A quiet rumble of thunder floated across the blue sky.
“That’s all this day needs,” Marla said to herself. “A little melodrama.”
The door flew open and the knob banged against the wall for the nth time that day as Lance came in for the final box.
“Make that ‘a little more melodrama,'” she corrected.
“Did you say something to me?” Lance asked. “No, that can’t be right. We never talk. You talk to your sister, to your mother, to the mailman, to anyone you come within 10 feet of at the grocery store, but never to me.” He marched through the open door to go put the box in his overloaded car.
“Five more minutes,” Marla said. Outside there was a grunt and a soft tschunk as a door was pushed shut. Lance watched just a moment to be sure it was going to remain shut.
Then he turned again to see Marla standing on the porch, her arms folded across her chest. She looked away from him as another small roll of thunder blew in. Scarcely a cloud in the sky, and none of them were the cause.
“I’ll be back this weekend for my furniture. I’ve gotta find someone with a truck.”
Lance walked out into the yard and looked at the house.
“Not quite a last look at the old place, but close. Oh, I thought we were going to be so happy here,” he said, pitching his voice so that Marla could hear him. And a few of the neighbors, as well. “But no… that wasn’t to be.”
The sky made another soft cough of thunder even as Lance donned his baseball cap to shield his eyes from the sun.
“And if I’m sure of one thing, it’ll be all my fault,” he continued. “I know that’s what you’re going to tell all our mutual friends, all three or four of them. I’d like to stay pals with Kyle, but you can have the rest. We’ll have the lawyers write that into the settlement.”
Marla sighed and waited for her future ex-husband to wind down and drive off.
“Yeah, I thought this house would be our little castle, our happy love nest. But I’ll tell you what. Rather than stay here even one more minute, I’d rather be-”
Lightning stabbed out of the clear blue sky and impaled Lance. Marla screamed, quite involuntarily, as he dropped dead on the neatly mowed lawn.
Marla would always assume Lance got his unspoken wish. Actually, the end of his sentence would have been, “in Scranton,” and she wouldn’t have understood the reference because Lance was right: they didn’t talk much.
Moral: If you’re close enough to the storm to hear the thunder, you’re close enough to be struck by lightning.