Peter's Short Story

The Contract

Anthony had always loved his wife, Anna Marie, and they had enjoyed their relationship in marriage for a very long time.  When the two met they were young and energetic, but as time went on, the significant difference in their ages began to show, even though Anthony was not that aware of it.  He thought he was performing his duties in all areas satisfactorily, but, it appeared that Anna Marie was not as happy and pleased as she had been earlier in their marriage.  The signs were subtle at first, and Anthony didn’t pick them up for some time.  He wasn’t aware because there had never been a need to question his relationship.  Anna Marie did a great job of not showing signs of deterioration, probably because she was happy doing what she was doing with her extra-marital affair.  It was pretty difficult to hide guilt, but Anna Marie was certain Anthony didn’t have a clue of what was going on.  It was at night, and in bed when Anthony began to notice a coldness, more an unwillingness to snuggle and keeping each other comfortable.  When signs began to appear during other aspects of their relationship, as in the kitchen, sharing their subtle cooking experiences that Anthony began to worry but he let it slide because Anna Marie never volunteered to talk about things as they had for years.
       When Anthony became more and more uncomfortable with the increasing signs that something was wrong, he made a request with Anna Marie to talk about the good old days and try to work into the current time to try to draw out her feelings, but nothing worked.  While Anthony was out and about on the job and visiting his usual haunts, he happened to venture into a photo shop and inquired about some miniature cameras that might be installed inside a house to film whatever activities happened to emerge.  As the process and placement of the micro cameras was explained to Anthony, he decided to purchase a few, not quite sure what he was going to do with them at that point in time.  After much soul searching and agonizing, Anthony, while Anna Marie was out shopping with her best girlfriend, reluctantly placed cameras in certain locations throughout the house.  One was in the bedroom, one in the kitchen, one in the living room, and one doing a general scan of the house interior.  He felt guilty because he considered his act spying, and he had never done such things in his life.  After several weeks of making his stays away from home longer and longer, it was  perfect for Anna Marie to take advantage of the empty house, and she didn’t waste any time.  When the time was right, and Anna Marie elected to spend a better part of the day with her girlfriend, did Anthony remove the film from the cameras and took them back to the camera shop.  The owner, a friend of Anthony, showed him how to download them into one of the store’s computers so he could watch the program in private.  As Anthony watched, he became horrified at the contents.  There was nothing subtle or hidden, and what was shown would have rivaled a porno show.  Anthony simply gathered up the tapes, thanked his friend, and left without too many words, and returned home.  Allowing enough time for the activities to wear off, but finding out that they weren’t, Anthony made an appointment with one of his Uncle’s friends who did special jobs for special people.  Anthony was assigned a time and number to be at a certain location, and when he arrived, he announced that he was number 13 and that he had an appointment.  He was allowed in to this one chair waiting room, and was called in at the exact time his meeting was scheduled.  Upon entering, Anthony greeted Mr. “Doc”.  He was asked certain questions, and the conversation was recorded so that there was no mistake about what was said and directions could be followed exactly.  Anthony was quick to point out that Anna Maria’s favorite drink was Amaretto di Amore Classico liquor, and she always indulged when she was happy, or after they had a close relationship.  He told Mr “Doc” where in the house it was kept.  It was noted, and during their conversation, Mr. “Doc” happened to mention that he had a favorite wine, Ruffino Ducale Chianti Classico.  When Anthony heard this, he immediately chimed in that Mr. “Doc”’s favorite wine was also his.  They both enjoyed a brief laugh, and the meeting came to an end.  Mr. “Doc” knew what he had to do, and Anthony knew what was going to be done.  As Anthony was about to leave, Mr. “Doc” suggested that Anthony stay away from his house for the rest of the day, and that when he did go home, to enjoy a big glass of his Ruffino Chianti and that all his troubles would be over.  He told Mr. “Doc” that was foremost on his mind.
         After Anthony left, Mr. “Doc” felt sorry for him.  He certainly couldn’t tell him that customer number 12 had been his wife Anna Marie; after all, business was business.
        What was Mr. “Doc”’s specialty in dealing with customers?  Why, he specialized in mixing undetectable liquid toxins.