VICKY AND WALTER

Vicky was a buxom, opinionated girl with electric yellow finger nails. Her hair was a fine pile of tightly woven snakes. Walter was a foot shorter than Vicky. He had a moustache and his glasses were heavy and he adjusted them a lot. They were driving together through the Chuggadingle countryside in a tubby 1948 Italian convertible. Vicky was at the wheel. Her bare foot pressed the gas pedal in completely. They zipped and twisted dangerously fast. Walter tried to keep his wits in tact. He clutched the sides of his seat.

"This will be a fine picnic," Vicky said calmly.

Walter was scared shitless. His eyes were stretched open and he mouthed the words, "Jesus Christ" over and over.

"I said... this will be a fine picnic. Don't you agree, Walter?" Vicky repeated, slightly irritated this time.

"What?" said Walter.

Vicky looked at him and frowned with disarming elegance.

"Does my driving bother you?" asked Vicky.

"Watch the road!" said Walter.

Vicky continued to study Walter's expression while he frantically pointed at the road and insisted that she return her attention to it. But to Vicky, the world was a quiet place and she was amused by Walter's pantomime.

She began to veer outside of her lane as an uncompromising milk truck approached at a steady clip. Walter squealed. Vicky turned away in time, and they proceeded at the same uneasy speed through the musty, musty, musty countryside.

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Lake Dingitydong spread out stark on the horizon. They got closer and slowed down and found a place to park in a gravel lot divided by short wooden posts strung together with rope. The mechanical clanging of the car stopped and the air was calm again. Walter looked rattled. His hands were shaking. Vicky was already in the grass surveying the place and dropping blankets and picnic stuff that she removed from the back seat while Walter pulled himself together.

"C'mon Walter! I found a good spot!" Vicky hollered.

Walter reluctantly removed himself from the car. He tripped and rolled wildly down a rocky hill where Vicky was uncorking a bottle of wine.

"Stop horsing around, Walter."

His arms and legs were bleeding from the tumble. He asked Vicky for a handkerchief and perhaps some iodine, but to Vicky, the world was a quiet place and she was amused by Walter's pantomime.

Vicky poured some wine for Walter. She took a long swig from the bottle before pouring some for herself. She told Walter to hurry up and finish his drink as she wiggled out of her clothes and ran to the edge of the lake. Walter obeyed. At least the water would clean his cuts, he figured.

They swam and splashed and Vicky dunked Walter's head in the water while his hands flailed helplessly above the surface. He came up gasping for air. Vicky hurried out of the water. Walter followed her and they dried off and settled down.

Vicky laid out some woodchuck sandwiches and Walter reached for one. She slapped his hand and told him to wait.

"That stings!" said Walter as he pulled back his hand and rubbed it resentfully.

Vicky finished spreading out the food and said,

"Don't get grabby. We'll eat when I say."

That was the last straw. It had been three long years of abuse from that woman. He recalled a dinner party last summer when Vicky made him look like a fool in the company of very close friends. A man should have a say, godammit. A real man should govern the ebb and flow of a relationship. Yes, Vicky was a stunning beauty, and most men could only dream of knowing her intimately, but it was precisely this fact that distracted Walter and kept him from asserting himself and changing things. He was tired of being controlled.

Walter stood up quickly and pushed the sturdy girl over-- a task he somehow made look easy. He took a small pistol from his breast pocket and pressed it against Vicky's stomach. He squeezed the trigger three times. The shots were deafening, but to Vicky, the world was a quiet place and she was amused by Walter's pantomime. Walter stumbled backward in horror.

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