There was cum on the counterpane. That was the first clue. The buck’s dead eyes gazed stony into nothing. She hated the mounts. Death was no kind of decor, especially in a bedroom. But she had married him and by marrying him she married the animal heads, the log cabin, the cabinet filled with guns, the stupid black dog (Robert Plant), the terrible paintings of cowboys slaughtering Comanche warriors. She had married his goddamn knife collection.

She sat down at the vanity, the only thing in the bedroom that made any kind of sense at all, and braided her long red hair. Her gray eyes were matchless in all the kingdom, stormy with melancholy. But she was not a princess and she did not live in a kingdom. She was a wife with too much time to kill. She lived in East Texas which is similar to Louisiana but not as trashy, according to her husband and other East Texans who hung dead animal heads on their walls, drove big trucks with metal testicles hanging from the trailer hitches and ate grits and sausage patties for breakfast.

Robert Plant sat on his haunches, whining for attention. She looked down at the stupid dog. It wasn’t his fault he was a stupid dog in a stupid log cabin with a stupid East Texan for a master. She scratched the scruff of his neck and said, “Life is a bitch and it keeps having puppies.”

Digging underneath the sofa cushions for the remote control she found the second clue, a pair of tiny black panties that belonged to an ass much smaller than hers. Why had she married him? He knew how to two-step. He knew every word to “Misery And Gin.” He made her body sing hosannas. He took her to Jamaica and bought her expensive cigars.

The truth was she was a rebel. Interior obedience, she called it. She followed the call of her own wicked wild. The first yellow rose he gave her was pressed between the pages of her leather King James Bible. The Song of Solomon, her favorite book, a kind of fairy tale, much like Sleeping Beauty. She still remembered the first remark he made about her beauty. “My god, girl…you look better than a Fiji sunrise.” He would be home from the refinery in an hour. The chicken breasts were thawing on the counter beside the shiny knives.

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