I’m not vindictive. I pride myself on being refined and very good with words. I can talk anyone off a ledge. Words are my weapons. But last year was difficult, and these weapons were ineffective in giving me solace. I was upset. Nay, enraged. Last year, life declared war against me, and used familiar people as warriors. Well, let’s not get melodramatic. Some of the people in my life were exhibiting unacceptable behaviors. I made no requests, but secretly expected the Universe, General Manager of Karma, to agree with me and dole out some punishment. Five lovely people lost the privilege of being in my world. Regrettable.
I’ll start with my neighbor, the troll. He was a miserable little man, with the face of a constipated pug who lived on the other end of my block. He liked hitting on statuesque goddesses who were way out of his league, and when they laughed in his face, he took it out on everyone, including me. He was a passive-aggressive mother fella who used his insufferable, yappy Chihuahua as a tool and a shield.
For months, Troll would stand right outside my door every morning at 7:45. He timed it perfectly so that whenever I walked to my car, he’d be casually walking the four-legged demon. Cujo would then bark and chase my ankles with bared teeth. I’m not a morning person. I have to ease into the day, and this pond scum enjoyed jolting me into it. Plus, when I got home every night, little dingle-poops greeted me at my door, a deliberate offense considering there’s a dog park right behind our backyards.
So when an unfortunate fire, reportedly related to a leak from his gas grill, engulfed Troll’s entire house while he was out and forced him to move, I had a hard time feeling too sorry. I heard he had a funeral for the dog and everything. That was actually quite touching.
A sad goodbye to my pesky neighbor… and his little dog too.
And then there were four.
My friend Polly is the poster child for altruism. I can’t tell you how many charities she supports, and I’m proud of her for that. She makes her living by running Quills, an independent bookstore with sophisticated patrons.
I published my first novel last year after three grueling years of writing. Naturally, I was crushed when Polly said the bookstore owner would not be hosting my book signing. “The store is too small,” she said. Not exactly accurate. It turns out, friend Polly told a very disappointed shop owner that I wasn’t interested in having my book sold at her small bookstore. Hashtag sabotage.
I wonder if Polly felt the same indignation when compromising pictures of her, allegedly in the company of male strippers and chugging a bottle of cheap whiskey, were left at the office of Elsa Griffith, fundraising director of the local Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter. Would Polly have to give back her awards for commitment to fundraising?
I understood when she decided to move back to Connecticut. Everyone likes to talk here in Eddington. It’s such a small town. I miss her, but we’re friends on Facebook.
And then there were three.
I like being an author, but it’ll take time for my writing to pay the grocery bills. For now, I’ll continue taking a paycheck from the Eddington Gazette. I’m now Managing Editor after six years as a reporter, but the position was nearly yanked away from me by Arlene, another reporter with less seniority, but with family connections to the publisher. You see, there is no room for nepotism in journalism. There shouldn’t be, anyway.
The circumstances under which I got my long overdue promotion were messy. I feel for Arlene, but car trouble is simply an unacceptable excuse for not showing up to cover the biggest story in Eddington’s history. Fortunately, I was able to step in and interview President Obama during his visit to our sleepy town, the first of any American President.
As for Arlene, doctors are hopeful that she will complete her rehabilitation in 18 to 24 months. And I’m told the brakes have been fixed. I’m sorry that she can’t work, but it’s probably for the best. I don’t think I’d be very productive if she were here. Awkward, right?
And then there were two.
Kimiko. The greatest of my misfortunes. Kimiko was my husband’s mistress. Discovering her was quite unexpected. You see, I had no idea Fred and I were having problems. He’s my best friend. Our marriage is heavenly. There was absolutely no reason for him to have an affair. You may wonder why I seem to blame only her, when technically, he’s the one who broke vows. He serves a purpose, so I did what any committed wife would do: I forgave him, and I’m happy to say, our little hiccup is all but forgotten.
Of course, it helps that Kimiko is no longer in the picture. It was tragic, actually. My understanding is that after Fred ended the affair, she decided to move back to Japan, and some careless movers accidentally dropped her piano from her balcony. When it comes to supervising movers, watch your location, location, location. I wore an exquisite gray dress to the funeral. Charming girl, really.
And then there was one.
What happened to Larson was such a fluke. He was a fellow member of the Eddington Writers Society. His writing was witty and sharp. He won the monthly contests often. We always joked about what it would take for him to give someone else a chance. But he had other habits that grated on me like squeaking Styrofoam. He chewed on his pens, and he split his infinitives. I know, everybody does it. It’s common, but so are flies, and we don’t like those around. I feel the same about split infinitives. Fine, I’m nitpicking, but everyone has personal cringes.
I haven’t seen Larson since the last Eddington Halloween Bash. He moved to Florida after the stroke. He’s made huge strides in his recovery. I hear he’s able to write his name again. Maybe for our next Halloween Bash, we should have warnings for people over 80. Who knew Larson would be so susceptible to lunging zombies in the men’s room? On a completely unrelated note, I finally won the writing contest.
And then there were none.
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