by Erin Zulkoski
Life in prison, without chance of parole. That’s the sentence she was given for killing her husband.
She sits on the too-thin cot of her jail cell, leaned forward with her elbows resting on her knees, her head bowed as she replays the incident over and over in her mind. She has a lot of time to think these days. What else is a woman to do with the rest of her life?
It was a Saturday, and started out like any other day. Her and her husband sat at the dining room table, eating a breakfast of waffles and sausage links. She was sipping coffee and reading the Lifestyle section of the newspaper, he was reading the real estate section. They were looking to buy a new house. Nothing fancy, but anything had to be better than this rental they were currently in.
She reached down to grab her fork, and stabbed a sausage link and brought it up to her mouth and took a bite.
“Wow, this is good sausage,” she said after she swallowed.
Her husband chuckled and piped up from behind the newspaper paper, “That’s what SHE said!”
She hated that expression, and she hated her husband for being so immature and uttering it. What was he, fifteen?
She felt herself become full of rage, but tried to quell the anger bubbling up inside her. She went back to her reading, and her sausage.
They ate and read in silence for a few minutes, then her husband said, “Honey, look at this house! It’s perfect!” He handed her the newspaper, and pointed to the house he was referring to. It was two-stories, attached three-car garage, and large front yard.
“That’s kind of big, isn’t it?”
“That’s what SHE said!” Her husband was laughing hysterically now.
She stared at him from across the table, her jaw clinched tight, her eyes narrowed, lips pursed tightly together.
He was still laughing, tears running down his cheeks, when she stood up the table abruptly, toppling her chair backwards. She marched into the kitchen, found the heavy cast iron skillet she had used to fry the sausage, and came back into the dining room.
Her husband stopped laughing and looked at her quizzically. “What are you doing with that?” he asked her.
“I’m going to pound some meat.” She replied coldly.
“That’s what SHE sa—“ but he couldn’t finish his sentence.
She said she was going to pound some meat, and that’s what she did.
In-between practicing throat rips and Swayze moves, Erin Zulkoski writes banter better than anyone. She’s a type of funny rarely encountered. She’s a fresh (and often gets fresh) treat for me to read and I know others think so as well. With so much serious and somber writing out there it’s a relief to get a laugh. That’s not to say her writing isn’t serious; it is. It’s the best kind of writing — funny, bittersweet, nostalgic. The kind you want to make out with and then call the morning after.