The Bleeding

Written by: John Heck

I flung my bloodied bathrobe onto a dusty mahogany bureau and roared: “Did we frighten
the scarecrows tonight, my love? Whose catch was it anyway? Yours or mine? We invited 10
guests to our dungeon this evening. Ten unfortunates who needed to be bled! Ten minus nine
equals one. Why does this one? Why does this last invalid remain? He’s your responsibility!” 

I apologize. You see, my wife and I like to play games. Clever games played without
civilized anecdotes. Virginia Woolf-esque games; ordinary puzzles not usually toyed with at
tight-lipped Connecticut Sunday social club gatherings. Scrabble? Clue? The Game of Life?
No. Monopoly. Excuse me, monopolize. "Where do we go from here, cupcake? The scheme of
ignorance is arguably apparent. You bait them with your soiled undies and I lure them in with
feigned smiles and gin-laden breath. That was our Holy Grail, pumpkin! Our pact. Yes? So
why are you deliberately side-stepping the strategy?” Martha was not amused. She coughed,
groped a crumpled Marlboro, slowly slugged down the dregs of her scotch and bellowed: “I know
the game, lovey! I shake the dice! Light my cigarette, lover. The disappointed usually do.” 

“So what? Hey, George…look, they burned, braised and boiled us. They lied. They deceived. 
One whore! One lawyer! One philanthropist! Two misogynists! They tried to destroy us, right?
Then what? WHAT? I married you. Sure, they all deserved the cleavers and the nooses and
the revenge. But, they needed the invite! It’s part of the game! My game! They were weak and
useless and expendable. Everyone's a LIAR! Everyday a little death?” We both stared at
each other with contempt. “I’m not liking this game anymore, buttercup; now make yourself
useful and pass me the ice bucket.” 

“And why isn’t the last one eating daisies, my love? The tall one. The sort of handsome
chap. Ten were invited in and indeed ten shall exit.” Martha silently poured herself
another scotch. She laughed wildly as she fumbled into the pocket of her bathrobe. 
“George…ten entered and ten will exit! That was our plan?” A single gunshot. One more. 
Martha spits and yawns. “You didn’t look at the clues, George. Did you fail to read the rules? 
One man’s whore is another woman’s philanthropist. Everyone’s a liar…like two peas in a pod. 
You skipped over the boundaries, George. I kept my promise. 
Ten entered. Ten exited. I never said who or how. It was my playground, George! 
It was always my charade! Clue? Game over, sweetheart. GAME OVER!”