Henry and the Umbrella
by R. Jill Fink
There was no real reason for Henry Worthington to have stepped off of the A-line train where he did. He looked around, found the escalator to the world above, and started toward the base of it. He had, for another unknown reason, brought along his umbrella today. Was there rain in the forecast? Had he watched the forecast?
Disjointed thoughts whirled about in his head while he absently gripped the rubber hand rail. Where was he going? He should be arriving at his office by now. An insurance office. Yes, Gramling and Hamill. No. Gramling and Henneford. Today was his twenty-fifth anniversary at work.
The sunlight poured into the landing above the subway, and Henry blinked as his gray eyes adjusted to the brightness. Sunny. The umbrella troubled his mind again. The street was noisy and quite busy. Henry paused for only a second, then finding a small break, he stepped into the crowd. He was immediately incorporated into a current of businessmen, construction workers, young people in baggy clothes, and classy women in high heels. Most of them were carrying briefcases, messenger bags, or blueprints. Henry fit right in because his suit and tie were impeccable.
Glancing down at his right hand, he saw his own briefcase bobbing along in time to his quick pace. In the other hand, the tip of the umbrella glinted in the sun. Events of the morning slowly started coming back to him as the throng carried him along the sidewalk. He had, indeed, watched the forecast. But the weatherman had not called for rain. He had put on his socks and shoes, grabbed his umbrella from the stand in the hallway, and returned to the kitchen. At the sink, his wife stood with her back to him. She had been laughing. No. She was sobbing. His beautiful wife Alysson was smart and devoted. No. Dishonest. She had been having an affair with a friend. No. Her boss. She had finally confessed to him this morning over their usual eggs and toast. She was going to leave him, and he couldn't stop her. She was “finally in love”. Henry was devastated.
He felt bad and had gone back to forgive and comfort her. No. He had reached up with his left hand and violently stabbed her with the tip of the umbrella. He felt the resistance of her clothing, then her skin, then muscle fiber all in one swift motion. She tried to scream, but the air in her left lung had disappeared and the umbrella had punctured her heart. Henry had reached around her with his right hand, covering her mouth and nose. He held her that way until her arms dropped to her sides.
He had let go of her mouth, then pulled the umbrella out from between her ribs. After straightening his tie, he had gone back to the foyer for his briefcase. He was going to be late for work.
Jill is a native Floridian now happily living in Atlanta. A writer of haiku, fiction, and poetry, she is also a cat enthusiast, a glass artist, a painter, sculptor and general all-around Renaissance woman. She can rebuild your carburetor, install your koi pond, redecorate your den and bake a mean lime chiffon cake. You can find her at http://my.opera.com/rjfink/blog/.