The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
“You married my granddaddy. Him I never knew.
About the time he met me was about the time he met you.
Then you killed Stuart Taylor. Someone had to know.
Every man you been with, one by one they go. “
– from “Velma”, Jonathan Byrd, Wildflowers album, 2001
Death is a forever nightmare. I was sure I’d be sent to Heaven, since I got Born Again in prison. But no. I see the shelf of bottles with the little skull and crossbones. It’s ever present in my endless dream, and just beyond my reach.
Never mind my childhood. Never mind that my own father was the first man to screw me up. It’s not his fault, being so nice to me one day and so fucking mean the next. It was just the mood swings that manic people get, so I don’t blame the bastard. The bruises from his beatings healed — on the outside, anyway. I escaped by marriage to Tom Burke. We had two kids. Things got really bad after I had a hysterectomy. My back was killing me, I guess I got a little testy. Screaming fights, all that –and he started drinking. Well, wouldn’t you know he came to like the booze too much.
Anyway, long story short, I got Tom a bottle of bootleg from a neighbor. Waited till he’d passed out. Dumped gasoline on the living room rug and lit it. Took the kids to a movie. I was pretty messed up by then with pain killers, or I’d have thought twice about doing such a fool thing. House and husband up in smoke and no insurance.
To be sure, when my next house burned down by accident, it was insured. And when I married Mr. Jennings. Barfield, he had insurance. The poor man, a widower before we met, died of heart complications. Then there was his nosy mother, who didn’t believe heart failure was the cause of her son’s demise. The old bitch died of stomach troubles because by then, I had discovered the joys of arsenic. No need to bother with burning houses down.
I must admit that once I was financially secure, I wasn’t alone, I had Mr. Codeine, Mr. Dexie, and Miss Valium. Steadfast lovers, they stayed by me all though my fun playing nurse to the elderly, helping them die in various stages of “stomach disorders”. It was a kick, and I took pride in sending the old farts to the Pearly Gates.
Found out, I was tried and sent to Death Row. I missed my shelf of bottles so much, I’d just sit there crying for hours. Maybe a guard took pity on me, because the church people came to preach to me so I would see the light. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I preached devoutly to my cellmates whenever we were gathered. But when the time came and the lethal serum was injected, all I could think of was that shelf of deadly liquids. Maybe I should have had something pious on my mind. Too late now.
Praise be to my grandson! His song proclaims my legend. Like the aftertaste of arsenic, a very bitter homage.
Fiction © Copyright Marge Simon
Image courtesy of Nina D’Arcangela
More from Marge Simon:
Satan’s Sweethearts – a collection of poems by Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo featuring the most monstrous, evil women throughout history!