Smoke & Mirrors


I had this system for getting exactly what I wanted out of people. Oh, I’m not proud of it as such, but I admit, it was very, very effective.

You see, I’m an articulate woman. Well-educated, well-informed, well-adjusted. At least, that’s what people see, what I allow people to see. If they get too close to finding out what lies beneath that carefully crafted veneer – because it is, after all, paper-thin – then, I turn it on. The system. Works every, damn time.

Jonathan. He was the last one. he was skating on thin ice – that’s all I can say. All I will say, to the likes of you at least. He got too close. I’ve standards to keep up, an image to protect, my whole bloody life to keep on track. You know, a mortgage, a car, an exotic holiday I bloody well deserve. Do you know how difficult it is to keep this up, day in, day out?

The last straw was the lemon sherbert that melted all over the counter. Jonathan swore, jumped up as if he’d had a bucket of water thrown all over him and grabbed me, to make me look at the sweet, sticky mess dripping all over his new briefcase..

“Damn it all, Sophie! Do you know how much that cost? Look, look at the label. Just tell me you don’t know how expensive those things are. Bloody limited edition as well!”

He shoved a receipt in my face. “Read. It.” Menacing wasn’t the word. The paper was rich, creamy, watermarked. It literally smelled of money, that I could tell. But decipher the hieroglyphics handwritten in elegant copperplate? No. Not my bag.

I’d rather die than admit I can’t read, and watch my world crumble at my feet.

So, I cried. Like a baby. Got him to feel sorry for me, hold me close, comfort me, apologise..

And then I killed him.

I’d rather he die, than let the world know my guilty little secret.

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