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For Better or Worse
Today had been a horrible day. It had started ok; he had woke up at seven, just like always. No, not seven, six! Something had been rustling the bushes along the walk way and had woken him up. Fondly Tony remembered the incident.
Tony had awoken to a shuffling outside his window; his first thought had been that some of his ‘property’, as he liked referred to them, was making a run for it. Immediately he had reached down beside his bed and grabbed the hunting rifle he kept there. Quietly he had stolen to the window, cracked it open and pointed his riffle in the general direction of the rustling. Then, after quickly priming the rifle had let out two quick shots in the general direction of the disturbance. Immediately there had been a loud squeal, like an animal in pain, followed by more rustling and then finally, silence. He smiled, and then turned to calm Lily, his wife, who had very nearly leaped through the roof after the second shot.
“Its ok sweetie; I think I got him.” Tony said.
“Well, that’s lovely honey, but next time you had better wake me up first! And Tony, the last thing we need is nosey neighbors poking around, be careful when you shoot that thing.” Lily said seriously.
“Relax, go back to sleep. I’m sorry I woke you.” Said Tony smiling, as he laid back down. It was hard to take his wife seriously, especially in the morning; she was terrible at coming off as anything other than sweet and innocent.
“Sir! Sir, are you ok?” asked a concerned voice from somewhere above him.
“Hmmm? What?” Tony found himself mumbling. That’s weird, he thought, where was he?
“It’s ok sir! You just fell out of your bed, probably having a bad dream, that’s all.” The voice reassured him.
Where was he? Who was this person talking? What on earth did they mean by ‘fallen out of bed’? He, Tony Davis, did not fall out of bed. Slowly he opened his eyes, and gave a start.
Looking down at him was the kind face of a nurse, and nurses could only mean one of two things. Either he had finally cracked and was in an institute, or he was in a hospital. Slowly, he thought back….how had he come to be here? Where was Lily? What was going on?
“Lily? Lily Davis?” called a short friendly looking nurse in green scrubs.
“Yes? What’s happened?” I hope this works! Lily thought as she rushed across the dreary hospital waiting room towards the nurse.
“Oh yes. Everything went fine. 68 stitches though, and some brain trauma from where he hit his head. Other than that he should be fine, he seems to be a little confused right now though. He has been asking for you. You don’t have to, if you feel you can’t.” The nurse replied soothingly in a supportive tone.
“I think I can., if that’s ok” said Lily.
“Of course! Follow me; he is just down here on the right.” The nurse said, leading her down an ugly green corridor.
They stopped at a closed door at the end of a small hallway. Two police officers stood at the door. Ignoring them, the nurse turned to Lily.
“I know he looks bad,” said the nurse “But don’t be scared; I’m sure he had it coming.”
Lily suppressed a giggle; this was going to work perfectly. Slowly she turned to the nurse, doing her best to fake tears. The nurse seemed to fall for her act and gave her a light pat on the arm. “Its going to be fine honey, just fine. The officers will be right outside; I’ll come in with you,” said the nurse, as she slowly opened the door.
Hearing voices, Tony tried slowly to open his swollen eyes. He opened them just in time to see Lily coming cautiously across the room, looking nervously over her shoulder at the nurse.
“I’m here, I’m right here.” Lily said still eyeing him in a nervous manner.
“I can’t remember what happened,” said Tony. “All I remember is going out for a walk in the park, and then coming home.”
Thinking hard, Tony tried once again to remember what had happened.
He had come home from the park when it had started to rain. He had worried that Lily might have forgotten his dress shirts out on the line. Tony remembered coming in the front door and walking slowly down the hall. The basement door had been open; that was strange he had thought; maybe Lily had forgotten to shut it after making his little workers lunch. He smiled, his little workers, that was cute. He’d have to tell Lily that one. Suddenly he was on the floor; face down on Lily’s favorite runner. Something heavy was pushing on his back, something else, something warm, was trickling down his side.
“Tony, Tony!” What’s going on? Thought Lily. Tony had seemingly dozed off, but wasn’t waking up. No matter what she did he seemed to just lie there.
“Hmmm?” mumbled Tony. Stirring, he slowly opened his eyes.
“Oh my god! You scared me half to death,” said Lily, grabbing his hand, and then quickly releasing it.
“I, I can’t quite remember what happened. All I remember is coming home from the park, and then… well…. and then all I remember is something pushing me down.”
“Yes, that’s right.” Lily said. He did remember, but did he remember the rest? “Do you know what happened next?”
“No, no I can’t. It’s all a blur, I just remember flashes. Tell me, I need to know.”
Lily paused; she had thought that for sure he would remember. But, if he really didn’t, maybe this would work to her advantage.
“I hadn’t heard you come home. I wasn’t expecting you for at least another hour or so.” Lily explained. She had never thought things would work out this well! “I had finished feeding,” Lily looked up; the nurse was watching her, a concerned look on her face, not even bothering to hide it. “Well, you know, I finished feeding them, then I came back up stairs it was raining. I rushed outside to grab your shirts, and.” Lily paused again, looking away she continued “And, well, I must have forgotten to shut the door, or left one of the cages open. Anyway, I was on the back porch when I heard you.”
“Well, then what?” asked Tony, waiting for a reply clearly understanding where this was headed.
“I ran back inside.” Lily stopped herself. Standing up, she walked over to the window. Turning to Tony she said “It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life, all I could see was you laying there, screaming, and… It,” she said this with obvious distaste and disgust. “It was ripping at your body.” She shuddered, returning to Tony’s side.
“I called the police, right away. There was nothing else I could do. I’m so sorry.” At this she stopped and, allowing a small smirk to creep across her face, looked down to the handcuff that now held her husband to his hospital bed.
Tony looked at her in disbelief. Was this actually happening? She should have known better than to call the police, she wasn’t that stupid. It had been Lily’s idea for him to show her how to shoot the rifle in case something like this ever happened. It had been her idea to tell the neighbors he was a gun collector, and that the best way to keep a gun in mint condition was to shoot it. How many times had Lily warned him this might happen, that there was a possibility he could get hurt? Looking at her, he saw the truth in her eyes, she had called the police. His eyes darted to the door, where he saw the police, right outside, turning to Lily he realized. They had no idea she was involved, they had no idea who was the real mastermind behind this whole scheme. Wouldn’t she have told them some of the truth, that it had all been her idea, that she had organized everything?
Lily smiled, leaning down towards him.
“Don’t worry,” she whispered, “They can’t do anything to me. I’ve told them how you always hit me.”
“Liar! B****! They’ll know it’s not true!!” Tony screamed leaning up and out of his bed.
Stupid man, thought Lily. How could he not have known that he would be the one going down? With a quick wink at Tony, she started to sniffle, then, with a cry, lurched towards the nurse.
“Its ok honey. Everything is going to be fine.” Soothed the nurse, leading her from the room.
Animal control officer James Wilson had never seen anything this bad in his 15 years on the job. When he had gotten the call from Sergeant Samuels he had assumed there would be a couple malnourished dogs and maybe a cat. When he arrived at the Davis’s house he could hardly believe his eyes. The officers where bringing cages and cages full of dogs out into the front yard. He couldn’t believe it, he had known Tony his whole life. Never had he suspected Tony of being capable of animal cruelty, never mind the ring leader of an international dog fighting ring. There must be some mistake; Tony couldn’t possibly be behind this, could he? He felt sick, the majority of these animals would have to be put down, they were so hyped up on drugs and steroids that they wouldn’t even know if they where attacking someone. How could no one have known?