"What were you saying?" Anne asked from a slumped position in the chaise lounge next to the fireplace, staring up at the vaulted ceiling.
Oh, Anne. She was young, beautiful, and married wealthy, even though she had her own money. Any amount of money was never enough. Life as a socialite in the early 1920s was a bore if you weren't at a party. So, Anne dreaded the times in between parties. Times when she could sit by the glazed marble fireplace and read a book, but she hated books and reading, for that matter. She'd just wait for the next party. The most entertainment she could get during these times of boredom were stories her maid, Cora, brought home from her errands.
Oh, Cora. She was twice Anne's age, with half the looks, but twice the intelligence. A modest estimation on the last bit, if you were to ask Cora. She was the most coveted maid in town and somehow Anne had scooped her up when Cora's previous employer passed away last year. The previous employer had been a woman of means, but also had a love for stimulating conversation and her weekly book club.
The two women had been in a comfortable silence for several minutes, so when Anne spoke, Cora gave a jolt, physically startled. She set down the dress she was mending in her lap, holding in place the last stitch between her thumb and index finger.
"Yes, ma'am," Cora began, rather uninterested, "she told me he was dead, cold as a fish, when they found him. The police have no idea how he died. They say it was foul play, though."
A creak of the heavy wooden door, that was the only in and out of the living room, announced Anne's husband.
"I'm going to my poker game, sweetheart," said the husband's floating head, his body covered by the oak door.
"Oh—" Anne squeaked.
The door shut; floating head gone.
Anne snapped her head back to Cora with a sharp intake of breath.
Oh, she's gearing up, thought Cora. She put a pin in her work. Literally.
"Why does he play poker anyways?" Anne huffed, "He never wins, and I always end up going another week without buying a new dress."
And queue, thought Cora. Anne stood abruptly, the leather chaise lounge scooting back a couple inches. There're four more scratches in the floor I'll need to fix, Cora rolled her eyes.
Anne began pacing, the heels of her rhinestone encrusted t-straps glinting off the fire. "Look at this. Look at my dress. Marie could tell right away it was last season. She embarrassed me terribly and it's all his fault. There was a blue one that looked so lovely. Not to mention the yellow. You know I can hardly pull off yellow, but that one was perfect. Poof! Gone! Someone else got it and now I can't wear it. What if we ran into each other? I couldn't be caught wearing the same dress as someone else! What if she was poor? Or worse a lawyer's wife. If he keeps losing money like this, I don't know what I'll do. I tell you, I just don't know what. What good is being rich if you can't keep your money long enough to stay rich!"
Anne had paused her pacing. She snapped her hands up to her waist and tapped her shiny shoe in Cora's direction, demanding affirmation.
Lucky Cora didn't get a chance to make something up, like sympathy. John, the strutting driver, breezed through the door, no doubt singing Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues" in his head from the rhythm of his gait. John wasn't very smart and he didn't work very hard. The most he had going for him was his passable resemblance to Rudolph Valentino. All the other maids in the neighborhood swooned over him, but Cora couldn't see past ignorance and arrogance.
Anne swished around to face him instead of Cora. "Why aren't you taking my husband to his poker game!" Anne yelled, without pretense.
John froze mid-step. Cora could almost hear the screeching halt on the Mamie Smith record. "He wanted to walk, ma'am," John explained, grinning and clasping his hands behind his back.
YOU ARE READING
Planning a Murder - A Short StoryHumor
It's 1921 and prohibition is in full swing. Anne is young, rich, and lazy. All she wants is a glass of wine. Her husband is barely around. Anne's maid, Cora, is bright, cynical, and quick witted. John is an obnoxious upstart who is blatantly in love...