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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Drama · #1865185
Can Harvey and Helen open up to each other before it's too late?
Trigger Warnings

The enraged young giant snarled down at Sydney, "You a racista. ¡Racista!"

I glared down at the Victim Rights pamphlet and up the man. You're doing this now?

My boss, Sydney, smiled and shook her head. "Sorry. No I.D., no cigarettes."

Why can't you be more like she is, Harvey? I looked down, tried to stop my hands from shaking as thy rattled the police papers against the counter. I muttered, "Ignorant little freak." 

The boy snarled, and stamped his feet. He puffed up his chest in my face yet walked past without incident.

I picked up an apple like a baseball and eyed the creep's skull as he walked out.

Sydney came out from behind the counter, and stopped in front of me. She straightened the candy in the display as she took a breath. "Harve, you don't look so good. You know, I've got this. You take the day off. Least they can do for you. I'll make them pay you."

I sighed in frustration. I imagined some other creep walking up like a big shot, saying, "Gimme 'All the Money'" and blaming it on the lottery tickets by that name. I wanted to tough it out, but that took all the fight out of me. Only in Arizona would the government make a joke out of armed robbery and put it in a convenience store. My voice echoed my grim mood. "Yeah. Thanks, Syd."

Sydney winced at my words and put her hand on my shoulder, her voice soft. "You did the right thing."

I jerked my shoulder away, snorted, and shot her a look. Nothing felt right: not the sharp, stabbing shock as I looked down the barrel of the gun; not the boyish arrogance in that little man's perfect face, or the chill of his hateful sneer; especially not the click of the trigger, and the childish laugh.  I walked up to the door, and stared into the mess of thought waiting in the night.

She stepped back, brushed herself off, and straightened her posture. "Okay. Well, call me, before work. Let me know how you're doing, if you want to come in."

Unable to make eye contact, I stared into the empty parking lot. "Will do."

The automatic door gently nudged me.

Could have shown some enthusiasm, Harvey. Sounded like my wife, Helen, like I couldn't wait for the real thing. I pushed the door away and walked to my car.

The car sputtered a few times before roaring to life, and the accusing gas gauge pointed just above E.

A few pints low.  I thought about hitting Bernie's for a few drinks, but I needed to keep this to myself. How would it look, telling my wife I let some punk kid walk all over me. I turned the key, and headed home.


Helen's squad car sat in the driveway.

She had beaten me home. I pushed my shoulders back up as I pulled in to park.

The cold hard doorknob yielded without a key.

I stopped a second, to take a deep breath, loosen my shoulders and stand at attention: shoulders back, stiff upper lip: project the aura of strength 'Officer Sorensen' likes.  I marched in. "Honey, I'm home."

"Oh? I thought you were on till midnight."

"Bit of drama." I pulled a few buttons on my shirt loose.

In her full, street-cop uniform, she came to me, arms wide.

I couldn't find the strength to care, and shrugged.

Her shining blue eyes almost smiled.

If she saw through my strong act, she didn't show it. I looked behind her. 

The support beam sat bare.

Is she planning to punch bare wood? My knuckles hurt at the thought, and I held down a shiver. You could not pay me to do that. "It's nothing, really."

Just out of reach, she paused. "Are you sure? It doesn't seem like nothing." She looked deep in my eyes.

Did she know something? Why could she never just open up? I scanned the ghost of a bruise on her jawline, below the cleft of her chin: had it healed, or did she cover it up?  Can it, Harvey. She chose to be a police officer. Blame all you want; Helen's a hero, not a victim. Be proud of her. As my teeth clenched, I forced my fists open, faked a smile.

She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head.

"Really, I'm okay. Syd sent me home with pay." I knew better than to add, 'not my fault.'

She held me at arm's length, sizing me up like a suspect.

No doubt, waiting for me to spill. It'll never happen.

After a fifteen second pause, she smiled, a twinkle in her eye. "Attaboy. Keep your chin up." She nudged my jaw with her fist before the kiss.

Thinking to brush the hair out of her eyes, I reached up, but it was all swept back into a perfect, professional little ponytail. All these years, and I still can't figure out how to express myself around her.

She turned back to the kitchen. "That Sydney sounds like a great boss; we should send her a card on the sixteenth.  I've been making sandwiches. You want one?"

I sighed with relief. Things go better, when I pass inspection. "I've lost my appetite."

"Suit yourself." She cut herself a pickle and put it on her plate. "We've got some decisions to make, though: bills and the like.”

