Maybe Not Exactly Like This by Lucile Barker

June 14, 2012 Comments Off on Maybe Not Exactly Like This by Lucile Barker

Mrs. Winterton was on the witness stand, and the defence attorney for Simon Ashton was grilling her.

“And how was Mr. Ashton holding the knife when he was in the kitchen?” he asked.

“In his left hand,” she said. “There was a smear of blood on his yellow shirt. I thought he had cut himself. He tended to be clumsy in the kitchen, being left-handed.”

Simon winced. He was sick of being characterized as clumsy. And he hadn’t cut himself. Maria Leary had managed to slash his arm, his left arm, only a few seconds earlier. Not that he could prove it. She had disappeared. He didn’t even know what she had cut him with. No body, only his blood, but most of the little English town seemed to think he was guilty.

“And the defendant was holding the knife this way?”

“Maybe not exactly like that,” she admitted, “more like he was shielding himself with it. Like someone was going to come at him. He seemed relieved it was me who had just come in.”

Simon sighed. This was more like it. Where was Maria now? Hopped a plane for North America? The Chunnel train?

The preliminary inquiry found no reason to hold him, to charge him. No one spoke to him much, not even Mrs. Winterton, who he felt had saved him. He tried to sell the house, but there were few prospective buyers. No one wanted a place where a murder might or might not have occurred. He thought of arson and changed his mind. One brush with the law had been enough.

In Seoul, an English teacher was reading assignments, grading them. A student came to her and asked, “Is this the right day to do this?”

“Maybe not exactly like that,” Maria Leary said, wondering if she had killed Simon on Guy Fawkes night.

© 2012 Lucile Barker

Lucile Barker is a Toronto poet, writer, and activist. Since 1994, she has been the coordinator of the Joy of Writing, a weekly workshop at the Ralph Thornton Centre. Her recent publications include Memewar, Room, Antigonish Review, Rougarou, Litterbox, Flashlight Memories, Bat Shat, Snakeskin Review, Hinchas de Poesia, Jet Fuel Review, U.M.ph.!, Menacing Hedge, Nashwaak Review and the Danforth Review. The Golden Age was the first place short story winner in the Creative Keyboards contest, a project of the Hamilton Arts Council. Poetry and short stories are also forthcoming in H.O.D., U.M.ph!, Vox Poetica and Whistling Fire.

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