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If words could kill

flash fiction by Nomi Liron


Nomi lives in the Bay Area of California. She mainly writes flash fiction but is also working on a novel. Her work has appeared in Dew on the Kudzu, Powder Burn Flash, Breadcrumb Sins, Flashshot, The Linnet's Wings, Soft Whispers, The Bicycle Review, and Shoots and Vines.


    Mark walked into the living room and saw a piece of paper lying on the floor near the chimney. He picked it up thinking it was something he had forgotten to throw out. By chance he glanced down. “I want to lie in your arms tonight,” he read. 

    I told Helen it was over, Mark thought, believing his estranged wife was trying to rekindle the dying fire in their marriage. He decided to ignore the note and continue to work with his lawyer to get an advantageous divorce settlement. 

   A week later he found a note on his desk. It read, “A knife in your guts in not good enough.” He called his wife at her new apartment.

   “Helen, I told you I wanted a civil divorce, not an acrimonious one. I thought you had agreed. Why are you suddenly so full of hate?”

   “What are you talking about?”

   “These notes. First a silly love note and then a malicious one.”

   “I don’t know anything about any notes. I’m starting a new life. Why would I bother sending you notes?”

    Mark hung up resolving to have the locks to the house changed. 

    He found the next note in the kitchen. It read, “Your kisses are sweet but your dead body even sweeter.”

    That witch, Mark raged. How is she getting in?

    He sent his wife roses with the message, “A rotten life deserves a miserable death.”        

    She called choking on her anger, “I’m going to take you for every penny you have. You’ll be living in a cardboard box in a dark alley somewhere by the time I’m done with you. “

  “You’re only getting what you deserve. I can’t believe I stayed with you twenty seven years,” Mark retorted.

   Mark dumped his lawyer and got a more expensive one who had a reputation for squashing the other party. He called Helen up saying, “I’ll reduce you to the hair on your head.”

 “If it was up to me you’d be a rat in the barnyard,” she answered and hung up.

  Mark fumed. When he went to bed that night he found a note pinned to his pillow. “A twisted mind deserves an agonizing death,” he read.

      That woman is evil, Mark thought, what did I ever see in her?

      When he came home from work the following week he found a note in his den. “My heart beats with yours,” it said.

       She isn’t fooling me, thought Mark. He ordered Helen another bouquet of roses. He attached the message, “The swords are drawn. You can’t go back.”

       Betty, a friend of Helen’s called. “Helen doesn’t want to speak to you, but she told me to tell you she’d pull the plug on your life support.” she said.

     “That sounds just like her, “Mark answered, barely containing his rage. Pacing the floor, he thought over his options. Suddenly, he knew what to do. He went down to the local tavern and began to complain loudly about his wife. “Death is too good for her, but it’s the best there is,” he said to anyone who would listen.

      A man approached him.

    “I’m George,” he said.

    “Pleased to meet you, George.”

   “If I understand correctly, you have a wife you don’t want around.”

  “That’s the truth.”    

   “Women,” he said, “are sometimes expendable, don’t you think?”   

   “Yes. That’s exactly it.”

   “How about if I took your wife off your hands?

   “How much?” asked Mark.

   “Five thousand,” George replied.

   “I don’t have that much on me.”

  “Do you think you can get it soon?”

  “Yeah. In a day or two. I need to go to the bank but I can get it.”

 “Good. Now why don’t you tell me her schedule.”

  Mark told George Helen’s schedule and went home exuberant.  He would take care of that hag once and for all.

   Smiling, he sent Helen a bouquet of mums with the message, “Your days are numbered. Prepare for hell.”

   The next day he went to the bank and withdrew the needed cash. Then he met George at a nearby gas station. He handed over a picture of Helen and five thousand dollars.

   George took the items and said, “This is the police. Don’t move. You’re being arrested for attempted murder.”

 “But she started it,” Mark protested, “with all her notes. It’s her fault.”

 “Take that up with your lawyer,” responded George.

  While waiting for bail, Mark sat and wrote a note to his wife, “Vermin! Even pest control abhors you. Slime! Slugs and catfish shrink from you.”

  In his house four miles away, Gigi, the cleaning lady smirked and left another note.


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