"Do we have to?"  I slinked away to the huge, black-cracked-leather recliner facing away from the kitchen and grabbed my CD player. “Not. In. The. Mood.”.

"You always say that." She walked beside the recliner, and stood over me. "It only gets harder if you wait. Jump right in, I say."

Her blue eyes shone bright and dry.  I had never seen a tear in her eye. “Please, give me some space!  I have some issues." I shuffled through my CD collection looking for 'Simply Serenity.'

Her saccharin sweet voice assaulted me, "Oh, don't be such a 'gloomy Gus.'"

My fists balled up, and I ground my teeth. Calm down. You're losing it. I straightened my fingers and relaxed my jaw. I slowly stood up. "Helen, please. Not now."

"Ah, you can do it, Harvey." She grabbed my upper arm.

I swung my hand to slap her.

She twisted my arm behind my back and the pine-grain paneling pressed against my face, Hot breath breath in my neck. "Getting better. One day, you'll land one."

I groaned and shook my head. I'm lashing out like a brute, and she thinks it's all fun.

"You're always pulling your punches, that's your problem." She patted me on the back and let me go.

My stomach churned. What did she want? “um?”

"Don't be afraid to hurt me. I can take it, really. Whatever it is."  She raised her eyebrows, and watched me for a long moment, like she expected me to tell her something.

The urge to collapse in her arms, to beg for her support shook me, and the thought of disappointing her stopped me cold.  I had to keep my silence at all cost. So, I stood there, avoiding her eyes, then picked up my Diskman kit. I pointed at her, and waved my finger slowly.  "I'm going to bed. Do not talk to me."

She cracked open a Heineken from the counter, leaned back and shrugged. The lopsided smirk on her thin, pale pink lips as she drank enticed and infuriated me all at once.

I plunked down on the bed and put in the Serenity CD.

It didn't play.

I pulled it out and flipped it over; it had been scored with a knife.

Growling, I bounced the Discman off the wall, into the trash. I fell back and ground the pillow over my face in rage and frustration.

Before long the sulking anger left me, taking with it the life from my limbs, leaving my head full of a sensation, like nausea. If I tried to move, I feared the feeling would sicken me completely. The gloom in my thoughts matched the darkness in my eyes. Only the endless drag of my breath through the feathers in my pillow disturbed the silence.


Next thing I knew, I was gasping for breath. I didn't dare look at Helen, lying next to me.  My hands trembled as I held them over my eyes. I was trying to shut out the memory of her lifeless body in my arms.

Her sweet voice nudged me in the darkness. "'Nightmare again, Harve?  I keep telling you, stick and move."

That gave me courage to look over at her. She didn't bother to open her eyes.  But the image of her lifeless in my arms, glassy eyed and bleeding, ate at my stomach, until I caught moonlight reflecting off her gun and badge. Get a grip. You couldn't hurt her if you wanted to. And you would rather die.

No matter how logical, no argument could paint over the nightmare of losing her. I muttered under my breath, “Doesn’t work if you are the monster.”

“What’s that, Hon'?”

The note of hurt in her voice confused me as I lay there.

She lay still.

My bones ached with fatigue. I've got an early morning. I have to get some rest. Dazed from restless sleep, I figured there would be time to take the prescription sleeping pills. I turned on the flashlight app in my phone, tiptoed to the nightstand, and brushed the area around her pistol with light, probing every shadow for my pills. Then, ever so gently, I pulled the drawer open and searched there.

"Careful, there's no silencer." She yawned and rolled over, back toward me. "You'll need to be out of here quick."

Sickening. How can you even joke about that? I struggled to get out my response, low and gravelly. "Oh, don't worry. I got you covered." 

Nothing to be found.
Where could they be, the medicine cabinet? So I stalked over to the sink, avoiding my reflection in the shards of mirror left after my fit last month. One look at that pale, underfed, sniveling face of mine would have snapped my nerves. I slapped open the door, and found nothing there, but a few cosmetics — concealers for bruises, mainly — Helen's straight razor, and my sleeping pills! How could I be such a fool, 'hiding' them there?  I grabbed the bottle.

To my dismay, it was empty but for a note. I pulled it out.

    I know how you must
feel, but I had to do this.
These things are bad.
Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad...

You have to trust me on this.

This is not what you need.

I threw the bottle in the trash.

She had begged me, "Stay away from the shrink. Nothing good ever comes from that. You gotta find it inside of you—that's all.” 

It might be okay for you, I thought to her, as if she had said it right now, to run around like a cowboy, but I have to get some help: have to.  People could get hurt.

