So You Want To Be A Murderer

by

Lenny Levine

Tonight, only on ABS!

One last visit to the Timmons mansion for the shocking, season-ending finale to the Emmy Award-winning reality series, So You Want To Be A Murderer.

Will Henry Timmons, survivalist, chess grandmaster, and ex-Navy SEAL, become just another victim? Or can he use all his wits and cunning to save himself?

And what of his three remaining assailants, Ironman triathlon champion Mark Sanders, former NFL quarterback Rick Kozlovski, and supermodel Kiki Buffington? They’ve had to work together so far, but only one can emerge to make the ultimate, deadly attempt.

Who has the nerve and resourcefulness of a killer? Will someone murder Henry Timmons tonight? Or, like the others, will they all die trying?

Tonight. Ten o’clock Eastern, nine Central. Only on ABS!

The announcer’s voice-of-God tones issuing through the car speakers only reminded Sylvia Felton of how much, after more than thirty years of marriage, she still hated her husband.

“You think you can go a little faster?” she asked, cutting a sharp glance at him behind the wheel. “You’re going to make me miss it.”

“I’m driving five miles an hour over the speed limit,” Sam Felton replied. “Do you want us to get pulled over? Then you’ll miss even more of it.”

“The speed limit is sixty-five. You’re going sixty.”

“For your information,” he pointed out, “the speed limit on this road is fifty-five. Besides, none of it would matter if you’d only let me set the DVR to record it for you before we left. Then you’d have to think of something else to bitch about.”

“For God’s sake, how many times do I have to tell you?” she muttered. “I’ve got to be in early at the shop tomorrow. There’s no way I can stay up tonight and watch it.”

“So why can’t you watch it tomorrow night?”

“Because,” she said in a tight voice, “it’s all they’ll be talking about at the shop, and I’ll find out what happened. It’ll ruin it.”

Sam grunted. His feelings for Sylvia after all these years of marriage were much the same as hers for him.

“That’s not why it bothers you,” he said. “You just can’t stand to be the only one who doesn’t know about something. Even if it’s something as stupid as that TV show.”

“That stupid show, as you call it, happens to be number one in the country.”

“Which only demonstrates how screwed up this country is.”

A speed limit sign appeared in their headlight beams.

“Look!” Sylvia cried. “It’s sixty-five, you bastard!”

Sam shrugged as he kept the accelerator steady. “It must vary for different parts of the highway.”

She simmered in silence for a moment.

“You really enjoy watching me suffer, don’t you?” she said.

“Not as much as you enjoy finding ways to do it.”

“Are you going to drive faster or not?”

“Whatever you want,” he said and floored it. The speedometer shot up to ninety.

“For God’s sake!” she shouted as they hurtled through the darkness. “Are you trying to kill us?”

He slowed back down to sixty.

“If you wanted to get home so badly, we should’ve left after dinner, instead of hanging around, playing with Tommy and Michael.”

“You don’t enjoy playing with our grandchildren?” she asked accusingly.

“I noticed that you cut it off pretty quick when you suddenly realized what time it was getting to be.”

She made a low, guttural sound in the back of her throat and glared out the windshield. On the radio, Billy Joel was singing “Big Shot.” Sam reached over and turned it off.

“What’s the deal with this TV show? You don’t really believe you’re going to see someone die, do you?”

She looked at the clock on the console, then at the speedometer, still a rock-solid sixty. “Why do you care?”

“Because you’re supposed to be smarter than everybody, so I’m surprised you’d fall for such bullshit. Has anyone actually died on that show?”

“Three people, so far. ”

“And you’ve seen it?”

“Once. The other two times, it had already happened and we saw the bodies. Also, the coroner’s report.”

“That’s easy enough to fake. How do you know these people weren’t just paid off and sent to Tahiti or someplace?”

“Whoever comes on the show has to sign an agreement that they’ll hold no one responsible if they die. The show is done in Nevada, where an agreement like that is legal.”

Sam scoffed. “So what? It doesn’t mean they actually have to kill them. I repeat, how do you know it’s real? Have any of the B-list celebrities died yet?”

“No,” she admitted.

“Well, there you are,” he said smugly, and that did it.

“But one of them may DIE TONIGHT!” she shrieked at him. “And I’ll MISS IT! You miserable PIG! You sadistic, passive-aggressive SLIMEBAG!”

The force of her barrage, as usual, had no effect on him.

“First of all, no one’s actually going to die, okay? And second of all,” he said with a chuckle, “you seem to have gotten morbidly prurient in your old age.”

“Screw you.”

“No, really. You’re positively hooked on this ghoulish hoax, and God forbid you should miss one of those gory CSI things. Tell me, when you see a dead body, do you fantasize that it’s me?”

Sylvia gave a short, explosive laugh. “Yeah, right.”

“Yeah, right,” he said seriously. “How many times have you told me to drop dead? It’s one of your favorite expressions.”

She gave him a withering look. “And you think I really mean that?”

“I think you do,” he said. “You know we can’t get divorced. Neither of us would have enough to live on.” He glanced over at her, staring at him incredulously. “Then there’s the life insurance. Surely the thought has crossed your mind.”

Disgust nearly overwhelmed her. “You’re an idiot,” she sputtered.

