Amanda Webster started Making Merry
Michael Woods added his 200, and I’ve added my 200 here…
Merry took a last, long drag on her cigarette before flicking it out the window. The butt skittered across the pavement, throwing a shower of sparks across the street. Nash always nagged her to quit, but Merry had always been more afraid of living than she was of dying. Her breath hung in the chill night air over the steering wheel. She pulled a wad of Starbucks napkins from the center console and wiped the fog from inside the windshield so she could get a better look at the neat suburban ranch.
It was a duplicate of every other house on the block. If she was drunk, she might have gone to the wrong house. But she wasn’t and besides, she knew this house. She knew the dormant lilac bush that shouldn’t have been planted so close to the front door. She knew each straw covered rose bush by name.
Merry had left the envelope with the bail money under her sister’s pillow early that morning before leaving for work. She hoped Melody wouldn’t find it and spend it, not realizing what it was for.
The porch light flicked on. It switched off, then on again. Once. Twice. Thrice. It was time.
* * *
Merry switched the headlights off and drove slowly past the house. The streetlamps along this stretch of road were busted and anyone standing near a window would have to look hard to catch a glimpse of the vehicle as it cruised by. Forty dollars well spent, contributing to the delinquency of rock-throwing teens be damned.
After parallel parking between a Saab and a BMW, Merry slouched deeper into the seat, reached to adjust the rear-view mirror and watched the house. Within minutes of the flickering porch light, three men climbed from nearby cars and walked up the sidewalk toward the front door. Merry edged forward, staring hard into the mirror. Was the fourth man already inside? It didn’t matter. If everything went as planned, come morning she would either be in jail or dead.
She slipped back down into the seat, pulled a pack of Winstons and a lighter from her purse. Merry lipped a cigarette from the pack and lit up. She took a deep pull, certain it would be her last, and held it briefly before exhaling a thick plume of smoke out the window. Only minutes to go.
“So good to see you,” said Nash, aiming a pistol at Merry’s head.
“Wish I could say the same about you,” she replied, slowly scooting herself higher in her seat, the pistol following her head as it rose.
“When are you going to quit that kid’s habit?” he asked.
Merry took a drag and said “No time like the present.” She blew the smoke out hard in Nash’s face, while simultaneously flicking the half-smoked butt into his face. Sparks erupted as the orange-hot coal exploded between his eyes. Nash’s face twisted in grimace. His eyes clamped shut and he took a step backward. Merry pushed the car door open as hard as she could, smashing it into his knees. Nash fell to the ground, dropping his pistol. She got out of the driver’s seat and pulled her .38 snub nose revolver from her shoulder holster under her coat.
“You stupid bitch,” Nash said through gritted teeth, rubbing the ashes from his face. “What are you going to do now? Storm the house?” Nash chuckled, “Good luck with that.” He glanced around, found the pistol about an arm’s length away. He glanced up at her and began a sudden reach.
“Yea, that’s it big boy, go for it,” she said, pulling the hammer back on the pistol.