Author: Shelly Jones
It had been easy to crush the pills, sprinkling them over his pasta like parmesan. She had been surprised how easy: that he hadn’t noticed, that she felt nothing as he nodded off after dinner, collapsing on the couch, eyelids heavy, muscles limp. Still, she hesitated, waiting an hour, watching him in silence, before standing over his supine body.
The emotional index indicator blinked on the metal chain around his neck. She reached down slowly, hands trembling, still afraid he might awaken. He had been angry before dinner, angrier than she had ever seen him.
“Whose handprints are these?” he had asked, pointing to a faded outline on the bedroom wall. She had been sorting laundry and was reluctant to look up, wary of his tone, knowing what would come next. “Did you hear me?” he growled.
“I guess it must be yours or mine,” she said quietly.
“Well it isn’t mine.”
“How did it get there?”
“How should I know? It could’ve been there for years. When have we ever washed the walls?” She swallowed her words, regretfully.
“I think you screwed someone against this wall,” he spat, the emotive necklace flashing red as his anger downloaded to its circuits. She had never seen the chip turn that shade of vermillion; it dazzled her momentarily, before the blow.
Standing over him now, she sighed, remembering other accusations: the profile picture on a dating website that wasn’t her; performing sexual favors in the car when she took too long shopping. She unclasped the chain, slipping the device away from him. She held his anger in her hand, felt its heat seer her skin as she crushed his emotional circuitry in her palm. Letting the weight of it drop to the floor, she turned to leave.