Who’s Laughing Now

He stood over her body, bloody axe in his hand. The blood dripped from the blade landing on her cheek. Startled, she woke up. Her son said, “Mom come quick, there’s been an accident. I’m so sorry.” She didn’t have to time to adjust from groggy to awake. Jumping from the bed, she reached for her glasses and followed her son into the kitchen. Her heart and head pounding in synch. Her tiny silhouette lay motionless on the floor. It was a grotesque scene, blood splatters on the walls and floor.  It was too much to take in all at once. She turned to her son who was avoiding eye contact. “I’m so sorry, it was an accident”, he repeated it over and over. An accident? Spilling your cereal is an accident. She knelt down next to her daughter. As she did this, she noticed the blood had a strange, sweet smell. Touching her head wound, she knew it was fake. “What did you guys do”, she asked. The corpse broke out into laughter. The murderer doubled over with joy. “Ah, we got you good this time”, they both yelled. And they did, real good. But, she would have the last laugh. At least the kitchen would be spotless.

As the pranksters cleaned their crime scene, she decided to take the axe back to the shed. All this before she had a cup of coffee. She stood by her saying, “Kids are little idiots.” She meant it as a term of endearment but they never much cared for it. She reached the shed and unlocked the door. Ever so carefully, she put back the axe exactly where it belonged. “A place for everything and everything in its place” as her Mother used to say. She found some screws on the work bench and put those away, too. Kids or maybe it was her? She had been forgetting things lately. She opened the cabinet door and pulled out the whiskey bottle. Put it on the table and stared at it. Taking a seat on the stool, she grabbed the bottle. It had been 25 years since she took a drink. And today wouldn’t be the day she would break it. She just wanted to smell it. Unscrewing the cap, her memory went to her last drink.

The smell of whiskey and beer on his breath almost made her gag. She chugged back another sip of her beer. He could barely stand now. There he was with her. He had held her hand and brought her out into the woods. You know, so they could be alone. She went with him because she had had a crush on him for as long as she could remember. And he actually talked to her at the party. It didn’t matter that he was drunk. It didn’t matter that he had hickeys all over his neck from his super hot, but super stupid girlfriend. She wasn’t there. He kept reminding her of that fact. He asked her to sit on his lap and that’s when it got weird. Had she suddenly became so beautiful that he couldn’t resist? Nah, she was in the right place at the right time. Her best friend had been talking to him earlier. So, she knew she had said something to him. And it was okay. She meant well. She never would have talked to him on her own anyway. They talked about lots of things but mostly they talked about him. His favorite subject. Which was fine with her. She didn’t like to talk about herself very much. Not much to tell. When he put his hand in hers and said, “Let’s go for a walk”, she did. No questions asked. They took a blanket, a 6 pack and a bottle of whiskey and off they went.

The woods were dark and warm. They found a spot and laid the blanket down. He fell on top of her. They laughed. His face mere centimeters away from hers. He kissed her. She kissed him back. It was awkward, at first. But, then they got the hang of it. He kissed her neck and whispered in her ear in mumbled words something that she couldn’t understand. His hot breath in her ear made her uncomfortable. The kisses that were once gentle and sweet had turned into sloppy and not fun. She had enough. It was time to go back. She tried to push him off of her but he wouldn’t move. The harder she tried, the more he liked it. She told him she had to leave, go find her friends and head home. He said not until they finished what they started. It was finished. She had fun but now it was time to go. Still on top of her, he refused to get up. His muscular body that had once been the start of many of her fantasies was now a nightmare. She struggled and wriggled but he was like a mountain on her, crushing her. He ripped her top. Dammit, she thought, I just bought this shirt mother fucker. “Hey, what the hell are you doing? Get off of me. I want to go. And you’re paying for a new top.” He laughed and unzipped her shorts. She said, “Stop, I mean it. Please let me go.” He sat up, freeing her arms, and unzipped his pants. She grabbed for the whiskey bottle and held it in her hand. He took off his shirt. And she smashed the bottle on the side of his head. He stumbled off her and fell onto the blanket. He cried in pain but only for a second. She jumped up and ran.

Was she running towards the party or away from it? She didn’t care. She just ran. Tree branches were her enemy now, smacking her head, face and arms. She just kept running. He was yelling now. “It was a joke, you stupid bitch! But, now the joke’s on you when I find you. I’ll be the one laughing when I’m done with you!” Was he running after her? He had a bottle smashed into his head. He probably should get that looked at first, then come find me. But, clearly he was a fucking idiot. She stopped running to catch her breath and listen. She could hear someone coming. Good lord, he was a man on a mission, head wound and all. She crouched down and waited. She was sure he could hear her heart pounding. Maybe she did overreact? Maybe he would have let her go? Did it matter? Maybe he would have raped her? She wasn’t going to find out. The smell of whiskey still hung in the air. No, it was on her clothes and her hand was bleeding. Blood and whiskey, was that the name of a Country album? Well,  it should be. Her bladder begged to be emptied. The irony of the term ‘when nature calls’ was not lost on her. Was that irony? She was never sure. Fuck it, she thought and peed right there. In her shorts and everything.

Pretty sure she was safe now, she slowly walked through the woods. She finally reached a neighborhood. Not sure where she was. She walked into the street and felt safe. She turned the corner and saw the crowd. Someone saw her and they all turned around. “Here she comes.” People muttered and looked at their feet. The crowd slowly dispersed as she got closer. There he was, right in the middle of it all. His blonde hair crusty with blood, he looked so pathetic. And he was. He turned to face her, she wasn’t scared now. She walked right up to him and said, “You should get that looked at before more of your brain leaks out.” It was the best she could think of, her heart once again racing. He tried to say something but she stopped him by putting her hand to his mouth, making sure to smear some blood on his face. “What? It was just a joke”, she said. “Can’t anyone take a joke anymore? I laughed my ass off all night. Didn’t you?”

She kept walking and heard him say, “I’ll have the last laugh.” And with that, she flipped him off, never looking back. She never saw him again. Physically, but mentally she saw him all the time. That night changed her. A secret she kept all to herself. It took some time but she was able to trust and love again. And laugh. Live a normal life, quote unquote. And here she was, holding a bottle of whiskey and reminiscing. She put the cap back on the bottle, put it back in the drawer and got up to go back to the house. She remembered the little prank she left for the kids, the rubber band on the sink sprayer and their frozen breakfasts in the freezer. Cereal and juice. It was going to be hilarious. Better hurry back to the house, she thought. Don’t want to miss any of it.

She heard someone in the doorway and turned to see who it was. Expecting to see her son or daughter, she was startled when she saw a man there. He said, “Remember me? I’m here for the last laugh.” She did remember him and reached for her trusty axe. Never thought this day would come but here they were, 2 comedians refusing to let the joke die.


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