* Signs of Life

imgresSpring had finally arrived. The stark branches were dotted with pink flower buds and these little signs of life gave her hope. It had been a harsh winter and her husband had been laid off, making it twice as miserable.

“You’re late again. Got a boyfriend?” he shot at her from the living room recliner as she walked through the front door.

“Sorry. I worked late. Thought we could use the overtime,” she answered, balancing two full bags of grocery and her purse.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he jumped up, blocking her way. “I’m a highly skilled plumber and deserve top pay. I’ll get a job when I’m good and ready. You trying to piss me off?”

“No. I’m saying that until you accept a job, I can work a few extra hours and make a little more money. Groceries don’t pay for themselves.”

She shouldn’t have said that. Before the last word was out of her mouth, her head was twisted sideways by a hard slap.

“Stupid bitch. You don’t get it. I’m going out. Have dinner ready when I get back or you’ll regret it.” With that he slammed the door so hard the frame shook.

She didn’t cry or touch her face. As long as he didn’t get drunk, there wouldn’t be any punches. But he was on his way to the bar, so there would be trouble later. She put the groceries on the kitchen table, dialed the phone and said one word when the voice on the other end answered.

“Kamae-te.”

He staggered through the front door, yelling her name, but there was no answer. He followed the sound of laughter from the kitchen and barged in to find his wife and another woman drinking wine.

“What the fuck’s going on? Who the hell are you and where’s my dinner?”

“Well, hello, Sugar. I’m Chef Betty and I’m here to serve you some humble pie.” The stranger stood toe-to-toe with the big man, the top of her blonde head barely reaching his chest.

He didn’t quite get the full guffaw out of his mouth before she spun, whipping her leg out and felling him to the linoleum floor. He struggled to get up and she knocked him down again.

“I’d say that was a tasty appetizer. Time for your Susie to present dinner.”

He stood, shaking his head to get his bearings, and was immediately hit hard by his wife with a karate punch to the bread basket, doubling him over.

“Are you ready for dessert now, my love? It’s a new recipe called “Revenge” and best served cold.”

The blonde grabbed a fistful of the man’s hair, snapping his head back. Susie shoved a large chunk of chocolate cake into his mouth and then delivered a blow to the larynx.

Death was certified as postural asphyxia secondary to intoxication by alcohol. In laymen’s terms, he was drunk and choked to death on a piece of cake.

Susie accepted her black belt from the dojo with a bow and a smile. There would be cake and champagne to celebrate her advancement.

(Kamae-te: Japanese for the Karate term “move to ready position.”)

Written for the To Live and Write in Alameda 2019 “Flash Lit February” Challenge #7. We had three days to write a poem or short story (of 500 words or less) or draw a piece of art to the theme “Signs of Life” and submit. 

IMG_4259You might notice a link in the story … I’m adding my own stretch goal into each of these challenges by incorporating a link to one of my #TinyKitchen recipes posted on VivoOSonho.com in the storyline. This one is Chocolate Cake with Caramel Ganache for Two … deathly decadent!

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