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?”

Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: The Man Without a Conscience

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. So pop some popcorn and give yourself a treat. This week’s movie is “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999).

Some movies are good when you first see them. You enjoy them. The second time around they are not as good. The third and fourth time you see them you get to the point that you can’t stand them. “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999) is not one of those kinds of movies.

It is the kind of movie that starts off just okay. With each showing it gets better and better and better. I’ve seen “The Talented Mr. Ripley” five, six times at least.

Tom Ripley is dissatisfied. Tom Ripley would prefer to be anybody else. You see, Tom Ripley doesn’t like Tom Ripley’s life. He doesn’t like Tom Ripley. He would do anything to get out of Tom Ripley’s skin.

One day Ripley gets his opportunity. A rich businessman offers him an all-expenses-paid round trip to Italy. Ripley’s mission: to get the man’s son, Dickie, to return home to the United States.

Once in Italy, Tom Ripley discovers that he likes Dickie’s life. Dickie has it all: a boat, clothes, a villa, a woman who loves him. Ripley wants that life. Ripley doesn’t want to be just anybody. Ripley wants to be Dickie. He’ll do anything to be Dickie. And soon Ripley will be Dickie.

There’s only one problem. Dickie’s girlfriend and the police are not about to let Tom be Dickie.

Is there a villain you think would make a great hero?

Hamlet and the Ten Reasons

“This is the short and the long of it”. -Merry Wives of Windsor Act 2, Scene 2..

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Act 1. Scene 5 (Continued).

Ten Reasons for Hamlet to Take-out Claudius

1. Claudius did Dad in.

2. Claudius is doing Mom.

3. Claudius is out to do the Hamster in.

4. Claudius is out-acting Hamlet.

5. Claudius is a drunk. That is a polite way of saying that Claudius is an alcoholic.

6. Taking Claudius out would prove that the Hamster is really, and truly, Big Man on Campus.

7. Claudius stole Hamlet’s crown.

8. Claudius couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag. And Young Fortinbras is about to prove it.

9. Behind Claudius’ smile is a mean s.o.b.

10. And Claudius is Claudius.

Can you Readers think of any other reasons Hamlet should kill the big guy?.

 Ten Reasons for Hamlet to Not Take-out Claudius

1. Claudius did Dad in. But that was okay. Dad did his dad in too.

2. Claudius is doing Mom. And Mom is loving it.

3. If Claudius is out to do the Hamster in, he has a funny way of showing it. He gives Hamlet a round trip ticket to England.

4. Claudius is out-acting Hamlet. Hamlet could use a few tips from a better actor.

5. Okay, Claudius drinks a lot. He’s a real party guy.

6. Not taking Claudius out would prove that the Hamster is really a forgiving kind of dude. Ain’t that the Christian thing to do?

7. Claudius didn’t steal Hamlet’s crown. He just borrowed it for a while.

8. Claudius couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag. But he sure is smarter than any Fortinbras and he’s about to prove it.

9. Behind Claudius’ smile is a mean s.o.b. Would you expect less from a king?

10. And Claudius is Claudius.

Can you Readers think of any other reasons Hamlet should not kill the big guy?.

Hamlet and the Scene of the Crime(s)

All that glistens is not gold. Merchant of Venice Act 2. Scene 7.

Hamlet’s world is no sunny Italy. It is nary the world of color and flowers and sun. Nor is it the lands of comedy and romance and song and spring, glorious spring. Hamlet’s world is the world of snow and ice. It is the north. A north that calls to mind the bleakness of the films of Ingmar Bergman. It is the dark, brooding landscape of Elsinore, home to the Danish King.

It’s a castle, this Elsinore. A great stone castle. Three of its walls face the sea, guarding against an invasion by sea. Across the Oresund Strait faces Sweden. Just down the way Norway threatens.

It is a castle, this Elsinore. Not a palace but a castle. If it were a palace, it would be luxurious and designed for comfort and showing off. No, it is a castle which makes it a fort that can be easily defended against the young Fortinbras, better known as Norway.

It is a castle, this Elsinore where six murders are executed. A great stone castle. The home of a king of Denmark. Though it must be a medieval fortress, it is also a home.

Think about your home. How comfortable you are there, comfortable to be yourself. If you were a king lodged in a fortress-like castle, you would have tapestries hung on the cold stone walls. Tapestries of the history of your family’s battles, a history of the great kings of the past. Maybe a tapestry of the latest defeat of a Fortinbras some years back.

In each room of this great stone castle is a large fireplace, the fires roaring to keep the cold winters at bay. In every room, there are bear hides laid out on the floor for warmth. Just to let the folks know what a badass the king is, there are spears, swords and armor everywhere.

In the great hall sits the throne of the king. Not a throne of stone with jewels carved into it to prove how wealthy the kingdom. It is a large wooden seat of governance where the ruler sits to do the kingdom’s business.

Though this Elsinore is a castle, it is comfortable enough for a king. But no one, not even a king, can be himself here. For this is a place where everything is political. Here Machiavellian things occur. This is a castle where kings and princes, queens and daughters, fathers and sons become corpses.