Another selection for our Humor Meets Horror Month.  And this is creepy – Donna. 


Chester reached behind him, smiling the whole time.

By: Swaminathan

“I bought these for you,” he said, pulling the bouquet of flowers out of hiding and holding them out to the woman in front of him.

“Ugh. Daisies? What, were they out of dandelions?” The young woman turned and threw the cellophane wrapped flowers on the kitchen counter. One limp strand of her blonde stringy hair brushed over the cellophane, making a sound like a sigh. She smelled like cigarette smoke.

“Don’t you want to at least put those in water?”

“Why would I even put forth the effort of keeping them alive? They look like weeds. Did you even look at them or just grab the first thing you saw?”

Chester glanced at the small bouquet. “I thought I overheard you telling someone on the phone that you wish someone would give you flowers more often. And when did you start smoking again? You know I despise smoking.”

“Well, I despise daisies. AND eavesdroppers.”

Beth opened the liquor cabinet and grabbed a bottle without looking at it. She unscrewed the top and sloshed it into the ever present tumbler on the counter.

He watched her take a huge swallow. “I wasn’t eavesdropping, I overheard. For Chrissake, I was sitting on the couch two feet from you when you said it.”

She pointed at him with the only finger not wrapped around the tumbler. “Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain.”

Ah, but you think the nine other commandments are up for interpretation.

He breathed slowly through his nose, as his anger management counselor had taught him. In with the good, out with the bad, he thought. But the very air around him was bad. Tainted by the bottle blonde bimbo in front of him.

They had started dating right after he got out of prison. Of course, he was turning over a new leaf, and the person he had been in prison wasn’t who he was now. He never did tell her he was recently paroled. She just knew him as Chester, an average Joe. He kept her supplied with liquor and free rent.

“What else have you been doing today while I was at work? Besides drinking and smoking? You definitely didn’t clean this place up.”

“What, working at your big grocery store bagger job?” She banged the glass down on the counter and threw her hands up in the air in mock amazement. “Raise the flag! Who’d you have to blow to start off in such a plum position?” Awareness dawned as she looked from the flowers back to him. “Did these flowers come from your stupid grocery store? God. You’re pathetic.” She whirled around and stomped back down the hall to the bedroom.

Apparently that Lord’s name in vain stuff didn’t apply to her.

Not too many places would hire an ex con. Especially an ex con with a felony on his record. That had all been a mistake, though. No one in that joke of a courtroom would listen to him. Despite his public defender’s protestations, he had taken the stand in his own defense to explain his side of the story. If they just heard how that woman–oh, I’m sorry, victim–talked to him. The absolute lack of respect for how he had provided for her. He had only meant to scare her with that filet knife but she never listened when he told her not to struggle. She struggled anyway.

There had been so much blood he had almost missed Dancing with the Stars. He ended up serving eight years once he pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

He wondered if it would have added on to his sentence if the judge and jury had known that very thing had happened before, with a different woman, in a different city. They all struggled in the end. All the Beths did.

He did his eight years without complaint.

Breathe, he told himself. Breathe. No need for things to escalate tonight. Dancing with the Stars was on and he liked it very quiet when he watched the show and took notes on each couple.

Some things couldn’t be helped, though. He could hear her through the closed bedroom door, talking to the ubiquitous best friend. “And he gets home…” she said, “with grocery store flowers, and expects me to, what; just ride him like a ten speed? Fuck that.”

Chester patted the comforting weight of the knife in the back pocket of his blue jeans as he opened the door to the bedroom where she was talking.

“The fuck do you want?” the Beth person shrieked at him. He moved into the room toward her slowly.

“Hang on. Let me get rid of this freak so I can talk in peace,” she said, as she held up a hand to halt Chester’s progress. But now the look in her eyes…it was perfect. Just how it should be. Surprise, hate, fear; it was all there. Perfect.

Chester reached behind him, smiling the whole time.


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One thought on “Daisies”

  1. Great short story & creepy! & to think, there are really a lot of people like that out there……

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