Chapter 26: “We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.”


Nadine lay across the bed, draped in a pink robe and completely out of it, as usual. The alarm clock read 7:45 AM, and by then dawn had already broken. She slowly stirred, and then sat up. “God, I need a drink,” she muttered, sliding out of bed. Her knees buckled upon contact with the carpet, and she was barely able to stand up.

She collapsed at the family altar, which was near the flat-screen television. She picked herself up, just, and knelt down to pray. But all she really did was clasp her hands together and mumble something that was neither Italian nor English nor Latin nor any language of any significance whatsoever, and she made the sign of the cross like she didn’t really care.

At her bathroom sink, she opened a random bottle of mouthwash and downed a cupful of the contents. She stood there for a few minutes, hoping that something would kick in. But nothing happened. She looked down and realized that instead of the Listerine she thought that she took, she instead had swallowed a cupful of Rembrandt Alcohol-Free Dazzling Fresh. “Jesus Christ!” she screamed, tossing the white bottle into the trash can.

After a long shower, Nadine was halfway down the staircase when Joseph walked in. “Oh, Joseph, it’s you,” she replied, clutching the rail.

Joseph looked chipper and neater than his wife. “Did you have a good night’s sleep?” he asked.

“I suppose so,” she said, trying to keep a straight face. “How did it go with Melanie?”

“Fine. Dinner and dancing, but no nookie.”

“Right. I’ll get on with breakfast.”

Joseph walked over to escort Nadine, but she brushed him off. “I’ll be fine. By the by, who was the bitch that brought alcohol-free mouthwash into this household?”

Joseph shrugged. “I guess he-who-must-not-be-named must have left it.”

“Fucking bitch,” Nadine muttered.

A half-hour later, Nadine and Joseph were in their breakfast nook. His eyes were glued onto the National Post, and she was drinking coffee, with nary a bottle of booze in sight. Nadine usually added spirits to her brew, but this time, it was just low-calorie sweetener and non-dairy creamer.

“How’s your coffee?” Joseph asked.

“It’s been over a month since I began the morning with something other than alcohol. I don’t know why I did it now.”

“This must be one of your happier days,” Joseph chuckled. “Do you remember when you were pregnant with Charlotte?”

“Halcyon days, Joseph,” Nadine replied. “Back when the world was safe. Everything felt good and new and wonderful. It’s a pity that IT was alive at that point. I just cannot believe that he is still roaming the streets, and happy to boot.”

“I just cannot believe that we ever had the little runt to begin with,” Joseph said, nodding.

“He was unplanned, Joe. When we got married, we agreed to have a span of two years between kids. We had everything planned. But all it took was one bottle of Pinot Grigio too many at that fucking party Tatiana threw, and you know the rest.”

“Thank God that I came up with that crack about him being conceived in a sperm bank like Ryan and Charlotte.”

“One of your finest strokes, Joe.”

“Indeed. Still, my plan is going to change everything.”

“What plan?”

Joseph put down his paper. “Well, it’s not enough to get rid of him in one fell swoop, Dina. That would be too easy. No fun, no symbolism. Here’s what I envision: two Sundays from this upcoming one, we’re going to attack the very people that he loves the most.”

“What’s the date?”

“13th of December. Saint Lucia’s Day, the feast day of the patroness of the blind. They won’t see it coming. And it will shake up his world so bad, that he’s bound to die.”

Nadine put down her cup and squealed excitedly. “Oh, that’s GENIUS, Joseph!”

“I know,” Joseph responded confidently. “I haven’t worked out the details just yet, but I figure that we can work with your private eye.”

“Sure thing,” Nadine said, resuming her coffee. “I’m seeing him later tonight. After we fuck, I’ll discuss it with him.”

Joseph nodded, and the two continued with their breakfast rituals: Nadine with the coffee, and Joseph with the paper. A few minutes later, Nadine said, “Just one thing.”

“What?” Joseph looked up, worried.

Nadine walked over to the refrigerator. “Nicholas and Denise hate that boy’s guts, too. They’re still pissed about what went down at Ashley’s party. Why don’t we get them in on the fun?”

Joseph thought about it for a few moments, and then nodded in agreement. “Ashley was really upset. She was crying a storm after that monster left. She still hasn’t gotten over it, poor thing.”

“That bastard has ruined too many lives in this family,” Nadine said as she took out a chilled bottle of Grey Goose vodka. “He’s ruined my life, your life, Charlotte’s life, Nicholas’ life, Denise’s life, Ashley’s life, etc. The only way that any of us can get a good night’s sleep is if he’s removed from this earth once and for all. I love what you said about taking out his ‘loved ones’. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again.”

Nadine sat down and poured some of the vodka in her coffee. She drank it up, and said, “Now, THAT is how you start the day.”

Joseph chuckled. “You know why I married you, Nadine? We make a great team. We’re always on the same page. You’re a lot more intelligent than people give you credit for, you know.”

“I know. Besides, he has more suicide attempts under his belt than Princess Diana did. Eventually, something has to give.” Nadine leaned in toward her husband. “I haven’t felt this optimistic in years.”

“Who knows?” Joseph said. “Maybe we’ll be able to fuck each other for the first time.”

They looked at each other, and laughed.


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