Wednesday, May 6, 2015

DO YOU WANT TO MURDER YOUR HUSBAND - How Not to Do it

HOW NOT TO MURDER YOUR HUSBAND
THE MISCALCULATION
Short Fiction - A Suspense Thriller
By
VIKRAM KARVE

From my Creative Writing Archives:

Let me delve into my creative writing archives and pull out a fiction short story for you to read.

I wrote this suspense thriller, a murder mystery, long back, more than 20 years ago in the mid 1990’s

This is one of my earliest attempts at crime stories.

This story “THE MISCALCULATION” is included in my Anthology of Short Stories COCKTAIL available both as a Printed Book COCKTAIL and a Kindle E-Book COCKTAIL


THE MISCALCULATION - Short Fiction Story by Vikram Karve

There is a saying:

“If you decide to murder your husband you must never act in concert with your lover”

That’s why I did not tell Raj.

Or involve him in any way.

Not even the smallest hint.

I made my plans alone and with perfect care.

An “accident” so coolly and meticulously designed.

Precisely at 12:50 in the afternoon, the ghastly accident would occur.

And then my phone would ring – to convey the “bad” news.

And suddenly I would be a widow.

Free.

Liberated from shackles.

Released from bondage.

Then all I had to do was to keep cool, maintain a solemn fa├žade.

And patiently wait for Raj to return after completing his project in Singapore.

Then after the customary condolence period was over, Raj would propose to marry me – an act of chivalry, of sympathy, or even “self-sacrifice”.

First I would demur, then “reluctantly” succumb to the pressure from my friends and relatives, and accept - just for my children’s sake.

There would be nods of approval all around.

And soon Raj and I would be Husband and Wife.

The phone rang.

I panicked.

There is no fear like the fear of being found out.

I looked at the wall-clock. 

It was only 10.30 am.

Had something gone wrong?

I felt a tremor of trepidation.

The phone kept on ringing – it just would not stop ringing.

I picked up the receiver, and held it to my ears with bated breath.

The moment I heard Anjali’s voice I felt relieved.

“Why didn’t you come to the health club?” Anjali asked.

I’m not well,” I lied.

“Anything serious? Should I come over?” she asked.

“No!” I tried to control the anxiety in my voice.

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“It’s a just a slight headache. I’ll take a tablet and sleep it off,” I said cautiously.

“I hope Manish and you are coming over in the evening,” Anjali asked.

“Of course,” I said, and put down the phone.

I smiled to myself.

That was one party Manish was going to miss. 

Probably they would cancel it and would be right here offering their condolences and sympathy.

I would have to be careful indeed.

And to hell with the health club and the painful weight loss program. 

I don’t need it any more.

Raj accepts me as I am – nice and plump and on the “healthier” side, as he calls me lovingly.

Not like Manish who is always finding fault with me.

I know I can always depend on Raj.

He really loves me from the bottom of his heart.

I looked at my husband Manish’s framed photograph on the mantelpiece.

Soon it would be garlanded.

My marriage to Manish had been a miserable mistake.

But soon it would be over and I would be free to live the life I always wanted.

I wish I did not have to kill Manish.

But there was no way out.

Manish would never give me a divorce.

And if he came to know about me and Raj, he would destroy both of us, and totally ruin our lives.

Yes, if he found out about Raj and me, Manish would surely destroy our lives, even finish us off. 

My husband Manish was a rich and powerful man, and very vindictive and unforgiving too.

Also, I prefer to be a pitied widow rather than a stigmatized divorcee.

The plan was simple.

I had programmed a Robot to do the job.

The huge giant welding robot in Manish’s factory.

At exactly 12:45, when the lunch-break started, Manish would enter his pen drive into the robot control computer to carry out a maintenance troubleshooting check.

And then he would start inspecting various parts of the robot – the manipulator, end effectors and grippers – to cross-check their programmed movements.

It was a routine exercise, and I knew Manish had become quite complacent as the robot had never developed any faults so far.

But today it would be different.

Because I had surreptitiously reprogrammed the software last night.

This is what was going to happen.

At precisely 12:50 all safety interlocks would be bypassed.

And suddenly the robot would activate and the welding electrode would arc 600 Amperes of electric current into Manish’s brain. 

Sheer plasma.

It would be a ghastly sight – his brain welded out and his body handing like a pendulum, lifeless. 

Death would be instantaneous.

Manish had been a fool to tell me everything and dig his own grave. 

A real dope – he deserved it!

It was a foolproof plan.

No one would suspect since the program would erase itself immediately. 

I had ensured that. 

It would be an accident, an unfortunate accident.

Condolences, compensation, insurance would follow and soon I would be a rich widow, with everyone showering me with sympathy and compassion.

Then, I would wait for Raj to come back from Singapore.

And then, after a few days, I knew Raj would propose to me.