She lay there, still.

As if she couldn't hear my thoughts. All that arguing in my head never did any good,  I ran my fingers through my sweat drenched hair.

I had to cool down. I put on my beat-up sneakers, pulled on a jacket and took a walk.

I checked my watch. One o'clock, plenty of time to stop by Bernie's Place for a drink. It was high time I took something she could not take away from me, something to soothe my nerves—if Officer Sorensen hadn't closed the place down yet.

Bernie's Place lay around the corner, and, having settled into a familiar funk, I already felt better when I arrived.

***  ***

"Out late again, Harve?" Bernie, the barkeep, plunked down a Heineken.

I twisted it open. "Can't sleep. Fight with the wife."

He pretended to check me out. "You don't look it." He slapped me on the shoulder, smiling at his joke.

"Those bruises were from self-defense training, Bern." I shook my head. "You don't train your husband to fight, I guess.  I think it's a rule." 

Bernie looked me in the eye and shuddered. "Ugh. Yeah, I can see it. You need something a little harder than this."

That hit the spot so hard, I had to laugh to shake it off.  "Ha. That's what she said." 

Behind me, loudmouth Sam took the floor. "Everybody, can I have your attention please." He was standing on a table, reaching above the stained glass 'Bernie's' shade for balance and scratching his stubbly chin with the other hand.

Embracing the distraction,, I took a swig, the beer stale as Sam's thinking.

"I have an announcements to make."

Sam talked like that, especially when spouting off. Bernie and I usually wished he'd get an internet connection and leave the place alone. 

"Only thing you have, is a table to get down off of," Bernie said, wiping out his glass with a ragged, red towel. You could almost see Bernie's name, in faded lettering, on the towel.

"Everybody says women are the weaker sex." Sam snickered at that. "Now, that's true in the boxing ring, maybe. Even there, they're quicker, they pay more attention and they are too damn hard to say no to.  Men got only one natural advantage, and I say it's time we use it!"

"Come on, Sam." Bernie slammed his cup so hard it cracked.  "Don't need to flap your jaw."  Meanwhile, I scanned the room and settled my attention, absently, on the pool cues.

"The ladies are a hardy lot," Sam said. "Some dish it as well as they take it. But it's our only hope; we're outgunned and outmaneuvered. I say, every man should up and pop his girl once in a while. Show her what for."

The next thing I knew, I had a pool cue pointed like a spear at Sam's heart. I don't know what I intended to do, stab him with the pool cue? "Loser!" I'm not sure if I meant Sam or myself; probably both.

Bernie wrenched it out of my hand. "Sam, sit down, shut up. Harve, you're done. Good night."

Sam continued with his regular lopsided grin. "You know I'm right."

I'd let an amateur shock-jock get to me. As I punched the glass on the door, leaving a satisfying ache in my knuckles, I wondered: was I that easy to read?

"Careful there, champ!" Bernie called out, as he went to close the door. "Break another door, I'm gonna put it on your tab!"


I needed some peace and quiet. I held the knob, pulling pressure off the latch so the key would move quietly. I eased the door open, then tiptoed into the living room, picked up the remote, hit power, and mute.  Then I sank down.  After the beer commercial—the one with the dizzy blonde waving a beer bottle in some poor schmuck's face—the news came on.

"Fiona O'Leary, missing now nine years," the closed caption read.  "She was eighteen years old at the time. This is how she would look now.  She may have changed her name or her hairstyle."  They showed a picture of Fiona—looking all dolled up for the Prom—and another of Helen, at least it looked an awful lot like Helen, only dressed like Fiona. A pink, lacy dress and long, yellow curls in front of her face. Not like the professional, golden ponytail of my Officer Sorensen.

I assumed they had aged the first picture, and wondered if Fiona was a cousin. I laughed.  I dragged out the syllables, saying "Fiona," under my breath. I laughed again: the tension breaker I needed.

"Fiona was 5'10", with a dancer's build, maybe 110 pounds." It was her mother describing her. "Eyes were sky blue, hair the color of wheat, hands always soft. She had a woman's hands."

"Why do you think Fiona disappeared?"

"Her sisters and cousins, even the girls, all taunted her: such a soft touch. We're a good family, the O'Leary's, but hard. Even the women, policemen and security every one. Not Fiona. A sensitive soul, that one, could calm you with a touch. First, her boyfriend, and then her Dad, dying like that; too much for her, poor thing. She blames herself. Fiona, if you're listening, it wasn't you. These things happen."

