Word of the arrest spread quickly. Word of any news spread like wildfire, faster than an airborne virus in a town the size of Monticello, Marjorie mused. Just leave, she thought, follow your intuition. Get the hell outta Dodge. It would be easy enough.
Or would it? She paced in the kitchen, up and down the black and white tiled floor. Back and forth. She wondered if they’d tapped her telephone. Decided to use her cell to phone her sister in Montana. She took three deep breaths before dialing.
“I’m coming for a visit,” Marjorie told Madge. She peeked through a corner of the kitchen curtains. The police were still parked there. And some news van with its insignia labeled on the side.
“You’re what?” Madge asked, her nasal tone grating on Marjorie through the telephone.
“Driving out, leaving tonight.” Marjorie looked in the hall mirror, noticed the two dark circles under her eyes. She walked toward the bedroom, intending to lay down.
Instead she stood in the doorway, stared at the bed. How could she be so stupid, she thought.
“Oh.” Madge paused. “Are you sure you can leave, so…so-”
“I’m sure, “ Marjorie nodded. “Yes, I have to get away.” She sat on the living room sofa, counted the bills from a tan envelope in her purse.
“But, why so sudden?” Madge asked. “Are you in trouble again?”
It was the way she said again that grated on Marjorie. “No, it’s not me,” she said. Two hundred dollars. That ought to be enough. She tucked the envelope back into her purse.
“Is it Mitch?” Madge asked.
Marjorie wrestled with an answer. Wanted to lie, didn’t want to admit the truth, even to herself.
“He didn’t hit you again, did he?” Madge’s voice sounded angry.
“No.” Marjorie fell silent. Should I tell her? Maybe I shouldn’t. Oh what the hell. The rest of the town of Monticello knew. And it was better coming from her twin sister than some tacky news story. “He was arrested, Madge.”
“Arrested?” Madge nearly shouted. “Arrested?” she repeated. “Oh, heavens to Betsy.”
“Yeah,” Marjorie said. “It sucks.”
“What was it this time? DWI?” Marge guessed. “Or did he beat somebody up at Barbers?”
Here we go, Marjorie thought. She closed her eyes. “It’s porn.”
There was a pause.
“Marge? Are you there?”