… and she keeps it hidden in her journal.
Note: Before Meta Duecker existed between the pages of The Last Bordello, she first came alive in a very different way — in my original unpublished novel entitled Naked, She Lies. Both are supreme pianists and well-read. But Meta Kraus? She’s a bit creepy.
Here is her first entry. Following entries tell the backstory. If you like it, I’ll post more.
Entry, March 13, 1910
The Casualty of life is Death
The breath, a last demise
Cessation of a merriment
The living, they despise
Oh how the spell is broken
A life once in repute
From what it is, from what it was
There is no substitute. – M.K.
Distance can be freedom, not a sacrifice. It allows honesty to persevere. Perhaps I feel a twinge of guilt when I wrote in my journal at home. Now, alone on the train, I am free and will write accordingly.
Killing him was easy.
Uncle Dirk always looked at Mama in a way that was inappropriate. Like a vulture waiting for it’s prey to weaken. We were in the kitchen. Having finished eating breakfast moments before. Mama and I were cleaning the dishes when he walked up behind her, his arm around her shoulder.
“Regina, I don’t have much work to do today. Are you busy?”
“I am always busy.” Mama kept on, holding the scouring pad between her two middle fingers and thumb while scrubbing the egg pan.
“Mama,” I said. “You are scrubbing with your hand chicken.” She and I laughed while Uncle Dirk made some disgruntled noise and walked out the front door.
“I’m calling Skippy in for the leftovers,” I said, also walking out the front door.
Outside, I called for my devoted Collie. Instead of Skippy coming to me, it was Uncle Dirk.
“Surely, you are not still thinking about that silly game. Such childish behavior.”
“It was my…”
“I know, your game with your Papa. It’s time to grow up, Meta. You are a young woman and, if you ever want to find a good husband, you need to forget about such nonsense.”
My insides boiled. My hands shook.
“Fine,” I said. “I will get rid of her once and for all.” I walked to the chopping block where the axe was imbedded for future use. I knelt down, my back to the tyrant. Pulling the axe out of the stump, I picked it up with my left hand, tucking my right arm where he could not see it. I slammed the axed down and screamed. A yell of pain as well as triumph.
He ran to me then, saw my two hands still in tact and screamed back, “You are crazy, crazy!”
I laughed then, my stunt appeasing the horrible sight of him killing my favorite chicken a month ago, cutting her head off in front of me on the very same chopping block.
He went back into the house then, only to return shortly.
“Where is Stepper?” Uncle “Dirk” asked.
“In the barn, of course, why?”
“I need to take her to the back acreage.”
“She’s too old and hasn’t’ been feeling well. Leave her be.”
He smiled at me.
I watched as he walked to the barn, and then turned my attention back to Skippy, feeding her and gently combing the burrs from her fur.
I heard the sound of a gunshot coming from the barn. My first thought was that it was over. The guilt of killing his wife, or at the very least, being responsible for it, had finally made him do the right thing.
But it wasn’t so. In moments, Uncle Dirk came out of the barn, walking toward me, smiling
“Well, Meta, that horse of yours sure was sick. Made him better, I did. He’s up in heaven now with your Papa.”
I ran from Skippy’s side to the cruel man, pounding my fists into his chest. Tears fell from my eyes.
That is when he started laughing.
“You didn’t like my joke, did you, Meta. Well, I didn’t like yours either. That old horse doesn’t need a bullet to die. He’ll do it soon enough on his own.”
No, he did not kill my horse, but the lather I felt was that of a rabid dog. Was he so cruel because he had seen Emil atop of me the night before?
Later that afternoon, I told Emil my plan. Of course, he is my humble servant and would do anything for me.
The day turning to dusk, the back acreage was where we found him. As planned, Emil approached my Uncle with the pretense of a discussion about the sell of our land.
I pulled the butcher knife out from behind my back.