Beauregard didn’t own a shovel. This had never before posed a problem, as his usual digging necessities were few and far between, living as he did in a tiny rental loft above the Suds and Suds Laundromat/Brew Pub just off Main Street South.
Today however, his digging needs were great indeed. This was troublesome, since it was approaching noon on a Sunday, and in Wet Brook Minnesota at least, businesses still remained adamantly closed on Sundays. Folks around here spent the day with their families, basking in the self-satisfied knowledge that they retained some decent Christian values, God damn it. Not like those sinners living barely eighty miles up the interstate in the twin cities. Minneapolis and St. Paul? As far as most everyone in Wet Brook was concerned, they might as well be Sodom and Gomorrah.
Beauregard was becoming upset. He knew Uncle Al, the proprietor of Suds and Suds, kept a snow shovel in the back office, but seeing as it was July, snow wasn’t an issue at the moment. The body was a more immediate concern.
Her name was Alison Coen, and she had a ring on her finger and a baby in her belly. The baby was Beauregard’s. The ring wasn’t.
You begin to see his predicament.
They had met two months previous, when Alison, a graduate student studying at U of M’s Rochester campus, had come to Wet Brook to visit her great aunt Phyllis for the weekend. Understandably bored with washing great aunt Phyllis’s soiled linens, the young woman had wandered away from the commercial grade dryers, and over to the bar, where Beau was warming his customary seat by the pinball machine.
Beauregard, by nature, was a shy young man who never began conversations with the local girls, all of whom he had known since grade school, let alone a fashionable young stranger. On this night however, he had enjoyed that magical amount of drinks which gives a man courage without fully robbing him of his senses, because he leaned over, tapped Alison on the wrist and said quite clearly, “Hi. I’m Doctor Mott.”
Now Alison, being a highly intelligent and well-educated lady, realized immediately that the young fellow speaking to her was in no way a doctor, and probably wasn’t even named Mott, mostly because he still wore his Suds and Suds work uniform, complete with black plastic nametag, which clearly stated “Beauregard”, and made mention of neither “Dr.” nor “Mott”. Even so she had to admit he had a handsome smile and no small amount of down-to-earth charm, and so she allowed him to buy a round of drinks, and several rounds after that.
After a pleasant night spent playing pinball and billiards, neither of which Beau excelled at, but Alison did, the couple found themselves sitting on the chilly sidewalk in front of Suds and Suds, fondly reminiscing over treasured moments in their afternoon long friendship and sharing one of Beau’s menthol cigarettes.
“Well,” Alison said, patting the bulging clothes hamper beside her, “I guess I’d better be getting back to Aunt Phyllis’s. My fiancé is picking me up on his way back to campus in the morning.”
She hugged Beauregard warmly, “Thank you Doctor Mott, for a wonderful evening to finish off an otherwise boring weekend.” At Beau’s insistence she had continued calling him Dr. Mott, even after she had pointed out his nametag and explained that she knew he wasn’t really a doctor. He had simply laughed, and told her quite truthfully that as Beau he had never had much luck in meeting pretty girls, and that “Dr. Mott” was already proving much more successful in that regard.
She stood up, a trifle unsteadily. “I’d better get walking; Aunt Phyllis’s is out at the edge of town.”
“What, no!” Beauregard tugged his shirtfront in alarm, “You can’t walk there, it’s too cold tonight! My car is right across the street, I’ll give you a ride.”
He strode across the empty roadway, and gallantly opened the passenger door to a slightly battered Chevy Caprice.
“Your chariot awaits, milady.”
Alison giggled, and graciously accepted his offer. Their ride together was quiet, and all too short.
“Well, we’re here. Thanks again for the ride, Doctor Mott. I really appreciate it.”
“Don’t be silly Alison. It was my pleasure. I’m just sorry we have to say goodbye now.”
Alison grinned mischievously, “Well maybe we don’t have to say goodbye right now. My Aunt Phyllis is a really heavy sleeper.” She sauntered up to the brightly painted front door, before turning to look over her shoulder.
“Aren’t you coming in?”
Beau was stumped. He had just met this girl, and doubted he would ever see her again. And she had a fiancé! He had never spent the night with a stranger.
But Dr. Mott would.
Beau unbuckled his seatbelt. “Oh hell yes!”
That had been two months ago. They had spent a nice (very nice) night together, and then Beau had said goodbye, letting himself out the front door and driving back to his parking spot in front of Suds and Suds and his messy little loft apartment.
Life went on. As the weeks passed in the quiet doldrums of existence in Wet Brook, Beau more than occasionally had cause to recall his night spent with Alison fondly. As with most exciting things in his life, he assumed it would prove to be a momentary fluke, one not destined to be repeated, and so he was greatly surprised when he awoke this morning to a tear-stained Alison banging insistently on his apartment door.
“Alison! What are you doing here? Is something wrong with your Aunt Phyllis? Let me grab my coat.”
“No,” She pushed past him, into the apartment, “It’s not Phyllis. We need to talk Beauregard.”
Beau followed her back into cramped living room/bedroom/kitchen, still rubbing his itchy, sleepy eyes.
“Yeah, sure umm, come in,” He said, “How did you know I lived here?”
