“Isn’t the Fifth Anniversary Glass?” By: Paul Beckman


I walked in the door with my briefcase and grocery bag, said hello and Randy jumped up from the couch and smacked the groceries out of my hand spilling them all over the living room floor.

“You’re late and I’m hungry,” Randy said and yanked my briefcase from my other hand and swung it at my face clipping my chin and I went down. I tried to explain that my boss kept me late and there were long lines at the grocery but the blow to the jaw impaired my ability to speak.

“You disgust me,” she said. “You could’ve called, you know.”

She had confiscated my cell phone for a week and I wasn’t scheduled to get it back until tomorrow.

Sitting back on the couch and turning up Wheel of Fortune, she said, “Pick all that crap up and get my dinner on the table pronto before I lose my temper.”

I managed to get to my feet and in several trips, careful not to get between Randy and the TV screen, pick up the groceries and get back to the safety of the kitchen where I put a pot of water on to boil. While waiting I took out the chopped meat for meatballs and put it in a bowl. Then I went to the cupboard and got a bottle of Old Overholt and poured myself a strong one and quietly added a few ice cubes. I held the cold glass against my jaw.

I warmed up the broiler, laid out the ingredients for the meatballs, dropped the #9 spaghetti into the boiling water, added some oil and took another sip. I set the kitchen table, opened a bottle of Chianti and set that out with two glasses. I added bread crumbs and seasoning to the meatball mix and took the bowl out to the back porch where I uncovered a box of ground glass put on my garden gloves and mixed some in to the meatball mix. I shook some rat poison in and went back to the kitchen where I took a pair of thick rubber cleaning gloves and made a half dozen large meatballs and popped them into the oven.

“At least you could do something right,” Randy said. “These were your best meatballs yet but I’m tired all of a sudden and going to go take a nap.”

I showed her the cannoli’s and she said okay just one and I squirted the glass and rat poison mixture along with the cream into the shell and lay the plate down in front of her. She ate it quickly and went to bed and I left a note saying I had to go to the emergency room for my jaw and drove off after taking my packed suitcases from the basement and the rat poison and ground glass from the back porch.

I opened the flyer and punched in the address of the shelter and headed there on the night of my fifth wedding anniversary.


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