Sunday, March 6, 2016


by nick nelson

illustrated by palomine studios

for alfred and marion’s fortieth wedding anniversary, their three children bought them an all-expense paid trip to maui.

maui was beautiful. the weather was perfect.

they strolled along the beach after an excellent breakfast in the hotel dining room.

the beach was deserted. alfred looked around but there was not another person in sight.

he decided it might be safe to light a cigar.

“i didn’t see any actual ‘no smoking’ signs, did you?” he asked marion.

“no,” marion agreed a little reluctantly. “but if you smoke one, be sure to bury the butt. bury it deep.”

“don’t worry, i will.”

alfred lit his cigar and they proceeded along.

“forty years,” marion mused. “such a long time.”

“oh, not so long as all that.” alfred answered.

they walked a while in silence.

“have you ever wondered,” marion asked, “how different things might have been? how different the forty years might have been?”

“sometimes,” alfred answered.

a bird flew overhead. marion ducked. although the bird was not really that close to them.

“is there anything you would have liked to do differently?” marion persisted.

“why, yes,” said alfred. “if i had my way, instead of being a doctor, i would have been an assassin.”

“an assassin!”

“oh, on the side of right, of course. i would only have killed bad people.”

“oh? would you always be sure they were bad people?”

“of course! i would get my orders straight from the president, or the head of the c i a. “ alfred took a puff of his cigar. “i would have spent the last forty years traveling from city to city, from bangkok to moscow to paris to san francisco, staying in one spot only long enough to get the job done. and meeting different - enjoying deferent restaurants in every city. and when i wasn’t on a mission, i would spend my time meditating and honing my deadly skills in a mountain retreat that only the president knew the location of. “

alfred looked at this cigar and sighed. “yes, that would have been a good life.”

“but then,” said marion, “you would never have met me.”

“why, that’s true, dear, that’s true. what was i thinking of?”

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