“Dear Lord, you’re heavy,” Lois said to the body she was trying to maneuver across the rough ground. “This is all your fault,” she huffed. “You should have listened to me!” All she had wanted to do was read the daily newspaper, the Southern Bugle, just as sh...
<p>“Dear Lord, you’re heavy,” Lois said to the body she was trying to maneuver across the rough ground. “This is all your fault,” she huffed. “You should have listened to me!” All she had wanted to do was read the daily newspaper, the <em>Southern Bugle</em>, just as she did every morning while drinking several cups of strong, black coffee. But Walter had interrupted her ritual, and that was the last straw. She was sick of him and his demanding, ungrateful ways.</p>
<p>She came from old money. Her grandfather had been one of the richest planters in the Delta. In earlier days, she and Walter had tried to farm the several hundred acres she’d inherited. A few years into the marriage, Walter caught his right arm in a cotton gin and lost the appendage to the shoulder. Even though Walter had been careless, the owner of the gin had given him a sizable settlement. It was just as well; Walter was not a farmer, and would never have made a go at the venture.</p>
<p>As the time passed, Walter managed to squander the settlement on drinking and gambling. Their home was the house Lois had inherited. It was large, cold in the winter months, and always seemed to be in need of some repair. A few acres at a time, she had sold parcels of the property to cover living expenses.</p>
<p>Walter had lost his driver’s license to a DUI, and hadn’t driven for years. He had no car, and Lois refused to let him behind the wheel of her old Buick. So, whenever the mood struck – and that was increasingly more often – Walter would find a ride to the casinos. Lois had long since stopped caring where he went, what he was doing, or who he was with. As his absences grew longer, she realized she no longer loved him. In fact, she wondered if she ever had.</p>
<p>He had returned from his latest binge early that morning. Lois had just settled down at the kitchen table with the <em>Bugle</em> and her second cup of Folger’s.</p>
<p>“I’m hungry!” Walter announced.</p>
<p>“Well, fix something then,” she had replied.</p>
<p>“Woman, I said I’m hungry! Now, fix me some breakfast!”</p>
<p>“Have a cup of coffee,” she offered. “I’ll fix breakfast as soon as I finish reading the paper.”</p>
<p>But, no, he ranted on.</p>
<p>With a deep sigh, she rose from the table, went to the refrigerator, and retrieved bacon and eggs.</p>...