Owen and Jessica
Owen's gaze went from the morning sun outside the kitchen window to his laptop screen.
He closed the lid so Jessica couldn't read what he'd written.
Besides, it was time to make
to the drawer with all the butcher knives in it. There was one he never used. It was Jessica's
and she kept it sharp. God knows why, she rarely cooked. It was a game with her; she'd
come home, pull out her knife and hold it up towards him. "You used my knife today, didn't
you? It's not as shiny as it was this morning."
checked the whet of the knife, forgetting his father's
warning: "Scrape, don't slice." Blood gathered in the whorls of his thumb. He stared at
it and chuckled before licking it clean.
He opened his laptop and deleted
what he'd written.
kill Jessica today.
came through the window exactly how Owen told God it had to come through if God wanted
Owen to kill Jessica, and it came through exactly how Owen told God to make it come through
so that was it, there was no argument about it, God approved and gave Owen the sign he'd
asked for so it was okay to do it and today was the day he would kill Jessica because God
sent the sunlight through the window just as they'd agreed.
Well, thank God for that.
Owen chuckled. Thank God.
The sun came through that
window exactly that same way for several days now. Owen kept count, kept track, going back
and forth, bargaining with God, asking permission and wanting to be sure, beyond reproach,
beyond crime, beyond punishment.
It came together so quickly he
look, not linger, not glare or stare or gape, just a quick look while she was upstairs
dressing, getting ready for work, going out, she'd talk with them, all those people, at
the bus stop, on the train, in the office, at the bank, he could hear them talking, asking
questions she didn't answer, smiling, nodding, brushing them away, flirting, ...
Jessica, with all those people. His hussy, his scarlet,
his little bitch in heat. But not for him, no not for him, never for him, always making
sure they were never alone, keeping his mouth full of foods, of jams and jellies and mince
so he couldn't ask so she wouldn't have to answer.
And here she was, coming down
the stairs, her feet going tap tap tap on the hardwood stairs as she came down, as she
stepped stepped stepped in her sensible flats, no strain on the ankles, no strain on the
knees, no forcing the curvature of the calf, no pulling of the buttocks and thighs to give
balance, sensible Jessica, modest clothing and sensible clothes, nothing too elaborate
for his darling Jessica.
she was, his queen descending from her throne, descending from her dais, turning the corner
and coming into the kitchen, into him, him waiting, knife in hand, waiting, the sun
streaming through the window, just as God said, him waiting, in the sun, waiting.
He stood over his laptop, his
fingers moving like elves stepdancing on the keys, a towel wrapping his thumb like a Turkish
that last line. The similes didn't fit.
She pulled his hand from the
keyboard. "Oh, you've cut yourself. You poor thing."
He looked at his thumb and laughed. "It's nothing. But it did give me a great idea for
“Owen and Jessica”
originally appeared in The Yard in March 2021.
Joseph Carrabis has been
everything from a long-haul trucker to a Chief Research Scientist and holds
patents covering mathematics, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics. And he’s
boring and dull.