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Dead On

By Colin Milroy All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Thriller

Dead On

“Do these look too trashy?” she asked.

“No,” he said without even glancing up from the sports section.

“You didn’t even look. Tell me your honest opinion.”

I would rather be high on acid in Florida with someone eating my face off, he thought.

“Honey, your shoes look fine,” he said. “They look sexy.”

“I don’t want to look sexy,” she said. “It’s a funeral.”

“Well, Diana, you wanted my honest opinion.”

“I’m putting on flats,” Diana said with more than a hint of disgust.

“Okay, fine. Let’s go,” he said, grabbing his keys and his phone from the entryway table. They headed out the door.

“I’m hungry,” he said. “Let’s grab something from the drive thru on the way.”

She stared at him. “How can you think of food at a time like this? We're going to be late.”

He'll still be dead no matter when we get there, he thought.

He put on his most placating smile and said, “I'm hungry. I'll be quick.”

He never liked her brother anyway. No way he was seeing him buried on an empty stomach. He'd just polished off the double cheeseburger and fries as they pulled into the funeral home parking lot.

He gave himself a quick once-over in the rear view mirror. This is it, he thought. It was time to put on the performance of his life.

“Honey,” he said, leaning across the seat, “I am really sorry about Dan. I didn’t mean to be insensitive. This has been hard for us and sometimes I just don’t know how to act.”

“Oh darling, I know that,” she said, big tears brimming in her big blue eyes. “You and Dan were getting to be such good friends. How could this have happened? He was so young!”

“I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways,” he said.

"Oh shut up," she snapped. "You don’t believe in any if that stuff."

The first person they saw as they walked in was Dan's wife, Lori. She looked at Diana and said, “What the hell is he doing here?”

“Just paying our respects,” he said.

“You have some nerve coming here. How dare you!” Lori shouted through trembling lips. Diana put an arm on Lori's shoulder. They walked off together as Lori sobbed and snarled, “Murderer!”

He made his way through the long line to Dan's casket. No one ever looks good embalmed, he thought as he looked down on his former brother in-law. What a terrible last impression to leave your loved ones.

“Shame, isn’t it?” said a man behind him.

He turned.

“Hello, Detective O’Brien.” He hadn’t even noticed him in the line. “Anything new on Dan's death?”

“The trail’s cold,” O’Brien said, narrowing his eyes. “With Dan gone, that leaves his sister, your wife, as the sole heir to the family fortune. If something happened to her, something ‘accidental’ like what happened to her brother, would that leave you next in line?”

“We needn't worry about that. I’m sure nothing will happen to my wife. In fact, I’m going to go find her. Good day, detective.”

As we walked away from O’Brien, he smiled. The performance was over.

And he had killed.

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