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Taste of Freedom
Harvey slept on the old checkered sofa where he dozed off each night while watching the ten o'clock news. Phyllis watched him. Disgusting, she thought. Every night it was the same routine, and every night she listened to Harvey snore while drool dripped from the corner of his mouth onto the cushions.
Phyllis studied him more closely, becoming more disgusted with her husband and the various odors that permeated the air around him. Halitosis. Flatulence.
Something in her psyche shifted. How could I have married such a vile creature? Tonight was a night of change. No longer would she, or could she, live with this drunken excuse for a man who cheated and treated her like a child. So while Harvey slept, Phyllis planned his demise.
It has to be clean. No blood, it stains. I can't have stains on my sofa. An idea presented itself. She tiptoed into the bedroom and slid Harvey's pillow off the bed. Maybe this will work. She crept up beside the couch, knelt down beside the snoring fool, and placed the pillow over his face. “Hold it. Come on Phyllis, be strong.” Harvey squirmed a bit, flailing his arms, so she straddled him, holding his arms down with her knees. The struggle didn't last long. He was too inebriated to continue fighting.
Slowly, she lifted the pillow. He wasn't moving. She felt his chest, it was still, but she had to be sure. “They use a mirror in the movies.” She mumbled to herself. Phyllis went down the hall into the bathroom and retrieved Harvey's shaving mirror. Holding it above his mouth and nose, it was certain, his wasn't breathing.
She danced around the living room. “I'm free. I'm free. The old drunkard is dead.” Suddenly, she stopped. “But how do I get rid of his body, and what will I tell everyone when they realize he's gone?”
She plopped down in the recliner, put her feet up, and dialed Harvey's mother. “Hello, Doris? This is Phyllis. Have you seen Harvey? No? Well, we had a fight this morning. Yeah, a doozey, and he threatened to leave me.” Phyllis turned on the fake tears. “I'm really worried he didn’t come home after work, so if you see him give me a call. Thanks hon. Bye.”
“Soon everyone will think the scum just up and left me. Lucky for me, I have a gossip for a mother-in-law.”
Phyllis drug Harvey's flaccid body to the bathroom and struggled to get him into the bathtub. “I'll cut him up in here and then dispose of his remains.”
She spent the entire night chopping, cutting, and placing body parts in trash bags, but as she worked, she said to herself, “What a shame to waste all this meat.”
After bagging the remains, she hauled them to the basement and put them in the deep freezer. She set Harvey's head in the refrigerator, so he could still keep track of how many times her fat ass, as he called it, went for a snack. It was the first time Harvey was ever at a loss for words.
Just before sunrise she crept out and started a fire in their backyard pit. Laughing, she threw his clothes, among other useless things, into the fire and watched them burn.
“I've been up all night,” she yawned, stretching as she walked down the hall to bed. As she lay there, she had a brilliant idea. She’d host her very first dinner party with Harvey as the guest of honor.
Phyllis slept a few hours before the ringing phone woke her.
“Hello. Hi Doris, I haven't heard from him either. I sure will. Okay, thanks for calling.”
“Time to plan my dinner party,” she said to herself. “Harvey never allowed me to have dinner parties, and now that he's gone, I can do whatever I please.” She called all her girlfriends and invited them to dinner that evening at eight.
She went to the basement and removed all the meat she was able to salvage from Harvey's bones, took it up to the kitchen, and boiled the fleshy chunks in a giant pot on the stove all day at a low temperature to seal in the tenderness. “A stew! Harvey, you’re going to make a great stew.” Patty rushed off to the market and picked up fresh carrots, peas, onions, garlic, and any other ingredients she thought might make a delicious Harvey stew.
That evening, Phyllis set an elegant table with candles, a frilly tablecloth with matching napkins, wine glasses and her best china. “I’ve never go to use you,” she said to the dinnerware as she placed in on the table. The guests arrived promptly at eight and all. Phyllis showed her guests to their seats.
Phyllis told the sad story of how Harvey just up and left her, and probably for that whore-of-a-waitress down at Sam's Bar. She pretended to be upset, and everyone smothered her with sympathy.
“Phyllis, this meat is so tender and has a sweet, but unusual flavor. What's your secret?” her friend, Glenda, asked.
“It's been marinating in bourbon for quite some time. Delicious isn't it?”
“Phyllis, do you have any more wine?” Donna asked. “Yes dear, there’s a bottle on the kitchen counter.”
Donna went into the kitchen to get the wine, but didn't see it. “Maybe it's being chilled” She mumbled to herself. She opened the refrigerator door, moved the mayo over to the right, and in the back of the fridge she saw Harvey’s lifeless eyes staring straight at her.
Phyllis stood up, cleared her throat, dabbed the corners of her mouth with a napkin, and politely excused herself from the table. She went into the kitchen where Donna stood in shock as she stared into the icebox. “Ph…Phyllis, you… didn’t…you couldn’t? I’m going to be sick.”
“Is everything okay in there?” A voice called from the dining room. “Yes, Donna was frightened by a big spider, but I’ll take care of it.”
“Okay, dear,” one guest called back. The girls continued to chatter and giggle in the next room.
While Donna was hunched over the kitchen sink, throwing up Harvey stew, Phyllis reached into the tool drawer, brought out a hammer and whacked Donna in the back of the head. Her body slumped to the floor.
Donna stared into Phyllis’ eyes, but she was unable to utter a sound. “Sorry dear,” Phyllis said,” “but, I finally got my taste of freedom, and no one is going to take it away from me.” Phyllis pulled her arm back with hammer in hand and silenced Donna with a final blow. Blood splattered the kitchen counter and pooled around Donna’s head.
Phyllis looked around. “Donna you’ve made such a mess. I won’t be inviting you to any more dinner parties.” Patty stepped over Donna and made her way into the dining room. “Who’s ready for dessert?”
“Phyllis, where’s Donna?”
“She suddenly had a splitting headache. I told her she could lie down in my guestroom. I’ll go get dessert.”
“Oh, let me help you dear.” Betsy rose from her chair.
Phyllis blocked the kitchen door. “No need Betsy, I can handle it.” She hurried into the kitchen trying to decide how to handle the situation. She bent down and shook her finger in Donna’s face. “You’ve ruined everything, now I…”
“Phyllis?” Betsy, Stella, and Doris stood in the doorway. “Who are you talking too?”
They walked around the counter and saw Donna lying on the floor. Betsy knelt down beside Phyllis. “Why did you kill her, dear?”
“She discovered my secret.”
“What’s that?” Stella asked.
“Harvey…He didn’t run off, I killed him, and he made a wonderful stew, didn’t he?”
Stella gasped. “Phyllis… you’re a genius. You had us all fooled. We felt so sorry for you.”
Phyllis smiled. “You mean, you’re not going to tell?”
“Not as long as you promise to share your recipe. How about you girls?” Stella turned to Betsy and Doris.
They both nodded in agreement.