“Doug! Bring me my dinner!”
From inside the kitchen Bernice could hear Doug moving around pots and pans. “I’m hurrying. I’m sorry, Aunt Bernice. The time got away from me.”
Bernice straightened her silk house dress, and rocked in her favorite mahogany chair. She yelled back. “I bet you don’t forget how much money I have!” Bernice thought to herself. He thinks he’s in my will, ha! I never heard a word from Doug until he lost his job. Now he can’t do enough for me. They’re all the same, bloodsuckers every single one.
Doug brought in the dinner tray to Bernice. “Doug, why would I eat in my rocking chair? Put it over there on the table near the television, and put on the news or something. You know I hate eating in silence.”
Doug bowed his head “Yes ma’am.”
Bernice stood up and made her way to the small table sitting against the wall of her family room. “Doug, quit being so silly. You’re not a servant. If you think acting like one will get you a bigger inheritance, don’t waste your time.”
Bernice sat down, and Doug turned on the local news. The anchor woman’s face covered the wall in the eighty-inch flat screen. Bernice didn’t really watch television, but she hated the silence even more. Taking a bite of filet, she gazed around the room. She would trade her Tiffany dishes, leather couches, mahogany chairs, and teak wood flooring for one more day with her late John. How she missed her husband. He had left her a rich widow, but she would rather be his poor wife.
Doug walked back in from the kitchen. “If you don’t need anything now, I will go ahead and eat.”
“I’m fine.” Bernice pointed at the empty chair across from her. “Why don’t you join me?”
Doug attempted to look surprise. “Who me? No ma’am. I am your humble servant. I’ll gladly eat in the kitchen. If you need anything just holler, and I will bring it straight to you.”
“Suit yourself, but I see through your game. I will say I’m impressed you’ve been able to keep it up for six months.”
Doug bowed his head. “Maybe this isn’t a game.”
Bernice glared at him. “Indeed, it’s not.”
Doug turned to leave, but then turned back. “Maybe if you weren’t such a bitter woman more people would be interested in something more than your money.”
Bernice slammed down her silverware. “You have some nerve, young man! How dare you come in here and tell me how I should act. Who do you think you are?!”
Doug turned and left the room without answering her question. Bernice’s chest tightened as she thought. Maybe I am a bitter woman, I have every right to be. No children, no husband, and all our real friends either died or moved. I have nobody who looks in on me except a greedy nephew. Her chest got tighter and she worked to pull in air to her lungs. I just need to calm down. Easy Bernice, at least John didn’t leave you destitute. It was no use; her chest began to hurt and she couldn’t breathe.
The room became pear-shaped, and begin spin. Bernice fell off her chair and on to the floor. She could not tell which was up. Doug seemed to appear out of nowhere. He was standing over her, or was he beside her, maybe beneath. “Can you hear me Aunt Bernice?”
Bernice gasped, “Doug, I need help. I can’t” the air would not push through.
Doug laughed, “You poor woman. I told you I would take care of you. Now you will be with John. No need to thank me. Your millions will be thanks enough.”
Murder, how? The food. Doug was nothing if not obvious. Bernice smiled.
“That’s right old lady, feel better, it won’t be long now.” Doug put a pillow under her head.
Bernice’s smile grew larger. She wanted to laugh, but could not push past the vice upon her chest. Doug studied her for a moment. “Wait, you aren’t happy. You’re trying to laugh.” He grabbed her by the front of her dress. “Why are you laughing? What’s so funny? You’re almost dead, what’s so funny?!”
Bernice answered with her last breath. “Gave it all to orphans.”