The Wednesday Afternoon Club

The four women met once a month on the first Wednesday for ten years. They sat in a circle on the wooden floor in a little shack by a lake. It was quiet outside, only the lapping of the water. A few birds sang their hearts out, celebrating spring. They were talking about their husbands. Or at least one husband. Dora’s.

“Let’s just get it over with,” Alice said.

“Now hold on,” Dora came back. “We don’t want to rush this. We have to be careful not to make a mistake.”

Each of the four women wore black. Black shoes, black pants, black blouse. And no jewelry.

“I hate this,” Maxi said.

“We all hate this,” Carol said.

“Yes,” Alice said. “We all hate this. But we have to do it. It’s what we do. So let’s get on with it.”

The others agreed. Each time the four met, they picked a husband to do a murder on. It was a game that ran all the way back to the first time they met. It would be more fun than just gossiping.

They never actually did the murder. Something always came up. Maxi might say, “It was Tuesday, and you know how Tuesdays are.” The others would shake their heads in agreement.

Or Carol might say, “I planned it for Friday and he brought me a dozen roses. How could I kill him on a day he brought me roses?”

The excuses were just as infinite as were the methods used for the crime.

“Are we sure Dora will do it this time?” Maxi was the oldest. Her hair was gray, almost white. She looked over at Alice.

“I was there when the police came,” Dora said, affirming what the other three already knew.

“Yes,” Maxi offered. “I saw them take Mrs. Sullivan away in the police car.”

“But it really wasn’t her fault,” Dora continued. “Her husband drove her to it.”

“Good riddance, I say,” Carol pointed out the obvious.

“The only question is how do we do it.” Maxi straightened her pants. “We know who. We just don’t know how.”

Usually the who was obvious. It was always the what. They had to do it without getting caught. Sometimes that was hard. Very hard.

Late in the afternoon, Dora walked through her front door. There was Jack with his head buried in the newspaper.

“Hello, Dear,” he said without looking up.

Dora leaned over and kissed the top of Jack’s head.

“Did you have a good time?” he mumbled, absent-mindedly reading his paper.

“Yes, Dear.” Dora sat down across from her husband. She slipped off her shoes. “We did. We discussed how I was going to murder you. We decided poison would be best.”

“That’s nice. What’s for supper?”

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