Pardon My Murder
by Norman A. Rubin
The neighbors were stunned as they watched a local resident being cuffed in manacles and directed to a waiting police vehicle. Homer Twistle, a meek little fellow in all his ways, had been charged with the brutal slaying of his wife Dorothea.
The curious people of the middle-class neighborhood tut-tutted among themselves as they watched the tragic scene unfold. All voiced disbelief: they regarded the Twistles as an adoring and devoted couple. The two were child-free, according to the whispered words, and lived their lives quietly.
“Such a peaceful man,” they exclaimed as they continued to look upon the scene near the Twistles’ modest home, which was now bordered with the yellow tape of a police crime scene.
“What on earth could have possessed Homer Twistle. Such a timid little man, ever so quiet in his ways,” gossiped a few housewives. The curious bystanders exclaimed in hushed, tense words: “Why oh why did he hurt his innocent wife Dorothea? Such a good woman, ever so helpful!”
* * *
Homer Twistle, a man nearing his fiftieth year of life, was indeed meek in his ways. He had an angelic face squeezed in inquisitive lines. The bald-headed figure was always seen in a slight, cringing posture as he walked through the neighborhood, a target for the playfully taunting children. Only when he was he behind the wheel of his Italian-made car did he feel strength in his body.
According to the police sheet, Homer Twistle was married to Dorothea, née Phipps, a union of twenty-six years. His wife was described as a woman slightly taller than her spouse, having a pleasant appearance and blessed with a slim figure. Her personality was noted as being that of a staunch woman set in her ways. The report didn’t record any serious offenses that concerned the law, or any marital problems between the two. Nor did it mention that she had her husband under her heavy-handed thumb.
According to the written confession of Homer Twistle, jealousy was the cause of his murderous act. For the past month or so, the good man had seen his wife wearing new pieces of expensive-looking jewelry. He noticed she wore the trinkets — be it a jeweled ring, a pearl necklace or well-crafted bracelet — after being out for a short time. Homer was too meek to question his wife about the source of the artifacts. But the questions revolved in his mind and turned into a source of jealousy.
Homer Twistle decided to play detective, albeit a poor one. His slipshod efforts were rewarded with a tongue-lashing from his wife for following her and a reprimand from his employers for tardiness. Still he persisted when the opportunity arose.
He found no answers, but the evil of jealousy grew in his mind. Slowly it evolved in his thoughts, repeating the suspicion that his wife was being squired by an unknown suitor. Horror blurted through his mind: “Could my dear Dorothea be unfaithful to me? Could she be bedding another man? Oh my, oh my, my Dorothea giving her body for love’s tokens,” he muttered in the anguish of his soul.
A few weeks before the nefarious deed, Homer Twistle saw a golden, jeweled pin on his wife’s blouse, an ornamental bracelet around her slim wrist, and a well crafted ring on one of her long fingers. All were new to him. Still, his fear of the wrath that he might receive from his wife prevented him from questioning her. Jealousy burned and raged through his soul.
A splatter of ink blurred the phrases on the page... Names of possible suitors ran through Homer’s mind. As he thought of a possible person, the question arose, “Could it be him?” Homer would end only with a shake of his head and the whispering answer, “No, no, oh my, my, not him.” Everyone known to him in his daily life was suspected: near neighbors, close acquaintances, shop clerks, even the postman. The more Homer Twistle thought, the more puzzled he became.
Life at home became a torment to Homer. The evening hours turned from a relaxed pose to one of constant, suspicious thought. He was unable to relax in his favorite armchair and concentrate on the daily newspaper. He looked upon his wife as a kept woman, unfaithful to the bonds of matrimony. But there were no signs of anguish written on his crease-lined face, only a question mark in his gray eyes. At intervals he would lower his tabloid and stare at his spouse, searching for an answer.
His direct staring with set, glaring eyes for days on end, finally irritated his wife. Anger enveloped her one evening, and she determined to stop his nerve-wracking staring then and there. Dorothea lowered her glasses, thumb-marked the page she was reading, and closed her book. “Homer, is there anything wrong?” she inquired in an impatient tone.
