The shrew told her husband for the millionth time to shut off the light in the bathroom. The shrew had been telling her husband to shut off lights for forty-eight years. She had also been telling him to close drawers all the way, and to quit doing that thing with his mouth. But for the past few months the husband’s forgetfulness and self-control had gotten worse. The husband was sick. He experienced a great deal of pain every second of the day. The shrew would feel bad about nagging him but couldn’t help it. Even if the husband had all the sudden started to shut off the lights, close the drawers all the way, and stop doing that thing with his mouth, the shrew would still probably yell at him about these things. One day the husband asked the shrew to help him kill himself. The shrew dismissed this idea and even admonished the husband for thinking such a thing. The husband requested her help in dying with the same persistence the shrew had asked the husband to shut off the lights and close the drawers all the way and to stop doing that thing with his mouth. The shrew went for a very long time ignoring the husband’s requests until one day she stood outside the kitchen and watched him struggle to open a can of soda until he broke down and cried. When he was done crying he put the can of soda back in the fridge. The shrew set to work to procure the proper drugs. She did this through her sons, who normally avoided interactions with the shrew, but complied because they were delighted to fulfill such a strange request from their strict, tight-laced mom. Maybe the shrew was finally lightening up. The shrew did not tell them the real reason. The shrew waited for the husband to bring up helping him die again and she didn’t have to wait long. When he did she said that all was settled and that he could die anytime he wanted. He wanted to die that very day. The shrew set up the bedroom to be lovely with flowers and candles. It looked romantic. The husband took the pills at sunset. The shrew and the husband waited for the effects to take hold. The shrew watched with irritation as the husband did that thing with his mouth, but she didn’t say anything.
Jane Liddle grew up in Newburgh, New York, and now lives in Brooklyn. She has recently completed a short story collection and a flash series about murder. Other murder stories have appeared in NANO Fiction, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and Everyday Genius. You can find her on Twitter @janeriddle or at liddlejane.tumblr.com.