Alison tossed a stack of mail on his stained coffee table.
“I figured I could just wait at Suds and Suds until you came to work, but then I saw your mailbox and realized you lived right upstairs.”
“Oh. Right. What’s this about Alison? Did your fiancé find out about last time? Is he here!?”
Alison grabbed Beau’s arm, stopping his panicked rush back to check that the apartment door was locked.
“No, he’s not here. He doesn’t know about us yet. I didn’t tell anyone I was coming.” Alison sat heavily on the sagging sofa, burying her face in her hands.
“Beauregard, I’m pregnant. It’s your baby.”
Beau’s jaw worked for a minute before any sound came out.
“Are, are you sure? How do you know it’s not his?”
Alison sighed. “Because,” she said, “He and I never slept together. He wanted to wait until our wedding night. You’re the only man I slept with in the past year.”
“Oh… I need to use the bathroom.”
Beauregard retreated to the privacy of the bathroom, and sat on the edge of the tub. He was in a daze.
“What the hell am I going to do? I can’t be a father. I can barely afford this dump!”
Nobody knows she’s here…
“So? What’s that have to do with anything?”
If she were to disappear…nobody would suspect you.
“What are you saying?”
Yes. Everything will go back to normal.
“Please,” Beau cried quietly, “I can’t do this…”
You don’t have to. Let Dr. Mott do it.
“…And everything will go back to normal?”
Just the way we like it.
Alison was still sitting on the couch when the bathroom door opened. A composed looking Beauregard exited, holding an unplugged clothing iron. He walked over and gently cupped Alison’s chin with his free hand. She looked up into his eyes.
“What are we going to do Beau?”
“Nothing,” He smiled sadly, “Doctor Mott is going to take care of it for us.”
He swung the iron, burying the pointy metal end in the side of Alison’s skull. She fell from the couch without a sound, and lay still on the cheap linoleum floor, blood gushing from the wound in smaller and smaller spurts as her heartbeat grew weaker, and finally, stopped.
Whistling softly, Dr. Mott went to the bathroom, where he pulled down his plastic shower curtain and returning to the living room/bedroom/kitchen, used it to wrap up the body. Pulling his grisly parcel behind him he went back into the bathroom and dumped it into the tub to drain. Starting the shower he let the water build up heat before stripping down and stepping into the tub himself. Once there he went about his daily cleaning ritual as best he could with a curtain-swaddled dead body lying between his feet. He always felt that he was never fully awake until he had his morning shower. After a thorough soap and rinse he toweled off vigorously, and giving the body a brisk rub down as well, he then wrapped it in all his extra blankets and sheets, and secured them with some packing tape and belts.
Once the package was secured thusly, and pushed to an out of the way corner by the apartment door, he went back and got his cleaning supplies, and spent another two hours thoroughly bleaching the entire apartment. When it was finally cleaned to his satisfaction, Dr. Mott checked his watch. Eleven O’clock. Good. Nearly the entire town would either be sitting through service at the church on the other end of Main Street, or locked in their living rooms watching the game on TV.
He put on a fresh pair of slacks and a thin wind-breaker jacket, and with some difficulty he slung Alison’s shrouded form over his shoulder, carried it down the narrow stairs and out to his car, where he laid it in the voluminous trunk. He remained unseen.
“Alright Beau, it’s your turn now.”
What? Why? I said I wouldn’t have anything to do with this!
“Relax old friend, the deed is done. All you need to do now is bury the body.”
Well, why can’t you do it?
“Are you kidding? I’m a doctor. I don’t do manual labor. You’re going to have to find a shovel too, we don’t have one.” Dr. Mott grinned, “I bet Aunt Phyllis has one at her house. She’s probably at church right now, just drive over and grab it.”
I’m not going to Phyllis’s house with her dead grand-niece in my trunk!
“Suit yourself kiddo, I guess you can always just start knocking on doors until you find somebody home who you can ask for a shovel. They probably won’t have any inconvenient questions or anything.”
Beauregard clicked his shift lever into reverse.
“Fine, fine, I’m fucking going.”
He spent the drive to Phyllis’s crying and hyperventilating, with Dr. Mott’s mocking voice always remaining at the back of his mind, berating him for being a sissy. Once there he got out of the car, and walking around to the back of the house he was pleased to find not only a shovel pushed into the rich soil of the vegetable garden, but that the garden itself was completely isolated from view by the house itself, and a mature hedge in desperate need of trimming.
Removing his wind-breaker, he tossed it onto the hedge, and began digging feverishly in the garden. He was at his chore for a good period of time before he was interrupted by a querulous voice.
“Excuse me young man, but what are you doing to my garden?” An old lady, undoubtedly Aunt Phyllis, stood outside the house with liver-spotted hands on her hips, “Who are you?”
He paused to wipe the sweat of exertion from his brow, before picking the shovel back up. He grinned cordially. It would be the work of but a moment to expand the hole to fit a second body. He strode swiftly toward the old woman, with the shovel raised.
“Who, me? Don’t you worry about me dear Phyllis. I’m Doctor Mott!”
I’m Doctor Mott 2011 Max T Kramer