FOUR – A SHORT TRIP TO HELL
Tamara Kaber stood on the stool and tested the strength of the rope one last time.
She didn’t want anything to go wrong. No messy half-assed attempts followed by a long stay in a hospital or institution. Certainly nothing that would leave her alive and vegetating—or, worse, suffering.
One thing Tammy couldn’t stand was to suffer. Even if she’d become rather good at it over the years.
Yes, the times with her philandering husband Jimmy had been difficult, but at least—in the end—he’d been there. All except the last time: the time that rude detective woman had found him dead in some sleazy motel, his body wrapped obscenely around that harlot from the typing pool.
Tamara couldn’t even remember the slut’s name. She didn’t care who the bitch was, only that she’d somehow, impossibly, taken Jimmy from her with dread finality.
And though he’d died three months ago, the police had never been able to give Tammy a satisfactory answer as to how it had happened.
Not that she cared. It wasn’t important how Jimmy and the slut had managed to flay each other to pieces while engaging in some sort of depraved sexual gratification. All that mattered was that Jimmy was gone.
And Tammy missed him.
She reached up and tugged on the rope hanging from the rafters.
Of course, her “friends” hadn’t been any help. They say you never know who your friends are until you really need them. After Jimmy’s demise, Tammy had found out she didn’t actually have any friends, just people who needed favors from her late husband. Even the counselor she’d seen since Jimmy’s death had been nothing but an overpaid crock of shit.
She wished she could pay them all back somehow, that she could get even with everyone who’d ever let her down. But lacking either the imagination or the courage to do anything else, she’d been forced to fall back on her most reliable weapon: guilt.
She tugged on the rope again, just to make sure, before slipping the noose around her neck.
They’d be sorry when she’d gone. They’d realize how much they really missed her. Almost as much as she missed Jimmy—the rat.
I won’t cry, she told herself. I’m not going to cry.
She’d spent the better part of the afternoon working on her makeup, and she didn’t want to ruin it now. She wanted to look her best when they found her—the way Jimmy liked her to look.
She’d be seeing him soon, she knew—though she wasn’t sure where.
Tammy knew that what she planned to do was a sin. Maybe she’d go to Hell for it. But then, adultery was a sin, too. She figured either God would forgive both her and Jimmy, or he’d condemn them both. Either way, they’d be together for all eternity.
Tammy just hoped that the other slut, whoever she’d been, didn’t end up in the same place.
Tammy had enough trouble competing for men during her life, even for Jimmy while they were married. She didn’t think she could stand competing for him in the afterlife, too.
The thought caused a moment of panic in her heart, and her toe slipped on the stool.
Not now, she thought. I wanted to pray, first!
But it was too late. The stool tottered out from underneath her and clattered noisily to the linoleum floor of the kitchen.
It happened slowly; far more slowly than Tammy had hoped.
There was no sudden jerk. No quick snapping of her neck, followed by oblivion.
Instead, she dangled at the end of the rope, feeling her life slip away.
She brought her hands to her neck, but couldn’t find the strength to pull herself up, or slip free of the noose. She kicked her legs wildly, though it did no good. One of her carefully-chosen shoes slipped off, bounced once, and skidded across the smooth floor.
Her tongue jutted out of her mouth as she gurgled and choked, the sound painfully loud in her ears. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t pull her tongue back in.
Panic began to consume her. She must look hideous and absurd! This wasn’t the way she wanted to go. She wanted a way that would say ‘dignity’ and ‘class’ to those she left behind. A death that would convince her so-called friends that they’d treated her badly. A death that would make them sorry for what they’d done.
She didn’t want to meet Jimmy at the pearly gates looking like this.
This was not what she’d planned.
As the darkness closed in around her, she felt her bowels and bladder let go.
Tammy wished to God that she’d cut her wrists instead.