I would ‘reluctantly’ accept and we would live happily ever after.

I looked at the wall clock. 

It was almost 11 O’clock.

Suddenly I began to have second thoughts. 

Maybe I should give Manish a last chance.

All I had to do was pick up the phone and ask Manish to rush home.

Feign a sudden illness or something.

But no!

I tried to steel my nerves. 

I had crossed the Rubicon.

Now, there was no going back. 

The tension of waiting was unbearable.

But I must not lose my head.

I tried to divert my thoughts to Raj.

The first time I suspected that Raj loved me was when he didn’t attend my wedding. 

Then he disappeared abroad for higher studies and I almost forgot him. 

And one fine day, after almost fifteen years, Raj suddenly reappeared to take up a job in my husband’s factory.

And when I learnt that Raj had still not married I realized how deeply in love with me he was.

At that point of time I was so disillusioned with my marriage with Manish that my daily life can be metaphorically described as if I was sitting in a cinema and watching a film in which I was not interested.

Raj and I began spending more and more time together.

And somewhere down the line emotions got entangled and physical intimacy followed.

Did Manish suspect?

I do not know.

Was that the reason he had sent Raj to Singapore?

I don’t think so.

We had kept our affair absolutely clandestine.

I looked again at the clock.

11.45 am.

One hour to go.

I began to have a feeling of dread and uneasiness, a sort of restlessness and apprehension – a queer sensation, a nameless type of fear.

So I poured myself a stiff drink of vodka

As I sipped the alcohol, my nerves calmed down.

Today was the last time I was going to have a drink, I promised myself.

Once I married Raj I would never drink – there would be no need to.

In my mind’s eye I could almost visualize my husband Manish sitting in the vacant chair opposite getting steadily drunk every evening.

Manish was an odd creature with effeminate mannerisms that became more pronounced when he was drunk.

He was always picking at an absurd little moustache, as though amazed at himself for having produced anything so virile.

How I hated the mere sight of him.

The very thought of my husband made me gulp down my drink.

I poured myself one more drink and gulped it quickly to steady my nerves. Then I had one more drink; and one more, when my cell-phone rang.

I shook out of my stupor and picked up my mobile phone. 

It was an unknown number. 

I rejected the call.

The cell phone rang again.

It was the same number. 

I looked at the number – it began with the digits 65 – the number was from Singapore.

Was it Raj? From Singapore

My heart skipped a beat. 

I answered urgently.

“Hello,” I said.

“Hi Urvashi, how are you?” it was Raj’s voice.

“Where are you speaking from? Is this your new number?” I asked.

“No. This is Rajashree’s cell-phone,” Raj said.

“Rajashree?”

“Yes, Rajashree, she wants to talk to you,” Raj said.

“Hi Urvashi,” a female voice said, “Raj has told me so much about you.”

It was strange.

Who was this Rajashree?

I knew nothing about her.

So I said, “But Raj has told me nothing about you!”

“I know,” Rajashree said, “it all happened so suddenly. Even I can’t believe it could happen so fast – Love at first sight, whirlwind romance, swift wedding.”

“Wedding?” I stammered, shocked beyond belief.

“Yes. We, Raj and I, got married yesterday and we are on our way to our honeymoon, on a cruise liner.”

“You bitch! Give the phone to Raj,” I shouted, losing control, the ground slipping beneath me.

“Hey, chill out. What’s wrong with you?” Rajashree said calmly.

Then Rajashree paused for a moment, and she spoke, “Raj has gone to the embarkation booth. Hey, he’s waving to me. I’ve got to go now. Bye. We’ll see you when we come there.” 

And suddenly she disconnected.

I stared at my cell-phone, never so frightened, never so alone.

I felt as if I had been pole-axed.

I looked at the wall-clock.

12.55.

Oh, My God!

The deadline of 12.50 had gone.

It was too late.

My blood froze.

The telephone rang.

I picked it up, my hands trembling.

“There’s been an accident, madam,” said the voice. It was the company doctor. “We are rushing Manish Sahib to the hospital. I am sending someone to pick you up.”

“Hospital? Tell me the truth,” I shouted hysterically into the phone, “Tell me, is my husband dead?”

“No. Your husband is not dead. We feel that he will survive.”

Manish did survive. 

I wish he he had died.

For his sake. 

And for my sake.

Because till this day my husband Manish is still in coma.

And I know I will have to live with my “vegetable” husband all my life.

It was a small miscalculation.

600 Amperes wasn’t enough.

But then the Robot is a machine.

My real miscalculation was about Raj.

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
This story is a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the story are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
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Copyright © Vikram Karve (All Rights Reserved)

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
  

This story written be me Vikram Karve 20 years ago (in 1995) and earlier posted online by me a number of times in my Creative Writing Blogs, including at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2012/03/miscalculation-my-favourite-short.html
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