He reacted to the intruder instinctively. Violently. Three blows to his face and a knee to the solar plexus. The man flew back into the refrigerator, causing the door to swing open and several items to fall out. He followed the man to the ground, put his knee in his back and pulled up sharply on his neck.
There was an audible cracking noise.
His wife looked away. She abhorred violence. It was one of the things that he loved about her.
He searched through the would-be assassin’s pockets until he found what he was looking for. A Zippo lighter with an image of the Grim Reaper on it. He rolled his thumb over the flint and a flame burst forth.
The men that were chasing him expected to hear about a house on fire and a corpse found in the ashes so he intended to give them just that.
He explained to his wife that it was time for them to run again. For her to grab a few things and then they would disappear into the night.
But first they needed to burn everything down.
She went to the open refrigerator, took out a bottle of wine and began pouring it on the corpse.
There were a lot of things he loved about her, but her knowledge of what made a good accelerant left something to be desired. He smiled and told her that wine does not burn.
Moments later he said the same thing when she started to douse the body in spaghetti sauce. Then she glanced at the big jug of apple cider sitting in the refrigerator with an inquisitive look on her face and he simply shook his head.
“Go to the garage. By the lawn mower there is a red plastic container with a long yellow spout. It is filled with gasoline. Go get it.”
A few minutes later a car backed out of the driveway and the house began to burn to the ground. A neighbor stood and got the rare opportunity to see faces in the clouds of black smoke. Very different than the ones he usually saw in white clouds. More tormented. Looking back on it, he had to admit to himself that he rather enjoyed the experience of watching his neighbor’s house burn down. After all, he’d never actually met them.
A few days later the local police got the autopsy of the body found in the remains of the house. They were told the victim was dead before the fire began. He died of a broken neck. What nobody could figure out was why he was soaked in Cote des Roses Rosé and Ragù.
They suspected Italians.
Hundreds of miles away Doug and Cindy started another new life.
“What about milk? Is milk flammable?”
“No. Maybe you’re thinking of the methane that cows produce.”
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