WHY PEWS DON’T COME WITH PISTOLS • by Stephanie Scarborough

Weddings. The world would be a much happier place if couples would just make a pit stop at the justice of the peace and spare the rest of us the agony. Think of all the money people would save! All the time that wouldn’t be wasted! Think of all my time that wouldn’t be wasted!

My hands were folded in my lap as I sat on the uncomfortable wooden pew, waiting for this matrimonial ordeal to blow over. I opened my hands and looked at the ring I held. I was too furious to wear it. I wanted to throw in the ocean, but since there were no oceans in the vicinity, I continued to clutch it and keep my secret. Jean’s father walked her down the aisle as the organ music played. This was ridiculous. I should’ve jumped up, held the ring out for everyone to see, and started screaming like a banshee. If that didn’t end this fiasco, at least there’d be a good chance that they’d escort me out and throw me in the nut house. Hmmm. This was suddenly very tempting.

I looked at Jean. She made me physically ill, up there all in white lace and roses, people gushing over how beautiful she looks, how pure she is, how envied she is right now. Why don’t church pews come equipped with loaded pistols for those of us who want to end our misery in situations like this?

Since the pews bore no firearms, and I hadn’t worked up the nerve to divulge my secret just yet, I sat, hands in my lap, occasionally stealing glimpses of the ring. No one here knew who I was. No one except Walter. Walter, who stood at the altar with that disgustingly smug grin on his face. Did he think he could just disappear without so much as a note? Walter has always been a coward. He hates confrontation, you know, dealing with my messy emotions. I’m sure he’d especially hate the alimony payment if he’d done the right thing and divorced me, but did he not think I would track him down, halfway across the country, if need be? Obviously, Walter had underestimated me.

This was going to be fun.

I couldn’t wait to see the look on Walter’s face when he caught a glimpse of me. Here. At his wedding. As though our wedding five years ago meant nothing. Everyone turned to admired Jean. Everyone, except me. I zeroed in on Walter. His eyes met mine. That self-satisfied smirk melted into a look of horror, and all the color drained from his face.

I sure didn’t want Walter, but I think Jean, as much as I despised her thin, platinum blonde perfection, needed to know the truth.

The priest began his spiel about holy matrimony. When he reached the part about anyone having a reason “why this disgustingly happy couple shouldn’t be joined in holy damn matrimony” I looked at the ring and stood up, a smile curling my lips. The priceless look on Walter’s face was going to make this all worthwhile.

Stephanie Scarborough lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her two feline overlords. Her work has appeared in The Harrow, Every Day Fiction, and Bewildering Stories and is forthcoming in OMG!: The Book of Awesome Stuff and Big Pulp. Visit her website at http://hellostephanie.net.

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