I switched the channel, still chuckling. I passed over a gardening show, some soccer mom cooking rice in a doodad, and a golf show. I finally hit CourtTV.  "Harley Raines, suspected of stabbing his wife to death." They showed a picture of him. Harley was clean shaven, and a little pudgy in his picture. I groaned. He looked a lot softer than me. 

"Listen, I never meant to hurt anybody,” the caption read, as the camera showed the police forcing him into the back of the car.  “ She didn't leave me any choice."

My stomach churned, but I shook my head as I switched off the set. "That's not going to happen," I said, wagging my finger idiotically at the TV.

The screen faded tp black.

"I have more self-control than that." I stood up, to pace back and forth.

A glint on the shards of bathroom mirror caught my eye.

"OK, I'm a hothead." I paced faster. "But I break things, not people."

Then I remembered last night, against the wall: I started it. Then my nightmare had warned me where it could lead: Helen, dying in my arms. Had I had a knife then, in the dream?

I could almost remember one.

"Ok, I never hit her, but not for lack of trying.  Damn. I have a problem. I can't control myself. What am I going to do?"

I got a picture of a man in a fit, pouring bottles of Jack Daniels down the drain, the good moment of a television show barely worth watching.

"That's it. If I can't control myself, maybe I can control my environment." I stepped into the kitchen, and opened the drawer.

A dozen, deadly sharp, serrated knives glinted in the darkness.

I grabbed a trash bag, and a roll of packing tape. One by one I stacked them inside the bag, careful they wouldn't clink. But each time I moved faster, until finally I dropped one, about an inch—clank—back into the drawer.  I picked it up, and stacked several more on top, then wrapped the bag tight and ran the packing tape around it.

"Harvey J. Sorensen, what the devil are you doing?" Helen stood at the bedroom door, looking almost vulnerable in her blue, button down shirt and black socks as she blinked the sleep out of her eyes. 

"Trust me, this is for the best." I tucked the knives under my shoulder, and headed for the door.

She stood at the door, barring my exit, now looking every bit the officer despite her bedroom attire. "Is this because I threw away your sleeping pills?"

"No! Yes, kind of. It's complicated." Not the way she meant: revenge. "I can't have these around.  I'm not—it's not a good thing."

"Harve, listen to me: we're not going to throw away my knives."

"These—they're dangerous." How could I be any clearer? I could hardly tell my wife I expected to stab her, though I should have. "I don't want you getting hurt."

She gave me a concerned look, and stroked me lightly on the chest, cutting the urgency off like a switch, like her mother said.  "Oh, honey, I have a gun. I think I can handle a kitchen knife."

How did she speak in a tone both mocking and compassionate? I wanted to scream, 'That's not what I meant!' but, could not explain. It never occurred to me that she might mean it the same as I did. Shame coursed through me like lightning. My shoulders slumped, and the last of the adrenaline abandoned me. Suddenly, I felt weak and handed her the knives. "Yeah. Okay. Whatever."

She took them, and smiled at me. "Is there something you want to tell me?"

I couldn't face her. I waved my hand as I turned, trying to wipe it all away. "Neh."

"You need to get some sleep." She fussed with my hair and my buttons, pulling me close. "You're a mess."

When she said that, I got that special pain in my temple, the one that comes when I try to pretend that surviving armed robbery does not bother me. Coming from her, the statement was absurd, in all the worst ways. All I had been trying to do is get some rest, some peace. Harvey, idiot, say something!

She waited for me.

Yet, all I could do was scoff, and wonder how I was going to get those devil-cursed knives out of my reach. It felt better, at least, focusing on that small problem as I dragged myself to bed.

***  ***

I finished drilling the holes in the knife drawer, and checked to see if they matched the holes in the padlock latch.

The roar of the drill continued for a few seconds while I inspected the hole, bringing me out of the dream.  I threw on my slippers and walked out.

I saw with relief that Helen had already begun the project I had planned in my dream. "You're taking my worries seriously." I nodded and blinked, half awake.

"I still don't understand your 'worries.'  But I take my knives seriously.  Here." She pulled padlocks out of her pocket.  "I wasn't sure.  Do we both need to have a lock, or just you?"

"No, no. You keep the keys." I grabbed a bowl of cereal and a nice, safe, round edged plastic spoon. No stabbing anybody with that.

She locked the drawer and put a key on her belt, and let a long sigh, the most emotion I had seen in her in ages. "I wish you could explain what the problem is, all of a sudden, with me having knives."

