Delayed Revenge
A dying man does all he can to leave his wife with what she deserves.
By LaVern Spencer McCarthy
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It was winter, and cold rain fell against the window pane as Eugene lay on his death bed. He was dying of cancer and was told it would not be long before Death rode its black horse over his bones and flattened him into non-existence. He felt it would not be too bad if only his wife Dora would stop treating him like a dog on the street. She was very mean toward him before he became ill, but her cruelty knew no bounds after he became bedridden.
Today she was in her glory, dancing around his bed saying,”You’re gonna die,” in a sing-song manner. She had failed to give him breakfast, and he had lain in his own waste until just before it was time for hospice workers to show up. Then, she had been loving and fawning over Eugene, making the workers think she really loved him. They thought he was losing weight from the cancer, but the truth was, Dora barely fed him anything.
He did not know why she hated him, as he had been the best husband he could possibly be. She had wanted for nothing, and should have been happy. But as she grew older, she became worse.
Now, he wished he could go ahead and die. Things had been especially bad since Dora had brought a man into their home and introduced him as her new lover. The man stood in the doorway of Eugene’s room and smirked at him. Later, he could hear the sounds of brawling as the two became drunk on liquor. He wished they would beat each other to death and leave him in peace.
He also wished the hospice workers would listen to him when he tried to tell them what was happening. They thought he was raving because of his pain, and they told his doctor to give him more morphine. Surely a wife as sweet as Dora would not do the things he was saying.
Each time after the nurses arrived and did their duties helping Eugene, Dora would revert to her meanness. One day she told him she could not wait for him to die because she could cash in on his life insurance policy. It was a hefty amount. Things had been better between them back in the day when he had made her his beneficiary. How he wished he hadn’t! If he could change beneficiaries, he would will the money to the nearest pet shelter.
There were many things he wished he could do. One of them was, he wanted to give Dora such a smack that it would send her reeling. How dare she treat a dying man so badly! Eugene had never hit a woman, but his fists ached from wanting to. If only he could get out of that bed! But cancer is a thief and gradually takes everything, even mobility.
One day Dora was cursing him spitefully when she suddenly stopped and began gagging and panting. She grabbed her throat as if something was choking her. The next thing Eugene saw was Dora on the floor in horrific convulsions. He could do absolutely nothing but lie there and watch as she expired.
The next morning one of the nurses arrived to check on Eugene. She let herself in through the unlocked front door. She recoiled in shock when she saw Dora lying supine with her tongue hanging out of her mouth and her eyes bulging. The nurse called the police and an ambulance and Dora was soon taken away. An autopsy was performed and it was discovered that Dora had been poisoned.
When a detective spoke to Eugene, Eugene told him that even if Dora had been poisoned and Eugene was found guilty, nothing could be done to punish him. If he went to prison, someone must attend to his every need, and he would not be around very long anyway. He finally told the detective that yes, before he became bedridden, he had put anti-freeze in a bottle of cherry juice and left it for Dora in the back of the fridge. He hoped every day that she would find it and drink it, and thank goodness, she finally did.
•   •   •
LaVern Spencer McCarthy has written and published twelve books of poetry and fiction. Her work has appeared in Writers and Readers Magazine, Meadowlark Reader, Agape Review, Bards Against Hunger, Down in the Dirt, The Evening Universe, Fresh Words Magazine, Wicked Shadows Press, Midnight Magazine, Pulp Cult Press and others. She is a lifetime member of the Poetry Society of Texas. Her work has been nominated for the 2023 Pushcart Prize. She resides in Blair, Oklahoma where she is currently writing her sixth book of short stories.

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