Trick or Treat
By Ron Simmonds
Helen slipped her key noiselessly into the lock and eased open the front door of the bungalow. She had been listening for some minutes and there were definitely sounds coming from inside. She closed the door quietly behind her. The lights in the lounge were low. Soft music came from the record player. An opened champagne bottle nestled in an ice bucket on the low table. The atmosphere was romantic, seductive, sensuous. The noises came from the direction of the bedroom, the door of which was closed. She took a pace forward and immediately stumbled over something. It was a red high–heeled shoe, and it was most certainly not one of hers. She never wore anything red. The other shoe lay abandoned on its side a couple of yards away where it had been kicked off. She walked on further into the room.
A sleeveless flowered silk summer dress was draped carelessly over the back of an armchair, its opened zip gaping guiltily at her. A short pink satin slip lay, discarded in haste, on the carpet. One black nylon stocking dangled from the shade of a low reading lamp, another lay crumpled untidily on the small table beside it. The cast–off underwear formed a trail that led capriciously across the room to the bedroom door. A tiny pair of panties had landed bunched up on the floor there, by the potted plant, and a lacy pink bra was hooked saucily over the door handle. Actually over the door handle. Helen stared at it, lips tightly compressed.
Now she was close to the bedroom door she could hear the sounds coming from inside more distinctly. Little cries, thumps, moans, wordless gasping. She paused, with her hand on the doorknob. Then a small smile crossed her features.
She shrugged off her coat, pulled a lipstick from her bag and applied it carefully, looking in the small ornate wall mirror and touching her hair. George always expected her to look her best. The first time he had done anything like this had been shortly after their honeymoon. Coming home after a visit to a girl friend she had discovered the tell–tale trail of flimsy undergarments, seen the half empty champagne bottle, heard the frantic noises, and had stormed into the bedroom red–faced and outraged.
George had been sitting up in bed, holding a glass of champagne out to her with one hand and a small gaily wrapped package with the other. The noises issued from a small tape recorder on his bedside table.
‘Surprise, surprise! Trick or treat, darling?’ he said, grinning all over his face. It had always been something madly expensive: on that occasion an emerald ring, later on a mink coat, a diamond necklace. Once he had given her one end of a long pink ribbon and told her to follow it. She had done so, through all the rooms of the house, into the kitchen and right out the side door. The other end of the ribbon had been tied in a big bow around a new BMW.
The first time it happened she noticed afterwards that all the discarded clothes still had the sales tags pinned to them. She had played the silly game with him over the years many times, each time crashing in on him and pretending to be outraged. George loved it when she did that. He said it turned him on.
However much fun it had all been Helen had felt for quite a while now that things were not so good between them any more. They were drifting slowly but surely apart. A few weeks ago she had decided that it was perhaps because they no longer did anything together. George went out bowling on Wednesdays. She went to art class and physical culture. They never went to these places together. On an impulse she had left just after him a few Wednesdays ago and followed him to the bowling alley. It would be a pleasant surprise for him, and from now on she’d try and show more interest in what he was doing. George would like that.
When she drove into the bowling alley parking area and got out of the car she saw George through one of the windows. He was sitting at the bar with a red–headed woman. They had their heads together and were drinking, laughing and exchanging little kisses. By the way they were carrying on it didn’t look as if they had only just become acquainted. She got back into her car, huddled down low, and waited. Five minutes later the couple came out arm in arm, climbed into George’s Mercedes and drove away. Helen went back home. When George came in later that evening he found her already in bed asleep.
She had followed him secretly three more times, just to make sure. Each time there had been a similar sequence of events. Yesterday Helen had told George that she was going up North to visit her mother for a couple of days. The old lady was complaining about her landlord and Helen was going up to sort things out. George had said, with a smile, that she had no need to worry about him. He was sure he could manage to look after himself for the few days she would be away.
The sounds from the bedroom had increased in intensity. She cocked her head, listening for a moment while she pulled on a pair of thin leather gloves. This sounded like a completely new tape, much more realistic. She hooked a finger into the bra strap and let it fall to the floor. There was no sales tag on this one. Helen turned the knob and stepped silently over the threshold. She watched the scene on the bed for a little while, then she cleared her throat quietly, almost apologetically. There was a moment of almost comically suspended animation, then an abrupt flurry of movement, a squeal of fright from the red–head, and George turned his head sharply to stare at her, white–faced.
‘Surprise, surprise!’ said Helen. ‘I have a present for you this time, darling.’ She took the little gun out of her handbag, walked up close, and shot him right through the middle of his forehead. Then she turned her attention to the girl, who was sitting beside him with her mouth open in a soundless scream. Helen’s aim wasn’t so good this time, but still pretty reasonable, considering she had never fired a gun before. She pressed the gun into George’s lifeless hand, curling his finger around the trigger. It was his gun, after all, registered in his name. Helen stepped back to view her handiwork. All this time the small smile had never left her lips. She backed out of the room and closed the door carefully. Then she stripped off her gloves and went back into the lounge to pour herself a glass of champagne and phone the police.
‘Trick or treat, George,’ she said softly as she walked away.Copyright © 2001, Ron Simmonds. All Rights Reserved