I poured my oat rings and the last few drops of milk. "I wish I could, too.” Better to remain silent, and be thought a fool... I shrugged. "It's not safe, okay?" 

"I'm not going to hurt you." She gently kicked the counter. "I wish you could believe that."

"I never said you were going to hurt me! I don't feel safe around these knives." I stared down into my cereal, unable to face her.

"I hear you saying that, but I don't believe it." She kept pacing slowly and carefully.  "If not me, who then?"

I raised my voice. "Nobody! I don't think anybody is going to stab me, okay?" I stopped for effect. "Now will you drop it and join me for breakfast?"

"What, you think they're going to fly across the room and attack you? Just say it, get it over with. You think I'm a monster, you think I'm going to hurt you." 

I got up and walked over to her, took her hands, looked deep into her eyes.  "Helen, I swear. I trust you more than any person in the world. I'm not doing well. I think it's better if you keep those knives away from me."

There was a pain on her face—disgusted, sad, and hurt—that even her best Officer Sorensen pose couldn't hide. She looked ready to cry.

She heard my words, but they didn't make sense to her. "Please, let's drop this right now, and join me for breakfast."

Now she could not face me.  "I can't. I'm not hungry. I have to go to work." She turned and slammed the door behind her.

I jumped up and stared at the door, puzzling with my confusion. Finally seeing what had happened I raced out the door, yelled my feelings at her car. "I love you, Officer Sorensen!"

She turned and drove away.

Too late, you idiot. Too late!

*** ***

I don't know what was on TV, probably some detective show where the wife almost gets away with killing her husband.  I didn't care, as long as I could hide in my recliner and pretend life would leave me alone. I couldn't actually do that, though, because the thoughts kept pestering me. Do something. It's only going to get worse. If I were dead, maybe—hmm.  I could get her to kill me, and then she'd be safe.  Could I make it look like an accident?

“You're an idiot,” I told myself. So. I sat there and stewed while I listened to the TV detective yammer and Officer Sorensen, I mean Helen, chopping in the kitchen.

Thunk, thunk, thunk: it sounded like a meat cleaver or maybe an ax.

I felt every strike in my bones. The tension found its way into my voice as I said, "I thought you cared about your knives, Helen. You keep chopping like that, you're going to ruin the edge."

"I thought that's what you were into, taking the edge off." She plunked down the knife and walked over to me.  "Always with your tapes and your television and your sleeping pills. Don't you want to face anything?"

I clenched and unclenched my fist. I held my voice as soft as I could, speaking slowly and carefully. "You have no idea what I've been facing."

She almost lost control, and let a note of pain in her voice as she said, "No. You're right; you don't tell me anything. How could I know?"

"I'm sorry; I don't want to be ridiculed by Officer Sorensen for being weak."

"Is that what you think? Damn it, Harve." She gripped her forehead, like she was trying to pinch something off of it with the tips of her fingers. "I'll bet this is how Dad felt, why he w    as so upset."  She turned and stomped off to the kitchen, trying to hack through the counter again.

The fight ends when somebody walks away—that's our rule. So, the timing sucked, her mood did not help, but she told me that adults have to face things. She was right about that, and Now might as well be the time. I stood up and looked at the kitchen.

Knives lay everywhere: a pile of onions, another of celery, and a pile of used knives by the sink.

I grabbed one of them, pointing upward like a sword, blade toward my face. I waved it there, as an example. "This is what I'm talking about! I ask you to keep these things under control, and you scatter them everywhere." 

A flash of shock crossed Helen's face, gone as fast as it came. She stepped behind the mini-counter.

So, this is what it takes to be heard? I put the knife down with the others, scowled, and swept them backward off the counter.  They scattered through the living room with a clatter.

"Harvey, relax.  We can talk." That was the police officer now; funny how Officer Sorensen was suddenly soft and friendly now that I played the rampaging criminal.

"Relax? Get some sleep? That's all I've been trying to do for days, I don't know, months.”

She nodded.

“But you were absolutely right. We do have to face this. It ends now, today."

"Please, sit down." She circled the little counter in the middle of the kitchen. "I'm ready to listen."

Sit down, you idiot! But, if I sat down, I'd never say what needed to be said. "It's too late! We have to take care of this. Now. You won't let me get any help. What kind of psycho threatens a man’s psychiatrist?”

She looked down and to the right, blushing, and her quiet, shaky voice gave her away. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Doctor Edwins said you pulled him over. Told him he could choose between his driver's license and having me as a patient.  What kind of nut job does that?"

