The Story of Half an Hour

with a nod to Kate Chopin, who saw it first...
Simon Leigh

Brent Teal adored his wife of ten years, the still-gorgeous Louise Lovett, so his reaction to the news of her sudden death shocked him: he laughed. He exploded into laughter. His bark of a laugh startled him and his friend (and former squash partner) Dixon, whose company Ford still stood at a crazy angle in the Teal driveway, with the door open and the engine running.

"You're joking, right? This is Candid Camera."

But Dixon said nothing, his face a tragic mask. Slowly, slowly he shook his head. Brent pulled back from his friend's clumsy attempt to hug him. He stared into Dixon's face.

"Right? RIGHT?"

But Dixon would not look at him.

"Worst pile-up I ever saw, cement truck must have lost a wheel. Her car was totally pancaked, she never had a chance. I wanted to come tell you before you saw it on the news. Those little foreign shit-boxes--"

"Jesus! Jesus Christ! 'Scuse me." Brent turned, retching, rushed up the front steps and vanished inside. The door slammed and he stood, hot, panting, close to bursting into sobs. His skin prickled. Then he sprinted upstairs into his study.

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