He’s Going to Kill Me ~ A Short Story by Allen Kopp
“You’ve just got to let me stay here for a few days, honey!” Madge Rapf said.
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Irene Jansen said.
“Why not? The place is plenty big enough for both of us.”
“It’s not that. It’s…”
“I’m scared to go home! Vincent Parry has escaped from jail. He’s going to kill me for testifying against him in his murder trial!”
“If he has escaped…”
“Oh, he has!”
“Well, if he has escaped, I don’t think he’ll stay around here. He’ll get as far away as he can.”
“Oh, no, honey! He’s out for revenge!” Madge said. “He’s already killed George Fellsinger!”
“Why would he kill George?”
“I don’t know, but George’s head was smashed in with his trumpet, and the only two sets of fingerprints on the trumpet were George’s and Vincent’s.”
“That probably isn’t true,” Irene said.
“Do you think I’d make up something like that?”
“I don’t know, dear. Would you?”
“Oh, Irene! You’ve got to listen to reason! I can’t go home! I’m scared half out of my wits! I’m so scared I don’t know what to do!”
“Why don’t you call the police?”
“And what would they do?”
“I don’t know. Assign somebody to guard you, I guess.”
“They don’t care about me!”
“Well, I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re going to do, but you can’t stay here.”
“Because Bob is coming over. He’ll be here any minute. We have a date.”
“Oh, Bob! What do I care about Bob? I’ll just hide myself away upstairs in your bedroom and Bob will never know I’m here!”
She started for the stairs, but Irene stopped her. “You can’t do that, Madge!”
“Why not? Have you got somebody up there?”
“Just try to calm yourself down, dear. I’m sure you’re all worked up over nothing. Help yourself to a scotch and soda. Take a few deep breaths and I’ll call you a taxi.”
The doorbell rang and it was Bob. Irene let him in. He was smiling until he saw Madge.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“Oh, Bob!” Madge said. “You’re the last person I wanted to see!”
“What’s going on?” Bob asked Irene.
“She’s heard that Vincent Parry’s escaped from prison and she’s convinced he’s going to kill her.”
“He has escaped and he is going to kill me!” Madge said.
“It’s highly unlikely,” Bob said.
“I’m afraid we’ll have to postpone our date tonight, Bob,” Irene said.
“All right,” Bob said, “but I don’t like it.”
“Oh, who cares whether you like it or not?” Madge said. “You make me sick!”
“No, I’ll tell you about sick,” Bob said. “When I think that I almost married you, I want to jump out the window and kill myself!”
“Oh, why don’t you go ahead and do it? I’ll stand by and enjoy every second of it!”
“Will you take her home, Bob, and try to calm her down?”
“Only for you,” he said.
“I don’t want him to take me home,” Madge said. “I think I’d rather have Vincent Parry get me.”
“Madge, that isn’t very nice,” Irene said.
“Well, I’m just not a in a very nice mood right now,” Madge said.
“If I have to take her home, I will,” Bob said, “but I don’t guarantee that I won’t kill her myself.”
“Oh, you just go ahead and try it!” Madge said.
“Well, let’s get going,” Bob said. “The quicker I can get her home, the quicker I’ll be rid of her!”
“And don’t expect me to ask you in, either!” Madge said.
“Oh, boo-hoo!” he said.
“Well, how about if I call you tomorrow, then, hon?” Madge asked Irene with a bright smile.
“I think I’m going to be busy tomorrow,” Irene said.
“How about the next day, then? We can have lunch.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, maybe next week,” Madge said.
“You’re going to have to hit her with the sofa to get her to take a hint,” Bob said.
With Bob and Madge gone and the door triple-locked, Irene breathed easier. She went up the stairs and knocked lightly on the door to the bedroom.
“Yeah!” came the voice from inside.
She pushed open the door and there was none other than prison escapee Vincent Parry sitting on the side of the bed.
“They’re gone,” she said.
“Who’s Bob?” Vincent asked.
“Just a guy. He used to be engaged to Madge.”
“Until you cut in?”
“No, nothing like that. I really don’t know him very well. We’ve been out together a few times. Nothing serious.”
“It’s none of my business,” he said with a shrug.
“Did you kill George Fellsinger?” she asked.
“No, but I was there right after it happened and I saw George on the floor. It’s true my fingerprints were on the trumpet, but I didn’t kill him. I was there earlier and he wanted me to see the semi-precious stones inlaid in the keys. If my fingerprints and his were the only ones on the trumpet, then that means that whoever used it as a murder weapon wore gloves.”
“I knew there had to be an explanation.”
“I would never have killed George. He was going to hide me out at his place for a few days. He was my best friend.”
“Did you kill your wife?”
“No, but it was Madge’s testimony that got me convicted. She lied.”
“I followed your trial all the way through. I was there every day.”
“I know,” he said. “I saw you.”
“I wrote letters to the editor of the newspaper about how unfairly you were being treated in court.”
“Why did you even care?”
“Because the same thing happened to my father. He was convicted with lies and false testimony. He was innocent.”
“You know that for certain?”
“Yes. He died in prison after only six months. He had a bad heart to begin with. I knew that being in prison would break him, and it did. It was a blessing, really, when he died. His troubles were over.”
“I’m going to kill Madge,” he said. “Every day and every night when I was in prison I dreamed of squeezing the miserable life out of her, watching the fear in her eyes when she knows she’s going to die and there’s no taking it back.”
“Revenge will avail you nothing,” Irene said. “Read your Bible.”
“I’m not good like you.”
“You don’t want to kill Madge just yet. I have a feeling she holds the key.”
“Key to what?”
“I think she’s the one person in the world who knows who killed your wife and George Fellsinger.”
“Do you know something I don’t know?”
“No, it’s just that I know Madge. I know her type. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do.”
“Madge was there on the day Gertrude was killed. She left behind one of her gloves but, not only that, I could smell her awful perfume all through the house.”
“Your wife and Madge were friends?”
“I think it’s safe to say they hated each other. Gertrude saw Madge as a rival.”
“You were once in love with Madge?”
“No, but she had it in her head that I’d marry her.”
“The plot thickens.”
“But where does that leave George?” Vincent asked. “Who killed him?”
“I think she knew that you and George were friends and that you probably would go to him after you escaped from prison. She killed him so people would think you did it.”
“Poor George. I was the only friend he had in the world.”
“His funeral is tomorrow. I think I’ll go and take some flowers.”
“I’d go myself if I wasn’t the leading suspect.”
“Just rest for a while and I’ll fix us some dinner.”
“You’re too good, Irene. I don’t deserve you.”
Copyright © 2017 by Allen Kopp