Blue Crabs

by John Wentworth Chapin

“You gonna eat?” she asks. They pick crabs alone at a wooden picnic table at the end of a pier. Some inept guy with a double outboard tries a third time to back up to the dock beside them.

“No appetite,” the husband says. He's hardly eaten since he caught her cheating.

She guffaws. “You have plenty of appetite for that beer. The last thing you need is a DUI.” She's right. Not less than three months ago, he got probation for assault: he broke four of the guy's teeth when he caught them. Now he wishes the two had run away together.

The wife slaps the table and stands. “You bore me. We're leaving.”

It happens fast: her high heel catches on the picnic bench, and she tries to catch her balance, hopping on the other high heel. When the heel becomes free, she goes flying where she's leaning, and in a second, she's in the creek. Mr Outboard backs churning engines toward where the wife disappears into the dark water.

The perfect murder, and it's not even murder; Mr Outboard hasn't seen a thing. 

But there are no witnesses. No police or judge would believe this to be an accident, not after last year. The husband shouts over the thrumming engines, and the boater shuts them off, confused and then alarmed as he sees where she has now surfaced, bedraggled and sputtering angrily. The husband considers helping her more but chooses to finish his beer.