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The Trophy Wife Keeps A Secret

A dark night, the two of you alone in a bedroom: in the gutter, when you take someone out, it means a whole other thing.

The Trophy Wife Keeps A Secret by Robb T. White

The woman had to go. That’s all there was to it. Knowing and proving were two different things as far as cops went. He planned for that night before they could build a stronger case. Prosecutors could indict a ham sandwich—an old but true saying. She’d buckle once they had her in that tiny room. He wasn’t going to wait for them to offer her partial immunity to get to him.
He followed the same route as that other night and parked in the same spot. He waited for all the lights in the large house to go out before checking his watch. Two hours passed before he got out, stretched, checked his clothing; he worked the slide on his .25 Beretta, a habit. No silencer because he was going to knock her out while she slept, drag her to the bathtub, fill it up, and slit her wrists. He’d done that before with a male he’d been contracted to remove. It would be easier with a woman. Women get emotional under pressure.
He entered the same way through the patio doors. Up to the master bedroom more slowly without the moonlight to guide him as before. Three in the morning, she’d be dead asleep. Soon, for real.
He cracked the first door and listened for the sound of breathing. Nothing. She must be in the other room at the opposite end of the hallway.
The carpeting allowed him to walk faster, a little surer of his movements in the near dark. Sensor lights placed near the floor picked him up at intervals, but she’d be used to her dog setting them off during the night. That was his secret and made him so successful at home invasions, his first career, with dogs in the house. Dogs loved him; some pheromone he gave off. They’d approach, some snarling, and soon they’d be licking his hand.
He pushed the door open an inch and waited. No sound here, either. He was used to the sounds of people asleep. He opened the door a couple feet and slipped through.
He approached the lumpy shape under the covers. The blow would show up in the coroner’s report but it would be attributed to the fall.
He stood over her in the bed and let his fingertips graze the top of her head as lightly as a butterfly’s wings. He felt hair. He had the right place in his mind’s eye; one blow, no more. He raised the club for one overhand blow but stopped his forward motion in mid-air. Wrong—the hair was wrong. He recalled the soft sheen when they sat in the booth at the diner agreeing to the final terms of their arrangement to kill her husband.
When the lights came on, a store mannequin stared at him with a made-up woman’s face beneath a wig. He pivoted . . .
The Taser darts were already stuck to flesh blasting him senseless.
He came to, groggy but aware.
Her. Set up by a dim-bulbed trophy wife. Not happening. . .
 She smirked, the Taser in one hand, his billy in the other.
She thumped him once, hard, across the temple and he fell into a black vortex.
When he came to this time, he was nauseated; something sticky was wrapped across his mouth. He was bouncing in the dark—a car trunk from the feel of it. His hands were cuffed behind his back and his legs bound at the ankles. When the trunk lid popped open, he squeezed his eyes shut against the flashlight’s beam. A pair of hands jerked him upright and hauled him to the lip of the trunk. The gag was ripped from his mouth.
“I’m sthenic,” she said. “Know what that means, killer?”
 He had discipline. He wouldn’t overreact.
“It means you’re free of your husband, thanks to me.”
Not brilliant but good enough under the circumstances.
“It means I’m abnormally strong.”
As if to prove it, she clutched him by his windbreaker and leaned him over the edge until gravity tipped him over and he hit the dirt. His head was a balloon of pain.
She pulled him upright against the bumper.
With as much calm as he could inject into his voice, he said, “I have money.”
The kick that smashed him in the face and broke teeth was a construction worker’s boot. He swallowed shards from the impact. Other pieces embedded themselves into his lips. He was swallowing blood so fast he was certain he was going to choke to death. His vision blurred. Another kick from Trophy Wife broke his jaw. His talking done.
She dragged him by the legs while red waves of pain rolled through him too fast for him to think clearly. His life depended on words now. All those smooth words he used on women like her—what to say? He was covered in filth and cockleburs by the time the moving stopped.
Then he heard her voice. “That cop, Vukcevic, he’s breathing down my neck. I’m afraid you’ll talk. I can’t have that.” She stroked his swollen cheek. “Sorry,” she said, “but, hey, them’s the breaks, killer.”
He wanted to say, No, no, he wasn’t the one who would break, never—
His body was rolled and then he dropped, landing hard, his breath pounded from his lungs. The first shovelful landed. A grave. His grave. Oh fuck me.
Then the second one, followed by a rhythmic thunking—until blood-flecked spittle washed any words back down his throat.
The shoveling woman loomed above, no more a petite blonde with buttery hair. She disappeared beneath a hazy, tear-blinded curtain of dirt.
Before he found the right words to stop all this, more clotted dirt landed and covered his mouth. He heard a giggle from far off. 
Robb T. White lives in Northeastern Ohio; since 2011, he has published three hardboiled private-eye novels and two crime novels, all by indie presses. A recent collection of crime stories is "Thomas Haftmann, Private Eye" (New Pulp, 2017).