- We never knew that Pete, not Peter, was his given name. His widow actually posted his birth certificate on the casket at the viewing.
- We never knew there was a second family. A beautiful wife, ten years younger than the first. Three kids, all ten years younger than the first kids.
- We knew about the murder. So this is not about that.
- We never knew that Pete’s mother introduced Pete to the second wife. Seems she didn’t care much for the first wife and was hoping a new woman might get him to leave. We never knew he was the kind of guy who would just marry them both.
- Or how, in her eulogy, the second wife would explain that the mother left off the “r” in Pete’s name because she wanted him to have the trouble of explaining that it was Pete not Peter to every goddam person he would ever meet.
- Or that this would be one of the reasons he murdered his mother. That his final words would be “control this!”
- Or that maybe it was such a random heart attack that would kill Pete after all, what with the first wife finding out about the second wife and driving the 30 miles to give him a batch of brownies she baked.
- Or that the two wives would hit it off at the funeral. They realized what a great team they made, Wife One bringing the birth certificate and Wife Two explaining the missing “r.”
- How the two wives decide how they must have so much in common what with their kids sharing half a father, and the two of them sharing half a husband. (half-wives)
- Or that right now, well not right now, but soon, the two wives and all the kids will be having their weekly Sunday dinner and the eldest boy from the second family will comment he was the only one who knew how deathly allergic Pete was to brownies after watching Pete collapse that one time and calling the ambulance and Pete swearing him to secrecy because he loved brownies THAT much and after all, he is ten years old and isn’t that old enough to keep a secret?
Francine Witte’s poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, Passages North, and many others. Her latest books are Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press,) The Way of the Wind (AdHoc fiction,) and (The Theory of Flesh.) She lives in NYC.