“No, no, my dearest, I was just admiring your lovely pin,” he blurted out. He paused and refrained from inquiring about the source.
“Pooh, go back to your newspaper, and stop that infernal looking at me. Your can be so irritating,” she answered curtly and returned to her book.
One fateful day, on a chance errand for his firm, Homer spotted his wife Dorothea in conversation with a presentable, middle-aged man. He watched her from near enough to identify her as the principal actress in the scene and yet from far enough to be spared words of remonstration.
But Homer was partially blinded by the glare of the sun. He didn’t see the chap’s faithful wife standing nearby in the shadow of a pillar. Homer’s stare was fixed on his wife Dorothea and the man he imagined was her paramour. Homer watched timidly and in anguish as they carried on a jovial conversation, but the words were muted and not understandable. His imagination ran rampant as he saw his wife touch the gentleman’s coat sleeve as the two parted.
“Ohh, my, ohh my, my, my “ he quietly moaned as he fled the imagined tryst. But if Homer had retained his vigilance, he would have noticed Dorothea in a second act of the drama, partnered in gossip with her friend, the man’s ever-loving spouse.
Homer left work in the early afternoon on the pretext of illness. His employer noticed that Homer looked pale and accepted the excuse. Homer was dismissed for the rest of the day with wishes for better health. However, Homer did not go directly home but paced aimlessly through the streets of the town. Damning thoughts flowed through his mind at he pictured his unfaithful wife, Dorothea, in the other man’s arms. Anguish muttered in his mind.
Finally Homer perked up and made his way to his parked auto. He couldn’t recall driving erratically to his modest home. The horn hooting of angry passing drivers kept him awake, and he was able to make his way without incident. He paused for a few moments in deep thought as he parked in the driveway to his modest dwelling. Then, with trepidation in his soul, he left the refuge of his vehicle and made his way furtively toward the front door leading to That Woman.
Homer’s shaking hand barely managed to open the lock, and his trembling arm opened and closed the door. His body quailed as he entered his erstwhile welcoming home. The commanding voice of Dorothea, echoing within its confines, snapped his reverie.
“Homer, Homer,” she screeched, “you’re home early. Anything wrong?”
He called backed hoarsely: “Sick, I am not feeling well!”
Dorothea replied a bit quietly, “I’m here in the sewing room. Come here and let me feel your brow and check if you have a temperature...”
“It’s nothing serious. I’ll just go to the bathroom and take a couple of aspirin.”
Homer trudged to the bathroom to satisfy the query of his wife. He searched through the toiletry cabinet. He rummaged through various containers and bottles without any specific thought or reason. Somehow his fingers encircled a small bottle of medicinal brandy. Homer removed the bottle from the cabinet, looked at its label and reached a decision. The misery of his soul forced him to open the container, and he swallowed timorously a bit of the liquid. The meek fellow was unaware that a drop of spirits within his blood would cause quick inebriation to his senses.
The timid mouse roared to a lion. On steady feet, brave Homer Twistle rushed towards the sewing room and the presence of that Jezebel.
Homer Twistle faced his astonished wife and shouted abusive words of harlotry at her.
Dorothea screamed at him that he was drunk.
The brandy dregs directing him, he spouted, “Jezebel! Harlot!!” He staggered on wobbly feet towards his Dorothea.
The frightened woman froze in her chair.
Then, without a pause, Homer grabbed the sewing scissors and in a maddened effort plunged them into his wife’s body.
She screamed hoarsely and fell from her seat to the floor.
In a moment of sanity, Homer saw the blood streaming onto the floor and slowly realized his horrendous act...
* * *
Homer Twistle signed his confession with a shaking hand, and then with a relieved sigh leaned back in his chair.
The police interrogator looked at him with pity, “All for some cheap jewelry bought in a five and dime.”
Copyright © 2006 by Norman A. Rubin