too-hard chest.
bicep and swung her around. She hit the floor with a faint metallic clink. Holding
both of her forearms in one hand, he pulled the nylon handcuffs from his pants
pocket and squeezed her wrists together. Jane thrashed. Dick shoved her wrists
to the floor, and held her seated with her back to him.
“What the hell?!” Anyone else would have been
afraid; Jane was indignant. How could he be so able after the taser?
He hauled himself
up and stood in front of her.
There were two
holes in his blue button-down where she had yanked out the taser barbs. Underneath,
instead of the expected white skin with a smattering of curly blonde hair and a
tinge of blood, Jane saw only black. It was a goddamn bullet proof vest.
Dick had purchased
a bullet and stab proof vest with this comfort: Trusted by Israeli Security
Forces. He flashed the tag at her, and said, “See, Jane, see?” Lucky for him,
as suggested but not warrantied, it also resisted a taser if the taser happened
to hit smack on the vest. If Jane was shooting, Dick had known she wouldn’t
miss, no matter the missile.
what I was going to—”
“I didn’t know what, I just knew you’d make a
move. And that it would involve something awful for me.”
Dick teared up,
which Jane identified as leverage. “I know you still love me, you know I’ve
always loved you, I’m seeing that now—”
“Shut up, Jane, shut up,” he said. “You’d
leave me dead and our kids parentless while you started a new life on a beach
somewhere, and never feel a thing. You can rot.”
Dick turned off
the alarm, the elevator resumed its trip to the first floor, and he pulled Jane
to her feet. As the door began to open, he slit the handcuffs, pulled the
bailiff’s gun out from Jane’s waistband, and thrust it in her hand. He leaned
down to her ear and whispered, “Go, Jane, go.”
He pushed her
the corridor crowded with guns-drawn law enforcement, and witnessed the barrage
of bullets propel her back into the elevator. Dick huddled comfortably on the
floor. He hadn’t felt this safe since the moment before he met Jane.
Bye, Jane, bye.
Marcy Dilworth writes short fiction and nonfiction. Her stories have recently been
published in the Blink-Ink 10th
Anniversary edition and Literary Mama. She earned her English degree at the University
Virginia, and her sense of humor at the hands of four older siblings. She lives
in her recently emptied nest with her husband and their precocious rescue pup,