by Gary R. Hoffman
We thought it would be fun to share a couple of Fourth of July related mystery short stories this week! :4th of July Trip! Canceled!” by Gary R. Hoffman is the first of those and was first published in 2006 under a different title in ezine A Mouthful of Bullets.
Ray Banks returned to his home in suburban St. Louis after attending two days of sales meetings in New York. “Beth, I’m home.”
“In the kitchen, Ray.”
He walked up behind her, put his arms around her waist, and kissed her on the neck. “Good to be home.”
“Hey, I’m really glad to see you’re home. I’m really excited about this 4th of July trip. That’s all I’ve thought about all day. I bought a really sexy swimming suit.”
“Supper’ll be ready in a few minutes, and then we can take off.”
“Yeah, we’ll do that. And a home cooked meal sounds great.” Beth smiled.
When he finished eating, he pushed his chair back and lit a cigarette. His cell phone rang. “Not again,” Beth said with a sigh.
“Hi, baby, I missed you.”
“Oh, hello, Mr. Anderson.” Ray looked at Beth and rolled his eyes. “Yes, it was a good trip.” As soon as she heard the name “Mr. Anderson,” Beth started listening with interest to the conversation. She went to the counter, took something from a drawer, and covered it with a towel.
“Can you get out tonight? I’ll make it worth your while.”
“I’m sure my wife will understand, Mr. Anderson.” He looked at Beth for her approval. He got none.
“Great. I’ll be waiting for you at our usual place. Hurry up. I’m can’t wait to see you!”
“Yes, Mr. Anderson, I can come down to the office right away.”
“Bye, baby. And you’re gonna see some early fireworks.”
“Ok, Mr. Anderson. I’m on my way.” He flipped his phone shut and looked at his wife. “Sorry. He wants me to come down right away to give him a report.”
She felt something was going on with Ray lately, but up until now could never prove it. “He calls at all the wrong times. We’re not gonna get to go to the lake are we?”
“Maybe. We’ll just wait and see what he wants me to do over the weekend.”
Or what “she” wants you to do over the weekend, thought Beth.
Ray walked to a chair where he put his briefcase. He picked it up and walked over to Beth. He bent down and kissed her cheek. “I’ll be back as quick as I can,” he said and headed for the door.
Beth took the gun from under the towel. Before he got the door open, he heard an unfamiliar noise. He turned back towards Beth. She was still sitting at the table, holding his .44 Magnum Smith and Wesson cocked and pointed at him. “Beth, what the hell are you doing?”
“Just as a point of order, Raymond, a rep from your office called this morning. I was gonna wait until after the trip to tell you, but Mr. Anderson had a heart attack last night. He died.”
Ray heard the explosion and saw the smoke. He was dead long before Beth put the other five slugs into his body.