Big Smiles in Happy Town

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Everyone is happy in happy town! Or are they really?

Submitted: May 29, 2017

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Submitted: May 29, 2017



She was standing in the kitchen making pancakes and eggs for me with such a slow pace that it made me want to force her out and make them myself. I didn’t because of course she’s my wife. A wise man once told me that the only people who are infallible are wives and the Pope. Instead, I sat there with my head resting on my fist, reading the newspaper. “She does it again! Christina comes out of the hospital with a new baby!” it read. Garbage of course. I still don’t know why people eat these kinds of things up. I turned the page: “New Rovina. Makes your skin nice and bright like a summer day!” A skincare product advertisement in my newspaper. Where’s the daily violence? The mayhem? The cop shootings? The kidnapped children? The government scandals? The throw-a-baby-in-a-trashcan story with the crazy parents? That’s what really matters in a morning newspaper. I want to know where’s the closest murders are so I can steer clear from those areas. We want to know that we’re safe. Worrying about how we look and who’s engaged with whom is the least of our concerns when people are being stabbed with forks a block down from us with big smiles on their faces.

She sat the breakfast dish in front of me and I looked at her to say Thank You but I wasn’t quick enough since she was quickly on her way to go up the stairs and get ready for work. I wolfed the breakfast down and sat the newspaper aside. My wife worked as a manager in one of those fancy five star restaurants and yeah, she does get paid less than her male counterparts but she can still get by with decent money. I on the other hand well, let me tell ya, a boring job. I’m just a meager stockbroker. Typical white collar job but hey, you can smell the money from a mile away.

I went ahead and got dressed while she took a shower. The bathroom door was wide open and the clothes were all lazily strewn about as if she caught on fire and was desperately trying to get them off. The steam from the water was pouring out onto the bedroom floor and you can see her blurry naked silhouette through the glass shower door. I had an urge to scream out “I’m leaving!” but she’ll most likely not hear me anyway so I didn’t bother.

Believe it or not our neighbor, Greg, is the head chef in the same restaurant my wife works at. Fancy that. To be fair, it is a small town and this neighborhood is the most expensive place to live for miles around. There’s something about Greg though that irks me and I think it’s that fake smile that he so readily puts on to show the world that he at least cares for other people other than himself. He reminds me of myself actually. A doctor in the morning, a murderer at night? A teacher one day, a pedophile the other? These are just examples of course. Examples of seemingly ordinary people that can easily live a surprising double life. Or is it really that surprising? Is it surprising that an ex-military officer can snap one day and gun down multiple people in a mall? Well, maybe back then. Maybe in the 1900’s where everything was flowery and every day was beautiful and everyone was happy and everyone respected everyone else and everyone dressed respectively and everyone earned their living through hard work. But not now. Not anymore. Nothing is surprising anymore.

Greg smiled at me with a huge grin as I was checking the mail outside. We were both checking the mail at the same time. We always do this every day of every week of every month. “Good morning John!” Greg shouted, still smiling. I looked at him with displease. Greg started to wave to check if I was actually paying attention to him. I really wasn’t and so I ignored him and started to walk back inside to drop off the mail. “Hey John! Lousy day? Too much work right?” I kept ignoring him and refused to make eye contact. Greg started walking back to his house as well and we were both walking in unison. “Don’t worry John! Next weekend I’ll host a barbecue in my place! Your wife can come to? How is she anyway?”

I stopped right outside my door and took a peek at Greg. He was also standing outside his door. Still smiling and waiting for me to answer. I looked down at my feet and noticed a good size rock. A rock big enough to properly fill a grown man’s hand. I bent down to pick it up and I looked over Greg. “Everything good John?”

I ran over to him with rock in hand and swung. I narrowly missed his head by mere inches. Greg got shaken up and tripped over his own feet and started gasping. I looked down at him and swung as hard as I could, striking the side of his temple. The blood was everywhere as you would expect and of course, Greg was motionless. Most likely dead. But on his face was that same stupid smile. The dead giveaway of an imposter. What was Greg hiding? A dead man ain’t really much of a talker so I would never know. Greg’s wife came by the door to take a peek outside and noticed her husband lying in a pool of blood with a crazy man on top of him holding a rock, smiling. And she screamed, and screamed and kept screaming until her knees collapsed from out under her. As she held her head in disbelief in how her neighbor would manage something like that. Something so……..surprising? But it really wasn’t. It really wasn’t surprising at all come to think of it.

“Everything good John?” I snapped out of it. I was standing in front of my house and Greg was still living.I looked down at my feet and looked at Greg. “Everything alright buddy? You look out of it?”

“Everything is good Greg. Was just daydreaming that’s all.”

“Good to hear! Still up for that barbecue?”

“Sure thing Greg! I’ll tell my wife. We’ll be there don’t worry.” I said back, smiling.

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