EXCERPT FROM “There Was A Time When The Stones Were Not So Smooth”
#1-and-only husband has – in truth – not fared well under the ministrations of the Undertaker. Yes, she would recognize him, but she would wonder if he had died of some wasting disease. Perhaps the effects of the gas poisoning produced changes, though Alison Alexandra assumes the whole dying-in-your-sleep thing would make you look at peace. Perhaps he had not been found for quite a while. These are not questions she is going to ask, but he would have been annoyed about the way he looks. He was not a vain man – his standard comment about his own appearance was that ‘he wouldn’t cause a cow to have a miscarriage’. However, he was certainly showing his death.
“Should I introduce you?” asks the lawyer.
“Time consuming,” says Alison Alexandra.
Time consuming or not, it is quickly evident the other ex-wives are interested. They are happy to leave the corpse and settle around her.
“Which one are you?” The youngest woman touches her arm.
“Yes, what group do you fall into?” A heavily made-up woman leans closer. “Are you an Alison, or an Alexandra?” She laughs nervously. “I hope you’re an Alexandra like me, because we’re outnumbered.”
‘I both help and hinder your cause. I’m Alison Alexandra.”
“Well, fuck me gentle.” A woman, more sternly-tailored than the lawyer, holds out her hand. “We’ve hit the mother lode.”
“The Dayspring From On High Doth Visit Us.” A broad woman puts a chummy hand on Alison Alexandra’s shoulder and pats her. “Our Sisterhood is complete.”
“We hope so.” A woman with riveting eyes and uniform grey hair taps her teeth as she speaks. “Is Alison Alexandra the end of our merry – or, is it married – troupe?”
“Lawyer Croft?” The heavily made-up Ex points with lacquered finger. “Is she?”
“Of those who will attend – yes.” Iris Croft hesitates. “There is one deceased.”
“Oh – who was she?” The youngest Ex is excited. “An Alison, or an Alexandra?”
“There’s a story there, I’m sure.” The lawyer looks directly at the youngest Ex. “But I do not know it.”
“What do you mean?”
“She was neither an Alison nor an Alexandra.”
“Well – that’s a devilish turn.” The broad and friendly Ex now pats the lawyer on the shoulder. “What was her name?”
“He couldn’t get enough of ‘A’s”” The severe and grey haired Ex forces a smile.
“Where did she fit in?” asks the youngest Ex.
“Just before you.”
‘Well, I guess that didn’t last.”
funeral,widow,widower.ex-wife,death,history,life,Alison Alexandre,novel,marriage,“What happened to her?” asks Alison Alexandra.
“She died of heart failure.”
“Jeez Louise.” The youngest Ex is startled. “How old was she?”
“It had nothing to do with age.” Iris Croft wonders if there is any confidentiality to break. However, the Ex was not her client, and both principals are deceased. “She had a genetic heart defect, discovered at autopsy.”
“What was she like?”
“I never met her.” Iris Croft spreads her hands. “Just as I have never met any of you until today.”
“But you asked to see Alison Alexandra.” The severe, grey haired Ex speaks quickly. “What was that about?”
“It’s not for me to discuss.”
“Well…” The severe Ex turns to Alison Alexandra. “What’s it about, then.”
“She doesn’t have to tell us anything.” The heavily-made up Ex steps forward. “I have no plans of getting personal.”
“But it is kinda personal.” The youngest Ex smirks. “We all fucked him.”
“And he – us,” says the severe grey haired Ex.
Alison Alexandra would like to avoid squabbling among the members of this odd club. She doesn’t mind telling them her beneficiary status as regards the houses. They each had received the financial rewards of the houses they lived in. It’s no skin off their noses. Or hers.
“I get the house in the will.”
“What?” The severe grey haired Ex looks at all the others. “Did you marry him again?”
“First in/last out?” Alison Alexandra laughs. “Nothing like that. I was his default beneficiary for each new house – until he married again.” She decides not to tell them that she got to inspect each new house first.
“So you kept in touch with him?”
“He kept in touch with me.”
“Just about the house?” asks the youngest Ex.
“Yes.” Alison Alexandra will allow one truth to cover much territory. “Not even a Christmas card.”