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Mini Sledgehammer December 2014

Character: The woman with the beehive hairdo
Action: Snapping a photo
Setting: The docks
Prop: A DVD box set of Murder She Wrote



by Julia Himmelstein

Author’s Note: Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

There wasn’t much that Tim was scared of that night. He had done the deed already, and was just looking for the proper place to dispose of the weapon. He drove far away from the rink, north along the edge of the Willamette River. He strolled along the docks, hardly minding the debris: a condom wrapper, some soggy pink insulation, and Murder she Wrote DVD’s strewn along the edge of the water. He walked along, absentmindedly swinging the bat from side to side, and thought about his fiancé.

She never expected for Tim to be the man in her life. That is to say, she never expected to stay with him. In the scenarios of the future that she had built in her mind, they would be together 3, 4 months tops, and he would slide into the ether as she became well known, a national champion, an Olympic star. By the time she was on the magazine covers, Tim would be nowhere nearby.

They met at a local bar, she with her off-the-shoulder shirt and loud-mouthed friends, snapping photos and making it clear to anyone nearby that she was having the time of her life. He spent most of the evening in a dark corner, playing darts and casually stealing glances. She noticed, of course.  She didn’t acknowledge him, but slid her number over on a cocktail napkin after last call, like she had seen in the movies once. A week later, he called.

He was tall and strong, and had a way of making her feel safe. Feminine was never a word she used to describe herself, but when she was snuggled up in Tim’s large bear-like arms, she felt exactly that. Like she could float away, and it was his embrace that would hold her down.

Skating was something she had always done. Since she was a young girl, it was the only thing she truly loved. There was something about the way she felt when she was spinning athletically through the air: lutzes, sow cows, axels. Everything else- the gliding, the crossovers, the spins- they were all just in-between, time-fillers before the rush of the next awesome move.

She couldn’t pick the moment when they became a team. She was staunchly independent, always had been. And yet, Tim always seemed to be there. His cheeks flushed just as hard as hers when she nailed her first triple lutz. After a while, she let herself believe that he would really be there for her.

Tim picked up his pace, and walked to the edge of the dock. This is for you, Julie, he thought. He threw the bat as far as he could, and watched it splash into the water. He was a good man.

Francine’s coach was almost witness to the crime. She was outside the rink, warming up the car for Francine. Her beehive hairdo made it impossible for her to put on a hat, and she shivered in the wet cold evening. She couldn’t wait to get home and snuggle up with her box set of Murder She Wrote DVD’s. And yet, Francine didn’t come out. She waited ten minutes at least before walking back in, and immediately heard the screams. Francine would never skate again.

© 2014 Julia Himmelstein


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