In Need of a Better Plan

What's that line about God laughing at us when we make plans?

Sandra Seamans stops by the Gutter to prove, down here, the best-laid plans lay out the best--and the worst--without prejudice.

In Need of a Better Plan by Sandra Seamans

Have you ever found yourself sitting at your kitchen table with the stupid bloody mess that was your marriage lying on the floor beside you? No. Well, you must have a better marriage than I had, Detective.

Of course you're not married, which will make it even harder for you to understand what happened and why. You mind if I get some ice for my eye? It'll be swelled shut if I don't get it iced down pretty soon.

Thanks, that feels better. Now where were we?

What happened tonight? Well, I could play the blame game and say it was his fault he's dead. Or I could blame it on my friend, Carrie, who supposedly created the perfect plan for killing that abusive prick. Or maybe even the cops who always took his side when the neighbors called. But I won't. How can I? The whole stupid mess is my fault for thinking Carrie's plan could actually work. The girl had heart, I'll give her that, but her brain pan wasn't always fully engaged.

You want to know about the plan? Well, hell, it's three easy steps to a better life, if it doesn't get screwed up somewhere along the line.

Step one: Let the bastard smack you around.

Step two: Stab him or shoot him, doesn't matter which, just make damn sure he's dead.

Step three: Have your best friend help you get rid of the body.

Why would I allow him to hit me? You're kidding, right? There's no allow. Old Jack there just did whatever he pleased. His house, his rules. I didn't have to ask him to smack me around. It was a nightly ritual, right after the six-pack of beer. Rule number one was a given. And yeah, you've got to be tripping on the edge of insanity to think you could actually survive once you start fighting back.

Weapon of choice? There was none. Everything depended on the room he decided to smack me around in. He picked the kitchen because his supper wasn't ready when he decided it was time to eat. The knives were on the counter. 

Guns? Yeah, there's a gun in the bedroom and one in the living room. 

Bathroom? Ah, there'd I'd be dead instead of him. Of course if I thought quick enough I could maybe smash his head with the toilet tank top. Hard ceramic like that? It would either do a hell of job on his head or at least slow him down enough so I could get to one of the guns.

Carrie? I thought I could count on her, but the silly bubblehead told her husband she was coming over to help me bury Jack. Twit. I heard Davis start beating on her before the phone went dead. That's when I called you guys. The man was Jack's best friend; she should have known better.

Why didn't I get rid of the body? Because Davis was going to tell you that I killed Jack. Which I'm guessing he did because you're all here in my house instead of over at Carrie's.   

Any word on how Carrie's doing? I heard one of the cops say that bastard put her in the hospital.

Guess the plan didn't work in her favor either. At least she doesn't have to deal with her husband anymore. Too bad. I was looking forward to helping her bury that prick.

Sandra is a short story writer whose work has been published in places like Beat to a Pulp and Needle magazine. You can find her online at where she talks about writing and short stories.