"You don't understand." She kept circling.  I'd move left, and she'd move left.  I moved right, and she edged right, keeping the counter between us.  She still gripped the knife, not thinking. "Those pills, they don't help. I've seen it."

"So, you think you are better at doctoring than they are," I said, choking on a sigh.  "I have done everything I could to get help, and every single time I reached out my hand you slapped it down.  I can't take it anymore."

"I'm only trying to protect you."

"The gun. He pulled the trigger. You didn't even know I got robbed, did you."

A look of horror flashed across her face. "They told me." She swallowed.

It was my turn to give the accusing look.

"I figured I'd give you your space."

I rushed around the counter, and grabbed her shirt, pulled her close to drive my message home.  "That is not when you—"

Her chin dropped and a look of horror flashed across her face before the sting of the blade dug in my gut. 

As my legs crumbled beneath me, I realized I no longer posed a threat. A sick smile spread across my face as the floor banged the back of my head.

“What have I done?” She ran toward me with gauze and tape. Her tears dripped on my cheek as she held pressure to my wound. "I didn't mean to terrorize you." 

I reached up, and touched her cheek.

"I can't help you. I've gotta get help." She took up the radio from her uniform. "I need an ambulance at the Sorensen residence. Stabbing victim. That's right."

She swore, and changed her voice. "Yeah, um, I broke in and stabbed this guy. It's his wife's radio, that's why."  She threw the thing on the ground.

Then she looked down at me. "I'm sorry, Harve."

That face revealed the love I had been longing to see, but at such a time. "Not now," I said, gripping my gauze.

She looked at the door, and down at me, questioning.

"I've been trying to protect you. You have to go."

"I have to stay here. You need me." I could hear she was sincere, but she kept looking fearfully at the door.

"No, no.  Get away. Be free."

"You hold that bandage. Don't let any more blood out than you have to."

"I, ah, promise," I rasped, gasped at a flash of pain.

The fear in her eyes turned to panic, and she bolted for the door.

I thought about refusing service, even throwing out the bandage, but I had to tell them that she didn't do it, that it was me.  I reached for the blood-soaked knife and wiped off her fingerprints as best I could, washing them in blood.

*** ***

"There's no shame in being an abused spouse," Officer Sharon said. "It can happen to anybody."

I tried to roll over, but the pain in my gut wouldn't let me. I turned my head and took a deep breath. The hospital room had plain blue curtains. Boring, calm blue. I could stare at them all day.

"You love her. I understand. It’s going to take some time. I'll leave my card here in case there's anything you want to tell me, later."

Sharon left. She didn't believe a word I had said. I couldn’t blame her. I never did much with lying, and that story about a woman burglar that stabbed me and called an ambulance would never win awards for credibility. But I figured maybe, if I stuck to the story, everything would be okay.

"How are you holding up?"

That jolted me. I looked up.  A very familiar woman in a gray hoody with spray-black hair stood over me.  I smiled wryly. "That you, Fiona?"

"You know? How?"


"Those damn sleeping pills." She ran her fingers through short, ragged, black hair. "I always swore, if I ever faced it again, I'd flush those damn things down the toilet before they could kill him."

"You lost somebody to sleeping pills?" An old ache in my head relaxed and unwound.

"Couldn't let them take you, too. Wanted to be there. Don't know what the hell I am doing."

"You should have left. They didn't buy my story."

"You always were a terrible liar." She squeezed my hand, and gave me a small smile. 

"You're one to talk." I tried not to laugh.

She shared my chuckle.

"'His wife's radio, that's why.'"

Footsteps led to the click of a gun being cocked.  Officer Sharon said, "Officer Sorensen, step away from the bed."

She didn't let go.

Sharon raised her voice and slowed her tempo. "Fiona O'Leary, you are under arrest: step away from the bed."

Another officer walked up to her and pulled her hands away, cuffing her.

Helen looked at me with guilt and longing. "Just tell the truth. It's not so bad. I'll be here for you, the right way. We'll get help. I will get help. I swear it."

"Fiona O'Leary, you have the right to remain silent." Sharo lead Helen away. "Anything you say or do can and will...."

Helen said over her shoulder, "You pull through this. It's going to be okay. That's a promise."

With my wife in chains, my body full of holes, my life had to be the furthest thing from 'okay', but for the first time, Helen and I looked out at the same smoking wreckage. That filled me with a good feeling, one I could not readily identify:  Hope.

The same story from Helen's Point of View? Click here: "I'll Do Better
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