Obsessive Compulsive Amateur Sleuth, Scene 9

Written by Mark Wm Smith

An overeducated, blue-collar cowboy, Mark Wm Smith grew up on along the banks of the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana. Raised by a long haul trucker and a bartending waitress, Mark learned the hard ways of the modern frontier, scraping life from the unforgiving high chaparral.

August 19, 2020

“Obsessive Compulsion” Scene 9

Bennington pulled out a fistful of socks and grabbed a pile of briefs. He shoved the drawer closed with his elbow.

Gloria gaped while he stuffed the satchel. 

“You’re getting them all wrong, Benny,” she said in a shaky voice. She made none of the usual attempts to correct the haphazard result. 

“Get your suitcase, Glory,” he told her.


“I’d like to beat the traffic.” He kept his words tightly grouped and steady, while monitoring her reaction from the corner of his eye.

She scanned the room with jerky motions, presumably searching for clues to his sudden urge for travel. “But our trip is next week. Where would we go now?”

“I’m making it a surprise, Sweets.” The precision in his words belied the notion of a spontaneous romantic get away. An element he couldn’t help if he expected to keep his self-control. “Gab your overnight bag. Toss in a couple outfits and a toothbrush. Make it quick.”

The disruption in Glory’s worldview broke her. She shook from the center until the eruption released a sob.

Bennington stopped mid-fold of the shirts.

Gloria directed her sobs at the floor.

“Sweetie, honey, baby,” Bennington said, dropping the clothes into the satchel case. He rested his hands on her shoulders. “It’s just that impulsive, impractical and extravagant vacation I’ve always wanted, but your sensibility prohibits. A quick excursion before we’re off to Barbuda.”

She pushed her head into his neck. The sobbing grew heavier, from a deeper place than vacations or disagreements ever saw.

Bennington recognized where she was, where he had sent her. His stomach ached with guilt. He squeezed her tight. “I know, Glory girl. I know.”

The doorbell interrupted impressions of the baby coalescing into words of compassion. 

Gloria paid it no mind, pushing tightly against him.

“We have to go, Sweetness,” Bennington urged, lightly scrubbing her back. “We’ll get your bag later.”

She looked at him then. Mascara streams ended in black pools beneath her despondent stare. 

He grabbed the overnight bag, unzipped and dripping shirt sleeves. He steered her to the backdoor and through their yard into the alleyway.

“Why are you parked out back?” Gloria asked, her question filling with clarity.

He wanted her in the car and moving before she regained her full senses. “Climb in, Glory. I’ve got a big surprise for us.”

She complied with increasing resistance to his impulsivity.

“Listen, Missus Tanskanen. I’m no longer going along with your perpetual planning model.” Bennington’s hands and eyes worked hard, guiding the car while he spoke. “From now on we split the romantic escapes.”

“What about—”

“Tut-tut, Sweetness. The cleaners can find their way without the help of a Tanskanen.”


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