An Untarnished Name

November 19, 2010
Mary Maloney sat staring out the window of her living room, the same living room that had witnessed her husband’s murder thirty years before. Before tonight, she had only allowed herself to think about it once: the day her daughter had asked what happened. Even then, she had only covered the basics. She didn’t tell her daughter how it had been her who had struck Patrick on top his head. She didn’t tell her daughter how she watched him sway on his feet before falling to her feet. She failed to mention how she ran to the Grocers to buy herself an alibi. She never thought of unmasking the truth about how she feed the detectives the murder weapon. Why would she? She was innocent. It was his fault he died that night. It was him who was unfaithful, him who had used her; he was the one who had disgraced her. Not only had he lied, but he expected her to go along with his plan without raising a fuss. No, he deserved what he got. He deserved more.

Mary poured herself a second glass of whiskey.

If you wanted to look at it in depth; Mary had been forgiving. Yes. Forgiving. Had she raised a fuss and told the community about his infidelity, his name would have been ruined. He would be shamed, and with his job, it did not do to be disrespected. By killing him, she had kept his name clean. She had been forgiving. Not many wives would have let their husbands keep their reputations after hearing such news. Mary had crafted it quite nicely actually. Everyone had felt sorry for them. Patrick had died at such an early age, and his pregnant wife had lost her husband. What a pity. It had been a tragic accident. The supposed ‘murderer’ had never been caught. Everyone assumed it was a robber that Patrick had tried to apprehend, with unfortunate results.

Mary poured out a third glass of whiskey, to the brim this time.

How nicely it had worked out. Mary had received many sympathy gifts of food and money . . . and she had received Patrick’s last paychecks. Though she had never been wealthy, Patrick’s death had gotten her so much closer. Mary didn’t care too much about the money though; she spent most of it on her daughter. What Mary had done though, was made sure she knew who was invited to the funeral – or more specifically, who wasn’t. That woman . . . Mary didn’t think about her anymore. That first month, however, that woman lost a lot, and never saw it coming. Mary didn’t think about her anymore. Today was thirty years after, exactly thirty years. Mary thought it was a little ironic, and couldn’t help but giggle.
Noises from the kitchen interrupted Mary’s thoughts. Her daughter, Kaylin, had come over with her baby girl, Tanya. Tanya was asleep on the couch now. Kaylin had been restless and offered to start dinner.
“Ma! Where are your lamb legs?” Kaylin yelled through the house. Oh, the irony. Mary thought to herself, but didn’t answer. Kaylin stepped into the living room. “Mom?”
“I realize why he drank so much that night.” Mary replied. She sipped her whiskey.
“Who?”
“Your father.” Mary looked into her empty glass.
“What’re you talking about ma?” Kaylin took the glass from her mother’s hand. The couch started crying.
“Grab Tanya baby, you can worry about me later.” Mary sat back in her chair. Kaylin reached for her daughter. “I never told you the story did I baby?”
“Ma, you’re scarin’ me,”
“That night. He deserved it you know. He was a cheater baby, did you know that?” Kaylin looked at her mother with concern in her eyes. “He came in, and he was drinking baby, drinking like a horse. It was so strange at first, like a dream. I didn’t know if I was hallucinating or not, I thought so for a bit. He told me though, he told me something horrible that night baby.”
“Ma, you’re upset, you don’t have to talk about it.” Kaylin was frightened now. What had happened to her mother? She was always so composed, what had happened tonight?
“I couldn’t help myself, I was angry, jealous. He said he was leaving, I couldn’t just let him leave.” Mary stood up. She poured herself another glass of whiskey. “I was gonna make him dinner, and he wanted to leave. I couldn’t take it baby, I could not take it. You know what I did? I was making lamb. I grabbed a frozen leg from the freezer downstairs. Weren’t you asking where they were tonight, baby? That’s where. Those things are hard as steel. When I swung it at his head, Lord knows he didn’t have a chance. Am I scaring you baby?” Mary stopped talking. Kaylin’s mouth was hanging open a little, and her eyes – usually like windows to her soul – were shut tight. Emotionless.
“Ma, y-you don’t know what you’re talking about. Just, sh-shut up now. Go lay down, you’re tired. You haven’t thought about dad in a long time.” Tanya had fallen asleep again. Kaylin turned around, and laid her daughter on the couch. She straightened up and just looked down at her baby.
“The best part is, I got away with it baby. My alibi was perfect. Not a soul would have questioned it, and nobody did. It’s funny how the detectives didn’t even think about what they were eating. I fed them the very leg I used to kill your daddy. Ain’t it funny baby?” Kaylin snapped, she leapt at her mother with rage in her eyes.
Mary’s neck broke instantly when she fell against the table. It was a tragic accident. An old lady fell over while her daughter was visiting. When the cops came around, they all took turns comforting the distraught daughter. It was such a shame, she never knew her father, and now her mother had died. Mary had tripped after she’d had too much to drink. It really was such a shame, and the best part is: Everybody involved still lived and died under a good name, a respected name. Maloney.





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