Justice Deferred by Nomi Liron

Sunday, August 3, 2014
An embittered wife does her best to put on a good show for her husband's election campaign, but she's near the end of her tether; by Nomi Liron.

Marianne leaned over the bathroom sink and peered in the mirror. Her hand gingerly touched the wrinkles which had accumulated over the years. She shook her head. How stupid! Somehow she had thought it wouldn't happen to her. But here she was, dowdy, wrinkled, and with crooked teeth. No, crooked wasn't the best description. It was more like canine. The first two on both sides were pointed instead of round and looked weirdly like a dog's teeth. She could have done something about her teeth but she had always been petrified of dentists.

"You've got to get some implants," Peter said appearing at the door way. "I can't have people seeing you like that. Better yet, have all your teeth pulled and get dentures. For now, don't open your mouth when you smile. These people in my campaign kick-off are big donors. Appearance is half the game."

Marianne nodded.

"You're drab," Peter continued. "By fifty-eight years old, you should have figured out how to make yourself look like a woman. I'll call Evelyn and see if she can find the time to do your make up."

Peter looked at his watch. "We have a half an hour before the campaign gala begins." He left dialing his cell phone.

Marianne sat on the toilet seat and waited for Evelyn. She knew Evelyn and Peter were having an affair. After the election, Peter would divorce her and move Evelyn into the governor's mansion. Evelyn popped in twenty minutes later and cheerfully applied mascara, lipstick, and rouge to Marianne's face. As she worked, she chirped, "Your husband is an amazing man. He has the strength, the will, and brilliance to win. He'll do right by us."

"Well, he will by you," Marianne said wryly.

An hour later Marianne hurried into the off white, high ceiling hotel room the campaign had rented for their first formal rally. Baskets of yellow and white roses were placed in every corner. On the tables, on top of the sheer white tablecloths, were smaller baskets of closely trimmed red roses. Glaring across the back wall was the campaign slogan. "Together we will blossom." Bougainvilleas dangled from each side of the campaign sign and five pots of iris were spaced underneath a few feet apart.

"Isn't it wonderful!" exclaimed an elderly woman near Marianne. Marianne could smell baby powder and wondered if this woman, like her, wanted to push back time.

"You're Peter's wife! I'm Emily Harris. I'm so glad to meet you!" Marianne looked across the room and saw Peter nodding at the woman's purse. A big donor, then. Marianne looked at her brightly in the eyes.

"You must be so proud of your husband!"

Marianne placed her hand across her mouth and nodded. Her cell phone rang. "Oh! I'm so sorry. I should have turned it off. I'm afraid it might be one of the kids."

"Take it, by all means, dear. I'll wait," Mrs. Harris beamed. "I know what it is like to have kids tracking you down wherever you go. I have three boys and seven grandchildren."

Marianne looked down and saw it was from her daughter, Stephanie. "Hello," she whispered. "I can't talk now."

"Big surprise. I got these guards on my ass trying to fuck me every time I turn around and you don't have the time to talk."

Marianne smiled at Mrs. Harris. "Stephanie, I'm so glad you are enjoying this semester at Princeton. It's a wonderful place to go to school. My years there were the happiest of my life."

A young shapely woman joined Mrs. Harris and began to talk quietly while waiting for Marianne to finish her call. Marianne nodded and held up a single finger to indicate she was almost done.

"Oh, cut the shit, mom. You were never at Princeton. What a liar. I only got three more minutes. I need either weed or four hundred bucks. Otherwise, I'm dead meat. These guards expect to get their piece of ass. The only way they'll leave you alone is if you buy them off. And whoever you are talking to make sure to tell them that Brian is in rehab waiting for his court date, not at Harvard. Or have you come up with a new line?"

"I'm so sorry we can't talk more, dear. Call after midterms." Marianne hung up amidst her daughter's curses.

Marianne smiled apologetically at Mrs. Harris and the other woman who had joined her. "My daughter," she smiled.

"She's in Princeton, then?"

"Yes, pre-med. My son, Brian, is in Harvard getting a degree in physics."

"You know," the other woman wrinkled her nose, "I think I heard something about him a few months ago on TV. Something about a hit and run while driving under the influence. A mother of two was killed."

Marianne closed her eyes tightly, seeing the woman's twisted body thrown against the curb and Brian staggering around the front of the car muttering, "I bet she wasn't even legal."

"No, not my son, I assure you. We're a very strict, religious family. We've never let alcohol into the house.

The young woman nodded puzzled. "I was sure..."

Peter walked out on a platform and raised his hand in the air. "Are we ready?" he yelled. Everyone cheered.

"I want to introduce my beautiful wife, Marianne, the source of my strength and inspiration." He waved toward her in the audience. "Come on up here, Marianne."

Marianne walked toward the stage. I can't do this any longer, she thought. It has to end. She stood in front of the microphone. "I'm not a woman," she began. "I'm a man in the process of changing gender. Although I have breasts, I still have a penis. Peter did time for arson. My children are mediums and we have a rat infestation."

She smiled a wide canine smile. "Please vote for us."


  1. Great satire. It's amazing how we still have the ability to make all the greed and phoniness that dominates our species seem funny. That was really great.
    Unfortunately, as a pessimist I'm forced to assume Peter played damage control by paying some doctor to find Marrianne was schizophrenic, had her committed to a hospital, while reaping in the sympathies of voters who realized how hard he'd tried to help her hide it because he loved her so much. Then, somehow news would leak that she'd been abusing their kids behind his back, and the public would be moved by the tearful and apologetic speech where he begged his children to forgive him his ignorance. After justifiably divorcing Marrianne, he would be free to marry his mistress, win the election and the hearts of a nation that saw him show such great moral composure whilst such turmoil intervened in his election run. People would endorse the new marriage, and think that justice had been awarded. But like I said I'm a pessimist, hopefully he was humiliated and withdrew his candidacy.

  2. I'm really sorry for poor Marianne. It seems that she has lost everything.

  3. I always like characters who chose their moment and words very carefully. Marianne exercised the politics of payback--or was it the blowback of politics...? Public humiliation is underrated. Great little gem of a story.