They drove on in silence as she fumed. Finally, “Surely the thought has crossed my mind, huh? Well, I see that it’s definitely crossed yours, you miserable asshole! You’re the one. You wish I was dead, and you’re just putting it on me so you won’t feel guilty about it.”

“That’s not true,” he said. “I don’t.”

“Don’t what?” she snapped. “Don’t wish I was dead, or don’t feel guilty about it?”

He gave that smarmy laugh that always set her teeth on edge. “I’ll leave it for you to decide.”

Two cars passed them in rapid succession.

“Now you’re doing fifty, you sonofabitch!” she screamed at him. “I swear, if you make me miss this show, YOU’RE gonna die tonight.”

The smarmy laugh turned into a guffaw. “Atta girl, Sylvia, that’s the spirit!” He gave her a cunning look. “But you really should watch that famous temper. As I recall, your last blood pressure reading sounded like an SAT score.”

She snorted. “Don’t worry about me, stud. Worry about your prostate, which is rapidly becoming the size of your head. Shouldn’t you have a biopsy or something?”

“Don’t get your hopes up,” he said, but he’d stopped laughing.

She couldn’t resist. “Hopes are about the only thing you can still get up.”

Silence descended as another car passed them. They were now doing sixty-two. She figured even he couldn’t stand creeping along like that. It must be hard to drive slow when you’re angry.

“Remind me again,” she said. “You were the one who insisted we get married after you got me pregnant with Rachel, right? Not me.”

“Hey, I didn’t get you preg…”

“You damn well did. You got me so drunk I couldn’t see straight and then you didn’t use a condom.”

“Well, I was drunk too. But when we found out you were pregnant, I wanted to do the right thing. You wanted to have an abortion.”

“That’s right.”

He cut a glance at her. “Doesn’t that make you feel sorry now?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Doesn’t this make you feel sorry now?”

Silence again. Sam drove on, stony-faced.

“Rachel sure was a handful,” Sylvia remembered. “All kinds of issues in school, with the teachers, with the other kids. From the very beginning we couldn’t get her to listen to us.”

“Nothing like being raised in a loving home,” said Sam.

“You think that’s why she wound up getting pregnant and marrying a jerk, like I did?”

“Don’t compare me to Barney. You notice I’m driving a car right now, not passed out on a sofa.”

She made a sour face. “You’d think he’d at least wait for Tommy and Michael to go to bed before he got stoned.”

“Hey, you know, it’s hard,” Sam said in mock sympathy. “They keep going to bed later and later.”

“I suppose it does take pharmaceutical assistance to raise those two,” Sylvia conceded. “Rachel told me the neighbors caught them torturing some poor dog they’d cornered.”

“When did she tell you this?”

Sylvia gaped at him. “That’s the first question that occurs to you?”

“Actually, it is.”

“You’re amazing,” she said. “Anyway, to satisfy your deep concern for our grandchildren, it was while we were washing the dishes and you and Barney were watching that football game.”

“It was a college basketball game.”

“Whatever.”

“He wanted to watch it because he had money on it.”

“Well, I hope his team won.”

“His team was the point spread and, no, they didn’t win. Which means we’ll probably get hit up for another loan we can’t afford.”

“Maybe we could, if you’d get off your butt and go to work like I did.”

“And wait in line with four hundred other geezers for the one open position as a Walmart greeter? No thanks. Besides, that so-called job of yours at the shop pays next to nothing. You only took it to get away from me.”

They drove on, the speedometer reluctantly creeping up now on sixty-five. Cars were still whizzing by them.

“She really hates us, you know,” said Sylvia.

“You’re just starting to figure that out?”

“You should’ve seen the look in her eye when she told me about the dog. It was almost like she enjoyed how upset I got. I guess she gets that from you.”

Sam laughed. “Well, she gets her hatred of me from you, so we’re even.”

Sylvia again made that guttural sound in the back of her throat. “I wish I hadn’t listened to you all those years ago. I should have gotten the abortion, and then we could’ve broken up like we were supposed to. We would have moved on and met our real soul mates, had children we wanted to have.”

“The road not taken is always a smooth and scenic one,” he remarked.

“First it was for Rachel’s sake. Then it was for our grandchildren’s sake because she was having so much trouble in her own marriage. Then your company had to go bust and turn your golden parachute into a brass handkerchief, so now we can’t afford it. What’s going to happen with us, Sam? What are we going to do?”

“One of us will eventually kill the other is my best guess.”

She made no response. They’d reached their exit and pulled off and were now slowly making their way down the street toward their house.

“Look at that,” said Sam as he turned into the driveway. “We made it with five minutes to spare, despite all your bitching and moaning.” He pressed the garage door opener, and the heavy door slid upward.

“What do you say?” he offered as they drove inside. “Shall I close the garage door and we’ll sit in the car for a while with the motor running?”

She rolled her eyes. “Thanks for the invitation, but not tonight.”

“Some other time then,” he said. “Let me know how your reality show turns out, will you? Maybe everyone lives happily ever after. What a kick in the nuts that would be.”

She angrily pushed open the passenger door, as he reached over and killed the engine.

THE END

 

One Response to So You Want To Be A Murderer

  1. Ellen Wolfe says:

    Enjoyed the short story about the reality TV show– pretty funny. And really enjoyed the new songs. Love the lyrics.

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